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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Murtha Responds and Another Leak Appears

Rep. Murtha responded to Staff Sgt. Wuterich's defamation lawsuit today with basically another cut and run rant. From his Congressional Website...

I don’t blame the staff sergeant for lashing out. When I spoke up about Haditha, my intention was to draw attention to the horrendous pressure put on our troops in Iraq and to the cover-up of the incident.
[that was the extent of his response to the lawsuit - then he jumped into the Code Pink talking points...]

All this time, we’ve had at least 130,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq. In the last year, incidents have increased from 49 per day to 100 per day. About 14,000 Iraqis were killed in the last year, mostly in the last six months. Oil and electricity production are below pre-war level, and unemployment is 60 percent throughout most of the country. Our troops are in 120-degree temperatures with 70 pounds of equipment on their back, and they don’t know who the enemy is.

This conflict cannot be won militarily. Our troops are caught in the middle of a civil war. It’s well beyond the time to redeploy from Iraq.

And low and behold this amazing coincidence...

Nearly Complete Haditha Probe Supports Accusations Against Marines
"Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.
Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have completed their initial work on the incident last November, but may be asked to probe further as Marine Corps and Navy prosecutors review the evidence and determine whether to recommend criminal charges, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity."

Today is the first time in weeks that any information about the Haditha investigation has hit the media. Even today's article in the Washington Post (about the lawsuit) noted that the investigation was ongoing and results would be released later this summer. Quite a coinky-dink that the very day that the media reports the lawsuit, anonymous sources chime in claiming the investigation will support Murtha's claims. Are these the same sources that gave Murtha the initial briefing?

Dianna Irey, Murtha's Republican challenger, responded to Murtha's non-response. From her website...

Washington County Commissioner and Pennsylvania 12th district Republican Congressional nominee Diana Irey -- responding to Jack Murtha's statement today that "I don't blame the staff sergeant for lashing out," in response to a law suit filed against Murtha by Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, claiming defamation -- today released the following statement:

"I don't blame the staff sergeant for lashing out."

That's what Jack Murtha had to say today, responding to news that Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich has sued Murtha for defamation of character and libel.

"Lashing out?" Filing a lawsuit for libel and defamation is not 'lashing out' -- it is using the legal system to protect one's good name."

Leave it to Jack Murtha to libel a soldier and then call it 'lashing out' when the soldier responds in the appropriate manner."

Jack Murtha was wrong when he said Frank Wuterich and the Marines under his command 'killed innocent civilians in cold blood' before the first Marine was charged, before the first court-martial was convened, before the first soldier was convicted.

"Jack Murtha wasn't there. Jack Murtha has no idea what happened there that day, other than what he has been told. But that didn't stop him from declaring as fact that American Marines had 'killed innocent civilians in cold blood' before the investigations were even complete.

"Shame on you, Jack Murtha. You should know better."

Jack Murtha, of all people, should understand better than most the importance of letting the legal system work before rendering a judgment. If it hadn't been for the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, Jack Murtha's congressional career would have ended 26 years ago, when the FBI got him on tape first refusing a $50,000 bribe, and then saying, 'At this point, you know, we do business together for a while. Maybe I'll be interested and maybe I won't … Now, I won't say that some day, you know, I, if you made an offer, it may be I would change my mind some day."

Dang - that's gonna leave a mark...

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