IRAQ: From killing field to playing field

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When the Marines left Haditha in 2004 to fight insurgents in Fallouja, insurgents regained control of the Euphrates River Valley town. Dozens of police and others who had worked with the Americans were rounded up, marched to the local soccer field, and beheaded — some while their families were forced to watch.

Now that same soccer field is under control of the Iraqi police, with Marines in ‘over-watch’ nearby. It’s used as a helicopter landing site for Marines bringing reinforcements or local politicians.

The Marines have plans to restore the dusty, rocky field to playing status, including erasing the anti-U.S. and anti-Israel slogans painted on the fences.

— Tony Perry in Haditha, Iraq