More information continues to slowly dribble out in the Haditha mess:
The U.S. military investigation of how Marine commanders handled the reporting of events last November in the Iraqi town of Haditha, where troops allegedly killed 24 Iraqi civilians, will conclude that some officers gave false information to their superiors, who then failed to adequately scrutinize reports that should have caught their attention, an Army official said yesterday.***
The promotion of a top Marine general also has been put on hold.
Bargewell has pursued two lines of investigation: not only whether falsehoods were passed up the chain of command, but also whether senior Marine commanders were derelict in their duty to monitor the actions of subordinates. The inquiry is expected to conclude by the end of this week, the official added. He said there were multiple failures but declined to say whether he would characterize it as a “coverup,” as alleged recently by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a former Marine.
It will take a while to figure out how much of the inaction was through false reports, or how much was through negligence, although this report seems to make it pretty damned clear that at the very least, junior officers filed false reports. Either way, the cloud seems to get bigger around the Marines surrounding the case. This part of the WaPo piece just seems like Deja Vu all over again:
One of Bargewell’s conclusions is that the training of troops for Iraq has been flawed, the official said, with too much emphasis on traditional war-fighting skills and insufficient focus on how to wage a counterinsurgency campaign. Currently the director of operations for a top headquarters in Iraq, Bargewell is a career Special Operations officer and therefore more familiar than most regular Army officers with the precepts of counterinsurgency, such as using the minimum amount of force necessary to succeed. Also, as an Army staff sergeant in Vietnam in 1971, Bargewell received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second-highest honor, for actions in combat while a member of long-range reconnaissance team operating deep behind enemy lines.
If anyone has the energy (I, most assuredly, do not), it would be interesting to look up the number of times leadership has ‘discovered’ we are not spending enough time training for a counterinsurgency over the past three years. And FYI- we are now approaching the same length of time in Iraq as we, as a nation, were involved in WWII.