Skip to comments.Haditha: The Collapse of a Liberal Fiction
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.
> asking where they go to get their reputations back.
Can a class action libel suit against Murtha and Time be mounted for these marines?
“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?....
“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?....
In LCpl Sharratt's Article 32 hearing, evidence disproved the allegations. The media buried the story or did not report it.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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..
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.
It wasn’t a “liberal fiction”. It was a leftist propaganda lie.
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.
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.
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.
Paging John Murtha - John Murtha please go to the American public for a message.
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?
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?
The CiC gets far too much of a pass around here. Wasn't it this very alleged 'incident' that prompted Jorge Bush to, (almost immediately), order General Pace to institute a PC training course for the Marines regarding the rights, culture and feeeeelings of the locals? This action itself created an atmosphere of guilt on the part of the brave Marines charged in this travesty. There has never been another war in U.S. history that took so many of our bravest and best and placed them on trial for alleged 'war crimes', (something that is typically reserved for conquering armies to do to the enemy, by the way). And this the best, most highly trained force ever. The fish rots from the head down, and this disgusting attack on our Army and Marine troops goes far beyond Jack Murtha, it begins with the stupid PC rules of engagement and the eggshells that our troops have had to tread upon in this war.
War is supposed to be an endeavor that destroys the enemy and obliterates every place they are found hiding in. IMHO, Bush never had the stomach for a real war, he wanted a limited, PC, no-collateral-damage 'war', and that's the essense of how and why so very many of our bravest and best have found themselves languishing in various briggs and stockades. They've been fighting this war with a millstone around their necks.
But of course, see # 21.
Seeing that SSgt Wuterich’s trial has been indefinitely delayed, it would be wrong for Chessani or Grayson to be tried prior to Wuterich. It is clear that the house of cards constructed by the hit-men NCIS/JAG coalition has tumbled down, but they can still claim their entire story simply because Wuterich has yet to be exhonerated....which he will be if justice means anything at all.
I imagine they are salivating to get Chessani and Grayson in front of juries before Wuterich is exhonerated, and THAT may be why they’re appealing the unappealable about 60 minutes video not broadcast. They WANT to delay Wuterich so they can get Chessani/Grayson, a thing that would NOT happen if those two go to trial with final proof that no crime had been committed.
How can you try a man for failing to report, or for covering up, a crime that had not been committed?
How especially can you do so, when there is overwhelming evidence that reports were passed up the entire chain of command? How can you do so when the command watched the engagement themselves while it was happening? How can you do so when two separate investigations established that Marines were acting as they were trained to act and nothing more?
I guess you can IF there’s a “shadow group” operating — pushing events in some desired political direction.
A legal question for any lawyers out there: If a commander is required to report atrocities, murders, etc.; and since all murder charges have been dropped in favor of manslaughter charges, and these hinge on what a SSG was thinking prior to pulling a trigger, how can a commander such as Chessani be held culpable for not reporting what was APPARENTLY a ROE correct battle, a battle that could only be determined by the careful questioning of one man and what that man was thinking when he happened to pull trigger on one room out of that entire battle?
If Wuterich were wrong (and I don’t think he was) his thoughts at a particular moment as he pulled a trigger would never have come out in a battalion-level AAR review or investigation...no way, not in a million years. Battalion’s simply don’t have those kinds of resources to discover such things OR even to recognize them if they did discover them.
Absolutely right. The kid is telling investigators what he heard happened, not what he saw. And that’s typical of the Iraqi “witnesses”.
There were no Iraqi witnesses to the actions in House 4. But investigators, and the media, could find hundreds of Iraqis who could tell them exactly what happened.
I see the “witness” who described what happened in house 4 (even though he wasn’t there) is accompanied by the lawyer, Rsayef. Rsayef has been a key figure in this case. Since he represented all the Iraqi’s who received compensation, I sure wish someone would find out how big his cut was. He claimed to be related to many of the Iraqis in the first two houses. How convenient. And he was one of the Iraqis who refused to allow exhumations. Again, how convenient.
Speaking of house 4 and the four brothers who were killed - at one point, Rsayef claimed they were walking in the street when they were killed. Later, there were claims that all four were shot in a wardrobe closet. I wonder if Rsayef discovered he was the long lost uncle of the house 4 brothers right before their families were compensated. Put him on the stand for SSGT Wuterich’s trial!
Scuttlebutt has it that the prosecution dropped charges against LCpl Tatum because they knew he’d be acquitted. And his acquittal would weaken their already small chances against SSgt Wuterich.
So much for a “search for the truth” by prosecutors without “passion or prejudice”.
Regardless, the Chessani case prosecution will be that his actions were derelict—regardless of whether a massacre happened or not. That’s a narrower argument, and may be harder to win.
Thanks. You are right. The enemy made it up and our internal enemy adopted it as truth.
The problem with that argument is that it is saying Chessani is guilty of dereliction for not reporting that which was not able to be seen.
As near as I can tell from what I have read, the battalion, engaged in constant battle that day and in continuous contact with the enemy, DID FORWARD detailed reports of the incidents.
I also know that courtesy inspections are the point at which units are told that they are improperly interpreting "requirement B(1)(a) after the semicolon" type of requirements. There isn't any commander, including Petraeus, that if someone wanted to hold him responsible for the literal fulfillment of every regulation, every policy, every memorandum of instruction ever written, every voco instruction ever spoken, that he would fail that test. In short, you can get ANY soldier on those kind of things.
Assume that Wuterich is exhonerated. Therefore, there we are left with a day in which a number of civilians were killed as collateral damage in a battle. That unit knew it had the requirement to report that incident, which it did. It had a requirement to send a detailed report, which it did.
There was absolutely no evidence of anything outside of law being done by their troops. The only way that could have been discovered is if Wuterich had stepped up and said, "I had unclear thoughts before pulling the trigger in Room #2."
He didn't do that.
Therefore, the unit reported and analyzed and nothing came up.
Where is the dereliction? We both believe there is none, RR, and I am at a loss to see how Jag thinks it can prove it.
Unless it's some silly-assed thing like failing to fill in item 27 on Form 16b in red ink.
Very good piece by Michael Reagan. Unlike many in the enemedia he did his homework and got all the facts correct.
The laughable thing about the four being executed in that closet which was one of the versions brought out in one of the hearings of an Iraqi survivor is the closet was much too small for four persons to even fit into, IIRC.
There's a lot of frustration with President Bush and a lot of questions unanswered right now, but unless you can cite something substantial to support that claim, you're spreading urban legends.
FWIW, it has been reported that the Marines had been using Haditha as a "what not to do" in some of their training before any of the Article 32s were done, but no indication from any source that I know of that President Bush personally ordered it.
At the Article 32, the prosecution relied on Marines in Chessani's command who say they told Chessani there should be an investigation. I think that will also be the game plan in the CM.
The defense has a real challenge. It's easiest to defend an action than not acting. I think Thomas More is up for the challenge, but they'll really earn their keep.
It is easier to defend what you have done rather than what you have not done that you were supposed to have done.
First, I’d think the prosecution would have to demonstrate that the undone action was a required action.
Then they would have to prove that the Haditha incident fit that requirement.
Then they’d have to prove that Chessani did not in any way fullfill that action or think he was fulfilling that action.
Then they’d have to prove that Chessani was negligently wrong if he decided that the action potentially met the requirement, but ultimately decided that it did not.
I’d also think that they have to demonstrate that there had not developed a battlefield expedient norm for meeting that requirement that was somewhat different than the textbook means of meeting the requirement. They would have to demonstrate that other units were not following the same or similar battlefield expedient norm and not being prosecuted.
They’d have to demonstrate that immediately superior commanders to Chessani who also viewed the action were prosecuted for the same offenses, since they would have had the same requirements.
I’m sure there are additional questions the prosecution would have to prove to truly convict Chessani.
The bottom line seems to me to be questionable prosecution and selective prosecution.
The statement by Justin Sharratt ("The news is saying there were 24 innocent civilians killed. It's not accurate at all. My case proves it".) is true, and Michael Reagan understands it and accurately reports the truth. The media to this day is still saying 24 civilians were killed. There is a collective sickness in the media that can never be cured. The only solution is the marginalization of the media, eventually bringing about it's inevitable collapse into little more than an archaic oddity, worthy of only dismissive scorn.
Agreed. And the prosecutor’s case at the Article 32 fits your blueprint. Of course, the standard of proof (and rules of evidence) is much higher at a CM.
For drama, the prosecution’s star witness is Maj. Samuel Carrasco, the operations officer. He testified that he told Chessani an investigation was needed. Chessani shouted in reply, “My men are not murderers.”
Ultimately, of course, it comes down to the jury. The prosecution needs to convince a panel of Marines that they are superior to LtCol Chessani in wisdom and dispassionate judgement. The investigating officer at Chessani’s 32 gave that a big affirmative.
That is called a 'process crime' and sadly it happens with increasing frequency when political matters are at stake.
It never really hit me until now, but was Maj Samuel Carrasco Chessani’s OWN S-3 Ops Officer?
I guess he had to be honest about what he said or didn’t say, but there had to be a way to give his testimony that put it in context of everything known about that day.
He could use the word “suggested” instead of “told.”
Also, something that comes to mind would be something that was true in the Army, but not necessarily in the Marines. In the Army, the S-2 (Grayson) was generally rated by the S-3 (Carrasco) and then senior rated by the Battalion Commander (Chessani.)
That would mean that Carrasco would be negligent for not properly supervising Grayson’s handling of battlefield pictures, IF they were improperly handled.
Sauce for the goose...gander.
ANYBODY can be nailed anytime it is desired in the military. There’s always some obscurity someplace that can be used against someone.
Scooter Libby wuz askin' the same question... ;-)
>A judge did order Murtha’s deposition as part of the SSgt. Wuterich defamation case. The Bush DOJ is backing Murtha and has appeled the decision. So that’s where the matter rests. The family has limited resources to fight Murtha in dourt 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.<
Why am I not surprised? The government is now extremely well insulated from it’s constituency.
As I understand it, Lt Grayson was in a Marine counterintelligence unit (2nd CI HUMINT Co) and not under LtCol Chessani's direct command. I'm sure you know more about the relationship between attached specialized companies and regiments than I do.
I wouldn’t not be surprised that the Marine’s have a different system than does the Army. If an S-2 were assigned to a fighting unit from the intel battalion, in the Army they would still be rated and senior rated in the working battalion. The “intel group” assigning them would be in intermediate rater capacity.
In fact, that’s exactly how other special staff works in the Army.
freema had posted a link to a copy of the censures @92 here:
(which, interestingly, isn't opening for me any more), and I commented on it @98
Damages could be a little, could be a lot. It’s the jury’s call. Defamation per se, however, requires no proof of damages.
I didn’t mean the link to the thread didn’t work, the link to the of the actual censure letters that freema posted @92 isn’t working anymore - http://tiny.cc/OzXs1
Yes, we do. But haven’t posted them because they have all kinds of warnings against doing so in scary, big, red, type.
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