|Part of Iraq War|
A picture taken at the scene of the Haditha incident shows several dead Iraqi civilians who were killed by U.S. Marines.
|Location||Haditha, Al Anbar Province, Iraq|
|Date||November 19, 2005|
|Raids against a vehicle and several nearby houses in response to an IED attack against U.S. Marines|
|Deaths||24 Iraqi civilians|
|Perpetrators||Squad from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division|
The Haditha massacre (also called the Haditha killings or the Haditha incident) was a series of killings on November 19, 2005, in which a group of United States Marines killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians. The killings occurred in Haditha, a city in Iraq's western province of Al Anbar. Among the dead were men, women, elderly people and children as young as 1, who were shot multiple times at close range while unarmed. It was alleged that the killings were a response to the attack on a convoy of Marines with an improvised explosive device that killed Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas.
An initial Marine Corps communique reported that 15 civilians were killed by the bomb's blast and eight insurgents were subsequently killed when the Marines returned fire against those attacking the convoy. However, other evidence uncovered by the media contradicted the Marines' account. A Time magazine reporter's questions prompted the United States military to open an investigation into the incident. The investigation found evidence that "supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot civilians", according to an anonymous Pentagon official. Three officers were officially reprimanded for failing to properly initially report and investigate the killings. On December 21, 2006, eight Marines from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines were charged in connection with the incident.
By June 17, 2008, six defendants had their cases dropped and a seventh found not guilty. The exception was former Staff Sergeant, now-Private Frank Wuterich. On October 3, 2007, the Article 32 hearing investigating officer recommended that Wuterich be tried for negligent homicide in the deaths of two women and five children, and that charges of murder be dropped. Further charges of assault and manslaughter were ultimately dropped, and Wuterich was convicted of a single count of negligent dereliction of duty on January 24, 2012. Wuterich received a rank reduction and pay cut but avoided jail time. Iraqis expressed disbelief and voiced outrage after the six-year US military prosecution ended with none of the Marines sentenced to incarceration. A lawyer for the victims said, "This is an assault on humanity"; he, as well as the Iraqi government, said they might bring the case to international courts.
Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, U.S. military forces had been stationed in and around Haditha to control the Haditha Dam, a major hydroelectric installation. The area had seen several clashes between U.S. forces and insurgent groups since the beginning of the Iraq War, with many fatalities on both sides.
A contemporary Time magazine poll reported that 85% of Iraq's Sunnis opposed coalition forces, as compared to 65% of Iraqis overall. Conditions in Haditha itself were known to have been deteriorating under militant rule, and attacks on U.S. troops as well as killings of suspected informants were common.
On November 19, 2005, an improvised explosive device (IED), composed of 155mm artillery shells and explosive-filled propane tanks, was placed along their route some time before 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1) arrived in Haditha. The IED targeted a squad from 3/1 Kilo Company, 3rd Platoon, which was on a resupply convoy. Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas was killed instantly at 7:15 AM. Terrazas was driving the Humvee when it was hit by the bomb. Lance Corporal James Crossan was in the passenger seat and was thrown out of the vehicle and trapped under the rear passenger tire. The Humvee was bisected by the explosion. Private First Class Salvador Guzman was in the back of the vehicle conducting security for the convoy and was thrown from the Humvee. Both Crossan and Guzman were taken to a landing zone to be evacuated for medical attention. Crossan was medically discharged from the United States Marine Corps due to the wounds he received that day. Guzman returned to active duty after healing and went on a 2nd deployment with 3/1 to Iraq in April 2007.
Killings and immediate aftermath
|Deaths and injuries of Iraqis in Haditha
|House #1—7 killed, 2 injured (but survived), 2 escaped|
|1. Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, 76—grandfather, father and husband. Died with nine rounds in the chest and abdomen.|
|2. Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66—wife of Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali|
|3. Rashid Abdul Hamid, 30.|
|4. Walid Abdul Hamid Hassan, 35.|
|5. Jahid Abdul Hamid Hassan, middle-aged man.|
|6. Asma Salman Rasif, 32.|
|7. Abdullah Walid, 4.|
|Injured: Iman, 8, and Abdul Rahman, 5.|
|Escaped: Daughter-in-law, Hiba, escaped with 2-month-old Asia|
|House #2—8 killed, 1 survivor: Shot at close range and attacked with grenades|
|8. Younis Salim Khafif, 43—husband of Aida Yasin Ahmed, father.|
|9. Aida Yasin Ahmed, 41—wife of Younis Salim Khafif, killed trying to shield her youngest daughter Aisha.|
|10. Muhammad Younis Salim, 8—son.|
|11. Noor Younis Salim, 14—daughter.|
|12. Sabaa Younis Salim, 10—daughter.|
|13. Zainab Younis Salim, 5—daughter.|
|14. Aisha Younis Salim, 3—daughter.|
|15. A 1-year-old girl staying with the family.|
|Survived: Safa Younis Salim, 13.|
|House #3—4 brothers killed|
|16. Jamal Ahmed, 41.|
|17. Marwan Ahmed, 28.|
|18. Qahtan Ahmed, 24.|
|19. Chasib Ahmed, 27.|
|Taxi—5 killed: Passengers were students at the Technical Institute in Saqlawiyah|
|20. Ahmed Khidher, taxi driver.|
|21. Akram Hamid Flayeh.|
|22. Khalid Ayada al-Zawi.|
|23. Wajdi Ayada al-Zawi.|
|24. Mohammed Battal Mahmoud.|
|Source: United for Peace and Justice|
Five Iraqi men, a taxi driver and four teenagers, were ordered out of their car and shot dead in the street, principally by Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich. After their deaths, Lt. William T. Kallop, according to his statements to investigators, arrived on the scene. Kallop and others reported taking small-arms fire, which they attributed to a nearby house. Kallop gave the order "to take the house". Nineteen of those killed were in three adjacent houses which U.S. Marines entered, employing grenades and small arms. According to Kallop,
The Marines cleared it the way they had been trained to clear it, which is frags first. ... It was clear just by the looks of the room that frags went in and then the house was prepped and sprayed like with a machine gun and then they went in. And by the looks of it, they just ... they went in, cleared the room, everybody was down.[a]
On November 20, 2005, a Marine press release from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi reported the deaths of a U.S. Marine and 15 civilians. It said the civilians' deaths resulted from a roadside bomb and Iraqi insurgents. The initial U.S. military statement read:
A US marine and 15 civilians were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb in Haditha. Immediately following the bombing, gunmen attacked the convoy with small arms fire. Iraqi army soldiers and Marines returned fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding another.
Eman Waleed, a nine-year-old child who witnessed the incident, described the U.S. Marines entering their house. She said:
I couldn't see their faces very well - only their guns sticking in to the doorway. I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny.
The director of the local hospital in Haditha, Dr Wahid, said that the 24 bodies were brought in two American humvees to the hospital around midnight on November 19. While the Marines claim that the victims had been killed by shrapnel from the roadside bomb and that the men were saboteurs, Dr Wahid said that there were "no organs slashed by shrapnel in any of the bodies". He further claimed that it appeared that "the victims were shot in the head and chest from close range."
Soon after the killings, the mayor of Haditha, Emad Jawad Hamza, led an angry delegation of elders to the Haditha Dam Marine base reportedly complaining to the base captain.
The Marine Corps paid $38,000 total to the families of 15 of the dead civilians.
Evidence about the killings
Video shot by the co-founder of the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, Taher Thabet, which instigated Tim McGirk's original Time magazine article, and cellphone photos reportedly taken by one of the Marines the day after the killings have been put forth as evidence that the killings were methodical and without resistance. The video shot by Thabet showed the bodies of the women and children with gunshot wounds, bullet holes in the interior walls of the house, and bloodstains on the floor. Insufficient evidence has come to light to account for insurgents hiding in the houses that first came under attack.[clarification needed]
...the only AK-47 that was discovered that day—apparently a household defensive weapon, of the type that is legal and common in Iraq. No one has claimed that the rifle had been fired.— William Langewiesche in "Rules of Engagement", Vanity Fair, November 2006
McGirk's first article online stated that the Hammurabi Human Rights Group "coordinated with Human Rights Watch". A correction was issued when no official links could be confirmed. McGirk, who was based in Jerusalem, declined to testify at the hearings.
The intentional killing of noncombatants is prohibited by modern laws of war derived from the UN Charter, the Hague Conventions and the Geneva Conventions, and constitutes a war crime. The Marines and officers were subject to possible courts martial under American military law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
James Mattis' Actions
In his memoir Call Sign Chaos then I Marine Expeditionary Force commander James N. Mattis explains his experience and actions in relation to the Haditha Massacre. He claims to have read "more than nine thousand pages" of investigative material. He concluded that "several have made tragic mistakes, but others had lost their discipline", which is why he recommended courts-martial for some Marines but not for others. The battalion commander was not aware of the details on the same day of the incident, and the killings were brought to light by a Time magazine reporter. Mattis relieved the battalion commander because the lack of reporting and the number of civilian deaths "should have alerted him that something very out of the ordinary ... had occurred." He then recommended letters of reprimand for the division commander and two colonels, stating, "[b]y their actions or inactions, they demonstrated lack of due diligence." This action forced the senior officers to leave active service.
Upon being told of questions by reporters concerning the Haditha killings, Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli instructed his public affairs office to brief them with the results of the military investigation. It was then he learned there had been no investigation. On February 14, 2006, Chiarelli ordered a preliminary investigation, after video evidence which conflicted with the initial U.S. report, was released. On March 9, a criminal investigation was launched, led by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, to determine if the troops deliberately targeted Iraqi civilians.
On March 19, 2006, U.S. military officials confirmed that, contrary to the initial report, U.S. Marines, not Iraqi insurgents, killed 15 civilians.
Several official investigations began. The first, under United States Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell, examined how the incident was reported through the chain of command. A second investigation, headed by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, examined the criminal aspects of the incident. A third investigation was launched by the Iraqi government. The conduct of Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, the squad leader, came under scrutiny.
On June 2, 2006, news outlets reported that 24 Iraqis had been killed, none as a result of the bomb explosion. This news anticipated the results of the U.S. military investigation, which found that the 24 unarmed Iraqis—including children as young as two years old and women—were killed by 12 members of Kilo Company in the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
The Times published the result of the first investigation, under U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell, including eyewitness interviews. It noted that the "official investigation has already resulted in the removal of Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani, the commanding officer, and Captain Luke McConnell and Captain James Kimber, two company commanders, from their duties. Bargewell's investigation found:
Statements made by the chain of command during interviews for this investigation, taken as a whole, suggest that Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as U.S. lives, their deaths are just the cost of doing business, and that the Marines need to get "the job done" no matter what it takes. These comments had the potential to desensitize the Marines to concern for the Iraqi populace and portray them all as the enemy even if they are noncombatants.
On June 1, 2006, the Associated Press reported that the Iraqi government decided to launch its own probe into the alleged killing of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in the previous year. Adnan al-Kazimi, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said the decision was made during a Cabinet meeting. The probe was to be carried out by a special committee made up of the Justice and Human Rights ministries, along with security officials.
The U.S. Marines investigation avoided public pronouncements about the killings, but on June 17, 2006, the New York Times reported that "Investigators have also concluded that most of the victims in three houses died from well-aimed rifle shots, not shrapnel or random fire, according to military officials familiar with the initial findings." Many of those killed had wounds from close-range fire, and their death certificates record "well-aimed shots to the head and chest" as the cause of death.
On December 21, 2006, the U.S. military charged eight Marines in connection with the Haditha incident. Four of the eight, Frank Wuterich, Sanick P. Dela Cruz, James Donahue and Stephen Tatum, were accused of unpremeditated murder. Tatum was further charged with negligent homicide and assault, while Dela Cruz was also charged with making a false statement. Squad leader Frank Wuterich was charged with 12 counts of unpremeditated murder against individuals and one count of the murder of six people "while engaged in an act inherently dangerous to others". The battalion commander, Jeffrey Chessani, was charged with one count of violating a lawful order and two counts of dereliction of duty. First Lieutenant Andrew Grayson was charged with obstruction of justice, dereliction of duty, and making a false statement, while Captain Randy Stone and Captain Lucas McConnell were charged with dereliction of duty. Stone also faced an additional count of violating a lawful order. All charges against Stone were later dropped. Grayson was acquitted on all counts.
Testimony in an Article 32 investigation for Capt. Randy W. Stone, equivalent to a civilian grand jury proceeding, began on May 8, 2007. At the hearing, Marine Lt. William Kallop, the platoon commander who ordered Marines to "clear" four houses, testified that the rules of engagement were followed and that no mistakes had been made. He stated that a Marine on the scene had reported seeing a suspected insurgent in the vicinity. Kallop also believed that small arms fire was being directed from the first house attacked by the Marines.
On May 9, Sergeant Sanick De la Cruz, who received immunity in return for testimony, testified that he watched Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich shoot five Iraqis who were attempting to surrender. Cruz further testified that both he and Wuterich fired into the bodies of the five after they were dead, and that he had urinated on one of the dead Iraqis.
No weapons were found in the white taxi.
The US military attempted to subpoena material from a 60 Minutes interview with Staff Sergeant Wuterich, specifically material where Wuterich admitted to ordering his men to "shoot first and ask questions later." The interview includes Wuterich insisting he perceived a threat from house 1, but saw no gun fire from that house and that he saw no insurgent enter that house. He suggests he saw the dead family in house 1 and proceeded to assault house 2 based on a guess that the gunman may have entered that house. The Marines knocked on the door of house 2 and when someone came to answer they fired through the door killing what they saw to be an unarmed man. They then assaulted the house and killed the family inside. Wuterich later said he believed there was probably no threat to begin with.
The Article 32 investigation recommended Capt. Randy W. Stone's criminal charge be dismissed, but that he face a new lesser charge that would be handled administratively for failing to investigate the incident properly. The charges against Stone were dropped on August 9.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani was recommended to face court-martial for having "failed to thoroughly and accurately report and investigate a combat action that clearly needed scrutiny." On June 17, 2008 Military Judge Colonel Steven Folsom dismissed all charges against Lt Colonel Jeffrey Chessani on the grounds that General James Mattis, who approved the filing of charges against Chessani, was improperly influenced by an investigator probing the incident. The ruling was without prejudice, which allows the prosecution to refile.
Lt. Col. Paul Ware, the Investigating Officer for several of the enlisted Marines, recommended on July 11, 2007, that LCpl. Justin Sharratt be cleared of these charges. Ware stated, "[t]he government version is unsupported by independent evidence... To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary." The charges against Sharratt were dropped on August 9.
On April 17, 2007, the Marine Corps dropped all charges against Sgt. Sanick P. De la Cruz in exchange for his testimony. Seven other Marines involved in the incident were also granted immunity.
On August 9, 2007, all charges against Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, Lance Cpl. James Donahue, and Capt. Randy Stone were dropped. On October 19, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt's commanding officer decided the charges should be lowered to involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault.
On September 18, 2007, all charges against Captain Lucas McConnell were dropped in exchange for immunity and his cooperation with the investigation.
On March 28, 2008, all charges against LCpl. Stephen Tatum were dropped.
On June 17, 2008, all charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani were dismissed by the military judge citing unlawful command influence. The Marine Corps appealed that ruling in 2008.‹See TfM›[failed verification] On March 17, 2009, a military appeals court upheld the dismissal of the war crimes charges against Chessani. Facing an administrative Board of Inquiry, it also found no misconduct and recommended that Chessani be allowed to retire without loss of rank.
On June 5, 2008, 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson was acquitted of all charges stemming from the Haditha incident. He had been charged with deleting photos of the deceased Iraqis in order to obstruct the investigation. He had also been charged with failing to notify the Marine Corps administrative chain of command of his legal status when his term of service was expired and he was discharged from the Marine Corps.
Trial of Wuterich
The court martial of Wuterich, the only defendant to stand trial for the Haditha killings, took place in January 2012. During the trial Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz testified that he urinated on the skull of one of the dead Iraqis. He also testified, after describing how Wuterich shot the passengers of the car himself from close range, "Sergeant Wuterich approached me and told me if anyone asks, the Iraqis were running away from the car and the Iraqi army shot them". In a plea deal, Wuterich pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, while charges of assault and manslaughter were dropped. He was convicted of a single count of negligent dereliction of duty on January 24, 2012, receiving a rank reduction and pay cut but avoiding jail time.
Separation ordered for witnesses
In mid April 2012, The Secretary of the Navy informed the Commandant of the Marine Corps that he had reviewed the Haditha Incident and ordered Sgt Mendoza and Sgt Dela Cruz separated after they had testified in the trial of SSgt Wuterich. The Navy secretary said in the letter that his review of Dela Cruz and Mendoza's cases "revealed troubling information about their conduct". He cited false statements Dela Cruz made about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of five men found next to a white car at the scene. Mabus said Mendoza also lied and withheld information, without citing specifics. "Such conduct is wholly inconsistent with the core values of the Department of the Navy," Mabus said in the letter to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos. "You are directed to immediately initiate administrative processing for Sgt. Dela Cruz and Sgt. Mendoza for administrative separation in the best interest of the service." During Wuterich's trial, Mendoza and Dela Cruz acknowledged on the witness stand that they had lied to investigators to protect the squad. They told jurors that later they decided it was time to tell the truth. Both Marines were allowed to submit rebuttals to the separation proceeding. Both Marines were separated.
The coverup at Haditha reportedly began instantly. However, an Iraqi journalism student shot a video the day after of the bloodstained and bullet-riddled houses where the massacre had occurred. That video made its way to an Iraqi human rights group and finally to Tim McGirk, a correspondent from Time magazine. When Time made its first queries, the Marine spokesman, Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool, who had issued the first statement on Haditha as an action against terrorists months earlier, told reporters that they were falling for al-Qaida propaganda. 'I cannot believe you're buying any of this,' he wrote in an e-mail. Nonetheless, word reached Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the second-highest-ranking U.S. military officer in Iraq, that there had been no investigation and he ordered one immediately.
According to the Los Angeles Times, military and congressional sources distinguished between two squads: the original Marine squad involved in the explosion and shootings, and a Marine intelligence squad that took photos shortly after the shootings. According to LA Times sources, no investigation occurred until after a March 2006 Time magazine story alleging a massacre, even though the intelligence squad's photos were inconsistent with the Marine squad's report of a firefight. According to the Time story, military officials blamed the delay of the investigation on the Marine squad's efforts to cover up the events: ...Military officials say they believe the delay in beginning the investigation was a result of the squad's initial efforts to cover up what happened." However, both military and congressional sources said that the "intelligence team" that took photos after the firefight did not appear to participate in any improper action: ...Military and congressional sources said there was no indication that the members of the intelligence team did anything improper or delayed reporting their findings."
There is no question that the Marines involved, those doing the shooting, they were busy in lying about it and covering it up — there is no question about it. But I am confident, as soon as the command learned there might be some truth to this, they started to pursue it vigorously. I don't have any reason now to think there was any foot dragging.
In June 2006, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki condemned the killings and called for a swift investigation, saying: "The crime and misery of Haditha ... is a terrible crime where women and children were eliminated."
Let's let the Iraqis put the Americans alleged to have committed these crimes on trial. The United States wants to encourage the fledgling Iraqi institution of democracy, right? That's why we wanted Saddam tried in Iraq, and through the Iraqi judicial system--both to build up its legitimacy and to give Iraqis the sense of ownership that comes with having control over the legal process. Why, then, shouldn't we also turn over our own soldiers who were involved in either the Haditha massacre or any of the other possible massacres for trial under the Iraqi justice system?
News website NewsMax suggested that the killings were not "unprovoked", and could have been "staged", and called Haditha "a hotbed of insurgent activity":
Plainly, not all the residents of this terrorist hotbed were as innocent as Marine media critics are now claiming.
Comments by Representative Murtha
On May 17, 2006, Democratic Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a retired Marine colonel and critic of the war, stated at a news conference that an internal investigation had confirmed the story. He was quoted as saying:
There was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.
On August 2, 2006, Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Frank D. Wuterich, who led the accused squad, filed suit for libel and invasion of privacy. The filing alleged that Murtha "tarnished the Marine's reputation by telling news organizations in May that the Marine unit cracked after a roadside bomb killed one of its members and that the troops 'killed innocent civilians in cold blood'. Murtha also said repeatedly that the incident was 'covered up'." Wuterich was charged with nine counts of manslaughter in 2008, and Wuterich's lawsuit against Murtha was dismissed in 2009, as the court had determined Murtha was immune, having made his comments as a lawmaker.
On September 25, 2008, former Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, one of the Marines that had criminal charges that had been subsequently dropped, filed a slander suit against Rep. Murtha. The lawsuit stated that "Sharratt, in being labeled repeatedly by Murtha as a 'cold-blooded murderer', and by Murtha outrageously claiming that the Haditha incident was comparable to the infamous (My Lai) massacre of Vietnam, has suffered permanent, irreversible damage to his reputation." In 2011, Sharratt's lawsuit was dismissed by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.
Comparisons with My Lai massacre and other incidents
Many news reports compared the Haditha Killings to the 1968 My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, with some commentators describing it as "Bush's My Lai", or "Iraq's My Lai". Very often, the killings have been described as part of a wider pattern of perceived human rights abuses committed by American forces in Iraq. As a Spiegel reporter notes in an interview with Michael Sallah, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigation of atrocities committed by the Tiger Force unit in Vietnam, "you would have difficulties finding a single newspaper in Germany, or elsewhere in Europe, that does not deal with My Lai, Abu Ghraib, and Haditha in the same commentary." It was suggested that the Haditha killings might, like the My Lai Massacre, have resulted in further reduction of American public support for the conflict. Some rejected that comparison, however, including prominent journalist Christopher Hitchens who stated in a June 5, 2006 essay that:
...all the glib talk about My Lai is so much propaganda and hot air. In Vietnam, the rules of engagement were such as to make an atrocity – the slaughter of the My Lai villagers took almost a day rather than a white-hot few minutes – overwhelmingly probable. The ghastliness was only stopped by a brave officer who prepared his chopper-gunner to fire. In those days there were no precision-guided missiles, but there were "free-fire zones", and "body counts", and other virtual incitements to psycho officers such as Capt. Medina and Lt. Calley. As a consequence, a training film about My Lai – "if anything like this happens, you have really, truly screwed up" – has been in use for U. S. soldiers for some time.
The most frequent parallel drawn between the execution of 504 Vietnamese villagers at My Lai and the two dozen Iraqis killed in Haditha is the military instinct to cover-up and whitewash civilian deaths. Martin Shaw pointed out on the analysis website OpenDemocracy, that of the 22 officers put on trial for the My Lai massacre, all were acquitted except for Lieutenant William Calley, who served only three and a half years of his life sentence. Professor Shaw observed that "in the few cases in which soldiers have been accused over atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, convictions have been few and far between."
Comparisons have also been made to the case of Ilario Pantano, who was initially charged with premeditated murder in Iraq but this was dropped after it was determined there was no credible evidence or testimony. Pantano himself has spoken out in defense of the "Haditha Marines", objecting to what he called a "rush to judgement".
The killings have also been compared to killings in Afghanistan, particularly the 2007 Shinwar shooting.
Allegations of investigative failures
Family, friends, defense lawyers and right-wing radio host Michael Savage strongly criticized the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) for its role in the case. They highlighted the string of immunities that were granted as a sign of NCIS bungling. In mid-December 2011, 400 pages of classified notes from top-secret interviews with US soldiers about the 2005 killing of 24 civilians in Haditha were discovered in a dump on the outskirts of Baghdad. The Washington Post published NCIS photographs of the aftermath of the notorious incident.
Iraqis expressed disbelief and voiced outrage after the six-year US military prosecution ended with none of the Marines sentenced to jail. The Iraqi government said that the ruling did "not fit the crime" and that it plans legal action on behalf of families of victims killed. Survivor Awis Fahmi Hussein commented.
I was expecting that the American judiciary would sentence this person to life in prison and that he would appear and confess in front of the whole world that he committed this crime, so that America could show itself as democratic and fair.
Youssef Ayid, who lost four brothers in the Haditha raid, said, "We are sad to see the criminals escape justice." "This is an assault on humanity," said Khalid Salman, a Haditha councillor and lawyer for the victims. He also said the sentence did not "mean the end" of his legal efforts. "There are orphans, widows and old people who are still suffering and hurting from that terrible massacre. ...If we find no way, we will go to the international courts."
House Two is a 2018 documentary directed by Michael Epstein that investigates Iraq war's worst war crime cases more than ten years later.
- Tal Afar checkpoint shooting
- Ishaqi incident
- Mahmudiyah rape and killings
- Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre
- FOB Ramrod kill team in War in Afghanistan
- Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse
- Kandahar massacre
- For "frag" see Fragmentation grenade
- McGirk, Tim. Collateral Damage or Civilian Massacre in Haditha? Archived June 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Time. Accessed June 1, 2006.
- Suek, Barbara; Mohammed, Faris (January 25, 2012). "Iraqi town says justice failed victims of US raid". action news. Associated Press, WPVI-TV/DT. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "Evidence suggests Haditha killings deliberate: Pentagon source". CBC News. Associated Press. August 2, 2006. Archived from the original on September 6, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "Marines charged in Iraqi civilian deaths", Associated Press, December 21, 2006.
- U.S. marine faces 13 Haditha murder charges Archived January 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, CBC. Accessed December 21, 2006.
- Whitcomb, Dan (June 18, 2008). "Charges dropped against Marine in Haditha case". Reuters. Archived from the original on June 24, 2008. Retrieved June 19, 2008.
- Mark Walker, Officer: Drop murder charges against Haditha Marine Archived November 17, 2007, at Archive.today, North County Times, October 3, 2007.
- Tony Perry (January 25, 2012). "Marine gets no jail time in killing of 24 Iraqi civilians". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- "Marine to serve no time in Iraqi killings case". Fox News. Associated Press. January 24, 2012. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- "Iraqi outrage over U.S. Marine's plea deal in Haditha killings" Archived January 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. CNN, January 25, 2012.
- Mary Slosson (January 23, 2012). "Marine pleads guilty, ending final Haditha trial". Reuters. Archived from the original on January 26, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- "Fury over lenient massacre sentence for US marine Frank Wuterich". The Australian. January 26, 2012. Archived from the original on January 26, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- "Battles rage across Saddam heartland where 70 Iraqis are killed by US forces", The Independent, June 14, 2003.
- "Six snipers among seven Marines killed in Iraq Archived November 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine" CNN August 2, 2005.
- "14 more Marines from Ohio unit die in Iraq ", AP August 4, 2005.
- Poll: What Do Iraqis Want? Archived July 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, TIME, December 12, 2005.
- Omer Mahdhi and Rory Carroll, "Under US noses, brutal insurgents rule Sunni citadel", Guardian UK, August 22, 2005.
- "Victims of the Haditha Massacre". UnitedforPeace.org. Archived from the original on November 20, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2007.
- Josh White, "Marine Officer Receives Immunity in Haditha Killings Case Archived February 27, 2018, at the Wayback Machine", Washington Post, April 20, 2007.
- "They entered the house as a hostile environment. The rules of engagement permitted them to proceed their entry with hand grenades exploding and going in shooting and that's exactly what happened." Neal Puckett (Wuterich's defense attorney), "Haditha defense lawyer says killings were legal Archived April 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", CNN's "American Morning", June 12, 2006.
- BBC News "Haditha: Massacre and cover-up? Archived July 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine"
- Schmitt, Eric and David S. Cloud (July 8, 2006). "General finds senior Marines lax in Haditha killings probe". Chicago Tribune. New York Times News Service. Archived from the original on September 13, 2015. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
- Ghosh, Aparisim, "Picking up the Pieces in Haditha Archived June 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine", Time online. Accessed May 30, 2006.
- Perry, Tony and Julian E. Barnes, "Photos Indicate Civilians Slain Execution-Style", Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2006.
- "Request for generals at next Haditha hearing denied Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", North County Times, May 22, 2007.
- Falcone, Dan. "Standard Operating Procedure: Forget Obama's Latest, In Order to Move Forward, Look to Guantánamo". Speak Out. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- Mattis, James (2019). Call sign chaos : learning to lead. West, Francis J. (First ed.). New York. pp. 165, 166, 167. ISBN 978-0-8129-9683-8. OCLC 1112672474.
- The Gamble, Thomas E Ricks, p 6
- Perry, Tony. "House to Look Into Probe of Pendleton Marines, Los Angeles Times. Accessed May 20, 2006.
- Poole, Oliver, "'Worst war crime' committed by US in Iraq Archived February 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine", Telegraph.co.uk. Accessed May 27, 2006.
- "Death certificates describe in horrific detail how Haditha civilians were killed Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine", CNN. Accessed June 1, 2006.
- "Pentagon sources: Civilians likely killed without provocation Archived June 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine", CNN. Accessed May 27, 2006.
- "'Simple Failures' and 'Disastrous Results' Archived August 2, 2017, at the Wayback Machine", Excerpts from Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell's report, Washington Post, April 21, 2007.
- Broder, John M., "Contradictions Cloud Inquiry Into 24 Iraqi Deaths", New York Times, June 17, 2006.
- "8 Marines face charges in Haditha killings Archived 2006-12-30 at the Wayback Machine", CNN. Accessed December 22, 2006.
- "U.S. Marines charged with murder in Haditha Archived January 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", Reuters AlterNet. Accessed December 22, 2006.
- Whitcomb, Dan (August 9, 2007). "Charges dropped against 2 Marines in Haditha case". Yahoo. Retrieved August 26, 2007.[dead link]
- "Marine Is Acquitted in Iraq Killings Archived February 22, 2017, at the Wayback Machine", New York Times, June 5, 2008.
John McChesney (May 8, 2007). "Haditha Proceedings Begin with Marine Lawyer". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on April 24, 2010. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
Stone's lawyer, Charles Gittins, says the Marines are trying to make his client a scapegoat.
- Mark Walker, "Officer testifies Marines did nothing wrong at Haditha Archived May 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", North County Times, May 8, 2007.
- Mark Oliver and agencies, "Haditha marine 'watched superior kill surrendering civilians'", Guardian Unlimited, May 10, 2007.
- "Marine 'witnessed' Haditha killings Archived May 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", Al Jazeera, May 10, 2007.
- "Members of an explosive ordnance disposal team that was summoned to the scene scoured the taxi and found no weapons or evidence of bomb-making materials, the defense official said." "Officials: No Support for Marines Claims in Haditha Probe Archived May 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", Associated Press, January 6, 2007.
- "Military Subpoenas CBS Haditha Video, Prosecutors: Unaired "60 Minutes" Footage Has Marine's Admission Of Crimes In Iraq Massacre Archived February 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine", CBS News.
- "The Killings In Haditha, Charged Marine Tells 60 Minutes He's Sorry Iraqi Civilians Were Killed, But Insists He Made Right Decision Archived April 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine", CBS News.
Thomas Watkins (June 20, 2007). "Lesser Charge Recommended Against Marine". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on April 11, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
The Marines should pursue a less serious administrative charge against a captain accused of failing to probe the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians because he was "selectively singled out" for prosecution while more senior officers escaped charges, an investigating officer said.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "General drops charges for two Marines in Haditha shootings". North County Times. August 9, 2007. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2007. mirror
- Mark Walker, "Hearing officer: Haditha commander should be court-martialed Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", North County Times, July 11, 2007.
- "Marine Cleared In Haditha Massacre". CBS News. July 17, 2008. Archived from the original on September 26, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
- Thomas Watkins, "Officer Advises Against Trial for Marine", Associated Press, July 11, 2007.
- Alex Roth and Rick Rogers, "Evidence against Marines called weak Archived 2007-07-15 at the Wayback Machine", San Diego Union Tribune, July 12, 2007.
- "Hearing officer recommends charges be dropped in Haditha case". North County Times. August 23, 2007. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
- "7 Marines granted immunity in Haditha killings". Associated Press. April 20, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2007.
- Carter, Chelsea J. (October 19, 2007). "Courts-Martial for 2 in Haditha Deaths". Associated Press.[dead link]
- "U.S. officer charges dismissed in Haditha killings Archived July 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine", Reuters.
- Perry, Tony (March 29, 2008). "Charges against third Marine dropped in massacre of civilians". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
- "MILITARY: Charges against Haditha battalion commander dropped". North County Times. June 17, 2008. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2008.
- "Latest North San Diego County headlines". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- Perry, Tony (March 18, 2009). "Court upholds dismissal of charges in Haditha case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
- "Notification of Board of Inquiry" (PDF). United States Marines Corps. August 27, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
- "Haditha Marine Lt. Andrew Grayson acquitted". Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
- "Desecration of the dead is as old as war itself". CBS News. Archived from the original on January 15, 2012.
- "US troops 'told to lie' about Iraqi killings". aljazeera.com. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- "Navy Seeks ouster of 2 Marines after Haditha Case". Fox News. April 19, 2012. Archived from the original on April 20, 2012. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- "George Bush Sr. asked retired general to replace Rumsfeld Archived 2008-09-18 at the Wayback Machine", Sidney Blumenthal, Salon, June 8, 2006.
- "Maliki: Haditha a terrible crime Archived 2007-04-15 at the Wayback Machine", Al Jazeera, June 4, 2006.
- John Dickerson and Dahlia Lithwick, "Home Court Advantage Archived June 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", Slate, June 4, 2006.
- Rush to Judgment Against Haditha Marines, NewsMax, May 27, 2006.
- Miklaszewski, Jim; Viqueira, Mike (May 17, 2006). "Lawmaker: Marines killed Iraqis 'in cold blood'". NBC News. Retrieved August 15, 2007.
- Bowman, Tom. "Pentagon Investigates Alleged Massacre in Iraq Archived July 27, 2018, at the Wayback Machine", All Things Considered, National Public Radio Accessed May 19, 2006.
- Goldenberg, Suzanne. "Marines may face trial over Iraq massacre", The Guardian. Accessed May 27, 2006.
- CNN News, "Lawmaker says Marines killed Iraqis 'in cold blood,' Archived June 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine"
- Josh White "Marine Names Murtha in Defamation Suit Archived November 21, 2007, at Archive-It" Washington Post August 2, 2006.
- Pickler, Nedra (April 14, 2009). "Frank Wuterich Murtha Defamation Suit Dies In Court". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- Court Backs Immunity for Haditha Remarks Archived September 23, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Courthouse News Service. July 19, 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
- "Bush's My Lai Archived July 4, 2006, at the Wayback Machine", Robert Parry, consortiumnews.com, May 30, 2006.
- "Haditha Massacre: Iraq's Mai Lai Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine", Al Jazeera, May 29, 2006.
- "Haditha Killings Recall Vietnam's My Lai Archived September 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine", Washington Post, June 2, 2006.
- "2004 Pulitzer Prize Winners – Investigative Reporting Archived December 30, 2006, at the Wayback Machine", The Pulitzer Prizes Archived February 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed November 27, 2006.
- (in German) ""In Vietnam war es genauso Archived June 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine", Spiegel Online, accessed June 5, 2006.
- The Hell of War Archived July 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine 5 June 2006
- "My Lai to Haditha: war, massacre and justice". openDemocracy. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- "Mr. Murtha's Rush to Judgment Archived December 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine", Ilario Pantano, Washington Post, May 28, 2006.
- Walker, Mark (April 20, 2007). "Immunity grants may signal problems with Haditha prosecution". North County Times. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2007.
- Schmidt, Michael S. (December 14, 2011). "Marines' Haditha Interviews Found in Iraqi Junkyard". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
- "Haditha, Iraq, haunted by Marines' shooting spree". The Washington Post. December 11, 2011. Archived from the original on July 28, 2018. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
- "Iraq says to take legal action for Haditha victims". Reuters. January 26, 2012. Archived from the original on October 8, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- "US marine spared jail over deaths of unarmed Iraqis". The Guardian. London. January 25, 2012. Archived from the original on March 16, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
- "Haditha residents outraged as Marine avoids jail". The Daily Telegraph. London. January 25, 2012. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
- (video) Iraqis Voice Outrage as Haditha Massacre Trial Ends in No Jail Time for Accused U.S. Marines, Democracy Now!, January 26, 2012
- What happened at Haditha? BBC December 26, 2006
- The Massacre of Haditha - A Document Archive
- The Haditha Massacre, One Year Later
- Rules of Engagement - November 2006, Vanity Fair
- "Lieutenant testifies about Haditha deaths. Officer stands by call not to investigate." Steve Liewer, Union-Tribune, May 9, 2007. Describes the charges and the first day of Article 32 hearings of the Haditha trial.
- Atrocity and War, Truthout, May 2, 2010. Discusses the impact of war upon the warrior.
- Ephron, Dan (October 22, 2007). "Haditha Unraveled: In a report obtained by NEWSWEEK, the affair's investigator casts doubt on the prosecution's case". Newsweek. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
- Rules of Engagement: What really happened at Haditha, Frontline PBS television, February 19, 2008