Many in the Liberal community are linking the two Incidents together, and charging it is again a Cover-up. My sympathy lay with the Marine Battlion Commander and two Company Commanders who were relieved. The fault seems to reside in the behavior of one Sargent, and his men in Haditha, who begin to assault Civilians without cause. My Lai was the responsibility of inexperienced troops led by inexperienced Junior officers, all of whom were insufficiently briefed; faced with a situation of excess Civilian prisoners when under the belief of being under heavy attack. The chain of command was charged as the major culprit in both instances, and nothing could be further from the Truth.
It is traditional military policy to restrict individual soldier misconduct in-house whenever possible, with the aforeknowledge that Incidents cannot be undone, and repetition must be stopped at their own Command level. My Lai was the fault of inexperience by the military participants; Haditha was the result of overexperience by the ground-level troops in the field. There are real dangers in multi-Tours of Combat duty. Personnel become disenchanted with high Command leadership, witnessing ever-increasing dangers while Command will not alter their stance at the Policy level to reduce their own risk. Confronted by unit losses, often close friends overdoing their share of dangerous risk, the Survivors often break with organizational mandate--which they perceive as getting them killed. Slaughters should be expected under such circumstances, as individuals soldiers and units attempt anything to alter the risk, or make a military difference.
Haditha also possesses another element which must be explored. Examination of the bodies were delayed, an initial count of the victims was not kept, and there is a rumor some of the bodies bore wounds not inflicted by the weapons mix carried by the Marines in question. The Incident at Haditha did take place, but the scope of the atrocity may have been expanded by Enemy forces; to embarass the United States with the ability to condemn American forces. This Author has no association with any of the Investigations of the Incident at Haditha, but would advise some caution in the usage of condemnation. lgl