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U.S. Military Discards Trove of Documents on 2005 Haditha Massacre of Iraqis
As the U.S. military leaves Iraq, the New York Times has recovered hundreds of pages of documents detailing internal interrogations of U.S. Marines over the 2005 Haditha massacre of Iraqi civilians. The documents — many marked secret — were found among scores of other classified material at a junkyard outside Baghdad as an attendant used them as fuel to cook his dinner. The documents reveal testimony of Marines describing killing civilians on a regular basis. "In some ways, this is one of the most grotesque episodes of the entire war in Iraq and I’m afraid to say this is part of our legacy," says Time magazine contributor Tim McGirk who first broke the story of Haditha in 2006. It was November 19, 2005, when a U.S. military convoy of four vehicles driving through Haditha was hit by a roadside bomb, killing Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas. The next night, Marines burst into several homes in the neighborhood, killing 24 Iraqis — including a 76-year-old man, and women and children who were still in their nightclothes when they died. "Nobody is behind bars for this," McGirk notes. Charges from the episode were dropped against six of the accused Marines, one was acquitted, and the final case is set to go to trial next year.