Monday, June 05, 2006

Rotten apples and Haditha

Michael O'Hare over at The Reality-Based Community writes about the fundamental lesson of the Haditha massacre:

It's bad that a few desperate Marines lost it in the hot, scary, illegible[sic], and hostile environment of Iraq. You and I would crack a lot sooner, but there's no excuse for this and "not lose it" is exactly what the Marines are, and have to be, really good at, so these guys have to be punished. The big issue is not these wretched leathernecks but that Bush and Rumsfeld, by all their responses to bad news and the people who have tried to tell it to them, have created a culture of lying, coverup, and hoping stuff will go away that has obviously corrupted the culture of a proud service. I say obviously before all the evidence is in because it doesn't matter if the Haditha case somehow comes up with everyone innocent after full investigation. It was a prima facie issue from the getgo...


Even if [the few rotten apples] model had any legitimacy, it's not about the tiny percentage of troops who do bad when all the others are doing good; it's about the high percentage of the management structure that's learned to hide, lie, and cover up the work that needs doing, and the repeatedly, doggedly, incompetent leadership that made it that way.

The management (i.e. Pentagon and Whitehouse) culture of ignoring bad news is clearly at the core of the problem, but I wonder whether Iraqis would agree with O'Hare that it is only a "tiny percentage of troops who do bad while the others are doing good".

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