Thursday, August 03, 2006

Haditha: Murtha's Kangaroo Court

When Murtha fired his shot heard round the world-- when he declared that Marines killed "innocent civilians" in "cold blood", he admitted that he had not read reports of the incident before making the charge, but claimed that he received his information from sources inside the pentagon. Back when Murtha first made his seditious remarks, according to the Army Times,
“I do not know where Rep. Murtha is obtaining is information,” said Lt. Col. Sean Gibson, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Central Command in Tampa, Fla. “Thoroughness will drive the investigation.”
Well, it may turn out that we may never know how Murtha got his information. But one thing appears for certain--Murtha received his briefing regarding the Haditha incident after he made his proclamation of guilt against the Marines!
WASHINGTON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Marine Corps briefed Rep. John Murtha on the Haditha case after the vocal war critic publicly said Marines had killed innocent civilians in that Iraqi city, the Corps said on Thursday.

A group of Marines, while suspected in the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians, has not been charged, and official results from the military's investigation remain outstanding. A U.S. defense official said on Wednesday, however that evidence indicates Marines deliberately shot to death unarmed civilians.

Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is being sued by one of the accused Marines for libel. He had told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Gen. Michael Hagee had given him the information on which he based his charge that Marines killed innocent civilians.

But a spokesman for the Marine Corps said Hagee briefed Murtha on May 24 about Haditha. Murtha had made comments on the case as early as May 17. On May 17, for example, he said at a news conference, "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood." (emphases mine)

A spokeswoman for Murtha was not immediately available.
Do you realize what this means? This story suggests that Murtha played judge, jury and executioner against fellow Marines, without reading any reports, and without even waiting to receive any official briefings! Rather than having "sources inside the Pentagon", it would appear that Murtha found it convenient to take the word of Time Magazine, who themselves later admitted that the evidence that they had for their story was not ironclad by any stretch of the imagination!

Murtha's irresponsible, unfounded, and premature accusations resulted in a usurpation of the Haditha Marines' rights to a fair trial and presumption of innocence. Thanks to Jack Murtha, the Marines at Haditha, if not the entire Corps, have already been tried in the court of world opinion. Even if they are found innocent of any wrongdoing, the Muslim world will continue to be inflamed, because Murtha chose to prematurely open his mouth. Murtha, in effect, stole the lives away from these Marines, inflamed our enemy with a new resolve, and made our soldiers' jobs in theatre that much more dangerous, all for what could only be ascertained as cheap political gain. For an elected official to engage in such behavior during wartime is unforgivable. For a veteran Marine to do that during wartime makes the act that much more heinous!

To make matters worse, Murtha continues to deny any wrongdoing!

In light of these damning circumstances, if Congressman John P. Murtha has any honor remaining with him from his service in the Corps, he will resign.

But I won't hold my breath.