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Haditha: The Collapse of a Liberal Fiction
Townhall ^ | April 2, 2008 | Michael Reagan

Posted on 04/03/2008 3:35:14 AM PDT by RedRover

You'd hardly know it if you relied on the mainstream media, but the government's case against the Haditha Marines took another body blow last Friday that may be the beginning of the end for this whole sorry attempt to severely punish eight heroic United States Marines for doing what they are trained to do.

In a surprise development on the day Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum's court martial was scheduled to begin, all charges against him were dropped without explanation.

Tatum, facing charges of reckless endangerment and aggravated assault that could have sent him to prison for 18 years, was the fifth Marine -- and the second of three enlisted men -- to be exonerated, leaving only one enlisted Marine still facing court martial.

Tatum's exoneration should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the real facts in the case. During an ambush by insurgent forces in Haditha, 15 civilians and nine insurgents were killed by Marines of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. The incident began when an IED explosion killed a Marine and wounded two others. In the wake of that explosion, a squad of Marines came under insurgent gunfire.

The 15 civilian deaths, which came during house-clearing operations, were the result of a time-honored insurgent tactic of hiding themselves among civilians when ambushing U.S. forces, hoping to score a propaganda coup when the civilian shields are killed in the ensuing crossfire.

Full details of the incident on November 19, 2005 were supplied in great detail to the entire command structure the very night of the engagement, and the incident was regarded for what it was -- a tragic result of an enemy ambush. No further action was required or taken.

Months later, however, Time magazine published a story reporting that the Marines had gone on a rampage, wantonly killing innocent civilians to avenge the death of their fellow Marine killed in the IED explosion.

Using Time magazine's fallacious account of the civilian deaths, Pennsylvania's Democratic Rep. John Murtha went on a rampage of his own, telling every media outlet that would listen that the Marines had committed "cold-blooded murder." He first claimed that his information came from a briefing from the Marine Corps Commandant, but when that claim was disproved he admitted that his source was Time magazine.

Murtha's charges were broadcast far and wide, and before any investigation of the incident could get underway, the media joined Murtha in finding the Marines guilty of a massacre.

In the ensuing media firestorm that broke out, many news reports here and abroad compared the Haditha deaths to the infamous My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War.

Neither Murtha nor the mainstream media bothered to check Time's sources -- two known insurgent propagandists and insurgent-friendly Haditha residents living under the guns of insurgent killers who were the only authority in town.

It wasn't because the real facts were not available to any reporter willing to investigate the Haditha case, yet only one news source bothered to look into the case.

As early as May 31, 2006, NewsMax.com had begun to poke holes in the case, and from that time down to the present, NewsMax continued to report the truth about Haditha and defend the Marines who were innocent of the charges eventually leveled against them.

Yet all this time, the media and Rep. Murtha continued to peddle the insurgent lie that a massacre had taken place in Haditha, even though all murder charges had long ago been dropped in favor of lesser charges.

There was a crime, but it was the media and Rep. Murtha who committed it against heroic Marines whose careers have been destroyed and some of whose families were bought to the edge of bankruptcy defending their sons.

Thanks to NewsMax readers, who contributed over $500,000 for their defense, some of that burden was lifted.

And thanks to John Murtha and the liberal media, these Marines can now join my Dad's wrongly accused Secretary of Labor Ray Donovan in asking where they go to get their reputations back.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 110th; enemedia; enemypropaganda; haditha; iraq; liberalism; marines; michaelduffy; michaelreagan; murtha; richardstengel; timemagazine; timmcgirk; wot
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1 posted on 04/03/2008 3:35:15 AM PDT by RedRover
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To: RedRover

bump


2 posted on 04/03/2008 3:39:39 AM PDT by Skooz (Any nation that would elect Hillary Clinton as its president has forfeited its right to exist.)
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To: Skooz

> asking where they go to get their reputations back.

Can a class action libel suit against Murtha and Time be mounted for these marines?


3 posted on 04/03/2008 3:46:02 AM PDT by Westbrook (Having more children does not divide your love, it multiplies it.)
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To: Westbrook

“Can a class action libel suit against Murtha and Time be mounted for these marines?......”

Hmmm...the consequences of journalistic malpractice.....negligence combined with malicious intent to hurt and destroy?....


4 posted on 04/03/2008 3:49:14 AM PDT by mo
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To: Westbrook

“Can a class action libel suit against Murtha and Time be mounted for these marines?......”

Hmmm...the consequences of journalistic malpractice.....negligence combined with malicious intent to hurt and destroy?....


5 posted on 04/03/2008 3:51:17 AM PDT by mo
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To: 4woodenboats; American Cabalist; AmericanYankee; AndrewWalden; Antoninus; AliVeritas; ardara; ...
Executions of civilians were alleged in House 4...

In LCpl Sharratt's Article 32 hearing, evidence disproved the allegations. The media buried the story or did not report it.


6 posted on 04/03/2008 3:58:37 AM PDT by RedRover (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: RedRover
Neither Murtha nor the mainstream media bothered to check Time's sources -- two known insurgent propagandists and insurgent-friendly Haditha residents living under the guns of insurgent killers who were the only authority in town.

While the leftist tactics worked in the tail hook scandal, perhaps it will not work this time. Our Marines are heroes and should be receiving awards instead of unjustified trauma for them and their loved ones. All because of seditious action by a congressman thug and the Marxist media.

7 posted on 04/03/2008 4:03:47 AM PDT by olezip
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To: RedRover

Last I heard, Murtha was ordered to sit for a deposition in the lawsuit against him. What’s the status of that case, and has that deposition been taken?


8 posted on 04/03/2008 4:05:55 AM PDT by TheLawyerFormerlyKnownAsAl
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To: RedRover

For once, I think a huge lawsuit is in order. TIme has never printed a retraction and Murtha...well, he can be named in a separate civil suit.


9 posted on 04/03/2008 4:32:25 AM PDT by SueRae
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To: TheLawyerFormerlyKnownAsAl

A judge did order Murtha’s deposition as part of the SSgt Wuterich defamation case. The Bush DOJ is backing Murtha and has appealed the decision. So that’s where the matter rests. The family has limited resources to fight Murtha in court, and he is using that to his advantage.

In separate motions before a military judge, defense attorneys have requested depositions of Murtha and Gen Hagee. Those requests have been denied.


10 posted on 04/03/2008 4:37:32 AM PDT by RedRover (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: SueRae

Let’s get all Freepers behind a class action lawsuit on Time and Murtha for leaking unsubstantiated information with the intent to prejudice the case against these young men.
Even we must know some lawyers..


11 posted on 04/03/2008 4:39:38 AM PDT by Shirerwasright (Liberalism continues to erode the foundations of America)
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To: RedRover

If Murtha had ANY SHRED OF HONOR WHATSOEVER, he’d resign. Now.

Murtha, Time ‘reporters’ Michael Duffy & Tim McGirk and Time ‘editor’ Richard Stengel should be charged with sedition. This was an intentional attempt to undermine the military and our nation.


12 posted on 04/03/2008 4:51:39 AM PDT by rock_lobsta (Operation Chaos!)
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To: RedRover

It wasn’t a “liberal fiction”. It was a leftist propaganda lie.


13 posted on 04/03/2008 4:52:24 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: RedRover

Murtha makes me sick every time I hear an update on how he has been responsible for the persecution of these brave young men and how he is likely not ever have to pay for his crimes.


14 posted on 04/03/2008 4:53:53 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like what you say))
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To: SueRae
Not being a lawyer, I can only guess that "defamation of character" would be extremely hard to prove by any one of the Marines. They would have to show financial harm, ie., that they (say) tried to get a job and were deliberately denied as a result of this; or that there were pay raises and/or promotions denied because of this (do you really think the Marines have kept such paperwork?)

The proper body to bring such a suit is the USMC as an institution---but again, this would require showing direct harm. Are enlistments down? That would be a harm traceable (perhaps) to this---but it would play right into the hands of the leftists to say, "See, the Marines are having trouble making their enlistments". I doubt if that's the case anyway.

Showing REPUTATIONAL harm in America is darn near impossible. My only knowledge of successful reputation suits have been individuals like Wayne Newton against tabloids where you could prove that not only were the lies false but undertaken with malice. Even if Murtha thought the stories he heard were true, and believed them---for whatever reason---he would be off the hook.

In short, I see no successful suit against Murtha and/or Time.

15 posted on 04/03/2008 4:54:17 AM PDT by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of News)
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To: olezip

16 posted on 04/03/2008 5:01:50 AM PDT by RedRover (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: LS

Check out the Sen Proxmire “Golden Fleece” case. That went all the way to the Supreme Court and it ruled that congressmen are not immune from liability for slander.


17 posted on 04/03/2008 5:04:34 AM PDT by RedRover (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: RedRover

Paging John Murtha - John Murtha please go to the American public for a message.


18 posted on 04/03/2008 5:07:05 AM PDT by DustyMoment (FloriDUH - proud inventors of pregnant/hanging chads and judicide!!)
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To: RedRover

According to this witness he saw his uncle in an unusual position in the closet after the Marines put he there and shot him.

A simple question: didn’t the Marines remove the bodies before this witness could have witnessed the uncle’s position in the closet?


19 posted on 04/03/2008 5:22:45 AM PDT by usmcobra (I sing Karaoke the way it was meant to be sung, drunk, badly and in Japanese)
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To: RedRover

I didn’t say they weren’t “liable.” I said, it’s very hard to prove DAMAGES. I bet you’ll find significant damages in the Proxmire case. Aside from reputation-—which we know is huge, but which courts do NOT hold as significant unless you are a celebrity who loses a lot of money-—what are the damages to the Marines?


20 posted on 04/03/2008 5:24:48 AM PDT by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of News)
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