Meltdown in Haditha

The Killing of 24 Iraqi Civilians by U.S. Marines and the Failure of Military Justice

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About the Book

In November 2005, Sunni insurgents attacked a U.S. Marine squad en route to Haditha with an improvised explosive device (IED). One Marine died and two others were wounded. Within minutes, squad members killed 24 Iraqi civilians, including an elderly couple, four women and six children. It was the worst incident of its kind in the Iraq War.
Thirteen months later, four officers and four enlisted men were accused of crimes ranging from dereliction of duty to murder. The legal proceedings dragged on for five years, longer than any in U.S. military history. The only conviction was that of an NCO who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
Unlike other legal actions conducted during the 60-year history of the present military justice system, these proceedings were held mostly in secret. This book investigates the tactics adopted by Marine Corps commanders and the ineptness of the proceedings, which raise serious questions about the need for reform of the Code of Military Justice.

About the Author(s)

A veteran journalist, Kenneth F. Englade covered the war in Indochina and the struggles against white rule in southern Africa. He has written dozens of magazine articles, published nine nonfiction works and five historical novels. He lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Bibliographic Details

Kenneth F. Englade
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 276
Bibliographic Info: 5 photos, 2 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9734-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1879-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

Part I: Anbar Province

1. Haditha Prelude 7

2. The Convoy 15

3. Collateral Damage 26

4. The Lid Comes Off 37

Part II: Repercussions

5. Kicking the Ant Hill 47

6. Charges 60

7. Outflanking the Corps 68

8. The Bargewell Report 76

Part III: The Hearings

9. Captain Randy Stone 87

10. Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani 99

11. Captain Lucas McConnell 115

12. Lance Corporal Justin Sharratt 118

13. Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum 129

14. Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich 136

15. First Lieutenant Andrew Grayson 148

Part IV: The Trials

16. The CBS Fiasco 155

17. Unlawful Command Influence 167

18. The Grayson Debacle 176

19. Chessani Resolution 180

20. Wuterich’s Offensive 193

21. Court-Martial 200

Epilogue 210

Conclusions 216

Appendix A: USMC Iraq Command, ­Mid-November 2005 227

Appendix B: Abbreviations 228

Appendix C: Marine Corps Personnel Abbreviations 229

Appendix D: Significant Dates 230

Appendix E: Military and Legal Terms and Expressions 234

Chapter Notes 241

Bibliography 257

Index 261