Two grim reminders of war’s toll on innocent civilians marked Memorial Day weekend this year.

In Iraq, details continued to emerge about the November 2005 tragedy at Haditha, where after a Marine was killed by a roadside bomb, U.S. Marines reportedly slaughtered as many as two dozen unarmed civilians including women and children, and then tried to cover up what had happened.

In Afghanistan, demonstrators launched violent protests in Kabul after vehicles in a U.S. military convoy struck up to a dozen civilian vehicles, and U.S. troops fired into a crowd that gathered. At least five people were reported killed.

In both countries, the latest occurrences are only the tip of the iceberg. Iraqi human rights organizations have reported many similar incidents involving U.S. troops. It is estimated that thousands of civilians were killed during the U.S. siege of Fallujah in November 2004.

Outrage continues over the torture of Iraqis detained at Abu Ghraib, and is growing over the abysmal ongoing lack of security, economic stability, basic utilities and services.

The furor over the Kabul crash was fueled by the killing of at least 16 people in a village in southeastern Afghanistan last week during a U.S. air strike aimed at Taliban fighters. That tragedy, in turn, was only the latest in a series of civilian deaths due to air attacks.

These add to the natural anger in both countries over the very fact of occupation.

U.S. soldiers who deliberately or carelessly kill or injure innocent civilians must be brought to account. But ultimate responsibility lies at the very top — with the Commander in Chief, George W. Bush himself, and the others who masterminded the wars that brought U.S. troops into Iraq and Afghanistan: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and their corporate sponsors.

Nearly 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq, more than 200 in Afghanistan, untold numbers of innocent civilians in both countries — we think the best way to honor all the war dead is to end the wars now, and bring all the troops home.

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