The White House sought Friday to soften criticism by Iraq's prime minister over allegations that US Marines killed two dozen unarmed civilians in the western town of Haditha last November. "That is a little too complicated for me to try to read out," Snow White House press secretary Tony said at a briefing where he was pressed to explain how Prime Minister al-Maliki's remarks were supposed to have been distorted. "It becomes a little convoluted, and so I don't want to make a real clear characterization because it's a little hazy to me," Snow said. The prime minister was quoted Thursday as saying the Haditha deaths were "a horrible crime." He also was quoted as saying, "This is a phenomenon that has become common among many of the multinational forces. No respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars and killing on a suspicion or a hunch. It's unacceptable."