(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/31/06) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over reports that U.S. Marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians last November in the city of Haditha.
Survivors say American troops shot the men, women and children after a bombing killed a Marine on November 19. Media reports indicate that murder charges may be brought against some of the Marines involved in the incident.
SEE: Bush Is Troubled by Haditha Reports http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/31/world/middleeast/31cnd-bush.html
In its statement, CAIR said:
“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.
“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.
“We believe Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation, and bringing those involved in the massacre to justice, would send a clear message that America will not tolerate or excuse the kind of atrocities that reportedly took place in Haditha. This stain must be removed from the reputation of America’s military personnel.”
A number of retired generals have similarly called for Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation over his execution of the war in Iraq. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), a former Marine, said U.S. troops “killed innocent civilians in cold blood” and has called the Haditha massacre a bigger setback to U.S. interests in Iraq than the Abu Ghraib scandal.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org