"In Haditha, families of those killed keep an ear cocked to a foreign station, Radio Monte Carlo, waiting for any news of a trial of the Marines.
"They are waiting for the sentence — although they are convinced that the sentence will be like one for someone who killed a dog in the United States," said Waleed Mohammed, a lawyer preparing a file for Iraqi courts and the United Nations, if the U.S. trial disappoints. "Because Iraqis have become like dogs in the eyes of Americans.”" Knickmeyer for the Washpost
I have written that we should wait for the outcome of ongoing investigations before judging what happened in Haditha in the Euphrates River Valley. I continue to think that.
Nevertheless, this story in the Post should remind us all that individuals in the armed forces must be held accountable for their actions under military law. If that is not done, then the institution becomes liable and culpable for what its members did OR FAILED TO DO.
It is probable that whatever happened in Haditha occurred because a junior leader failed in his responsibility. It is also probable that more senior leaders failed in their responsibility to take appropriate action after the fact. Three officers of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment have been relieved of command pending further action. It may well be that responsibility after the fact runs much higher up the chain of command than that. All should be held to account for their actions or inaction whether these failures were before or after the fact.
To fail to do so would be to betray the US Marine Corps and the armed forces of the United States in general.