A Marine Murtha didn't talk to
Phelps is going to protest at SEAL's Funeral

Real Intel on Haditha

A while back I got a message from someone operating in Haditha not long after the killings who stated there was no reaction among the locals like you would expect if a massacre had occurred. This was echoed by a Marine CPT who commanded another unit in the city and regularly attended meetings with local leaders who mentioned nothing of any massacre. And from yesterday the SGT who examined the scene afterwards:

When asked if anyone ever hinted that the situation that day was considered inappropriate or if something bad had happened, Laughner answered: "No, just that a Marine died. That is the only bad thing.

I just got another message from someone who did a very professional job of establishing their bona fides and was definitely in a position to know conditions on the ground in Haditha after the killings.

None of what I am writing is classified or damaging to OpSec, if I'm wrong let me know.

In any area where insurgents are operating, gathering intel on them is the most important task. This will involve civilian agencies, Spec Ops, and all military units in the AO. There is something of a carrot and stick approach to building rapport with locals and the Marines tend to play the stick. Knowing the overall mood and concerns of the locals is vital and so information is shared between our forces. In the weeks and months directly following the killings none of our people who were interacting with the locals and meeting with their leaders heard about a massacre. Given the insurgent-supporting nature of the area. I find it shocking that no outrage over such an event was noted. The safety of all our forces in Haditha would be greatly compromised if a massacre had taken place, and considerable attention is paid to complaints and grievances. Yet business continued, more or less as usual, until many months later the famous videotape surfaced.

The Marines made some payments to families of those slain not long after the incident, and local customs dictate that most blood feuds are settled this way. It is hard to know the motivations of the gentleman who made the video, but his affiliations are very suspect. The possibility certainly exists that this was a manufactured tragedy on top of an accidental one. Events in Lebanon have shown that evil people have no qualms about manipulating the dead and Haditha had plenty of bad guys.

There will be a trial and we will hear quite a bit more about this event, but I am more skeptical given the multiple, independent sources who have told me that the locals were not up in arms about a massacre. I will reprise my acronym IMGH If Massacre, Guilty Hang as they should. But I would need more than testimony from relatives and neighbors of the insurgents to convict if I was on that jury of peers.

My previous thoughts on Haditha:

What makes a shooting a massacre

Good men pushed too far?