Ambassadorial Complaint

From Holden:

On the very day Chimpy welcomes the new Iraqi ambassador to the US, Samir Sumaidaie, the ambassador accuses US Marines of murdering a family member.

BLITZER: But even months before the incident in November, you lost a cousin at Haditha in a separate battle involving United States Marines.

SUMAIDAIE: Well, that was not a battle at all. Marines were doing house-to-house searches, and they went into the house of my cousin. He opened the door for them.

His mother, his siblings were there. He led them into the bedroom of his father. And there he was shot.

BLITZER: Who shot him?

SUMAIDAIE: A member of the Marines.

BLITZER: Why did they shoot him?

SUMAIDAIE: Well, they said that they shot him in self-defense. I find that hard to believe because, A, he is not at all a violent — I mean, I know the boy. He was [in] a second-year engineering course in the university. Nothing to do with violence. All his life has been studies and intellectual work.

Totally unbelievable. And, in fact, they had no weapon in the house. They had one weapon which belonged to the school where his father was a headmaster. And it had no ammunition in it. And he led them into the room to show it to them.

BLITZER: So what you’re suggesting, your cousin was killed in cold blood, is that what you’re saying, by United States Marines?

SUMAIDAIE: I believe he was killed intentionally. I believe that he was killed unnecessarily. And unfortunately, the investigations that took place after that sort of took a different course and concluded that there was no unlawful killing.

I would like further investigation. I have, in fact, asked for the report of the last investigation, which was a criminal investigation, by the way.

[Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq] is aware of all the details, because he’s kept on top of it. And it was he who rejected the conclusions of the first investigation. I have since asked formally for the report, but it’s been nearly two months, and I have not received it.

BLITZER: Did you raise these concerns you had with the president today when you were at the White House presenting your credentials?

SUMAIDAIE: No, I did not, because I did not want to bring a personal note into a much wider brief that I have here.

BLITZER: But what I hear you saying — and I don’t want to put words in your mouth — is there maybe, in Haditha, at least, a pattern to what happened to your nephew, what happened apparently in November when these other Marines went in?

Are there any other examples of cold-blooded murder that you are familiar with in Haditha?

SUMAIDAIE: I am familiar with at least one other killing of three youths, which happened very soon after the killing of my cousin. They were in a car. They were unarmed, I believe. And they were shot.

Now, in that case, there could be possibly [an] excuse or explanation that the Marines were afraid. They were approaching them too fast, or whatever. But the details as they were related to me were such that there was no possibility of misunderstanding.

But in all these situations, you know, you have the word of the community, people around, civilians around — and you have the word of the individuals in the Marines. …

When it comes to comparing these two sources, I mean, if my uncle, whom I have known all my life since childhood, and I know he would not make up stories, and I know he would not lie, and I know what is at stake is the life of his grandson, then, you know, I know which word to take.