If no one at The Oregonian is reading David Reinhard's columns before they make print, editorial management there should seriously re-evaluate that practice. In Slouching toward Haditha on June 1 he flatly states, "Of course, nobody knows for sure what happened in that small Iraqi village last Nov. 19." Is he joking, or better yet, making a bad attempt at an existential moment?
Any rational observer could inform Mr. Reinhard that yes, there are people alive today who definitely know what happened on that day in that small Iraqi village when more than a dozen civilians, women and children included, reportedly were shot and killed. Those that know what happened undoubtedly include the on-site US Marines and probably their immediate superiors. And what about anyone who survived the Haditha Massacre? Yes, there are credible accounts of Haditha survivors. They would have a good idea of what went down. And what about any other witnesses who might have seen or heard something? I would say that yes, all these people surely have a good idea of what happened that day in that Iraqi village.
Any balanced reader of Reinhard's statement would have to at least question its basic premise, check the surrounding sentences for clues about context, and finding no clear answers become immediately responsible for asking the author exactly what he meant. That's where all the editors responsible for Reinhard's work should have come into play. Could it be that he simply writes a column, and it gets printed without review? Now that's really troubling.
Yes, there are plenty of people remaining who absolutely know what happened on November 19, 2005 in Haditha. Plenty. To say otherwise is irrational, to say the least.
You see, I don't really blame Reinhard for this rather grievous error in logic and intellectual honesty. He has made similar statements about the United States and its policies ever since the current president came to power. This is nothing new.
However, I do specifically blame a number of editors at this newspaper for letting slide this horrifically misleading statement on a deadly serious topic. Of course, we will never know 100 percent of everything that occurred before, during and after Haditha. That's true of any situation. But it's reasonable and rational to conclude that the vast majority of the truth about Haditha certainly will become known.
Trying to say otherwise, and by commission providing a type of conservative propaganda cover in the pages of The Oregonian for the involved US soldiers, officers, and administration in this matter is a new low for Reinhard, his editors and their publication. Is this the paper's idea of providing "fair and balanced" viewpoints?
Yes, The Oregonian did print several letters afterwards saying some of the things I've posted here. But I just want to make sure the point doesn't get dropped too quickly.
The paper also printed an editorial the same day as Reinard's column, "Pursuing the killers of Haditha." The editorial sums up with "The administration must be unflinching in its pursuit of the truth of what happened in Haditha."
Sorry, but that's just another ridiculous statement from the pages of The Oregonian. Since it illegitimately came to power, the Bush administration has clearly been incapable of pursuing the truth about anything in Iraq. The only way the world discovers the truth about the Haditha Massacre is through an independent inquiry with no connection to the US government or its military.
Killers and war criminals don't credibly investigate themselves, or is that not obvious?