All Haditha, All the Time

Opponents of the Iraq war are gleeful over Haditha, and we’ve barely seen the beginning. This morning the New York Times’ lead editorial was a self-righteous denunciation of the Bush administration over the alleged massacre, which was fisked by Don Surber here. (Via InstaPundit.)

Of course, everyone condemns the wanton killing of civilians, no matter the provocation, and if it turns out that that’s what happened, the guilty will be severely punished. But this isn’t enough for the Times, or for liberals generally. They are after bigger game, so they must pretend that the murdering of civilians is somehow condoned by the U.S. military and the Bush administration. The Times pontificates:

Now that we have reached the one place we most wanted to avoid, it will not do to focus blame narrowly on the Marine unit suspected of carrying out these killings and ignore the administration officials, from President Bush on down, who made the chances of this sort of disaster so much greater by deliberately blurring the rules governing the conduct of American soldiers in the field.

This is sheer fantasy. I happened to see, yesterday, a video that shows the military’s actual policy toward Iraqi civilians who inadvertently (let alone intentionally) suffer injury or property damage as a result of military action. This two-minute video, shot in Fallujah, shows with touching sincerity how American soldiers hold court on a daily basis, hearing claims of Iraqis and paying damages as appropriate. The video shows the actual policies of the U.S. government and the American military in action. But it’s actually a little pathetic. The Defense Department’s efforts to get the word out about how Iraqi civilians are treated on a daily basis can’t begin to keep up with lurid allegations by the vast propaganda machine in which the New York Times plays a prominent part.

PAUL adds: “Sheer fantasy” is probably a charitable description. Consider this line:

Critics of the war predicted that American troops would become an occupying force, unable to distinguish between innocent civilians and murderous insurgents. . . .

But our troops regularly make that distinction; otherwise there would be many more reports of them killing innocent civilians in cases not involving collateral damage. Moreover, the Times seems to be suggesting that the Marines accused in this incident were unable to distinguish between innocent civilians (apparently including small children) and terrorists. If so, they would seem to have a good defense to the most serious potential charges. If charges are brought, however, don’t expect the Times to take that position.

The MSM wants to argue that incidents of this sort are inherent in the administration’s approach to this war. The problem with such an arguement is the same one that undermined the MSM’s comparable take on Abu Ghraib — if these incidents inhere in the administration’s “blurring” of some sort of “line,” we should see more of them.