Haditha not a big deal in Iraq
After three years of war that has been fought in their streets and claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians, people in Baghdad could spare little more than subdued expressions of sympathy Sunday after hearing reports of a U.S. Marine massacre of 24 men, women and children in a faraway western town.The Iraqis are able to put the reports from Haditha in perspective. They see the deliberate killing of non combatants as a matter of enemy policiy on a daily basis and can see the actions of one Marine fire team isolated from a larger reality. It is doubtful that the media and the anti war left will care about that perspective. They will try to use the actions alleged against these Marines as a prop for their anti war agenda, but in Iraq people are more interested in stopping those who have a policy of murdering non combatants.
"We are tired of this news. I don't want to hear about more killings," said Ismael Abbas, a 37-year-old express-mail courier, chuckling slightly in acknowledgment of the callousness of his words. He added, "The only news I care about is when a car bomb explodes in my neighborhood. I just check if my family is okay."
Like most in Baghdad, he counts his personal toll from the war: a brother and three cousins killed last year when a mortar round -- most likely from insurgents -- fell on their neighborhood in the eastern part of the city.
"So what if more innocent people were killed?" Abbas said of the reported massacre in Haditha. "Dozens of them die daily."
Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment are under investigation for allegedly storming at least three homes in Haditha on Nov. 19, turning their guns and grenades against civilians including a 76-year-old amputee who used a wheelchair, and girls and boys ages 14, 10, 5, 4, 3 and 1. Five men, four college students returning home for the weekend and their taxi driver, were also killed in the rampage, which allegedly came in retaliation for a roadside bombing in the neighborhood that killed a Marine.