Monday, March 31, 2008

Jack Murtha & Time: So Far, So Wrong

That's the title of Phil Brennan's Newsmax article. It's the perfect title for the article because Murtha and Time have gotten precious little right about the insurgents' November 19 attack in Haditha. Let's start with what they got right since that won't take much time:

There was an insurgent attack in Haditha on November 19, 2005. The 3/1 Marines were involved. After that, you've got to do alot of searching for anything else that they got right. Let's get to Phil Brennan's article because, unlike Tim McGirk's article, it's got alot of important information.

On Nov. 19, 2005, during an insurgent ambush of the Marines of Kilo Company 3rd battalion 1st Marines, 15 Iraqi civilians and nine suspected insurgent ambushers were killed. One Marine was killed in an IED explosion and two others seriously wounded.

Thanks to the battalion intelligence officer, Lt. Jeff Dinsmore, who monitored the daylong engagement, the entire Marine chain of command were given the full story of the engagement that very night and it was agreed that no further action in connection with the civilian casualties was needed.

Phil Brennan has been one of the people who's actually disseminated Article 32 testimony. His reporting hasn't been perfect in terms of timeliness but it's been solid. Here's another important bit of information:

Typical of Murtha’s rantings were his comments on a May 28, 2006, ABC News broadcast. In response to George Stephanopolis’ comment that he claimed to have been briefed several times since Nov. 19 and said that that the evidence showed that the Marines had committed cold-blooded murder, Murtha said:

“Well there’s no question in my mind, what happened was an IED exploded. It killed one Marine. And then a taxi drives up. When the taxi comes up there’s four of five people in it. And they shoot … shoot those four or five people unarmed.

“And then they go on a rampage throughout the houses and kill people. One woman, as I understand it, in talking to officials in the Marine Corps, was kneeling over a child pleading for mercy and they shot her in cold blood. That’s the thing that’s so disturbing. And even more disturbing is the fact that we know that the Iraqis knew about it because they made payments to the Iraqis for accidental deaths or salacious deaths whatever you want to call it. And in addition to that, they had … there has to have been a cover-up of this thing.”

That interview won't reflect kindly on Rep. Murtha. As I posted here, there's a YouTubed Hardball interview that totally contradicts Murtha's statements on Stephanopoulos' show. Here's the YouTube video:

Here's the transcript of that interview:

Matthews: Let me ask you something, Mr. Murtha, to give us some details, to tell us what happened at Haditha.
Murtha: Well, I'll tell you exactly what happened. One Marine was killed and the Marines just said "We're gonna take care of this." They don't know who the enemy is, the presure was too much on them so they went into houses and they actually killed civilians. And you know that I...
Matthews: Was this Mi Lai? Was this...When you say cold blood, Congressman, alot of people think you're basically saying that you've got some civilians sitting in a room or out in a field and they're executed.
Murtha: That's exactly what happened.
Matthews: Not because the Marines are scared...
Murtha: This was not an action. This was not...First they tried to say that it was an
IED. There was no IED involved in this. Those troops that went in, they were so stressed out, they went into houses and killed children...women and children, 24 people they killed. Now this is the kind of stuff...That's the kind of stress they're under. I understand this. I don't excuse it but I understand what's happening. And the responsibility for this goes straight to the top. This is something that should not have happened. It should have been investigated. As I understand it, they've already relieved three commanding officers. But this is the kind of stuff that stress is gonna cause these sorts of things. That's why I'm so upset about it.

My question to Rep. Murtha is quite simple. Do you want to stick with your statement to George Stephanopoulos where you said that an IED went off or do you want to stick with your statement to Chris Matthews where you said that there wasn't an IED explosion? It doesn't matter which choice Murtha makes. Either way, he's discredited because he's caught in a 'Heads, you win, tails, I lose' situation.

Personally, I agree with what Michelle Malkin said about Murtha:

Murtha indicts himself every time he opens his mouth.

Michelle, I couldn't agree more. My only question is whether Murtha is somehow related to Joe Wilson...

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Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog