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Abu Ghraib torture officers eventually acquitted

8. September 2007

Aquittals also for perpetrators of Haditha massacre

In response to the November, 2005 Haditha, Iraq massacre of 24 unarmed civilians by U.S. Marines and the Abu Ghraib prison torture episode, Bush administration officials made every assurance that those responsible would be held fully accountable.

Originally Pentagon officials reported the deaths of the Haditha civilians due to an improvised explosive device (IED). When this account was determined to be false military officials stated the deaths occurred during cross-fire between Marines and Iraqi insurgents. The true cause was first reported in March 2006 based on accounts from survivors and human rights groups. In retaliation for an IED killing one Marine infantryman, other Marines went on a rampage that first killed five unarmed men standing near a taxi stand. Marines then went inside homes where they killed 19 women and children.

Four infantrymen and one officer were charged with the murders. Charges against two of the infantrymen and one officer were entirely dismissed and recently a military tribunal has recommended dismissal of all charges against a third man. Based upon the previous acquittals the final man is also expected to go free, and as a consequence no enlisted person or officer will be held accountable for these cold blooded killings.

In a separate development, the sole officer to face criminal charges for the Abu Ghraib tortures was acquitted by a court-martial of the charge of being responsible for the cruel treatment of detainees. The acquittal of Colonel Steven L. Jordan on August 29, 2007 by a court-martial jury consisting of nine Army colonels and a brigadier general means that no officers have been nor will be found criminally accountable for the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

Military officials were reluctant to aggressively pursue criminal charges in both cases fearing “the effect on soldier morale and recruiting.”

Frank Friedrich Kling
Woodstock, Illinois, USA