This can be good news, in much the same way that a technicality can cause the charges against an already innocent man to be dropped; however, even if the charges are dropped based on a technicality, it still does a monumental disservice, since such a technicality does nothing to exonerate these soldiers from a crime that was not committed in the first place:
The U.S. Marines accused of murder and other charges in the case of the Haditha killings in Iraq cannot get a fair trial, says retired Air Force Lt. General Thomas McInerney.
Commenting on Rep. John Murtha's outrageous charges that the Marines of Kilo Company had committed cold-blooded murder of civilians in Haditha on November 19, 2005, McInerney said that the Pennsylvania Democrat's declaration "has certainly prejudiced the case."
In an exclusive interview with NewsMax.com, the general who served 35 years in the United States Air Force as a pilot, commander, and Joint Force Commander and retired from military service as Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force said: "The Marine Corps leadership who informed Murtha of this have, I feel, used undue command influence and these people cannot get a fair trial."
According to military law experts a charge of undue command influence, which is akin in civilian courts to the pollution of a jury pool from pre-trial publicity, is quite valid. If an appeals court determines undue command influence existed, all related punitive or legal proceedings can be overturned.
In United States v. Thomas, 22 MJ 388, 394 (CMA 1986) the court held that unlawful command influence was an error of constitutional dimension. Specifically, Thomas applied the test for constitutional error and held that an appellate court may not affirm the findings or sentence "unless it is persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that the findings and sentence have not been affected by the command.
Not only are there spurious charges, thanks in no small part to Murtha's rantings in his no-holds barred quest for majority leadership in the House, but the charges also served to handcuff our soldiers currently in harm's way:
McInerney said the real issue "is the way the information was [obtained] through information deception by terrorists and forwarded to Time Magazine. We cannot have terrorists using disinformation on our troops and our system and our military overreacting to it."
"We need to give our people more latitude and not put handcuffs on them. This is despicable conduct by our leadership over there and I think that we've got to get with it and tell America what needs to be done.
"These poor guys [the Marine defendants] have been under a cloud for over a year and they still do not have an Article 32 hearing [to determine if a court martial is warranted] and that tells you something.
"I am very, very displeased with the Marine Corps on this issue."
As reported previously by NewsMax.com, Haditha Accusations Unmasked, the Marine Corps has adopted highly restricted rules of engagement based on false information about the Haditha incident, a fact that disturbed Gen. McInerney.
"Now every time they fire a weapon they have to fill out paper work," he said. "When guys are being fired upon in combat the oversight is unbelievable. We cannot fight a war like that. We just cannot have such perfect, strict peacetime thinking in wartime rules of engagement. We're not taking care of our people."And I can point to one corrupt, fat-backsided, megalomaniacal congressman from PA-12 for allowing that to happen.
This, he said "is one of the reasons why we have not had more decisive results [on the ground in Iraq].
Can anyone say, "Jihad Jack" Murtha?