"House Two", movie about Haditha killings coming soon

 
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"House Two", movie about Haditha killings coming soon

It's hard to overstate how detrimental the Haditha killings were in terms of morale and what it did to the military.  I don't say that to place blame at anyone's feet, it's simply the truth of it.  We get a lot of emails from concerned people asking us to weigh in on Haditha, or Michael Behenna and other such cases, but we try to stay clear of that for the simple reason that we don't have all the info.  We don't have people in the court room, or on the jury, or any other way of knowing.  Sure, we get stuff from the Defense Counsels and the Prosecutors from time to time, and I read them all, but with the fog of war, it's generally impossible to figure out what happened.

In the end, Frank Wuterich, the squad leader that day was the only one to face any punishment.  For better or worse, he's the public face of what happened.  To many he's an innocent scapegoat who did what he should have done in the heat of battle to make sure his men made it home safely.  To others, he killed unarmed women and children in cold blood.  No one can say what they would have done in his shoes, no one.  Unless you've actually been there.  He did what the book basically says to do in clearing a house, you roll grenades in, wait for the boom and then send your stack of guys in and take down the threat.  We spend weeks doing practices like this down at Fort Bragg before I went to Afghanistan, but luckily for me we never had to do any house to house clearing.  Truth be told, it was my least favorite thing in the Army.  It's all muscle memory reflexive shooting, and takes a LOT of training.  

Here's a CBS interview at the time Wuterich pled guilty to a lower charge (you have to click through to watch at YouTube):

Again, I have no idea what was going on.  Even Wuterich is at a loss to explain certain things.  It all happened so fast, and as far as he and the other men knew at the time, they were under attack.  An IED had already killed one of his men minutes earlier, and he identified enemy fire.  He maintains that the house in question was where it had come from.  It's really hard in an urban terrain to tell exactly where the fire is coming from during the day, because the sound bounces off just about everything.  At night you have a better chance of seeing the muzzle flash and identifying the angle of attack, but he didn't have that benefit.

Either way, an article in Military.com today shows that Wuterich's case is about to come out in a documentary, one I will watch as soon as I can find it.

On Sunday night, April 22nd, a full house turned up at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan for the premiere of "House Two," an investigative documentary more than decade in the making that makes troubling allegations regarding the Marine Corps' handling of one of the most brutalwar crimes cases of the Iraq War....

The film's argument relies in part on the testimony of special agents Mike Maloney and Tom Brady, both former Marines, who had helmed the Haditha investigation for the Naval Criminal Investigative Services and were responsible for providing the forensic evidence the Marine Corps needed to successfully prosecute the case.

Ultimately, the prosecution appears to have ignored or dismissed their findings, granting blanket immunity to seven of the eight Marines implicated in the massacre to build a case against Wuterich based almost entirely on their testimony. As Maloney put it in a recent interview with Task & Purpose, "They went after Frank Wuterich in the face of evidence that did not support it at any level."

I'm uncomfortable already reading this because it apparently comes down hard on General Mattis, now the Secretary of Defense.  Mattis is venerated by most the military.  I have a close friend who served under Mattis when he had a Battalion (if you've seen Generation Kill, I am friends with one of the main guys in it) and that friend loves Mattis so much he named his child after him.  So, that part already has me squirming.  But, I definitely want to watch the film anyway.  Obviously the film comes as an exercise in rehabilitating the image of Wuterich and trying to get people to see that he's not the cold blooded killer he's made out to be.  And, based on what he was eventually convicted of, and the dropped charges, he clearly is not.  It's a tragedy, simple as that.  One with far ranging implications for Wuterich, the military, the US foreign policy, and the way we are viewed in the Middle East.

Either way, it should be compelling video.  Here's some of the clips from that movie.  Slight language warning here, as we are talking about combat Marines afterall, and rumor has it they swear occasionally.

 

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Look at 2 atom bombs that were necessary to end WWII and yes some civilians were killed, war is hell.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.