Well, the Marine Corps investigator has now dropped all charges against 3 of the 8 accused Marines in the case, and only one Marine still stands accused of crimes at the scene. The others are charged with various after-the-fact issues that arose from investigations of Haditha, not the events themselves. Murtha’s aim, of course, in accusing the Marines of murder “in cold blood” was to pin the blame on Bush. But in the process of blaming Bush, he slandered those Marines.
One of those Marines, Col. Jeffrey Chessani, plans to sue Murtha once he’s exonerated.
Brian Rooney, one of the attorneys at Michigan’s Thomas More Law Center representing Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani and a former Marine captain himself told NewsMax.com that his client, who is alleged to have failed to fully investigate the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha November, 2005 and not reporting an alleged Law of War violation, may follow the example of another Haditha Marine, SSgt. Frank Wuterich who is suing Murtha for libel.
Recall that Murtha claimed to base his accusations on internal Marine Corps investigations and reports. Well, I have the 31-page report that the investigating officer issued that exonerated several of the Marines. From page 20:
Based on that reasoning, the case against Wuterich is likely to fall apart too. He is the last Marine against whom charges from that night remain. If the charges against him fall, game over. Jack Murtha will have slandered Marines who acted according to their training during the course of ongoing combat.
Now, in the wake of this, will any Democrat pundits step up and criticize Murtha for rushing to judgment against US troops? Well, here’s Matthew Yglesias, lazily slandering Yuval Levin and by extension pretty much all other conservative opinionaters over farm subsidies, subsidies that hardly any conservatives ever actually supported. If Yglesias had bothered to do any research before just asserting, he would have known that. But that’s evidently too much to ask of a man who makes his living offering his opinions. And here’s Kirsten Powers, lazily smearing pro-immigration enforcement pundits as “nativists” and racists in lieu of making any actual, logical arguments to back up her anarchic position on immigration law. I’m sure she’s not referring to anyone connected to Hot Air, which happens to be owned and operated by the one pundit most closely identified with immigration enforcement, right? But if not, who? Well, she doesn’t specify. It’s easier to paint with a broad brush and then hide behind the “Heavens, of course I’m not talking about you!” defense. It’s lazy is what it is. Gathering facts and marshaling them on the way to making actual arguments is evidently too much to ask of yet another liberal who makes a living offering opinions on issues of the day. It’s much more fun just to call people names.
But nope, no criticism of Murtha. Don’t you people support the troops in any tangible way, ever?
In fact, if one thing seems to unite liberal lawmakers and pundits these days, it’s the art of the lazy and counterfactual smear. “Bush LIED!” “All conservatives from the South are raaacists.” Etc. Smear Marines here, bloggers over there, the president just for fun, whatever, whoever and wherever, why bother to do any research when smears are so handy and easy to write and will land you gigs at USA Today and Time magazine?
Well, I’m cheering on any Marine who chooses to sue Jack Murtha over his Haditha comments. He got himself way out ahead of the facts, and now the facts are sneaking up to bite him on the backside. He deserves it, and it’s about time someone got some justice over one of these slanders.
Update: It’s evidently even too much to ask the NY Times to do any fact-checking at all. Good thing they have all those layers of editors!
Update: I added the paragraph that immediately follows the passage that I’d already posted from the IO report, as it directly refutes Murtha’s claims that the Marines entered the house with the intent to commit murder. They’re both from page 18 of the report, which Adobe Acrobat renders as page 20.