January 4, 2008
After a two-year-long investigation, no murder charges are being filed
against Marines involved in the killings of 24 civilians
- including woman and children - in Haditha, Iraq, on November 25, 2005. Instead four Marines will face various lesser charges, including voluntary manslaughter and failure to investigate.
The ACLU continues to call on the government to publicly disclose all information relating to investigations of civilian deaths
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans have a right to know what is contained in the investigative files that came to the conclusion we are at today. It is critical that the public have full and accurate information about the human cost of war.
As Justice Potter Stewart wrote in the famous Pentagon Papers case in 1971
, "the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in the areas of national defense and international affairs may lie in an enlightened citizenry - in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government."
Only through transparency can we have proper accountability.