The Tragedy in Haditha

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Thursday, June 1, 2006

The Tragedy in Haditha

One of the reasons you do everything in the world to avoid going to war is so that you don't end up with incidents like what happened in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2006.  In Haditha, United States Marines lost one of their members to an IED (improvised explosive device) and proceeded to execute two dozen civilians.  Some of these civilians were women and children.  They were unarmed and were murdered at close range.

   Unfortunately, atrocities such as these happen in war.  You will never get 100% of your armed forces to obey the law and obey the rules of engagement.  Beyond that, soldiers are typically under intense pressure and put their lives at risk on a daily basis.  They could die at any moment and they often see their friends die right in front of them.  That is a lot to take for any person, let alone a teenager or someone in their 20's. 

This is not an excuse to execute civilians in cold blood, but it does give us a glimpse into how atrocities can occur in a war.  When left to their own devices, people will take the law into their own hands.  They will eliminate any threat to their own life, whether it is a real threat or perceived.

This tragedy illustrates how much respect we all should have for going to war.  It is not something that is to be taken lightly, as it has been in the past.  The "Bring It On" mentality of going into battle is not helpful to anyone.  Furthermore, covering up incidents like these also does not help.  We live in a democracy, where people are held accountable for their actions.

I don't condone the action of these Marines.  The soldiers who executed these civilians should be brought up on murder charges.  If they are found to be guilty, they should go to prison.  However, it is important to remember that they are not a reflection on the entire Marine Corps or the United States military.  99% of American soldiers are good, hard-working, decent people.  Let us not lose sight of that while we pursue the truth in this tragedy in Haditha.

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