Troops facing charges for Iraqi deaths - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Troops facing charges for Iraqi deaths

June 2, 2006

Eight US Marines are facing charges for the deaths of two dozen Iraqi civilians in the city of Haditha last year. Since that case, investigations of marines for two other incidents involving Iraqi civilian deaths have followed.

Local veterans who have served in the front lines of war feel angry about the all the allegations against our troops.

Our fighting men and women are taught when to shoot.

And when not to.

Albany's Marvin Mixon was a soldier in Vietnam. He says when it comes to the highly emotional and serious times of combat, our troops will usually go with gut instincts.

"Your nerves are on edge, and then when somebody starts throwing rocks at you or something like that after one of your buddies has already been killed then it's just an automatic response to defend yourself and defend your buddies," said Vietnam Veteran Marvin Mixon.

Some Iraqis say it's not defense, but revenge. With one investigation closed, the US military continues to investigate at least two other cases of American troops killing Iraqi civilians, including women and children.

"A certain number of those children who are actually helping the insurgents, whether voluntarily or being forced to and then when the Americans defend themselves or things get out of hand and so called innocent civilians get hurt, then Americans are blamed for it," said Mixon.

The civilian deaths are fueling fury for Iraqis, but some Americans believe our soldiers are just being extra cautious and alert.

"There's only three or four instances over months at a time, I think its going very very well," said Mixon.

Some say our troops are just doing their jobs, while others believe that in wartime, our men are letting grief give in to rage.

The Haditha killings occured in November 2005. An investigation didn't start until months later. Initially the military said the 24 civilians were killed by a roadside bomb, but the investigation showed that Marines shot the victims.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=VetReaction