George Bush made another one of those tremendously awkward statements he tends to make when under pressure and when someone under his command makes a really, really big mistake:
Bush said he had discussed Haditha with Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “He’s a proud Marine. And nobody is more concerned about these allegations than the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is full of honorable people who understand the rules of war.”
“If in fact these allegations are true,” Bush said, “the Marine Corps will work hard to make sure that that culture — that proud culture — will be reinforced. And that those who violated the law, if they did, will be punished.”
Makes you wonder whether he wants to reinforce the proud culture of vengeance that enabled Marines to murder 25 Iraqis in cold blood. As for the “reassuring” statement that those who violate the law will be punished…Hmmm, where have we heard that one before? If anyone leaked Valerie Plame’s name they’ll be fired. Remember that one? Anyone who tortured at Abu Graibh would be punished. Remember that one? Would anyone like to put a little money down on the proposition that anyone will be punished for this incident? Of course, they’ll have to have a sacrificial lamb, a Lyndie England or Charles Graner. But what of the officers who approved the bogus story and allowed it to go up the chain of command?
I know that what I’ve written above is harsh…how can we be anything but harsh in light of these terrible events? But those Marines who tragically allowed their anger at losing a buddy swell into murderous vengeance are only a symptom of a greater evil. The entire enterprise of the war is evil. If we brought our troops home now such incidents would not happen.
Today’s news brings further horror with the murder of a pregnant Iraqi woman, Nabiya Nassayef and her cousin, Saleha Mohammed, traveling in a taxi to a maternity hospital where she was to give birth. The U.S. military’s initial statement claimed they were in an exclusion zone and refused to stop when commanded by U.S. troops to do so. According to the Daily Mail, a later statement withdrew the earlier one and said the women had been killed “by mistake.” “By mistake.” Don’t those two words encapsulate our entire enterprise in Iraq. Why are we killing pregnant Iraqi mothers about to give birth? What possible good are we doing for that country?