Counsel for the Marines on trial for a supposed massacre in Haditha is charging that Pentagon officials intentionally misled or deceived the public about the case. The first report written about the case completely exonerated the troops. Reuters reports:
At first, the U.S. military said civilians were killed by a roadside bomb. Iraqi witnesses, however, said enraged Marines shot the civilians in their homes in retaliation for an attack that killed another U.S. serviceman.
Watt, the investigating officer, delivered a report in March 2006 that concluded there was no indication the Marines intentionally targeted and killed civilians. The Marines were taking small-arms fire and entered houses in the area as part of that fight, according to the report
Reuters said that it has a copy of the Watt Report.
But Defense Department (DoD) officials speaking anonymously last May about that first report from Col. Gregory Watt, as the case began to grab international attention, had said the investigation raised questions about the Marines' actions.
"I think the Watt report is proof of a concerted effort by certain DoD officials to either mislead or deceive the public on what occurred in Haditha," Zaid said.
Why would the military act this way toward our frontline troops?
[The Marines' attorney] Zaid said his client and the other Marines were victims of a U.S. government crackdown aimed at improving public perception of the American presence in Iraq after the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal and amid a series of cases in which service members were accused of killing civilians.
Hat tip: Clarice Feldman