Thursday, June 01, 2006

Marines in Haditha

Just wanted to share my thoughts with you on the discussion and the news floating around about the alleged Marine massacre in Haditha, Iraq.

If these Marines did in fact commit the crimes they are being investigated for, they deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

I wanted to assure everyone that if this did happen, it is an isolated incident. For twelve months I walked the streets of Baghdad. I NEVER saw any coalition forces mistreat any civilians at any point during my time there.

Our enemies however have no regard for the lives of the people of Iraq. Whether it's a school bus and a road side bomb or a family that is in a house they desire to occupy... they are relentless in the terror they inflict on the people of Iraq. They would gladly inflict the suffering on you and your family given the opportunity.

My unit and every other unit I have ever encountered have made tremendous sacrifices for the people of Iraq. We put our lives on the line for them. We developed personal relationships with families in our designated Areas of Operation. We loved and love them. We did everything we could to protect them. Everything.

On the other hand... do not be too quick to judge these Marines. The black and white world in which you live is far different than the gray world over there. They deserve a fair investigation and a fair trial.

And, if you live in North America or Western Europe... no matter how gray you think your world is, it is a very distinct black and a very distinct white compared to life in Iraq. Don't try and believe otherwise.

I'd encourage America and its leaders not to jump to conclusions. The situation needs to be assessed before we start talking about punishment. There needs to be a clear separation between collateral damage and murder.