Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Is Murtha the only voice worth listening to regarding Haditha?

Murtha continues to play judge, jury and executioner. So sure is he regarding the guilt of the Marines at the incident at Haditha that he has convinced himself, again, without evidence, that there has been a coverup:
Earlier in the broadcast, Murtha said there was "no doubt" that the accused Marines were guilty, adding that he suspected that a cover-up of their war crimes goes "up the chain of command."
Other equally-qualified officials, such as John Warner, current Armed Services Committee chair, calls for cooler heads to prevail:

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner urged Rep. Jack Murtha on Sunday to stop prejudging allegations that U.S. Marines massacred 24 Iraqi civilians after their convoy was attacked by a IED last November.

Asked about Murtha's claim that Marines executed residents of the village of Haditha "in cold blood," Sen. Warner told ABC's "This Week":

"At this time, particularly on Memorial Day . . . I think we should be calm and reassuring to the American people that the men and women of our armed forces are admirably and professionally conducting their heavy responsibilities."

The top Republican said: "I respect my friend, John Murtha. I also was privileged to wear the Marine uniform. But we've got to let the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the investigation system, proceed before we reach any conclusions on this matter."

But to listen to anyone on the left, one would think that John Murtha's voice is the only voice that mattered.

But Murtha's opponent, Diana Irey, seems to get it:
"My opponent tells the story of this incident as if he was on the ground that fateful day. He somehow had a front row seat when all of the rest of America awaits the results of a monumental investigation, convicting these men without due process," Irey said.

Murtha alleges a coverup by the US military, but has not shown evidence of such a coverup. While making definitive statements about what occurred during the incident, Murtha is insisting on a congressional investigation, while at the same time admitting he never bothered to read the report on the incident released by the Pentagon.
Also from the story:
Mr. Murtha, who claims close ties to top defense officials as a retired Marine colonel and the top-ranking Democrat, said he had not read the Pentagon report because was basing his information on frequent discussions with "the commanders," he said, "people that know what they're talking about." Murtha did not disclose the names of these commanders or their connection to the incident and subsequent investigation.

Reporters have failed to ask Rep. Murtha why he hasn't read a report on which he is commenting, said a Pentagon source.
Gee... I wonder why...

Beth at Blue Star Chronicles has some more interesting background on the Haditha story--one that has a snowball's chance in hell of being covered:

The Party the Marines Spoiled in Haditha

From the Guardian Unlimited

The executions are carried out at dawn on Haqlania bridge, the entrance to Haditha. A small crowd usually turns up to watch even though the killings are filmed and made available on DVD in the market the same afternoon.One of last week’s victims was a young man in a black tracksuit.

Like the others he was left on his belly by the blue iron railings at the bridge’s southern end. His severed head rested on his back, facing Baghdad. Children cheered when they heard that the next day’s spectacle would be a double bill: two decapitations. A man named Watban and his brother had been found guilty of spying…

A three-day visit by a reporter working for the Guardian last week established what neither the Iraqi government nor the US military has admitted: Haditha, a farming town of 90,000 people by the Euphrates river, is an insurgent citadel.That Islamist guerrillas were active in the area was no secret but only now has the extent of their control been revealed…A three-hour drive north from Baghdad, under the nose of an American base, it is a miniature Taliban-like state. Insurgents decide who lives and dies, which salaries get paid, what people wear, what they watch and listen to.The Guardian reporter did not say he worked for a British newspaper. For their own protection interviewees cannot be named.There is no fighting here because there is no one to challenge the Islamists. The police station and municipal offices were destroyed last year and US marines make only fleeting visits every few months.The court caters solely for divorces and marriages. Alleged criminals are punished in the market. The Guardian witnessed a headmaster accused of adultery whipped 190 times with cables. Children laughed as he sobbed and his robe turned crimson.Two men who robbed a foreign exchange shop were splayed on the ground. Masked men stood on their hands while others broke their arms with rocks. The shopkeeper offered the insurgents a reward but they declined.DVDs of beheadings on the bridge are distributed free in the souk. Children prefer them to cartoons. “They should not watch such things,” said one grandfather, but parents appeared not to object. One DVD features a young, blond muscular man who had been disembowelled. He was said to have been a member of a six-strong US sniper team ambushed and killed on August 1. Residents said he had been paraded in town before being executed. (the US army denied that)

Read the whole thing for some intersting insights, including that of an embedded CNN reporter that is incredulous as to the accusations levelled against the Marines.