Marine officers: No need to investigate civilian deaths

Several Marines on trial for the killings of two dozen Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005 have claimed that there is no need to investigate civilian deaths in combat situations:

Civilian deaths that occur during combat do not need to be investigated, a Marine lawyer testified Saturday at a hearing for an officer charged in the killings of 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha.

"There isn't an automatic law-of-war violation if you have collateral damage," said Lt. Col. Kent Keith, a judge advocate for the 2nd Marine Division.

Over the past four days, Marines have testified in court that they saw no need to investigate the killings.

One more step towards the "kill-'em-all," no-one-is-innocent, "collateral damage" mentality among the soldiers on the ground, a mentality which already surfaces from time to time among various American leaders.

Of course, the only way to determine whether soldiers have broken any laws of war is to... conduct an investigation. So what these defendants are arguing is that their word is simply enough. We say we didn't act illegally or immorally - therefore, we didn't.

And if other people - for example, the victims' families - say otherwise, it's all lies:

Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore testified Friday that the Haditha town council had circulated a flier demanding an investigation into the deaths and outlining allegations that Marines deliberately targeted civilians, but he dismissed the flier as propaganda.

Remember: when victims try to get their side of the story heard, it's just "propaganda."

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