This could be an interesting Spring Break read, Meltdown in Haditha: The Killing of 24 Iraqi Civilians by U.S. Marines and the Failure of Military Justice.  Releases in Spring/Summer 2015.  From the preview:

In November 2005, Sunni insurgents attacked a U.S. Marine squad returning to its headquarters in Haditha with an improvised explosive device (IED). One marine died and two others were wounded. Within minutes, squad members killed 24 Iraqi civilians, including an elderly couple, four women and six children. It was the worst incident of its kind in the Iraq War. 

Thirteen months later, four officers—including the commander of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment—and four enlisted men were accused of crimes ranging from dereliction of duty to murder. The legal proceedings dragged on for five years, longer than any in U.S. military history. The only conviction was that of an NCO originally charged with 18 counts of murder, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and never served a day in the brig.

Unlike other legal actions conducted during the 60-year history of the present military justice system, these proceedings were held mostly in secret, either in sessions closed to the media or behind the doors of the two military appeals courts. This book investigates the tactics adopted by Marine Corps commanders and the ineptness of the proceedings, which raise serious questions about the need for reform.


5 Responses to “Haditha Book”

  1. Stackhouse says:

    No thanks…I’ll read “No Time For Truth: The Marines, Justice, and the Haditha Incident” co-authored by my brother Haytham Faraj.              


  2. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    PS–I didn’t even know it was coming out.  Haytham Faraj should know the scoop on the defense as Neal’s former partner.

  3. SgtDad says:

    The worst betrayal of the troops by command that I have ever read of.  As I have said before, “follow me” has little meaning if this is how the officer-types will treat their NCO’s.
    I will buy & read both.  It should be an interesting comparison.
    The similarity of the tactics used by the bad guys at Haditha & those of Hamas in Gaza is not lost on me.  But then, the NVA were little better.

  4. DCGoneGalt says:

    SgtDad:  Your words on Haditha/Hamas/NVA could not be more true. 
    Sadly the capitulation by the brass/media/politicians to the “atrocities” is no longer shocking.  This reaction and the way the cases are handled is IMO symptomatic of a decline in the ability of the brass to act as leaders.   It is the operational/warfighting military justice equivalent of the panicked abdication of the convening authority gate-keeping function and the institutional “damn the facts, win at all costs” approach adopted in sexual assault cases. 

  5. RKincaid3 (RK3PO) says:

    …the failure of military justice.”

    Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, from Congress. And from people who have been convicted. And from people who were victims whose assailant’s were acquitted. Everyone thinks it has failed–but all for different, totally subjective reasons that have nothing to do with “justice” was meted out.
    And that, in my opinion, is THE single biggest failure of military justice: the results are so subjectively evaluated as either “success” or “failure” by so many people who are not part of the system, and for many legitimate reasons so oft articulated by those who are a part of the system, that there is simply NO PUBLIC CONFIDENCE in the system.
    This is because the system is so SUBJECTIVELY established around the commander’s unilateral exercise of control over charging (unless he decides NOT to prosecute–then his judgment is obviously wrong and untrustworthy) and there are so many avenues to insert bias and UCI and other influences into the process–either for or against any party while then isolating that outcome from substantive civilian review–that the outcome is of questionable justness–even though totally “legal.”
    If American wants a MJ system that breeds CONFIDENCE in the results, and hence an OBJECTIVE belief that justice has been effectuated procedurally, then the UCMJ must be amended. It must evolve to move beyond those minimal procedural standards which were historically acceptable to our forefathers (and which are now unacceptable to modern Americans’ notions of “justice”) and incorporate more “just” procedural safeguards and move away from being isolated from substantive civilian review. Whether the issue is amending Art 25, removing a commander from the decision tree, requiring unanimous verdicts, attempting to devise as system that is immune from Congressional UCI (good luck with that), or even recognizing that a commander doesn’t need to impose a federal conviction to maintain good order and discipline, it is beyond debate that the time for substantive procedural changes has passed. Any such change cannot occur as long as people keep viewing their personal, subjective satisfaction with the results of trial as the single measure of success (justice) or failure (injustice).
    Alas, only Congress can force such an evolution–but they too are too involved with evaluating success by their relative and subjective, personal satisfaction with the result–to hell with the soundness, justness and fairness of the process–to act for the collective best interests of America’s sons and daughter who are service members. And too many within the system are too busy defending tradition, the status quo, or themselves–think of the allegations that the Marine Corps Commandant has engaged in rampant UCI or retaliation–or the other incidents such as the Haditha fall out, among other instances such as the poltics that led to the mess that is Article 120, or the congressional UCI that destroyed the Gen’l Sinclair case–and it is not hard to see why the UCMJ is in such a dangerous position of low regard.
    Congress’ failure to adapt, evolve and reform the system threatens the very strength of this nation’s military–and this nation. After all, it is our miltary personnel who must do what needs to be done. And this current system, with all this controversy and political pressure, does not–or won’t much longer–encourage volunteerism. Indeed, I expect that it won’t be much longer before important people stand up and publically say that they would not recommend that the nation’s young people join the military–any branch of it–because it is so dysfunctionally unjust in its treatment of its own personnel.
    In the short term, after 14 years of war and during a drawdown, the loss of volunteers is not a threat. But when the typical, cyclical “the world is safe and we don’t need the military” mentality is once again overcome by the realities of man’s natural inhumanity to man and we need volunteers and we don’t get them, we will have to draft and blame ourselves for our short-sighted lack of leadership in this area–both within the military, within the Congress, and by the American people.