by Nathaniel R. HelmsCongressman Murtha: All Marines involved in the Haditha incident have been cleared of the charge of MURDER. You, sir, accused them of cold-blooded MURDER; without the benefit of trial, without even having received an official briefing on the matter.
December 31, 2007 -- The Marine Corps has now acknowledged that none of the Marines charged with criminal offenses for their actions at Haditha, Iraq committed murder. Lieutenant General Samuel Helland’s decision to dismiss charges of unpremeditated murder against Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich lay to rest specious allegations by Time Magazine reporter Tim McGirk and Congressman John Murtha that a My Lai-style massacre occurred in Haditha on November 19, 2005.
A Marine Corps spokesman said Monday that Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich will face trial on charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice for his role in the debacle that followed an Al Qaeda led attack on a squad of 12 Marines.
Lt Gen Helland, the final arbiter in the matter, dismissed twelve charges of unpremeditated murder, and separate charges of soliciting another to commit an offense and making a false official statement. His decision removes the onus that war crimes were committed by any of the American Marines who fought in the day-long battle for the strategic city.
Attorneys Neil Puckett and Mark Zaid, in Washington, D.C., co-counsels for SSgt Wuterich, responded:
“The good news is that SSgt Wuterich (and all of the Marines, for that matter), have been forever cleared of murder charges. That means that there is (and never was) any evidence to support Congressman Murtha’s and Time magazine’s allegations of these Marines killing Iraqis 'in cold blood.'
“The bad news is that the extensive pretrial investigation and legal analysis conducted by an experienced military judge was essentially ignored. It is always disappointing when professional military prosecutors profess to want to do the right thing by setting up the system to work, and then ignore its results because they refuse to give Marines under attack in combat the benefit of the doubt that they were responding according to their training. We are confident that a military jury will acquit SSgt Wuterich of all remaining charges, because he is, in fact, not guilty.”
Congressman John P. Murtha:
We, the writers and editors at MURTHA MUST GO!! call on you to apologize for impugning the honor of these Marines. Furthermore, we call on you to resign from the office of trust which you currently hold.
If you hold any shred of dignity as once proudly serving in the Corps, it shouldn't take a call like the one above to lead you to take those actions.