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Promises to Families of Afghans Killed by US Soldier Ring Hollow

If I were a family member of one of the sixteen Afghans civilians, mostly women and children, who were murdered this week by a US Army soldier in a methodical house-to-house killing spree, I would not hold my breath that President Obama’s promise that “we will follow the facts wherever they lead us, and we will make sure that anybody who was involved is held fully accountable with the full force of the law,” will hold true.

Assailant will face the “full force” of U.S. law -- wherever the investigation leads

Tell that to the families of the 24 civilians that were murdered by US Marines in Haditha in 2005.

Six years after a horrific attack in 2005 on unarmed Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha, Iraq, in which 24 persons, including seven children, a toddler, three women and a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair, were killed by US Marines in retaliation for an IED blowing up a Marine vehicle in which one Marine died, NO Marines have been found guilty of murder or manslaughter.

On January 24, 2012, the last of eight Marines accused in the murder of 12 of the 24 unarmed civilian Iraqis, had nine counts of manslaughter dropped for a plea of guilty to a single count of negligent dereliction of duty. Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich admitted to the court that he had told his squad to "shoot first, ask questions later."

Of the seven other Marines charged for the deaths of the civilians, one Marine was acquitted and the six others in his squad had their cases dropped by Marine prosecutors in exchange for their cooperation and testimony against the other two Marines.

However, when Wuterich's case came to trial, the prosecution agreed to a plea bargain after Wuterich's squad members began giving contradictory testimony to what they told investigators during the initial investigation six years before. The changed testimony precipitated the prosecution's plea deal for Wuterich for the Haditha murders.

After the Marine prosecutors' decision to offer Wuterich a plea bargain and dropped the nine manslaughter charges, military judge, Lt. Col. David Jones, recommended a maximum sentence of three months for Wuterich. Jones said, "It's difficult for the court to fathom negligent dereliction of duty worse than the facts of this case." However, after seeing the prosecution and defense terms of agreement for the plea bargain, Jones said that the deal agreed to by the prosecution prevented any jail time for Wuterich. 

 “We will investigate the murders as if they were our own citizens”

Obama told Afghan President Hamid Karzai that “the United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered.”

Tell that to the family of Furkan Dogan, the 19 year old American who was executed by five gunshots from Israeli commandos on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.  Obama did not order an investigation by the United States government of the execution, but instead said the United States would rely on the findings of the Israeli investigation of itself.

Tell that to the family of Rachel Corrie. It’s the same as it was under the Bush administration, when the U.S. government would not investigate the murder of Rachel Corrie, the 23 year old American who was murdered by an Israeli Defense Force bulldozer driver as he ran over her in 2003 as she attempted to protect the home of a Palestinian physician from being illegally destroyed by the Israeli military in Gaza.  The US government lefther murder to the Israelis to investigate.

“We’re heartbroken over the loss of innocent life,” Obama said. “The killing of innocent civilians is outrageous and it’s unacceptable. It’s not who we are as a country, and it does not represent our military.”

Tell that to the hundreds of innocent civilians killed in the US military night raids in Afghanistan and the thousands killed in CIA drone assassinations in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.


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Ann Wright

Ann Wright

Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.  She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia.  In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.  She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience."  (


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