(U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey) Chessani was charged for dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order. Specifically, prosecutors accuse him of failure to report or investigate the killings of Iraqi civilians, which would be a violation of war by Marines under his command. He faces up to 30 months in prison and dishonorable discharge from the Marines, if convicted.[SNIP]
In a sworn statement in August 2006, Chessani said the killing of civilians was unfortunate but he did not consider the shooting incident to be out of the ordinary or beyond routine combat.
It is a military order that commanders report to their superiors any time their subordinates violate the laws of war.
Chessani reported the incident on the day it happened, but prosecutors claim he did not report it to officials high enough in the chain of command, Rooney said. Further, it happened during combat and thus was not a violation of war, said Rooney.
"A U.S. Army colonel and an Army general conducted two separate investigations and came to the same conclusion: There was no 'massacre' and no 'cover-up,'" said the law center's president, Richard Thompson, in a statement.And so it goes. As has been shown time and time again on this blog, Murtha opened his fat piehole and sold fellow Marines down the river so as to endear himself to those who he thought would give him a ticket to the Majority Leader gig in the U.S. House.
"Yet the government still pursued a multi-million dollar investigation in order to appease an anti-war politician and the blame-America-first media. Now we have the absurd situation of Lt. Col. Chessani being charged with failing to report and investigate a crime that never occurred," Thompson added.
The "anti-war politician" referred to by Thompson is Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.), a retired Marine colonel who became a vocal critic of the Iraq war in 2005.
In May 2006, Murtha said at a Capitol Hill press conference: "There was no firefight. There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Defense, Murtha wields power over defense spending and that power potentially could influence the investigation and case against Ware, according to the law center.
In addition to Murtha, the law center's legal motions name other officials who supposedly biased the case, including Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) who, in 2006, was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and vowed to hold hearings on the matter; Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who compared Haditha to the My Lai massacre of Vietnam; and U.S. Navy Secretary Donald Winter, who also made comments that potentially could pre-judge the case, said Rooney.
"They all showed a bias that these men were guilty before an investigation was complete," Rooney told Cybercast News Service .
"It's frustrating to me, as a former Marine, that a lot of reporters, media types, and politicians have the worldview from the 1960s that never changed. They wanted to make this the new My Lai because they have tried from the beginning to make this the new Vietnam," he said.
And now the chickens have come home to roost.
Will Murtha now apologize, or will he continue to cut and run from his responsibility in the matter?
A spokesman from Murtha's office could not be reached for comment on this story, nor could a spokesman from Warner's office.What a freakin' surprise.