Friday, August 24, 2007

Another Marine Deserves a Murtha Apology

The Washington Post is reporting that Lt. Col. Paul Ware is recommending that LCpl. Stephen Tatum shouldn't be court-martialed. LCpl. Tatum is yet another Haditha Marine that Rep. John Murtha accused of cold-blooded murder. As such, Rep. Murtha owes yet another Haditha Marine an apology.
The shootings began after a bomb blast killed one Marine and injured two others as the unit drove a convoy through Haditha. The Marines then killed a group of men who were in a car nearby before heading into two houses in the vicinity. Ware found that Tatum was following his rules of engagement when he fired his rifle in the two houses.

"What occurred in house 1 and house 2 are tragedies," Ware wrote. "The photographs of the victims are heart wrenching, and the desire to explain this tragedy as criminal act and not the result of training and fighting an enemy that hides among innocents is great. However, in the end, my opinion is that there is insufficient evidence for trial. LCpl Tatum shot and killed people in houses 1 and 2, but the reason he did so was because of his training and the circumstances he was placed in, not to exact revenge and commit murder."
Col. Paul Ware doesn't deny that LCpl. Tatum killed civilians in "House 1 and House 2." What Col. Ware is essentially saying is that LCpl. Tatum killed these innocents because the insurgents amongst the innocent civilians. As such, LCpl. Tatum did what he was trained to do. Ware is saying that Tatum obeyed the ROE.

Col. Ware's recommendation doesn't automatically mean that LCpl. Tatum won't be court-martialed. That decision rests with Lt. Gen. James Mattis. However, considering the strong wording of Col. Ware's recommendation, I can't see how Gen. Mattis could justify the court-martial of LCpl. Tatum.

This is just more proof that John Murtha's accusations of May 17, 2006 weren't based on facts that surfaced as part of the initial NCIS investigation. Murtha's allegations are the result of Murtha's willfully ignoring the US Constitution's guarantees of the presumption of innocence, right to a fair trial and due process. Murtha's accusations are now being exposed for what they are: an appeal to the anti-war extremists known as the Nutroots Netroots. It doesn't appear as though Rep. Murtha thought twice about throwing these Marines under the bus in his quest for power. That's unforgivable.

A congressman's oath of office includes the pledge that they will uphold the Constitution. Clearly, that oath meant little, if anything, to Rep. Murtha. Rep. Murtha didn't care that he was destroying the reputations of Justin Sharratt, Stephen Tatum and Capt. Stone.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: Rep. Murtha should resign from office or be involuntarily driven from office for violating his oath of office. He's disgraced the Marine Corps. He owes Mssrs. Sharratt, Tatum and Stone personal apologies. He also owes the USMC an apology, too.

I'm calling on thoughtful people of all political persuasions to pressure Rep. Murtha into resigning. If Rep. Murtha doesn't resign, then I'd call on these same thoughtful people to call their representative and demand that they file an ethics complaint against John Murtha. Once that complaint is filed, I'd ask these people to demand that the House of Representatives vote for Rep. Murtha's expulsion.

That's the only honorable thing for them to do. Unfortunately, I don't believe that Nancy Pelosi will ever let it go that far.

When voters go to the polls in November of 2008, we should hold anyone that shields Rep. Murtha from ethics sanctions. Anyone that willingly protects a man who disdains the US Constitution isn't fit for elected office.

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Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog