The media is still harping on the “Haditha Massacre”. It is not enough that these young men were subjected to an extreme case of presumption of guilt without a trial. It is not enough that Murtha pronounced the Marines “cold blooded murderers” and accused those in command of a cover up. Despite the FACT that 3 Article 32 hearings have ended in dismissal of charges, the media refuses to admit they were wrong about Haditha.
Paul von Zielbauer launched the latest salvo against the heroes in today’s NY Times. The level of ignorance and hubris exhibited by Mr. von Zielbauer surpasses that of Mike Nifong. The article “Marines’ Trials in Iraq Killings Are Withering” is a disgusting smorgasbord of lies and distortions.
When the charges were filed against the Haditha Marines I was overwhelmed with disbelief. So many inconsistencies and “witnesses” with backgrounds steeped in terrorist enabling yet the NCIS still felt charges were necessary. Once my anger died down I realized that the hearings were probably for the best. It would get the facts out in the open. Once the charges were dismissed the media would not be able to claim the incident was covered up by a complicit military.
Apparently I was wrong. Mr. von Zielbauer is not willing to let a little thing like exoneration and dismissal of charges get in the way of his preconceived notions of guilt. There was no rampage. There was no massacre. There was no cold-blooded vengeance.
According to Lt Col Paul Ware’s report from LCpl Stephen Tatum’s hearing…
“LCpl Tatum shot and killed people in houses 1 and 2, but the reason he did so was because of his training and the circumstances he was placed in, not to exact revenge and commit murder.”
Lt Col Ware had this to say in his report from LCpl Justin Sharratt’s hearing…
“Whether this was a brave act of combat against the enemy or tragedy of misperception born out of conducting combat with an enemy that hides among innocents, LCpl Sharratt’s actions were in accord with the rules of engagement and use of force.”
Lt Col Ware had a front row seat during the hearings. He read all of the statements and saw all the evidence. Why would anyone take the word of a self-serving partisan media hack over the Lt. Col?
Prosecuting the Haditha cases was difficult but not for the reason von Zielbauer listed. It’s because the cases were without merit. Inconsistent witness testimony was the norm. (The witnesses could not even get their statements to the media consistent prior to the hearings). Prosecution witnesses changed their stories more than a new mom changes her baby’s diaper (not to mention the failed lie detector tests). NCIS agents approached their investigation with preconceived notions of guilt. Sloppy investigative work was done by NCIS agents including a failure to follow up on evidence linking some of the victims to insurgents. Virtual autopsies and forensics by photo were far from compelling. There was no reason for charges to be filed other than to satisfy the desire to discredit the US military and the war effort.
There is a reason that prosecutors were not able to prove that the killings violated the Americans military code of justice. It’s because the killings did not violate any code of justice, whether it be military or civilian. Not because of some deep dark military conspiracy. These Marines went to Hell and back for this country. They were in situations that only nightmares are made of. They deserve our respect and our thanks. Instead the media continues to point the finger of blame at the heroes while making excuses for those that would rather see us all dead.
General Mattis said the following in his statement to LCpl Sharratt upon dismissal of the charges…
"With the dismissal of these charges LCpl Sharratt may fairly conclude that he did his best to live up to the standards, followed by U.S. fighting men throughout our many wars, in the face of life or death decisions made in a matter of seconds in combat. And as he has always remained cloaked in the presumption of innocence, with this dismissal of charges, he remains in the eyes of the law – and in my eyes – innocent."
What part of that don’t you understand Mr. von Zielbauer?
This Ain't Hell - NY Times; punish those Haditha Marines even if they’re innocent
Hang Right Politics - ONLY ONE MARINE LEFT TO BE PROSECUTED IN THE “HADITHA” INCIDENT. ALL OTHERS EXHONERATED.
Protein Wisdom - The Big Picture(s): Haditha Addendum
Papa Mike's Blog - Murtha And The NY Times Finds Haditha Marines Guilty?
Wizbang - Haditha prosecution crumbling?
The Haditha - My Lai Lie - Part 4 of the Haditha Series
Betrayal: IVAW and the Haditha Marines - Part 3 in the Haditha Series
Convicting the Haditha Marines Without a Trial - Part 2 Tim HarperThey Convicted the Haditha Marines Without a Trial - Part I Newsweek
For More on Haditha - enter "Haditha" into Search