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It started in November 2005. It became a political witch-hunt after Time’s Tim McGirk plastered the media with half-truths, suspect statements from “eyewitnesses” and a great deal of hearsay. It exploded into an anti-war talking point once John Murtha called it “cold blooded murder” and compared it to My Lai. The media and the anti-war crowd were salivating at the thought of US Marines convicted of murder. It did not occur to them that the Marines deserved the benefit of the doubt – you know, innocent until proven guilty.
The Article 32 Hearing for LCpl Justin Sharratt wrapped up Friday June 15. This was the third hearing for the seven Marines charged in the incident at Haditha in November 2005. Now that there is sworn testimony out in public (not just cherry picked leaked information), the media seems to have lost interest in the story. Other than the NC Times, most media outlets pick up abbreviated versions of the wire stories. Murtha is suddenly silent. Time does not have time for coverage. This means that a great deal of evidence has not been disseminated to the wide audience that was bombarded with premature claims of cold-blooded murder.
So doing the job the media fails to do, here are some of the facts from the Haditha cases.
Did you know that the Article 32 Hearing officer, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, stated "What the evidence points to is that the version of the Iraqis isn't really supported” during the closing of LCpl Justin Sharratt’s hearing?
Did you know that the wounds of the four “civilians” in the last house came from at least 2 feet away, which negates the claims of “execution style”?
Did you know that the witnesses who claimed the four young men were herded into a closet and shot were not even in the home during the firefight?
Did you know that the four “innocent civilians” attempted to kill the Marines with AK-47’s and were stopped only by the quick response of LCpl Sharratt and Sgt. Wuterich?
Did you know that aerial drones filmed the events that occurred on that fateful day in Haditha?
Did you know that footage from a drone shows an insurgent leaving a home carrying a child and attempting to blend in only to be discovered by the Marines due to a bloody ear?
Did you know that intelligence reports prior to November 19 2005 indicated an ambush was planned for that day and a white car would figure prominently in the attack?
Did you know that Lt. William Kallop ordered Sgt. Wuterich to “clear a group of building” south of the bomb crater after arriving on the scene in Haditha?
Did you know that the Armory Officer for Kilo Co received two AK-47s at the ambush site along with a suitcase that contained a million Iraqi dinars and Jordanian passports?
Did you know that Lt. Col Chessani has reported everything he knew about the incident o his superior officers and none called for an investigation?
Did you know that LCpl Justin Sharratt passed a polygraph exam, which was included in the NCIS report but not reported with any of the more lurid leaked information?
Did you know that the Battalion Intelligence Officer’s after action report included photographic evidence, logs of all the day’s radio transmissions and a narrative of the day’s events?
Did you know that the after-action report including a PowerPoint presentation were sent up the command ladder to all the higher officers and not one recommended further investigation?
Did you know that NCIS did no background research on any of the “civilians” killed in Haditha other than checking an insurgent database for the names?
Did you know that NCIS investigators spent approximately 1 hour interviewing the “witnesses” due to the extreme level of violence in Haditha?
Did you know that the “budding journalism student” responsible for the video at the root of the investigation was known to be part of the anti-government, anti-American Sunni insurgent sympathizers inhabiting Haditha a year prior to November 19, 2005?
Of course you didn’t know about any of the above facts. Instead, the media has focused on the Marine who testified that he urinated on the dead body of an Iraqi. They have reported the claims of photos showing powder burns without ever examining the bodies. The media would rather tell you about wounds to the head and equate them to execution style killings.
Seven Marines and their families have been subjected to poison arrows thrown by the media, blowhard politicians and the anti-war crowd. Their finances have been depleted & their lives a constant turmoil… All because of a political agenda that can only survive by plying the public with massive doses of propaganda. What did these Marines do to deserve such an injustice? They served their country in a time of war and defended their lives in a kill or be killed situation. The only thing cold-blooded and out of control in this whole Haditha incident has been the attempt to score political points by those pointing fingers at the Marines. But don’t count on any of that to be reported in the media.
Published at OpinionEditorials.com 6/18/07
UPDATE 1: 6/18/07 2200
As those that have followed Chickenhawk Express since it opened know, there was another article I wrote that was a "Did you know" about Iraq reconstruction. The article was excerpted and sent out as an email that ended up forwarded everywhere. It even made the NYT and the AP.
In the same vein, one way we can make sure the word gets out about Haditha and the harassment of the Marines is to take the above article, turn it into an email and forward the hell outta it. Since it's my article, you have my permission to use it as you see fit. The key is GET THE WORD OUT! Since the media and even the talk radio guys don't seem to be interested. I've already sent it to my Senators and Congressmen.
ALSO BLOGGING ABOUT HADITHA:
MacsMind - Media malpractice on Haditha
Gateway Pundit - Murtha About To Get Pummeled By the Haditha Truth
California Conservative - The CoverUp Unravels
PoliPundit - “Haditha case officer doubts prosecution claims of execution”
Conservative Thoughts - Young Marines on Trial, Older Marines Say Enough! (**great idea to get the word out in this post)
Freedom of Philadephia - Haditha Marines get closer to redemption
The Democracy Project - Latest Haditha Prosecution Implosion
The Baltimore Reporter - Haditha Truth Massacred by the Media