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W. Thomas Smith, Jr. has an excellent piece up on how the media is spinning Haditha – he was interviewed by a reporter from ABC News, so his experience is first hand:
So I receive a phone call from a reporter at ABC News. They are working on a story about Haditha, and the reporter’s comments to me go something along the lines of; “I am particularly interested in your recent pieces on Haditha in which you say that in order to understand what happened, we must first understand the men involved, the dynamics of the system in which they operate, and the realities of ground combat.”
The reporter’s referencing of my own comments are somewhat paraphrased, but his following questions are clearly etched in my mind verbatim:
“Don’t you think the killings at Haditha [November 19, 2005] are the result of a wrong war and a failed policy?” he asks. “Much like the tragedy of My Lai [the killings of unarmed civilians by U.S. soldiers in the village of My Lai, Vietnam in 1968] was the result of a wrong war and a failed policy?”
I was taken aback for about as long as it takes to silently mouth the words, “This is going to be too easy.” After all, it’s one thing to read and listen to politicized versions of news stories spun by the various national news organizations. But to actually experience the machine as it begins to process what they plan to feed the masses is quite another. It wasn’t a first for me, nor will it be the last I’m sure. But I was temporarily surprised by the reporter’s lack of perspective, his obvious agenda, and his attempt to put words in my mouth. And by the way, this was no recent J-school grad. This guy was seasoned.
Yep, seasoned in how to ask biased, and leading questions. Make sure to read the whole piece, because Smith is seasoned as well – seasoned as to how to put reporters such as the one who interviewed him in their place by setting them straight.
I point out once again how it is unreal the media have already tagged the military as guilty for what’s alleged to have happened in Haditha, but will give the Miami 7 suspected terrorists the benefit of the doubt.
Could they possibly be more transparent?
Related: Fred Barnes writes about the media’s rush to judgment on Haditha. He takes a look at some important facts gone unmentioned in the MSM and asks questions that the MSM should be, but aren’t.
PM Update I: Take this story with a huge grain of salt because it’s from Newsmax, but the info they’re reporting is intriguing:
New evidence continues to emerge that U.S. Marines did not wantonly kill Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November – and the soldiers’ accounts of what happened are backed up by videotape shot by an ultralight vehicle, NewsMax has learned.
Military sources familiar with the incident have told NewsMax:
Within minutes of the early morning IED explosion, a firefight erupted between insurgents and Marines. Civilians were caught in the middle of the firefight. Also, although civilians did die, their deaths were the result of door-to-door combat as the Marines sought to clear houses and stop the insurgent gunfire. Ample evidence proves that a firefight took place. For example, every second of the ensuing firefight was monitored by numerous people at company, battalion, and regimental HQs via radio communications. Video evidence supports the Marines’ claims. Within a very few minutes, battalion, regimental, and division headquarters were able to watch the action thanks to an overhead ultralight aircraft that remained aloft all day. Photos of some of the action were downloaded and in the hands of Marines and the NCIS. Some of the insurgents involved in planning the attack and firing at Marines during a daylong engagement have been apprehended and are in custody.
NewsMax can verify Wuterich’s account. The site of the IED explosion was in an area well-known as an insurgent stronghold where as many as 50 IEDs were found previously, and from where, on two previous occasions, insurgents launched small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar attacks on K Company.
Within five minutes of the blast, Marines on the scene reported they were receiving small-arms fire. Within 30 minutes of the blast, and while the house-clearing was still underway, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team en route to the site, came under small-arms fire in a known insurgent tactic to ambush first responders.
At the same time, just 30 minutes after the house clearing, an intelligence unit arrived to question the Marines involved in the house clearing operation. NewsMax sources say the behavior of the Marines involved gave them no reason to believe anything but what they had been told.
At about the same time a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) arrived over the blast area and from that moment on, for the entire day , the UAV transmitted views of the engagement to the company command site, battalion headquarters, the regimental HQ, and the division HQ. What the UAV captured was a view of Marines in their perimeter, as they went about doing house-clearing. It was then vectored to the surrounding area to catch any fleeing insurgents. It showed four insurgents fleeing the neighborhood, loading weapons into their car, and linking up with their partners (the ones that had conducted the ambush on the EOD team).
Knowing what we now know about Wuterich’s account, these fleeing insurgents were most likely the same ones that left through the back door of the house he was clearing.
There are photos of this, and they show the insurgents getting back in their car after loading the weapons The UAV then followed them south to their safe house. From that point forward, until about 6 p.m., the safe house was hit by bombs, and an assault by a K Company squad. The UAV followed the insurgents who had been inside through town.
The final tally for these engagements was two insurgents killed by direct fire, one killed by GBU bombs and one detained. The entire action was followed by the UAV overhead.
Keep in mind, the entire action was followed by keeping the UAV overhead all day.
The Haditha “massacre” being referred to is the 30 minutes to one hour that took place first thing in the morning. The rest of the day’s activities, in fact, confirmed the nature of the morning’s attack.
It is clear that the entire incident was planned and carried out by insurgents who detonated the IED, and then, in a familiar tactic, attacked the Marines responding to the blast – deliberately putting civilians at risk.
If all of the above is true, it will be quite the blockbuster news story, and a few members of Congress and the media will owe the Marines a huge apology.
(Hat tip: Flopping Aces)
PM Update II: Sweetness and Light did some digging and found a Washington Post report from last month about a report about an unmanned drone aircraft that took video from part of that day:
Military investigators piecing together what happened in the Iraqi town of Haditha on Nov. 19 — when Marines allegedly killed two dozen civilians — have access to video shot by an unmanned drone aircraft that was circling overhead for at least part of that day, military defense lawyers familiar with the case said in interviews.
It is unclear whether the video obtained from that day’s flight captured the violence, said the lawyers, who have consulted with Marines who were there. One lawyer said investigators have reviewed surveillance footage taken hours after the shootings, which showed the Marines returning to the town to remove the bodies of the Iraqis.
Hat tip: Clarice Feldman
(This post originally posted 6/26/06 – 9:09 AM ET)
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