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Washington, D.C. --- U.S. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) today encouraged fellow Members of Congress and the news media “not to tar the honorable service of 922,000 brave Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan with the reported actions of one squad in one city on one morning.”
Hunter noted that U.S. personnel have won more than 50,000 Bronze Stars for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan. He cautioned fellow legislators: “Don’t define one million American troops by the actions of one squad. That’s unfair and hurtful.”
Hunter convened a press conference today to discuss the reported deaths of approximately twenty-four Iraqi civilians in the al-Anbar province in November 2005.
He announced that an administrative report on the incident at Haditha, Iraq, is expected to be delivered to Lt. General Peter Chiarelli, commander of Multinational Corps-Iraq (MNF-I), next week. General Chiarelli will then personally review the report and deliver his recommendations. The criminal investigation, which is being conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, is expected to be completed in June.
Hunter noted that Major General Eldon A. Bargewell, an Army general, is conducting the administrative investigation, an idea with the full support of the United States Marine Corps.
“The process has integrity,” stated Hunter. “Having an Army general investigating the Marine Corps chain of command is tantamount to a special independent investigation in the nation’s capital. The Marines and General Chiarelli wanted to ensure that the investigation be conducted outside of the U.S. Marine Corps.”