Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This one’s for you: ||||||||||||||||||||||||

The Haditha Massacre hearing for Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum heard today from another corporal who shot a few people that day but was given immunity. Cpl. Humberto Manuel Mendoza says that when they raided a house, shooting a man in the house for, you know, looking at them, he found two women and several children in a bedroom, informed Tatum, who said, “Well, shoot them.” Tatum then went back and did it himself (in the news reports I’ve read, the names and ages of the dead are nowhere to be found). Tatum would later tell investigators, “women and kids can hurt you, too,” adding, “I stand fast in my decisions that day, as I reacted to the threats that I perceived at that time.” Threats like women and kids. Which are the sort of people you tend to find in, you know, homes. Tatum was known to opine (this is after the massacre) that the way to fight a war is to go into a city and kill every living thing.

You’ll remember that the Haditha Massacre began after a roadside bomb killed a Marine. When the unit sent the Marine’s pack to his parents, they signed it, Tatum adding 24 hatch marks, representing every civilian massacred at Haditha, and the words “This one’s for you.” Tatum’s lawyer suggested the marks referred to a rosary.

And in the other war crimes trial I’ve been following, Trent Thomas’s court-martial concluded today, with his lawyer claiming that the prosecution never claimed that the man Thomas murdered was in fact Awad the Lame or even an Iraqi, so he should be acquitted. Not sure I follow the logic. “There was not murder. There was a killing,” he said. Well that’s okay then.

Vanity Fair has an article on the development of torture techniques by a couple of Mormon psychologists the government hired with your tax dollars. Subtle stuff, as you’d expect from a psychologist. Actually, the authors don’t know if the CIA actually did use that coffin they built to soften up Abu Zubaydah by burying him alive... but the idea was approved by White House lawyers.

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