Iraq's Mi Lai
According to Iraq Body Count between 33,710-37,832 civilians were reported to have been killed during the current war Iraq. This figure includes casualties inflicted by all factions in the conflict. Only thorough and impartial investigation will determine what percentage will killed outside the laws of war.
Most of the U.S.-inflicted civilian casualties are "collateral damage", i.e., civilians killed unintentionally in the process of killing combatants. However, disturbing new evidence suggests that some U.S. military personal have deliberately targeted Iraqi civilians:
Martin Wiesse writes, "Thirty-eight years to the week after My Lai, we have the first indications that the same thing is happening again."
"Their bodies were riddled with bullets, there was evidence that there had been gunfire inside their homes, there were blood spatters inside their homes," Bobby Ghosh, a journalist who took up the case for Time magazine, told the BBC.[Wis[s]ewords]
"It was quite clear that these people were killed indoors, which couldn't possibly have happened if they'd been involved in a roadside blast."
An initial military inquiry found the two families had indeed been shot dead in their homes by the marines, but it described the deaths as "collateral damage".
The report has now prompted the US Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) to determine the motives behind the killing.
The NCIS will have to decide whether the civilians were killed by accident or were targeted by the marines as an act of revenge in a potential war crime. [BBC]
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