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THE TRIAL OF SSGT. WUTERICH:Final Battle Of Haditha Set To Begin
DEFEND OUR MARINES ^ | 1-6-2012 | Nathaniel R. Helms

Posted on 01/07/2012 2:51:31 PM PST by smoothsailing

THE TRIAL OF SSGT. WUTERICH:Final Battle Of Haditha Set To Begin

by Nathaniel R. Helms | Friday, January 6, 2012 | Day Two: Jury selection complete

Camp Pendleton, Calif. – An eight-man panel of four officers and four senior non-commissioned officers will begin listening to testimony Monday morning when the lawyers fighting the final Battle of Haditha offer their opening statements at the General Court Martial of SSgt Frank D. Wuterich, the last Marine standing in the six-year-old fight.

The government is apparently expecting a tough battle in the weeks ahead.

“I can’t think of a single witness desiring of being helpful to the government,” complained chief prosecutor Major Nicholas Gannon at the conclusion the tedious two-day voir dire proceeding. Sitting next to him was LtCol. Sean Sullivan, a Chicago reservist called to active duty to augment the prosecution team the government assembled.

Across the aisle, wearing an air of pleased expectation, were Wuterich’s lawyers: retired Marine military judge Neal Puckett and Haytham Faraj, a retired Marine major and experienced Haditha defense counsel. Assisting them is detailed Marine counsel Major Meridith Marshall, a relative newcomer to the Haditha imbroglio.

Military judge LtCol. David Jones ordered the trial to begin Monday morning after a colonel and two sergeants were stricken from the pool of potential panelists at the conclusion of the two-day selection process.

Attorneys in military cases are allowed to request the removal of potential jurors--called "panelists" in military law--for cause or simply because they don’t like what the panel candidates had to say. The Colonel, deemed too close to the convening authority, a Master Gunnery Sergeant who provoked somebody’s ire, and a Gunnery Sergeant who mentioned Hiroshima and Haditha in the same breath were stricken from the roles after the prosecutors and defense attorneys jousted over their continued presence.

During the voir dire proceeding, almost all of the Marines questioned by Sullivan and Faraj stumbled through explanations of what the Rules of Engagement said in November 2005, offering vague impressions of how they were changed after former Marine Commandant General Michael W. Hagee visited Iraq in 2006 following the Haditha fiasco. The potential panelists had an equally tough time explaining when and why escalation of force can be implemented, and what to do when apparent non-combatants find themselves on the firing line. Each of those questions represent fundamental building blocks the panelists must consider when deciding the guilt or innocence of Wuterich, a rookie squad leader who commanded the Marines that counter-attacked their ambushers.

The real Battle of Haditha

The ambush was the beginning of a day long fight at Haditha that left one Marine dead, eleven wounded, and an unknown number of hostiles dead in smoking bomb craters and shredded underbrush covering the battlefield.

“There were several significant incidents going on that day. We destroyed an insurgent safe house down the road with bombs the same morning, turned it into dust. There could have been civilians killed there…” former 3/1 commanding officer Jeffrey Chessani told Defend Our Marines in July 2010 (read the story here). “We found insurgents buried in shallow graves still in their weapons and equipment. We had to bury dead insurgents wearing ammunition vests because they started to stink".

“We worked closely with our Human Exploitation Teams (HET) and my S-2 (Captain, later Major Jeffrey Dinsmore) was a bulldog. I was so lucky to have him. He knew what was going on. We got those weapons. We took away the enemies’ ability to attack my Marines and civilians. The people were safer. Not even the insurgents wanted to kill civilians if they didn’t have to. We took away the means,” Chessani added.

At the end of the day Marines, had captured or detained enough suspects who later talked that 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines was able to break the back of the active insurgency in Haditha, Chessani explained.

As reported yesterday, the career infantry officer has been stricken from the witness list for Wuterich’s court martial.

The fight ahead

The eight Marines on the panel will spend as long as three weeks reliving the gruesome November day when 24 Iraqis were killed in Haditha. Two lieutenant-colonels, a major, one captain and four senior non-commissioned officers will ultimately decide whether Wuterich will be allowed to leave Camp Pendleton a free man or spend the rest of his life inside a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. All of the Marines selected to join the jury panel have experienced combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, most of them in both during multiple combat deployments.

For more than five years the 31-year old Marine has waited for his day in court. He was indicted December 19, 2006 upon the conclusion of a world-wide, multi-million dollar criminal investigation of the alleged November 19, 2005 massacre that never happened.

Although eight Marines were initially charged with complaints ranging from murder to cover-up and dereliction of duty, all but Wuterich have been exonerated. During the contentious proceeding in 2006 and 2007 all of them were cleared because of a lack of evidence, a paucity of forensic clues, and the almost certain participation of Al Qaeda financed terrorists who precipitated the incident by attacking the Marines from ambush.

LtCol. Paul Ware, the investigating officer who presided over Wuterich’s Article 32 preliminary investigation pointed out in October 2007 the stumbling blocks the government had to overcome if it had any hope of earning a conviction:

“I am recommending that the Government pursue the lesser offense of negligent homicide and not murder because I believe after reviewing all the evidence, no trier of fact can conclude SSgt Wuterich formed the criminal intent to kill. The evidence is contradictory, the forensic analysis is limited and almost all witnesses have an obvious bias or prejudice. The case against SSgt Wuterich that he committed murder is simply not strong enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

SSgt Wuterich, a divorced father with custody of his three young daughters, faces a maximum of more than 157 years in prison if convicted on nine counts of Voluntary Manslaughter, two counts of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, and three counts of Dereliction of Duty for his role in the deaths of 19 Iraqi citizens as the prosecution charges. Counted among the victims were Iraqis in homes stormed that day and five unidentified males in the infamous “white car” that will be the focus of much attention in the coming weeks.

The victims were slain after Wuterich’s 12-man squad was attacked while on a resupply convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two more riding in four Humvees. The defense contends that 14 of the victims were caught in the vicious cross-fire that erupted after Wuterich led his team to the source of the enemy fire and the other five men when the white car they were riding in inexplicably appeared inside the Marine’s security circle seconds before the IED erupted.

The prosecution claims Wuterich failed to follow the rules of engagement that required the Marines to make positive identification of enemy combatants or be in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury before opening fire.

During Friday’s proceeding Wuterich remained alert, frequently asking his lawyers whispered questions, occasionally smiling, and listening intently when the gruesome realities of armed conflict were momentarily revealed by potential panelists attempting to answer imponderables that have plagued wars and warriors in perpetuam rei memoriam - in everlasting remembrance.

..............................

Note: Nat Helms is a Contributing Editor to Defend Our Marines. He is a Vietnam veteran, former police officer, war correspondent, and, most recently, author of My Men Are My Heroes: The Brad Kasal Story (Meredith Books, 2007).


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bhodod; defendourmarines; haditha; oifveterans; usmc; usmilitary; wuterich
DEFEND OUR MARINES

1 posted on 01/07/2012 2:51:35 PM PST by smoothsailing
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To: jazusamo

SSgt. Wuterich trial ping.


2 posted on 01/07/2012 2:53:13 PM PST by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing
Article by Nat Helms

.

HADITHA MARINE PING!

.

Link to master thread: The Haditha Marines-The Squad Leader-A Final Chapter

3 posted on 01/07/2012 2:54:59 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: smoothsailing; RedRover; 4woodenboats; American Cabalist; AmericanYankee; AndrewWalden; ...
Article by Nat Helms

.

HADITHA MARINE PING!

.

Link to master thread: The Haditha Marines-The Squad Leader-A Final Chapter

4 posted on 01/07/2012 3:02:39 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: smoothsailing

I like my second ping better. :-)


5 posted on 01/07/2012 3:04:20 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: smoothsailing

Is there a contribution site?


6 posted on 01/07/2012 3:04:24 PM PST by BilLies ( (ABCBSNBCNN, NYTimes, WaPOSt , etc., hates your Traditional American guts!))
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To: BilLies

Yes Sir, there certainly is!

http://www.frankwuterich.com/

Thank You!


7 posted on 01/07/2012 3:07:00 PM PST by smoothsailing
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To: jazusamo
Photobucket
8 posted on 01/07/2012 3:09:34 PM PST by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Aaahhh, the best laid plans came back to bite me. LOL!


9 posted on 01/07/2012 3:12:01 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: jazusamo
no trier of fact can conclude SSgt Wuterich formed the criminal intent to kill. The evidence is contradictory, the forensic analysis is limited and almost all witnesses have an obvious bias or prejudice.

And not to forget political expediency.

10 posted on 01/07/2012 3:14:47 PM PST by Gene Eric (C'mon, Virginia -- are you with us or against us?!)
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To: Gene Eric
And not to forget political expediency.

Well said! I'd bet that was in the mind of LtCol. Ware at the time but he dare not say it.

11 posted on 01/07/2012 3:19:34 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Here’s to hoping for a speedy trial followed by a first class exoneration.


12 posted on 01/07/2012 3:24:21 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: bigheadfred

Amen to that! SSgt. Wuterich’s exoneration is long overdue.


13 posted on 01/07/2012 3:28:51 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: smoothsailing
The most disturbing part of this witch-hunt to me is that the money funding it is sold to the public as "National Defense."

No bang for the buck in this nonsense.

14 posted on 01/07/2012 3:59:42 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The RNC would prefer Obama to a conservative nominee.)
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To: smoothsailing

“I can’t think of a single witness desiring of being helpful to the government,”
...........................................................

Duh!!! That should tell you something you damned imbecile.


15 posted on 01/07/2012 4:04:46 PM PST by Venturer
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To: jazusamo

A ping and a miss!


16 posted on 01/07/2012 5:20:45 PM PST by RedRover
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To: RedRover; natshouse

I knew you notice, Red:) Good piece by Nat.


17 posted on 01/07/2012 5:30:56 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: smoothsailing
Photobucket
18 posted on 01/07/2012 5:34:34 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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Click

Free Republic needs monthly donors

Every time a Freeper or Lurker signs up to be a New Monthly Donor

A generous Freeper donates $10!!

Please sign up now!

19 posted on 01/07/2012 5:35:14 PM PST by RedMDer (Forward With Confidence!)
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To: RedMDer

ping for future reference


20 posted on 01/07/2012 5:40:02 PM PST by ArmyTeach (Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain ... USS Iowa BB 61)
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To: jazusamo

Thanks for the ping, jaz....and thank you Nat Helms for providing coverage at the court martial.

Two reasons manslaughter charges make no sense:

SSgt Wuterich and his team were given orders to take the house;
The ROE at the time were consistent with those used in taking these houses;

Beyond that, SSgt Wuterich just does not have the demeanor of a hothead, revengeful person. Rather, his concern about bringing his men home would be his failing, if anything.

I’m hopeful that the panelists can understand the difference between ROE of today and those at the time.....and maybe also realize that the political overreaction to this incident has not necessarily been of benefit to our men in combat zones.


21 posted on 01/07/2012 5:40:23 PM PST by Girlene (Tatertot casserole, maybe.....cake? No.)
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To: ArmyTeach

Thanks and to reference this thread too.


22 posted on 01/07/2012 5:43:02 PM PST by RedMDer (Forward With Confidence!)
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To: Girlene

Agreed, Girl. The panelists will understand the ROE in effect then very clearly by the time the defense attorneys are through drilling it into them as well as the political witchhunts that started with a certain Congressman.


23 posted on 01/07/2012 6:03:06 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: smoothsailing; jazusamo
S: Thanks for the post. J: Thanks for the ping.
I almost broke down as I read the whole report. I keep going back to two extremes. One the good Sargent holding one of his little girls in her bedroom, a picture posted here a few years back. And walking through the horrible events of that day for that squad of Marines on the ground. The parked cars, the potential haji that moved around those vehicles, the known expectancy of running into Iraqi that hated the US forces and would go against them, in that immediate AOR, the little Iraqi girl that later did admit she keep her hands on her ears in anticipation of a big blast to go off.
Our Marines quickly moving about to cover their own squad members. Shortly realizing one of them went down. Many of the thoughts that would have gone into each of their minds as the Sargent issued hand signals, verbal orders.
Haji laying low until the right moment to jump out of one of those neighboring houses, or stay in it at a window if targets of opportunity arouse so they could open up with their AK-47 and perhaps hand grenades. The instant reflexes members of the squad had to do to neutralize those goons standing about that white vehicle. Then blinks later, those that occupied those dwellings, not knowing just who was inside of them.
The goon somewhere within that mix that had a finger on a detonation button.
Simply put. A fucking pure Hell. And then to think back how the ex Marine goon from PA, said they murdered people in cold blood?
I earnestly hope, prayerfully, the judge as well as the prosecutor side will join the ranks of those that do represent the honor bound principles of the Marine Corps., and give in to pressure from the powers that be and end up fully dropping all charges against SSGT Wuterrich, and finally closing this case.
Let the good Sargent stay in the Corps. if he so desires and in any event, provide the way he can take care of his three little girls in the near and long term, not behind bars for something he does not deserve.
End of my prayer for this fine Marine.
I ask the Lord God of Abraham and Issac, as a Christian, to answer this prayer. So that this fine Marine's heart and all his as well as so many others, will finally be lifted up. We can then give HIM the praise and thanks for what HE had done. HE Knows the whole sequence. HE knows what these fine Marines where up against. He knows their hearts.
HE fully knows even beyond what we can appreciate,the ROE, they had to honor and obey, during that period of time, and the conditions these Marines where faced with.

Let HIS Almighty Hand of justice come upon this trial.

Enough said. Smooth and Jazz, and anyone else still tuned into this thread, do have a safe and healthy new day.
24 posted on 01/07/2012 10:12:22 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned.)
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To: Marine_Uncle
Let HIS Almighty Hand of justice come upon this trial.

Amen to that, MU. Well said.

25 posted on 01/08/2012 10:02:50 AM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: Marine_Uncle; jazusamo; RedRover
I almost broke down as I read the whole report. I keep going back to two extremes. One the good Sargent holding one of his little girls in her bedroom, a picture posted here a few years back. And walking through the horrible events of that day for that squad of Marines on the ground.


26 posted on 01/09/2012 10:48:05 AM PST by smoothsailing ((www.FrankWuterich,com))
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To: smoothsailing; lilycicero

Thanks for the link. There are photos there I’ve never seen! (Lily, you’ll want to check it out.)


27 posted on 01/09/2012 12:09:26 PM PST by RedRover
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To: smoothsailing

Yeah Smooth. That was the one. God bless him and his.


28 posted on 01/09/2012 12:51:55 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned.)
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To: RedRover; lilycicero

The pictures were taken by Max Gerber, the photographer who was assigned to the Time magazine “stories”.

Putting that aside, he has posted his thoughts along with the pictures on what appears to be his personal blog. It’s an interesting read as are the comments.

The pictures were taken in September 2006 and posted in June 2008.


29 posted on 01/09/2012 1:51:17 PM PST by smoothsailing ((www.FrankWuterich,com))
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To: smoothsailing; RedRover

Thanks for the pingaling...going to ck it out and the rest of the news for today!


30 posted on 01/09/2012 4:28:38 PM PST by lilycicero (Why do I feel like the slow cousin who only reads picture books?)
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To: jazusamo
...as well as the political witchhunts that started with a certain Congressman.

I go back further, to the yellow journalism of TIME's Tim McGirk and the cowardly response to his lies by the panty waist Pentagon. Dead Murtha merely jumped on the America-hating liberal bandwagon and let the Penatgon know they better play ball, and get somebody!

And now here is Frank Wuterich, more than six years after the deadly ambush.
Yeah, this is fair and just. I cannot believe the scumbag perfumed princes of the Pentagon haven't dropped all charges yet.

31 posted on 01/09/2012 4:40:23 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: All

Praying for SSGT Wuterich.


32 posted on 01/09/2012 4:48:25 PM PST by Velveeta
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To: smoothsailing; jazusamo; RedRover; Girlene; Marine_Uncle
MURTHA DECEASED

WUTERICH RELEASED

33 posted on 01/09/2012 5:00:55 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hussein: Islamo-Commie from Kenya)
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To: PhilDragoo; Marine_Uncle

“been a long time, PhilDragoo. Good to hear from you, and thanks for bringing me back to this thread. What a heartfelt and meaningful post 24, Marine Uncle.


34 posted on 01/09/2012 5:16:26 PM PST by Girlene
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To: Lancey Howard

You’re correct...McJerk started the lies by printing and adding to what insurgents fed him in Haditha. Then the powers that be in the Pentagon, which were never identified by Murtha or anyone else, promoted the outrageous story like sheep.

It’s sad that those people will never be held accountable by the people, as well as that certain Congressman.


35 posted on 01/09/2012 5:18:15 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: PhilDragoo

Thanks Phil, your graphic is most appropriate!


36 posted on 01/09/2012 5:21:27 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: lilycicero

I don’t think the Cartoon Network is covering the trial but it’s worth a look.


37 posted on 01/09/2012 5:32:03 PM PST by RedRover
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To: jazusamo
Higher Court ruled on Murtha. Iran's tide will dissolve Iraq's sand castle. Providence protect SSGT WUTERICH.
38 posted on 01/09/2012 5:35:54 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hussein: Islamo-Commie from Kenya)
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To: PhilDragoo

Amen!


39 posted on 01/09/2012 5:40:16 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: RedRover

May you live with ameerf :)


40 posted on 01/09/2012 7:31:33 PM PST by lilycicero
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To: PhilDragoo

Thanks for posting the graphic, Phil! Most Appropriate!


41 posted on 01/09/2012 8:17:01 PM PST by smoothsailing
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To: PhilDragoo

Your being a bit to kind of that jerk. I did not serve in the Marine Corps., but surely this clown is an EX-Marine. His honor went down the drain.


42 posted on 01/09/2012 11:44:29 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned.)
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To: Girlene

What can I say. It came from the heart.


43 posted on 01/09/2012 11:50:16 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned.)
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To: PhilDragoo; smoothsailing
Dead is dead but this would have been the best send-off...


44 posted on 01/10/2012 5:16:40 AM PST by RedRover
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To: PhilDragoo; smoothsailing
Dead is dead but this would have been the best send-off...


45 posted on 01/10/2012 5:16:52 AM PST by RedRover
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To: RedRover; PhilDragoo
Dead is dead but this would have been the best send-off...

Preceded by this.....

Photobucket

46 posted on 01/10/2012 8:50:18 AM PST by smoothsailing
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To: PhilDragoo; RedRover
...and it's not hard to guess where Murtha is today...

Photobucket

47 posted on 01/10/2012 8:59:32 AM PST by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing; RedRover; Marine_Uncle
Orwell's boot-in-the-face-forever becomes Murtha's slow-mo-IED-underfoot in eternity. Karma: rationalize this.
48 posted on 01/10/2012 1:17:09 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hussein: Islamo-Commie from Kenya)
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