Thursday, June 01, 2006Heard about this on the radio yesterday, and I don't even know what to say.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military is investigating reports its soldiers killed two women, one of whom was pregnant, in Samarra, according to the U.S. military and an official with the Joint Coordination Center in Salaheddin province.
Elsewhere Wednesday, insurgent attacks across Iraq killed 22 people, including an Iraqi journalist and a mayor, according to police reports. Another 52 people were injured.
Witnesses of the Samarra shooting said the women were killed when their vehicle drove through a checkpoint around 3 p.m., but that information has not yet been verified, the Joint Coordination Center official said.
The official said 35-year-old Nahiba Husayif Jassim and Faliha Mohammed Hassan, 55, were headed for the hospital Tuesday for the delivery of Nahiba's baby.
The Associated Press identified the driver as Jassim's brother, Khalid Nisaif Jassim, who is quoted as saying he drove "at full speed because I did not see any sign or warning from the Americans."
"It was not until they shot the two bullets that killed my sister and cousin that I stopped," the AP quoted him as saying. "God take revenge on the Americans and those who brought them here. They have no regard for our lives."
He said that the baby also died, according to the AP.
The U.S. military said the vehicle had entered a "clearly marked prohibited area near coalition troops at an observation post in Samarra."
"Shots were fired to disable the vehicle" only after the vehicle "failed to stop despite repeated visual and auditory signals. The vehicle stopped, changed directions and quickly departed the area," the U.S. military said.
"Coalition forces later received reports from Iraqi police that two women died from gunshot wounds at the Samarra hospital; and one of the females may have been pregnant.
"The loss of life is regrettable and coalition forces go to great lengths to prevent them."
The incident came at a time when Iraqis are already outraged over reports that U.S. Marines allegedly killed 24 civilians in Haditha in November.....
But do take heart, Americans! Our soldiers are being trained in "Core values". Slide presentations will save all innocent Iraqis!
U.S. commander orders 'core warrior values training'
Move comes in wake of Haditha allegations
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. military commander in Iraq on Thursday ordered subordinate commanders on the ground "to conduct core warrior values training, highlighting the importance of adhering to legal, moral and ethical standards on the battlefield."
The back-to-the-basics move, announced in a coalition military statement, is being made in the wake of the alleged killings by Marines of 24 civilians in the Anbar province city of Haditha last November.
Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Multi-National Corps-Iraq commander, issued the directive.
The commanders will receive "a slide presentation with training vignettes they can adapt to their organization." The training -- which would "reinforce and sustain training that forces received prior to their deployment to Iraq" -- will be conducted over the next 30 days.
"The training package emphasizes professional military values and the importance of disciplined, professional conduct in combat, Iraqi cultural expectations and the second and third order effects of actions that are contrary to professional military values."
Chiarelli is quoted in the statement as saying that 99.9 percent of the "nearly 150,000 coalition forces" in Iraq "perform their jobs magnificently every day."
"They do their duty with honor under difficult circumstances. They exhibit sound judgment, honesty and integrity. They display patience, professionalism and restraint in the face of a treacherous enemy. And they do the right thing even when no one is watching. Unfortunately, there are a few individuals who sometimes choose the wrong path."
Chiarelli said "as military professionals, it is important that we take time to reflect on the values that separate us from our enemies.
"The challenge for us is to make sure the actions of a few do not tarnish the good work of the many."
Gen. Michael Hagee, the commandant of the Marine Corps, traveled to Iraq recently to discuss the treatment of noncombatants with his troops and remind them of their "core values."
President Bush said Wednesday that if an investigation finds Marines killed civilians in Haditha, "there will be punishment."
"The Marine Corps is full of honorable people who understand the rules of war," Bush said in his first public comments on the killings in Haditha. "... those who violated the law, if they did, will be punished." (Full story)
Military investigators strongly suspect that a small number of Marines snapped after one of their own was killed by a roadside bomb November 19 in Haditha, a city on the Euphrates River northwest of Baghdad, and went on a rampage, sources told CNN. (Watch Defense Secretary Rumsfeld discuss the Haditha probe -- 5:30)
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said two investigations are under way -- one into the killings themselves, the other on "why didn't we know about it sooner than we knew about it."
The commander of the battalion involved in the incident has been relieved of his command, along with two company commanders.
The investigation is likely to result in murder charges against some Marines and dereliction of duty counts against others, sources told CNN.
Rep. John Murtha -- an ex-Marine and Democrat critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war -- said the allegations could do worse damage to the U.S. war effort in Iraq than the 2004 revelations of torture at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison.
And finally, it's good to know that John Gibson does not support civilian massacres and cover-ups.