'We Never Want to Be Associated with That'

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The military continues to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by Marines in the Iraqi town of Haditha, said Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell -- as he stressed that the majority of Marines and soldiers in Iraq are acting ethically.

"They're obviously extremely disappointed these allegations have surfaced, and if they are true they'll be even more disappointed," Caldwell said. "It's like our chairman said the other day, Gen. Pace: Ninety-nine percent, or 99.99 percent, of our men and women are doing an absolutely incredible job over here. [They are] dedicated, committed, adhere to core values and believe in doing the best they can."

In an exclusive appearance on "Good Morning America Weekend Edition," Caldwell offered little news on investigations into alleged atrocities committed by Marines against Iraqi civilians, including women and children.

"I think, as you know, any time we have an ongoing investigation, we don't talk about that at the time," he told ABC News's Bill Weir. "But obviously, as you know, we do have the one going on in Haditha, with two separate investigations going on, and one in Ishaqi."

The military found that there was no wrongdoing in Ishaqi, where 13 civilians were killed by Marines in March. A spokesman for Iraq's prime minister said Iraq will launch its own investigation.

The investigation of atrocities in Haditha, where 24 civilians were killed by Marines in November, is ongoing. There is also a parallel investigation into whether the military covered up the killings.

As a response to the allegations, Caldwell, the deputy chief of staff for strategic effects for the multi-national forces in Iraq, is overseeing ethics training for all 150,000 military personnel on the ground.

"Everybody went through all of that training before they ever deployed over here to Iraq," Caldwell said. "All 150,000 airmen, marines, Army, sailors and this is a refresher training. We're going back and re-emphasizing the core values that they were all taught before they came."

The New York Times reported Saturday that senior commanders learned the original Marine account of what happened in Haditha was wrong two days after the incident -- but failed to act. The paper quoted an anonymous Marine general close to the investigation as saying, "It's impossible to believe they didn't know. You'd have to know this thing stunk."

Three Marine officers have already been relieved of their commands because of the Haditha incident, and more senior officers may be disciplined even before the investigation is complete.

A larger concern is that the alleged atrocities will undermine the already faltering war effort both at home and in Iraq. Caldwell stressed that injustice and murder is not the way of the U.S. military.

"We mourn the loss of any innocent life, and we never want to be associated with that," Caldwell said.

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