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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Haditha Incident Was Entirely Within ROE Per Platoon Commander

The first hearing for one of the Marines charged in the Haditha Incident started today. Capt Randy Stone has been charged with dereliction of duty for not fully investigating the incident. Amazingly Capt Stone was not even near the site - he only did the initial review.

The very first witness, 1st Lt. Kallop, set the tone for the rest of the hearing and the subsequent ones. Not only did he corroborate everything Sgt. Wuterich said in the 60 Minutes interview, Kallop debunked all of fatboy Murtha's claims. From the NC Times...
Stone's' attorney Charles Gittins asked Kallop what the Marines did wrong that day."Nothing," Kallop said, adding he did not believe the incident required anything more than a standard "after-action" review by commanders.

Scheduled to head back to Iraq on Wednesday and granted immunity for his testimony, Kallop said he conducted a brief inspection of the homes following the assault and said it appeared that about 15 Iraqis had been killed.

He said he directed Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich and his men to attack the houses after a Marine reported seeing a suspected insurgent near one and believing the small arms fire was being directed from inside the residences. The action followed a roadside bombing that killed a lance corporal and injured another Marine.

"I essentially told them to try and bust them out ---- find the (bomb) triggerman, find the insurgents," Kallop testified.

Wuterich later told him the men used grenades to clear rooms and then followed up with small arms fire. When it was all over, no weapons were found inside the homes and none of the slain were later determined to be insurgents. The men did find passports and other material in one home that they believed were left behind by attackers.

Kallop said the troops were surprised when they didn't find any insurgent bodies or weapons. He also testified that Cpl. Hector Salinas told him he was certain he had heard AK-47 gunfire coming from one of the homes.

Kallop was the first officer to arrive after the roadside bomb destroyed a Humvee and killed Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas. Kallop said Wuterich told him that in addition to the people killed inside the homes, five men were shot and killed after they emerged from a car that drove up moments after the bombing and refused orders to stop running.

Kallop's testimony should essentially shut the book on the entire Haditha incident. He was in command at the scene. He ordered the houses cleared. The Marines did nothing wrong - they followed the rules of engagement. There was no coverup. There was no cold blooded murder by Marines under too much pressure. The Marines weren't running wild through the neighborhood shooting at everything that moved. The Marines were fighting a battle in a war. How can they possibly be punished for that?

I look forward to hearing the testimony of Gen. Huck later this week. In the meantime, think back to what Murtha said about these Marines and try to square it with what really happened. Then try to convince me that this worthless POS traitor should remain in the House...

The only way Haditha mirrors Vietnam is soldiers from each were slimed and falsely accused by a member of Congress waving the badge of military service for credibility.

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