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"Rules of Engagement", the Haditha film on PBS' Frontline)


Notable Quotes

"I am not comfortable with the fact that I might have shot a child. I donít know if my rounds impacted anybody. That is a burden I will have to bear."--LCpl Stephen Tatum

"My Marines responded to the threats they
faced in the manner that we all had been trained.
I will bear the memory of the events of that day forever, and will always mourn the unfortunate deaths of the innocent Iraqis who were killed during our response to the attack."
--SSgt Frank Wuterich

"[After the IED blast] I could hear some of the firing was directed toward the south and I saw about four Marines maneuvering north in the direction that I had seen the shooters."
--HN Brian David Whitt, USN
Statement to NCIS pdf (March 2006)

"I will always be proud of my service in Iraq
and I will always be proud to be a Marine."--
LCpl Sharratt

"Hearing the speech from Murtha saying
that they just went out and-with all the pressure
on them, that they just went out and killed all
these people, and that there was no IED and
there was no firefight that day-I mean, it's just
a slap in the face. It's-it's-I mean, it disgusts you when-one-a guy that was loved by everybody in the whole company, almost the whole battalion, was killed by an IED that day. And then my own squad got into a firefight, which about 9 out of 12 people got injured that day from grenades or
from being shot at, and saying that there was no firefight, it's just a straight slap in the face."
--Joseph Haman, Frontline

"The presence of foreign fighters in town was an immediate indicator that something was in the works and that planning for a major attack was under way."--Major Jeffrey Dinsmore, Frontline

"Haditha, in my judgment, is a metaphor for how
the press unconsciously, being in opposition to a war, will take an incident, and simply by reiterating it and reiterating it and reiterating it, build it into something that it wasn't."--Bing West, USMC (Ret.), author, No True Glory

"The news saying that there were 24 innocent civilians killed, It's not accurate at all. My case proves it."
-- LCpl. Justin Sharratt, Kilo Co., 3/1 USMC, '04-'06


"On 19 November, the Marines had received
intelligence briefings that there was quite a bit of
insurgent activity in Haditha, and to be on the lookout specifically for a white car that would be carrying a number of insurgents who were known to be operating
in the area."
--Neal Puckett, attorney for SSgt Wuterich


"The need to press on in battle does not dissipate
once collateral damage has been discovered. In
other words, if Sergeant Wuterich, in moving through
and exiting House 1 saw that some people who
appeared to have been innocent may have been killed, that doesn't mean that the threat has been eliminated.
And he's required to-in order to protect his Marines, to pursue the threat- until it's neutralized. And that's what
he did."
--Neal Puckett, attorney for SSgt Wuterich


"I had worked with the Hammurabi people before on other stories, and I think that it's wrong to smear them as pro-insurgent. These are people who are carrying out human rights work in Iraq."--
Tim McGirk, Time magazine


"A member of our organization is from Haditha, and by chance during the incident, he was visiting his family there, so he was able to film some of the scenes. When I first watched the film, I couldn't finish it because it was a horrible tragedy, the mutilation of the bodies, the brutal way of killing."--Abdul Rahman al Mashhadani, Hammurabi Human Rights Organization

"The video was horrifying. And I said, Well, who did this? This is terrible. I sort of figured it was, you know, fighting, the usual sort of butchery that goes on between Sunnis and Shias. And they said, No, it was the U.S. Marines based in Haditha that carried this out."--Tim McGirk, Time magazine

"After more than two years of investigating the case, none of the Marines are charged with murder, a reflection of the complexity of the situation on the ground. There are very difficult questions about rules of engagement, about what the intent of these Marines was on that particular day, what they were responding to and how they responded.

While the case initially was portrayed by Iraqi civilians as a massacre, by Congressman Murtha as killings in cold blood, what the investigation has revealed since is that this was far more complicated than some execution. It was far more complicated than a squad of Marines going on a rampage."
--Josh White, The Washington Post, Frontline

From Frontline...

GARY MYERS: The training that the Marines got and applied in Haditha was the training of a blunt force. If a house is declared hostile, you clear it. That's blunt force. If they were a SWAT team, they would have approached the house in a very different way, perhaps identified themselves in a different way, perhaps waited out the insurgents in a different way.

NARRATOR: But Colonel John Ewers, a Marine Judge Advocate who was involved early on in the Haditha investigation, says that all Marines are trained to distinguish civilians from insurgents in a hostile environment.

Col. JOHN EWERS, Staff Judge Advocate, 1st Marine Exped. Force: I think that our Marines were appropriately trained for the mission that we were trying to accomplish. The idea that because we're a blunt force instrument that we're not-we're ill-prepared to do that is a cop-out. The point is, is that we're Marines. We're the-we're the toughest guys on the block. We know how to defend ourselves. We know how to-we know how to aggressively take people down. And to suggest that we can't do the shades of gray in between is a cop-out, and I think it sells Marines short. 





































For a collection of John Murtha quotes on Haditha, go to: Murtha's Own Words About Haditha

 "These crimes are heinous crimes, terrible acts. I would even call what happened in Haditha a war crime."
--Barham Salih,m Deputy Prime Minister, Iraq


"We presented a complete file to the American side about what happened in Haditha. Less than a week later, the Americans told us that we could not be a part of the investigation but they would keep us updated."
--Wijdan Mikhail Salim, Human Rights Minister, Iraq

Prime Minister Maliki responds to news of Haditha, New York Times, June 2, 2006

Samir Sumaidaie responds to news of Haditha, CNN, May 30, 2006

LtGen Peter Chiarelli responds to news of Haditha, USA Today, June 2, 2006

Thomas Betro, director, NCIS, Frontline

"Witness" interview from Frontline