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Top Marine Addresses Civilian Deaths in Iraq

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The top officer in the Marine Corps is on his way to Iraq to talk to his troops and tell them they should kill, as he said, only when justified. His trip comes amid allegations that Marines killed unarmed Iraqi civilians in two separate incidents.

The military has opened investigations into the deaths. The first investigation involves allegations that Marines killed 24 civilians, including 11 women and children, in the City of Haditha last November. The second probe involves an incident on April 26th, in which troops are suspected in the death of a man in an area west of Baghdad.

Aides to General Michael Hagee said he would warn his Marines against allowing the violence in Iraq to leave them quote "indifferent to the loss of human life." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.