A bloody videotape shot by a local Iraqi journalism student has prompted the Pentagon to launch a criminal investigation into an incident that left at least 15 Iraqi civilians dead in the city of Haditha.
The details of what happened four months ago in Haditha are just now coming to light with the release of the videotape by an Iraqi organization called Hammurabi Human Rights.
Without the vodeo tape this case, like most other accusations, would have been 'investigated, and dropped (if investigated at all).
The official press release said simply: "A U.S. Marine and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb."
Military officials now acknowledge the Iraqis were not killed by the bomb but, they now say, by crossfire as U.S. Marines stormed the surrounding homes.
The military did not launch an investigation until two months after the incident, when Time magazine showed officials the video and eyewitness testimony.
And reports of these types of cases are starting to pile up.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi police have accused U.S. troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
The villagers were killed after U.S. troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder.
But, since almost all will lack video evidence, and most are infact not the results of illegal acts, we in the US will not hear much about them.
But, in Iraq, they will be noticed, they will be talked about, and they will serve to further weaken our position in this country.
Another lesson of Vietnam that we appear to have forgotten