US Marine: I Was Ordered to Execute Women and Children
Lance Corporal Humberto Mendoza testified this week that Marine Sargeant Frank Wuterich, who faces 17 counts of murder over the Haditha killings, ordered him to execute Iraqi women and children.
The marines had been responding to a roadside bomb on November 19, 2005 when a roadside bomb killed one in their midst. Mendoza says Wuterich ordered him and his fellow marines o begin clearing housses in search of insurgents, what followed was one of the most horrific episodes reported out of Iraq:
At one house Wuterich gave an order to shoot on sight as Marines waited for a response after knocking on the door, said Mendoza.
"He said 'Just wait till they open the door, then shoot,'" Mendoza said.
Mendoza then said he shot and killed an adult male who appeared in a doorway.
During a subsequent search of the house, Mendoza said he received an order from another Marine, Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, to shoot seven women and children he had found in a rear bedroom.
"When I opened the door there was just women and kids, two adults were lying down on the bed and there were three children on the bed ... two more were behind the bed," Mendoza said.
"I looked at them for a few seconds. Just enough to know they were not presenting a threat ... they looked scared."