Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What we think we know

Warning - this is a long post but an important one. It points to inconsistencies already in the reporting on Haditha. For more readable and shorter posts, skip down the page.

The following gives details of the Iraqis who are reported to have died in Haditha on November 19, 2005. When finished reading this, remember that children did indeed die tragically. War is Hell...for our troops and for the Iraqi people.

In reading news accounts of the Haditha incident, a few points are found over and over. These are the abbreviated talking points:

  • U.S. Marines killed (or massacred)
  • 24 Iraqi citizens (often including the words "innocent" or "unarmed", sometimes only mentioning women and children)
  • in their homes

Really? According to this Washington Post article that gives details gathered from witness accounts to a Washington Post special correspondent and U.S. investigators:

  • Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, 76, and his wife - Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66, three middle-age males, and a child - Abdullah, 4, all died in the first house. The report alludes to an additional daughter-in-law that would have been in the house and did not survive. (Six or seven deaths)
  • Younis Salim Khafif, 43, his wife - Aeda Yasin Ahmed, 41, a boy, 8 and girls aged 14, 10, 5, 3, and 1 were killed in the second home. (Eight deaths)
  • Four brothers, Marwan, Qahtan, Chasib and Jamal Ahmed were killed in a third house. Marine officials said that one of the brothers had a gun. (Four deaths)
  • The final deaths were of four male college students -- Khalid Ayada al-Zawi, Wajdi Ayada al-Zawi, Mohammed Battal Mahmoud and Akram Hamid Flayeh, and their taxi driver, Ahmed Khidher, who were all killed inside the taxi. (Five deaths)

Eighteen or nineteen deaths occurred in three homes. Five deaths happened in the taxi. Seven of the deaths were of children, two or possibly three were of women, fourteen were of men. One man is reported to have had a gun.

Now, in the New York Times' detailed account (already reserved as TimesSelect or available for purchase):

  • Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, aged 77 and his wife - Khumaysa Tuma Ali, 66, Rashid Abdul Hamid and his wife, Asma, two adult males - Jahid Abdul Hamid Hassan and Walid Hamid Hassan and 4 year old Abdullah Walid all died in one home. (Seven deaths)
  • Younis Salim Nisaif and his wife, Aida, and Aida's sister, Huda, and five children, 3 to 14 years old were also killed in the second home. (Eight deaths)
  • Four brothers between the ages of 20 and 38 were killed in the third home.
  • Five men - four students and a taxi driver between the ages of 18 and 25 died in a taxi.

Six children were killed. Four women were killed. Fourteen men were killed. Nineteen were killed in homes. Five were killed in the taxi.

What seems to be known from the above reports is:

  • Up to 24 Iraqi men, women and children were killed in an incident in Haditha. Fourteen of these were adult men.
  • One man is reported to have had a gun.
  • The killings occurred in three homes and a taxi.
  • U.S. Marines allegedly carried out the killings.
  • The military has not yet completed its investigation into the incident.

Journalists are paid to get the facts right. If you catch an error in a news report, point it out. Otherwise, details will expand (or contract) to fit the agenda as what happened here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why is there never an effort by the press to condemn the men who are heads of their families for putting their wives and children at risk by associating with terrorists? Should they not be condemned instead of the military?