"Democracy assassinated the family that was here."
graffiti on the home of one of the victims of the Haditha massacre, as quoted in The Washington Post
In the March 27 issue of TIME, correspondent Tim McGirk reports that on November 19, 2005, 24 civilians in the Western town of Hadithaincluding 11 women and childrenwere intentionally shot dead by members of the Marine unit Kilo Company as retaliation for the roadside-bombing death of one of their soldiers. The Marines initially sought to cover up their actions by falsely reporting that some of the civilian deaths had been the result of a roadside bomb. The cover up slowed the investigation, but in April three Marines were relieved of their commands. The military has since acknowledged that intentional civilian killings took place in Haditha. On December 21, 2006, the U.S. military charged eight Marines in connection with the incident, with four accused of unpremeditated murder.