Haditha Marine says would make same decision again

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. Marine charged with murdering 18 unarmed civilians in Haditha, Iraq, said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” he regretted the deaths but would make the same decisions today.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich admitted shooting five unarmed Iraqi men in the back in the interview and said his actions were justified because he believed the men had hostile intent toward the Marines.

“There is nothing that I can possibly say to make up or make well the deaths of those women and children, and I am absolutely sorry it happened that day,” Wuterich said.

“What I did that day, the decision that I made, I would make those decisions again today. Those are decisions that I made in a combat situation and I believe I had to make those decisions.”

Four Marines have been charged with unpremeditated murder in the killings of two dozen men, women and children on November 19, 2005, in Haditha.

Four Marine officers have been charged with other counts including dereliction of duty.

Iraqi witnesses say enraged Marines shot the civilians to retaliate for the death of a colleague, who was killed by a roadside bomb hours earlier.

The interview is scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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