Execution

Posted: June 12, 2006 in War crimes


Lawyers Defend Marines in Raid

Excerpts from the article posted in the LA Times June 12, 2006.

"You're attempting to kill people who are threatening you," Puckett said. "That innocent people were killed is regrettable, but now to have people, in hindsight, say, 'Well, I would have done things differently,' is wrong. Unless you were on the ground that day, you can't judge."

His attorney noted that Wuterich was promoted after the incident and that his fitness evaluation praised his leadership in response to the attack that killed Terrazas. It was his first combat experience, Puckett said.

Iraqis in Haditha insist the Marines were screaming in anger when they stormed the houses and that they gunned down children, women and an elderly man in a wheelchair, knowing that they posed no threat.

One woman told The Times late last month that the Marines herded men inside a building and killed them and that they also ordered four men out of a taxi and killed them.

Two investigations are underway into the incident, which involved a dozen Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton.

The battalion was on its third tour in Iraq.

One investigation, carried out by an Army major general, is looking into whether a cover-up hid the fact that women and children were among those killed and that the Iraqis were not killed by a bomb blast or crossfire.

A second inquiry, by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, is looking at whether criminal charges should be filed, a decision that rests with a general at Camp Pendleton.

Pictures of the dead bodies taken by a Marine intelligence unit have convinced investigators that the Iraqis were shot at close range, some "execution-style," and that charges including murder and dereliction of duty would be appropriate.

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