Marine Urinates on Dead Iraqi
- Marine Says Urinated on Dead Iraqi at Haditha
By Marty Graham
"Reuters" -- - CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Angered that a beloved member
of his squad had been killed in an explosion, a U.S. Marine urinated
on one of the 24 dead Iraqi civilians killed by his unit in Haditha,
the Marine testified on Wednesday.
Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, who has immunity from prosecution after murder
charges against him were dismissed, also said he watched his squad
leader shoot down five Iraqi civilians who were trying to surrender.
In dramatic testimony in a pretrial hearing for one of the seven
Marines charged in the Nov. 2005 Haditha killings and alleged
cover-up, Dela Cruz described his bitterness after a roadside bomb
ripped Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, known as T.J., into two bloody pieces.
"I know it was a bad thing what I've done, but I done it because I was
angry T.J. was dead and I pissed on one Iraqi's head," said an
unemotional Dela Cruz in a military courtroom in Camp Pendleton, north
of San Diego, California.
Dela Cruz also said he watched squad leader Sgt. Frank Wuterich shoot
five men whose hands were tied up near a car. Dela Cruz said he also
shot the five men as they laid on the ground.
Wuterich "walked to me and told me that if anybody asked, they were
running away and the Iraqi Army shot them," Dela Cruz testified.
Three Marines have been charged with murder, and four officers have
been charged with dereliction of duty and obstructing the investigation.
Prosecutors contend the killings were revenge for Terrazas' death,
while the Marines charged say it was a clearing operation, conducted
under lawful orders, that had disastrous results.
Squad leader Wuterich's lawyer later called Dela Cruz's testimony false.
"It's about the fourth or fifth version of events we've heard from
Sgt. Dela Cruz. It's false, of course," Neal Puckett said in an
e-mail. "It's just so sad that he is being required to testify against
his fellow Marine NCO in order to guarantee his freedom. He's a
ASKED TO LIE
The Marine Corps initially reported the deaths as a result of the
bombing and a firefight with insurgents. Reporting by Time magazine in
January 2006 later prompted the Marine Corps to investigate the killings.
Dela Cruz said he was asked four times to lie about what happened in
Haditha, although no one asked him about the killings for a time.
A Chicago native, Dela Cruz saw intense action in his first Iraq tour
of duty in 2004. A Marine Corps News article once featured him as one
of the unsung heroes of the Iraq war.
Wednesday's hearing focused on Capt. Randy Stone, who served as the
legal advisor for the Kilo Company. Stone, 34, is charged with
violating an order and two counts of dereliction of duty in connection
with the killings.
On Nov. 19, a convoy of Marines from the Kilo Company was traveling
through the town of Haditha when a roadside bomb detonated, killing
Terrazas and injuring two others. Surviving Marines stopped a car and
shot its five occupants, then swept through two houses, killing the
According to testimony, the five men in the vehicle were the first of
the 24 victims. Dela Cruz said that after he helped Wuterich shoot the
men, he went in one direction with Iraqi soldiers while Wuterich went
in another direction.
Another Marine, Sgt. Albert Espinosa, testified on Wednesday that he
pressed for an investigation of the killings almost immediately after
it occurred in November 2005.
He testified Wednesday that he was frustrated by the apparent
indifference of his commanding officers. "We deserve an answer to what
happened and wasn't happy with the answers I was getting," 1st Sgt.
Albert Espinosa testified.
From an Angry Soldier
I'm having the worst damn week of my whole damn life so I'm going to
write this while I'm pissed off enough to do it right.
I am SICK of all this bullshit people are writing about the Iraq war.
I am abso-fucking-lutely sick to death of it. What the fuck do most of
you know about it? You watch it on TV and read the commentaries in the
newspaper or Newsweek or whatever god damn yuppie news rag you
subscribe to and think you're all such fucking experts that you can
scream at each other like five year old about whether you're right or
not. Let me tell you something: unless you've been there, you don't
know a god damn thing about it. It you haven't been shot at in that
fucking hell hole, SHUT THE FUCK UP!
How do I dare say this to you moronic war supporters who are
"Supporting our Troops" and waving the flag and all that happy horse
shit? I'll tell you why. I'm a Marine and I served my tour in Iraq. My
husband, also a Marine, served several. I left the service six months
ago because I got pregnant while he was home on leave and three days
ago I get a visit from two men in uniform who hand me a letter and
tell me my husband died in that fucking festering sand-pit. He should
have been home a month ago but they extended his tour and now he's
coming home in a box.
You fuckers and that god-damn lying sack of shit they call a president
are the reason my husband will never see his baby and my kid will
never meet his dad.
And you know what the most fucked up thing about this Iraq shit is?
They don't want us there. They're not happy we came and they want us
out NOW. We fucked up their lives even worse than they already were
and they're pissed off. We didn't help them and we're not helping them
now. That's what our soldiers are dying for.
Oh while I'm good and worked up, the government doesn't even have the
decency to help out the soldiers whose lives they ruined. If you
really believe the military and the government had no idea the
veterans' hospitals were so fucked up, you are a god-damn retard. They
don't care about us. We're disposable. We're numbers on a page and
they'd rather forget we exist so they don't have to be reminded about
the families and lives they ruined while they're sipping their
cocktails at another fund raiser dinner.
If they were really concerned about supporting the troops, they'd
bring them home so their families wouldn't have to cry at a graveside
and explain to their children why mommy or daddy isn't coming home.
Because you can't explain it. We're not fighting for our country,
we're not fighting for the good of Iraq's people, we're fighting for
Bush's personal agenda. Patriotism my ass. You know what? My dad
served in Vietnam and NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
So I'm pissed. I'm beyond pissed. And I'm going to go to my husband
funeral and receive that flag and hang it up on the wall for my baby
to see when he's older. But I'm not going to tell him that his father
died for the stupidity of the American government. I'm going to tell
him that his father was a hero and the best man I ever met and that he
loved his country enough to die for it, because that's all true and
nothing will be solved by telling my son that his father was sent to
die by people who didn't care about him at all.
Fuck you, war supporters, George W. Bush, and all the god damn mother
fuckers who made the war possible. I hope you burn in hell.
We're All Responsible for Iraq
By James Reston
It's not enough to merely criticize the president or say you voted for
another candidate. Every American citizen has a political and moral
duty to do what's right for our troops, and for our country.
By James Reston Jr.
Between those who manage the war in Washington and those who fight it
in Iraq, the American people enjoy a safe middle ground. The country
is both at war and not at war. The war machine in Washington hums
along as it did in other great international conflicts. U.S. troops
fight as vicious a war abroad as they have ever fought. But at home,
there is no sacrifice, no serious deprivations, no mobilization of
youth. Life goes on pretty much as normal.
In what sense then can the average American be held accountable for
the chaos of Iraq? If the citizen did not participate in any decision
that led to unprovoked warfare, did not mislead anyone about weapons
of mass destruction, did not engage in torture or kill any innocent
civilians, does that American bear any responsibility for the mayhem
that Iraq has become?
The philosophers tell us that there are four types of responsibility
for which an individual and a society can be held to account for
aggressive or unprovoked war. Criminal guilt applies to the power
structure that drags a country into an abyss against its will or upon
false pretenses, or the individuals who engage in crime on the
battlefield. After Iraq, there will be no grandiose trials in which
our leaders are asked to account for their deeds. There will be only a
few military trials for low-level criminal soldiers. Criminal
responsibility for decision-makers will be left to the opprobrium of
history and to Nixonian exile.
There will, however, be a long period of collective introspection
after the war. It will, hopefully, be a period of reconciliation and
regeneration. The central task of the president we elect in 2008 will
be to bind up the nation's wounds and to rediscover the country's
fundamental bearings. Recognizing the breadth of responsibility for
the Iraq disaster, down to the level of the individual citizen, must
be part of that process.
When guilt applies
Metaphysical guilt means that every human being is responsible for
injustices committed anywhere in the world, but especially crimes that
are committed in our presence and with our knowledge. Does this apply
to us? The legitimization of torture is one instance that seems to
fit. It has been done in our presence, with our knowledge. Or the
scrapping of the Geneva Conventions. When both a nation and an
American citizen acquiesce in the dissolution of accepted moral norms,
metaphysical guilt applies.
The two other categories, moral and political guilt, are most
pointedly relevant at this stage of the Iraq conflict. It is not
enough to complain about President Bush, or to mock him. To mock the
president does not relieve one from responsibility for the war being
fought in the name of every American. Bush's disaster has become the
country's disaster. Every American is now connected to it politically
and morally. We cannot be indifferent to the scorn for all things
American that characterizes the worldview of us. We must pay
attention. It should move us.
In our safe zone, the hypocrisy toward our troops is another instance
of moral and political guilt. When a person flaunts his patriotism and
then tolerates the exploitation of soldiers, then that citizen is
morally culpable for that outrage and a participant in it. Even during
the Vietnam War, when I was a soldier for three years, no soldier was
sent back to the jungle against his will for second and third tours.
Pact with our troops
There existed then, in that "immoral war," a solemn pact between the
soldier and his country that was honored by the military and accepted
by the soldier, even as the war was winding down toward humiliation.
That pact was especially important in the years of 1969-75, when it
was clear that the Vietnam War was lost, and that young men were being
asked to die simply to extricate politicians from their blunders.
And so it is now. No one talks of a noble cause any longer, especially
our troops. Young men are recruited merely with appeals to their
testosterone. When the highest military officers now warn that this
conflict is breaking the military system, it is because this honorable
bond between the country and the soldier at risk is being broken. The
general populace, despite the horrifying spectacle of severed limbs
and wasted minds, seems indifferent. Didn't these boys and girls sign
up for this? Such a question conveniently separates the citizen from
As for political guilt, all citizens bear the responsibility for the
way their country is governed. They are, therefore, liable
collectively for the political decisions of those leaders they have
elected, regardless of whether one voted for the winner. In the
elections of 2002 and 2004, the Democrats might have halted the rush
to war, but they deliberately avoided the subject. This lack of
resistance permitted this war to be fought and funded as it was. The
Democrats of 2002 and 2004 must share in the political and moral guilt
for the calamity.
The 2006 elections was the first time the political and moral aspect
of the Iraq debacle was joined. In the next election, that connection
will be even more pivotal. If there is no collective grief about what
has happened in Iraq, and no collective determination to change
course, if the hollow drumbeat for victory and continuing war wins out
over withdrawal, then that, at the very least, will define what and
who we have become, as a nation, as a people, and as individuals.
James Reston Jr.'s new book, The Conviction of Richard Nixon: The
Untold Story of the Frost-Nixon Interviews, will be published June 19.
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