Video: Marine’s lawyer discusses Haditha on CNN

posted at 2:43 pm on June 12, 2006 by Allahpundit

Here you go.

Mary Katherine Ham’s got a column at Town Hall today about some of the holes in the media’s coverage. It’s solid stuff, but it does make a bit too much of one point. MK writes (emphasis mine):

In a subsequent Time story, we have this correction:

In the original version of this story, TIME reported that “one of the most damning pieces of evidence investigators have in their possession, John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told Time’s Tim McGirk, is a photo, taken by a Marine with his cell phone that shows Iraqis kneeling — and thus posing no threat — before they were shot.”

While Sifton did tell TIME that there was photographic evidence, taken by Marines, he had only heard about the specific content of the photos from reports done by NBC, and had no firsthand knowledge. TIME regrets the error.

Well, I would hope they regret that one. When a major national news magazine claims there is specific photographic evidence of American Marines killing civilians while they were praying and it ends up being wrong, that correction should be as prominent as possible, especially when those Marines have not yet been charged or faced trial.

Sloppy reporting indeed from Time, but Mary K goes too far when she pronounces the claim “wrong.” Remember, folks — CNN has seen the photos. According to reporter Jamie McIntyre, they show:

# A woman and child leaning against the wall, heads slumped forward.

# Another woman and child shot in bed.

# A man sprawled face down with his legs behind him.

# An elderly woman slumped over, her neck possibly snapped by the force of gunfire.

All of the victims were wearing casual attire. Some had been shot in the head. Some were face down, others face up.

The first item listed, in particular, sounds somewhat similar to what Sifton described (depending upon whether the victims were facing towards the wall or away from it). Which, again, doesn’t excuse Time’s mistake, but it does mean that the claim can’t be dismissed out of hand.

I leave you with this from Major Chaz of Mind in the Qatar. Why in god’s name he’s subjecting himself to foreign media coverage of Haditha, I’ll never know.

Update: On the other hand, if any of the photos showed Iraqis kneeling — specifically, in the case of the first image listed, kneeling facing the wall — wouldn’t CNN have played up that fact to the hilt? And even if they did, what would it prove? Wuterich admits that they fired into the room through a cloud of smoke; some of the people inside might have been frightened enough to start praying when they heard the Marines barge into the house and might have ended up being struck by gunshots while in that position.

It all comes down to the forensics, doesn’t it? The latest on exhumation:

Pictures of the dead bodies taken by a Marine intelligence unit have convinced investigators that the Iraqis were shot at close range, some “execution-style,” and that charges including murder and dereliction of duty would be appropriate.

But defense attorneys are expected to argue that without autopsies, no such determination can be made. Military officials are seeking to persuade families to allow the bodies to be exhumed but, so far, have been rebuffed.

But it’s worth noting this bit from CNN:

Senior Pentagon officials have said a probe into the November deaths tends to support allegations that Marines carried out an unprovoked massacre after one of their comrades was killed by a roadside bomb.

Update: I meant to link this earlier but forgot. Thanks to “birdman” for reminding me. The Media Research Center compared the amount of news coverage of alleged military misconduct on the major networks over the last three weeks to the amount of coverage of medal recipients over the last five years, and found a little bit of an imbalance.

I can’t believe the numbers for the medal winners are as low as they claim, but see for yourself.

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“Massacre” “Indiscriminate” Thanks Soledad.. Next time just read the news please.

RobertCSampson on June 12, 2006 at 2:56 PM

Proof that retired Generals need to stay retired. Being a General does not make one and instant expert in all military topics. Especially ones that retired long before current events. Most of our training, tactics, techiniques and procedures are being written while we speak. So how can they be an expert? Soledad seems to be an EOF expert herself. Maybe I can get her to come train my Marines for me.

gator70 on June 12, 2006 at 3:00 PM

I think it is called ‘collateral damage.’ Infortunate, but it happens….this is war…we always mourn the loss of innocent life. Every war has these kinds of casualties….I still back our troops…they did what they were trained to do…NOW…lets get to the real stuff…those beheadings still have me puzzled…Anyone want to start an investigation into the right or wrong of those casualties. A trial and investigation into those incidents would be nice….right?

Sandys Beach on June 12, 2006 at 3:03 PM

What happened to verifying the facts before a reporter files the story? In my opinion the MSM doesn’t care when the story embarress the US, or our fighting troops. Get the report out to the masses, and hope no one will notice.

birdman on June 12, 2006 at 3:11 PM

it is a shame our marines have to fight for their lives in the msm, all it take is someone claiming abuse and the msm makes it so. I can see the enemy making these claims for their own purpose, but americans…oh thats right they are
socialist and hate everything american!!!!!!!!!!!

mike hale on June 12, 2006 at 3:17 PM

I was trained at Camp Legeune, most specific Camp Geiger for advanced combat training in 1962. Even then it was grenade 1st then enter the room if engaged. They were engaged. These generals are full of shit.

Wade on June 12, 2006 at 4:36 PM

Even if these civilians where executed, what makes us assume the Marines did it?

This kind of thing is the M.O. of the “insurgents” when dealing with civilians that want to cooperate with the coalition.

If these people where executed, I bet they where dead before the Marines entered the building. Remotely probably they where dead before the initial ambushes/firefights took place.

Wheee… wheeee…. I’m getting dizzy from the [media] spin on this one….

Lawrence on June 12, 2006 at 5:14 PM

Soledad doesn’t like it when someone has the audacity to deviate from the MSM script.

Iblis on June 12, 2006 at 5:17 PM

CNN claims Senior Pentagon Officials : a “probe”…”tends to support allegations that Marines carried out an unprovoked massacre after one of their comrades was killed by a roadside bomb.”
No name with this ‘probe’??? I can’t imagine any Senior Official from the Pentagon would say ‘unprovoked massacre’ unless it is Murtha reworded into a Pentagon Official.
CNN, shame on you. No named source, no respect from me.
Maybe the probe is from Al Jazeera,Murtha Al Pennsylvania, or Al somebody/somewhere.

shooter on June 12, 2006 at 5:26 PM

Heres some background. In the last 3 weeks ABC, NBC, and CBS have devoted over 3 and 1/2 hours to coverage of Haditha and only 52 minutes in the last 5 years to our greatest herros in the war on terror. The MSN is a 5th column. Information from Media Research

birdman on June 12, 2006 at 5:27 PM

birdman- good statistic’s,

i hate to sound like a tin-hat type but i think there is a
internal war being wage inside america today.
we have the socialist left vs. the conservative right.
make no mistake, the terms of “left wing”, “liberals”
and “democratic party” are nothing more than euphemism
for socialist. They control the media,education system…
and the msm is their voice! while im on this vent-
what is going to happen when the ilegals control the south west through their “vote” what happens when they decide they want to become their own autonomy

mike hale on June 12, 2006 at 8:31 PM

Just heard Pantano on the radi0 with Hannity talking about what war is really like in Iraq.

He said “every terrorists that shoots at us or we kill, looks like a civilian, Zarqawi looked like a civilian.”

He said, “It takes a village to plant an IED, including women and children, lots of people needed for digging, mapping, reconnisance”

He also said his unit found an IED at 2AM with a flashlight, it was a 500-lb bomb, the wires led to a civilian home,

He said “The saddest part of it was that across the street from the bomb was a new school that was going to open the next day…”

and at the end of the wire, at the house, was a 12 year old boy. When they approached the boy, he said his father had been killed and that “bad guys” were making him do it.

Pantano said the boy was crying and he might have been telling the truth.

Pantano said this is the type of war our Marines they are fighting everyday… civilians are the terrorists and vice-versa..

This is totally consistent with what I’ve been hearing from the Marines I’m friends with and drank beer with during Fleet Week.

Richard Davis on June 12, 2006 at 8:36 PM

What a bunch of crap. Fact is, we could simply not wage the war that we did in the 40’s in this day and age. The brainless liberals expect our troops to go and knock on peoples doors, people who are in the war zones,and ask them nicely if they are enemies that we should SHOOT or not. Spare me. These murdering Muslims are doing EXACTLY what that other idiot did who met up with a couple bombs, surrounding themselves with “innocents” in the attempt to thwart the work of the troops acting against them, and if that doesn’t work, to AT LEAST create turmoil here by “using” the brain dead liberals and MSM to cry around about it if they all DO get killed.

War is hell, period. In wars, people die, period. The alternative to this war is for all of us to either start worshipping Islam and practicing that so called “religion of peace”, or to die, or both.

So let’s try this, let’s gather up all these people crying around about people getting killed in the WAR, and cover up all the women in burkas and then after the men dress in beards and rags and get finished beating and killing all the women in their families who resist or “sin” against Islam, force them all to worship the “religion of peace” so they can see first hand just what they are actually FIGHTING FOR.

And maybe they will actually learn what Ann really meant when she said we should “kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity”.

NRA4Freedom on June 12, 2006 at 9:24 PM

I guess the Liberals want our guys to get shot at and we can’t shoot back…

What, the Liberals just want our guys to DIE??

The terrorists use women and children as shields, the terrorists dress like – civilians.

Are out Troops just supposed to get shot at and not shoot back??

Liberals, they may as well be right next to the terrorists as they bury the IED’s or plan the next ambush.

Richard Davis on June 12, 2006 at 10:10 PM

Soledad O’Brien should be ashamed of herself. “Opening fire indiscriminately”

The MSM has become the enemy when they take the word of terrorists instead the word of a US Marine.

She has no idea what happened that day despite the fact she says CNN employees have the answers. They were not there and do not have the facts.

Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich was there and knows what happened and that is why his attorney came on to defend the outrageous charges leveled against him.

But Soledad wants to believe the rumors spread by the Islamist Terrorists and her so called experts that were not there.

When are we going to call a spade a spade. These people are traitors not reporters.

ScottyDog on June 13, 2006 at 11:13 AM