(CNSNews.com) - An Islamic civil rights group is calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld amid reports – still under investigation – that U.S. Marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians last November in the city of Haditha.
"Throughout history, leaders of military forces have accepted ultimate responsibility for the actions of those under their command. Given the seemingly unending stream of blunders, abuses and unjustified killings on Secretary Rumsfeld's watch, it is time for him to demonstrate in concrete terms that with power, comes accountability," the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement.
CAIR indicated that its concerns with Rumsfeld go beyond what happened in Haditha: "From the unrestrained post-invasion looting of Iraq, to the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and the allegations of killings and torture at military detention facilities, Secretary Rumsfeld's flawed policies and lack of judgment have harmed our nation's image worldwide," CAIR said.
According to press reports based on survivors' accounts, American troops killed Iraqi men, women and children – unarmed civilians, reports claimed – after a fellow Marine was killed by an improvised explosive device in Haditha.
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a former Marine, has been quoted as saying that U.S. troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood."