May 18, 2006
Ex-Marine John Murtha has taken the extraordinary step of accusing U.S. Marines of war crimes before a joint NCIS/Multi-National Forces investigation has been completed of an incident that occurred on November 19, 2005.
On that date, a U.S. Marine convoy in Haditha, Iraq was hit by an IED, killing Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas and wounding two others. After the explosion, the Marines stormed nearby building and killed 15 people inside, three of them children.
Army Times provides Murtha's exact charges:
Rep. John Murtha, an influential Pennsylvania lawmaker and outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, said today Marines had “killed innocent civilians in cold blood” after allegedly responding to a roadside bomb ambush that killed a Marine during a patrol in Haditha, Iraq, Nov. 19.
“It's much worse than was reported in Time magazine,” Murtha, a Democrat, former Marine colonel and Vietnam war veteran, told reporters on Capitol Hill.
“There was no firefight. There was no [bomb] that killed those innocent people,” Murtha explained, adding there were “about twice as many” Iraqis killed than Time had reported.
No official investigation report has been released by the Pentagon and a spokesman for Murtha was unable to add to the congressman's remarks.
Murtha said combat stress prompted the Marines' alleged rampage.
“It's a very serious incident, unfortunately. It shows the tremendous pressure that these guys are under every day when they're out in combat,” he said. “One man was killed with an [improvised explosive device] and after that they actually went into the houses and killed women and children.”
Let's take a step back for a second, and take a deep breath before we proceed.
. . .
First off, it is unconscionable for any legislator to accuse U.S. military personnel of multiple counts of premeditated murder before an investigation into these charges is complete. Prosecutions must proceed at their own logical pace as evidence in the case dictates. Premature accusations by a public figure in such a case imposes an artificial timeline, endangering the accuracy and thoroughness of an investigation.
At the same time, such heated rhetoric as charges of murder of "innocent civilians in cold blood" is prejudicial against the defendants, poisoning public opinion against them. This would be an explosive charge in a civilian court, but to make such charges against members of the U.S. Military when they are engaged in military operations in that country is absolutely fissionable.
To make such strong charges while our soldiers are in that combat theater of operations is to unnecessarily inflame Iraqi public opinion against our soldiers and place the lives of U.S. servicemen and women in danger of reprisal attacks based upon Murtha's claims, which to date, are unsupported.
John Murtha makes claims that the civilians were killed by the Marines "in cold blood." This is an inflammatory charge that does not seem in the least possible by the undisputed events of the case.
"In cold blood" is defined as "Deliberately, coldly, and dispassionately." It is also generally referred to in legal terms as premeditated murder whereby the accused is said to have planned out his homicide beforehand. In this event, an IED killed an American Marine and injured two others, at which point the surviving Marines stormed a nearby house and killed the occupants. Whether or not these deaths were justified or not is for the investigation to determine, but no credible individual could ever make the claim that these deaths were preordained.
Murtha also makes a claim that I've heard nowhere else, where he alleges that "about twice as many" people died in that house that day, putting the number of civilians killed at or near 30. This claim is not supported by the original Time article, nor can I find support for anything approaching this number from any other sources. Murtha does not even even attempt to provide support for these extra charges, he simple ascribes roughly 30 premeditated murders to U.S. Marines as casually as if he was ordering a cappuccino.
He does so before they have even been so much as charged with a crime. Murtha seeks to leave no doubt that this was anything other than a massacre of innocents. But is that actually what occurred?
I first came across this story on March 20th of this year, and at the time I wrote:
There is the possibility that the Marines did gun down innocent civilians as local Iraqis claim.
But it is equally as possible that one or more people inside the house opened fire upon the Marines in an ambush after the IED went off. It has happened that way frequently, and that exact scenario left ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt seriously wounded, when the IED attack that wounded them was followed by small arms fire from nearby buildings. The attack was broken when coalition forces counterattacked.
Someone who truly supports the troops, even if they do not support the war, would want this incident fully investigated to uncover the truth. They would want to know the facts.
They would want to know if the Marines fired out of blind rage at the loss of their friends, and they would be equally interested in finding out if the Marines assaulted that location because someone inside fired upon them, as they claimed. Was it a slaughter of innocents, or were insurgents firing from within civilian homes? Were those that triggered the IED among the dead? We do not yet know, and some are already passing judgment.
"We do not yet know, and some are already passing judgment."
I had no idea just how accurate those words would prove to be. Congressman John Murtha has now gone so far as to accuse American Marines of cold-blooded murder before an investigation has been completed, and roughly doubled the number of dead without any support for his charges, with the sole apparent goal of inflaming outrage at the expense of our military's safety.
It would seem appropriate that the United States House of Representatives should at the very least censure Congressman Murtha, who has gone so far out of his way to initiate such inflammatory and potentially dangerous rhetoric. He has dishonored his seat, the military criminal justice system, the Marine Corps and the United States of America.
How a man can make such vicious, unsupported claims and still claim to love the Marine Corps and America is beyond my understanding.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 18, 2006 12:54 AM
I would suggest he adores his new love more than any affection he ever had for the USMC or the USA, it is basking in the light provided by an adoring MSM provided he continues his Baghdad Bob routine.
I wonder how long the people in his district can stomach his antics.
If there's a case to be made for Censure, John Murtha goes right to the top of the list. I'll be very surprised if this statement doesn't become an Islamist propaganda bonanza of very short order.
Sounds like the man is taking lessons from John Kerry and his hate all the military but support them crowd. He has probably researched all the Vietman War hot buttons and found the My Lai incident provoked the most public outrage. He has then searched for a closely applicable Iraq situation. Cut..Paste...Quagmire...Vietnam....
Damn...why won't the unwashed masses rise to the occasion as they did back then? This will work John...John Kerry is getting ready to report for duty as soon as this works. Dust off the old magic hat and bask in the glory of a Senate hearing..........................
Help us all
Murtha-furcka ought to be strung up for treason.
Why am I suspicious that Murtha's military record is as undistinguished as JFK's 100 days in bandaids on river patrol? Murtha spent something like 35 years double dipping as a reserve officer, and how long on active duty, where, doing what?
Is he a hero or a candidate for the Joseph Ellis service award?
In any event, allowing oneself to be described as a war hero in the DBM, and using the designation to give moral authority to one's political statements, is ninth circle of hell material.
Even so, it is not as bad as Murtha's unspeakably evil actions in this case.
I read a report about this over at Drudge earlier this morning. I must say, CY, that you have done a much better job presenting commentary and perspective; of course, I've come to expect that of you.
John Murtha rendered himself ineffectual months ago with his "get out of Iraq now" rhetoric. Any tactician or strategist could point out the lunacy of withdrawing troops to “over the horizon” retrograde positions. The logistics and communications pieces alone would have been enormous. Enough about that…
I believe TJ Jackson hit the nail right on the head with: I would suggest he adores his new love more than any affection he ever had for the USMC or the USA,… John Murtha is sacrificing himself for the good of the party. He is trying to resurrect the Vietnam outcry for a pullout from Iraq. If successful, the Democrats become postured exceedingly well for this fall’s elections.
This is not something that can be taken lightly; because if the Democrats succeed – the nation loses. If "through dissent and protest, America loses the ability to mobilize a will to win" – we will lose the war against radical Islamic terrorists. I just used a modified quote of Colonel Bui Tin, Chief of Staff to General Vo Nguyen Giap, commander of all North Vietnamese forces, to correlate the significance of trying to resurrect the popular dissention associated with Vietnam. This is a very dangerous game the Democrats are playing, because if they succeed – we lose. I cannot fathom a party so desperate to regain power that they will sacrifice the whole nation.
Disgraced John Murtha is not the issue. He is a political catalyst intended to trigger a wave of dissention which his party can ride to victory. John Kerry is probably waxing his surf board right now.
Thank goodness we live in a country that even during a time of war, everyone has the freedom of speech to call for censure of our elected govt officials who exercise their own freedom of speech. What makes anything the man says unsubstantiated? Because you couldn't Google it? I noticed you didn't say he lied. I noticed you didn't say he fabricated anything. Just that it couldn't be substantiated. Why stop at censure? Lets see if we can't get Pat Roberts to pray for Jesus to put out a "contract" on the man...
Funny how if Prez Bush says there are WMD and a Saddy & Sami connection we should believe him and when we find it was wrong, we shrug our shoulders and say "ah, shucks. Intel bad.", Never mind the very REAL (not just potentially dangerous) consequences of those vicious and unsupported claims : 2400+ dead US soldiers, 10ks of wounded US soldiers, 50k+ dead Iraqis, and $100's of billions of tax payers money.
Whoops, forgot about the executive branch's power to invoke a Presidential Mulligan...
Matt, the problem is that Murtha is reporting as fact something that is still being investigated. If this were a civilian matter it would amount to jury tampering or at a minimum result in a mistrial declaration.
See, another part about the American justice system is that someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Unless, apprently, you are military or conservative then you are guilty until the press and the left tire of abusing you.
Making such statements at this time doesn't depend on the truth--yet. Fact is, he is more likely to hurt the prosectution's case than help--and all for a few political points and press conference.
That's the shameful part.
If the investigation finds this happened then Murtha is free to condemn them as much as possible. Doing so before the investigation ends much less a trial is the height of irresponsibility and he should know better.
"I noticed you didn't say he lied. I noticed you didn't say he fabricated anything. Just that it couldn't be substantiated."
That's right: It's called 'even-handedness'. CY is being careful with the facts, just as he wants Murtha (as a public figure whose words will be widely disseminated) to be. Those of us who understand that concept have no trouble comprehending CY's piece.
The sad point is that there is some truth to his accusations, though. No matter what you think of Murtha, it IS true that the substance of his statements are true. Three officers with 3/1 were relieved, including the battalion commander.
The shocking part is that this investigation is taking so long, and that the press hasn't been screaming about it yet.
I think so far the media and the politicians have been pretty responsible about this story. But it is an explosive story that is now six months old. The Marine Corps has had plenty of time to put out a more detailed version than the little we've been told so far. All we have to go on are rumors from the media, and wild accusations from Iraqis.
My battalion was in that area before being relieved by 3/1. I hope that the worst of the accusations about them are not true, but if they are true I hope anyone responsible is punished severely. I would not want them to be associated with me.
Let's hope that all indications are wrong, and these killings were justifiable, or at least innocently mistaken.
”Thank goodness we live in a country that even during a time of war, everyone has the freedom of speech to call for censure of our elected govt officials who exercise their own freedom of speech.”
Matt a, why is it that every time a liberal gets caught uttering unsubstantiated “facts”, like Murtha’s preset blunder, “freedom of speech” are the first words to enter into the discussion. Yes, Murtha has “freedom of speech”, but he does not have freedom from consequences! He has uttered words that al Jazeera will probably have up soon if not already. Why do liberals take great delight in making public statements that our enemy will most likely use against us? I just cannot understand that kind of mentality.
We are at war, right wrong or indifferent. First and foremost should be a national will to win the war. Political maneuvering should be secondary. Certainly, public statements should be tempered with reason so as not to aid our enemy. Publicly stating (as a fact) that Marines cold bloodedly killed 30 innocents while an investigation is still ongoing is reprehensible. The only possible motivation is as I stated in my earlier comment.
I remind everyone, Murtha also had the freedom to not speak.
Sheesh, is Matt serious? Is he really equating the consensus estimates of the world's intel agencies with Murtha's offhand remarks?
It's shocking enough that Murtha said what he did, especially the "in cold blood" part. It's unbelievable that people are actually defending it.
Just more "supporting the troops," I guess.
First, let's look at the facts that are known and can be substantiated.
Fact: The investigation is still going on but three officers were already relieved of their duties for their actions in this incident or their attempts to cover it up.
Fact: Some of the victims in this case, including women and children, appear to have been shot at point blank range.
Fact: The original incident report filed shortly after this incident said an IED was responsible for the civilian casualties. The Army is now saying that story was a fabrication.
Congressman Murtha is a hero. You guys are not fit to clean his boots, let alone call him a traitor. But please, I beg you, get one of your wingnut congressmen to talk up the idea. That congressman will be an ex-member of congress in January of 2007. The country is finally tiring of being lead by fear and intimidation. The meme of calling your critics a traitor worked wonders in 2003 but this is 2006. It's not going to work anymore. Look at your polling numbers and remember this advice, when in a whole, it's best to stop digging.
I guess Murtha thinks it's OK to say anything he wants to get top billing at Al-Jazeera and any other terrorist rag that's out there. How many Marines lives are now in danger from some wacko trying to get "justice" for what Murtha says was done. Murtha is a disgrace and I don't give a rat's rear end what he did in Vietnam. He's thrown all that away now.
Why is it you bleeding heart liberals cannot fathom the phrase "innocent until proven guilty"? Also why is it that you accept as fact Murtha's words....when the facts are not yet revealed? Is he a devine being? Oh, damn, I forgot....yes! He is devine....after all he is anti-war, and anti-military...a true PR flack for the liberals
Shame on him and his ilk for their demonstration, not of freedom of speech, but instead, freedom from factual, supported statements. Convient isn't it....just thrown enough shxx against the wall and see if it sticks!
By the way one digs a "hole", not a "whole"...
First let me say that Murtha is wrong in saying anything about the situation even if true. But what makes me sad is that this is the same thing the news and politicians did to Vietnam. Almost as if they took the original script and applied it verbatum. If the military is there let them do what the military does best which is kill. If you don't want them to kill then bring them home. If you want someone to take care of civilians, then send in the police, not the military. If my son were over there I would be telling him to kill anything that moved.
Faith - First off, Murtha is not connected to the ongoing investigation, so why shouldn't he say something? This is the first time someone has done that? Don't remember a single Rep congressman weighing in on the "star" investigations of Clinton? Hmm...double standard, nah...What if everything Murtha said was correct? How did he taint a jury pool that would hear the same thing? Nevermind, lets censor him now...This is politics at its best, spin what someone says and ignore the outcome. BTW, someone should go tell all those Iraqi women and children to shut up about this "alleged" tragedy that has taken years to investigate so they don't taint our jury pool. If our own elected officials can't get away with it, neither should they...
OldSoldier - When did I declare I was a liberal? Because I didn't agree with CY? Because I won't condem a man for making remarks that may or may not be true? Wow! Imagine a conversation with a conservative who at some point doesn't bring up "We are at war on !" as the last line of defense rationale. With who? Terrorists? People living in caves half-way around the world who make a audio/video tape once every 6 monthes to remind the world they are still alive living in a cave. Same old song and dance of FUD. Remember the 50's with Communists? 70's - Gas, 80's - Drugs, 90's - Gays in the millitary, 2000 - Gay Marriage, 2004 - war on terror. War on Christmas somewhere in there. That's already old, now its the war on illegal immigration. And as long as we are going to make wide-sweeping generalizations, the only "enemy" I've ever seen use a liberal's comments as propaganda has been conservatives. Murtha on al Jazeera? Must be a slow news day. They are usually too busy filming car/suicide bombings to tune into CSPAN. Please. He can't even get on CNN...BTW, I'm a registered Republican (who voted for Dole in 96) who is simply tired of leaders acting like politicians and not leaders...
TallDave - Unless you are willing to state that you think Murtha is out-and-out lying, then he is getting his "intel" from somewhere also. So yes, whether its the "consensus" of the intel agencies or the intel of a retired millitary man with sources, it is conparable.
Murtha isn't the judge or jury for those responsible for this incident. Of course they are entitled to a fair hearing before an apporpriate court. But we should know who "they" are and that is what Murtha wants. Also, thanks for correcting my spelling but it seems to me you have trouble with reading comprehension. I listed three facts. Look them up. Do you need a jury trial to see if three officers really were relieved of their duties? If you have an issue with the statement about civilians being shot at point blank range, complain to the army, they said it. The army is also saying the original incident report was fabricated. Why does the army hate america?
You wingnuts are all the same. There is always some boogey man that prevents your grand plans from succeeding. It's not that time and experience has proven us (the war critics) right and you (the useful idiots of the fighting 101st keyboard brigade) wrong. No, that can't be. It's the MSM!
It's Murtha! It's always someone elses' fault isn't it? By all means, get the professor and the rest of Pajamas media talking up the idea of censure. Please, please do it. You own it to your unit. Keep fighting the good fight and someday soon you'll have a democratic president to blame for destroying all the great things the good lord mandated Bush to do.
What jury pool are talking about? Any prosecution that would result from this incident would be before a military, not civilian court. Trust me on this, I think they can handle it. The military, the real one, not the fictional 101st, still holds itself to a high standard of honorable behavior. They expect and nearly always recieve the truth from their soldiers. Even if that truth is self incriminating. Unfortunately, the civilians in charge have a more casual relationship with honor and honesty.
You are only partially right about Murtha's hero status...
...he WAS a hero.
"You wingnuts are all the same"
The sound of a man who's made up his mind, no matter what.
The sound of a man whose opinion doesn't usually count for much, loves the attention he's getting, and craves more.
Matt a, touch a nerve? Those people “who live in caves”, managed to put three airliners into buildings in US cities and a fourth in a field due to the heroics of the unwilling passengers. Remember close to 3,000 “innocent” civilians dying on our own soil? These fanatics will die in the hopes of killing us in the process, and you classify them as boogie men – a bogus cause? Anything that gives them comfort is not in our best interest. So why would a political “leader” be defended when he does such? Your claim of being a Republican and your words are at odds. Is Arlen Specter your idea of a “leader”? Try waking up and smelling the roses of reality.
Nick f, has anyone denied that 3 officers were relieved? Has anyone disputed the inconsistencies associated with reports, official and not? At issue here, if you must be reminded, is that a congressman stated factually that Marines had “cold bloodedly murdered” 30 Iraqi civilians including women and children. There is no substantiation (via a conviction) that that is in fact the case. As an ex-Marine, Murtha had to realize the inflammatory nature of his statements and the consequences it could bear in the theater of ops. Also, as an ex-Marine, he should have remembered that even under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Murtha moved the venue from the military investigators and courts to the court of public opinion in the hopes of nationally dispelling our ability to mobilize a will to win in the war against terrorism. Speaks highly of a “hero”, doesn’t it?
Lastly, war is not a game of chess; real people die real deaths. Combat is chaos and the best we can hope for is to be the victor at the conclusion of the chaos. That being the case, a person is twice as likely to be killed in New Orleans (pre Katrina) or Washington DC than Iraq. (http://crushliberalism.blogspot.com/2006/05/perspective.html)
Just being a Marine colonel does not make one a hero.
Yes, I've made up my mind. I don't believe every critical thing said about the war in Iraq or the Bush Adminstration is treasonous. Yes, I do believe Mr. Murtha, being that he was, you know elected to congress and all, has a responsibility to uphold the quaint notion of congressional oversight. I must say, you seem to have an incredible insight into the human condition. Imagine, the ability to decode, from one word, all that you have come to know about Matt a.
nick f & matt a
You have to ask yourselves, what was the “purpose” behind Murtha’s remarks? If you can be honest with yourselves, you’ll clearly see why so many on the Right are ticked off at Murtha.
Don’t hand me any self-righteous crap about congressional oversight. If that were his true intent, he would wait on the military justice system to finish before determining if oversight is necessary. At the very least he would have shared his “thoughts” privately with other congressmen.
No, his reasons are clear, and no amount of emotive content on his part should bias reasonable people.
Mr. Snitch - Thanks! I was wondering when someone was going to try and make this personal. That's the sound of someone without anything left credible to say...
oldSoldier - No fear. No nerves have been touched. I simply won't swallow the party's kool-aid and like to think for myself (BTW, I didn't bring up the boogey man, that was nick f). I don't believe the Iraq/terrorist connection was valid reason to go to war. Just because a country has terrorist cells in them or even supports them (which was never proven just claimed), doesn't give us the right to invade them. Doesn't Lybia had nukes and actively trained terrorist organizations for decades, but we didn't invade them. Syria has terrorists. Hell, England has terrorists. Are there terrorists in Iraq now? Absolutely. Great, we still can't find them. Its the hipocracy of this that annoys me. The US is no less guilty of befriending or aiding terrorists than any other country out there. Who do you think trained Al-qaeda in the first place to be terrorists?
Those "people in caves" that killed 3000 people are in Afganistan and should be definitely hunted down and made to pay for their crimes. But no Iraqi killed 3000 of our civilians and yet we have killed easily 15 times as many of theirs. I don't dispute that ours were innocent, so what were the Iraqis guilty of?
So all of this becomes FUD and gets wrapped around the axle as "Murtha provides comfort to terrorists" because he comments on an atrocity that occurs by our troops in Iraq. Yeah, like the atrocity itself didn't tick anyone off until Murtha said something.
If saying anything "bad" is considered providing comfort for the enemy, why do we know that 3 officers were relieved and there is an ongoing investigation? Doesn't that not only provide comfort but also "proof" that something "bad" happen there?
There is no "proof," matt a, that something "bad" happened, or that an atrocity happened. Murtha is right to call attention to this matter, although his rhetoric is over the top.
We don't need to make this a discussion about the reason for going to war, that is irrelevent to this topic. But if you want to do that, the answer is that Iraq is just the second country to be corrected. We've got a lot more to correct after we're done there. This war will be a long one and we can't destroy all our enemies at one time.
"Yes, I've made up my mind."
And you've accomplished this, not by reason, but by simply not listening. Saves you ime, I'm sure. Saves me time as well - I need not bother trying to have a conversation with you, since all I'll get back is limp sarcasm and insults anyway.
"Imagine, the ability to decode, from one word, all that you have come to know about Matt a."
And yet, you don't even need the one word. I'm a wingnut. We're all alike. Remember?
Gee, when did Murtha become a hero? I've spent nearly four years in war, been wounded, and decorated for valor three times... and I don't consider myself a hero! In fact, I wouldn't allow someone to describe me as a 'hero.' This goes beyond being partisan... it is about betrayal. If you haven't served, it is difficult to articulate.
By all means, get that censure thing going! Get your congressman in whatever district you live to go on record supporting the idea. If self preservation is an instinct he/she possesses, I doubt you'll get he/she to go along but by all means, please try.
Being an old soldier one would expect you to know better but Murtha doesn't dispute we should be fighting Al Qaeda. He, like many of us, believes the war in Iraq is not advancing but rather is hindering our ablility to fight our real enemies. When all is said and done in Iraq, Iran will be more powerful and better positioned to do us damage than Iraq under Saddam would ever have been. Who should we blame for that? Hillary?
I know real people die in wars. That's why successful wars are bipartisan. This war has never been bipartisan. This war was fought to feed the weak and frightened among us some red meat and to wrap the boy king we have for a president in a blanket of faux patriotism bordering on nationalism. Murtha and those of us that agree with him feel we should hold someone accountable for this abject failure of policy and execution. I know to some of you holding people accountable only works if that person is a democrat but you would do well to notice the shift in public sentiment. You guys are now the minority. In November we will have some elections and your minority status will be confirmed at the polls. But I am sure that will be someone elses fault too.
What is it exactly I should be in doubt about? That criticism = treason? And who exactly should I be "listening" to? I heard the treason argument, I just don't buy it. You're "reasoning" does not convince me. It doesn't convince anyone who has authority to prosecute treason either judging by the lack of any treason related trials going on that I've heard of. If you know of one, please inform us all. I'm aware of the charge being made on blogs, on talk radio and on Fox but I've yet to see anyone on trial. Are the US Attorneys also guilty of not "reasoning" too?
Damn, what brought that on?
"What would a sixth-generation southern traitor like you know about "honor", you chickenhawk cocksucker? When did you serve?"
Now THAT is personal.
Renter - I didn't bring up the reasons for the war, that was Old soldier. But see how quickly Murtha's comments about the alleged atrocity (I will give the benefit of the doubt) the discussion segues into "Remember 9/11" as the rationale behind everything that happens in Iraq?
Country correction? What are we, the global school marm? Talk about an entitlement complex. the world doesn't agree with you so we are going to take each country one at a time to the woodshed? Who's next? What do we accuse them of? Harboring terrorists? Go to the UN? trot out some more little green vials? How could they disprove it? Comply with UN? We won't believe them. Must invade.
Its like the sequel to the Salem Witch Trials...
Yeah, I assume that example of literary dementia is aimed at me but who knows? I'm not from the south and he/she has no idea whether I've served or not so who knows?
John Kerry is probably waxing his surf board right now.
Nope. Charlie don't surf.
Folks, I've pretty much had my say on this subject in the main entry, and would like to leave the comments section open to you for debate. That said, I have certain standards of language I will permit,and the post Mr. Snitch! references has been dropped for violating those standards.
Please keep your comments civil. I can ban you a lot faster than you can compose, but I'd prefer not to go that route.
Thanks. Open debate can be passionate but it shouldn't be uncivil.
"He has dishonored his seat, the military criminal justice system, the Marine Corps and the United States of America."
Seems to me Murtha has honored the principles he learned in the Corps including Duty, Honor and Fidelity. You however seem willing to attack real patriots even after the Corps has punished the company officer in charge during this incident.
We're not a global school marm. These countries have threatened us, their behavior is consistent with those that attacked us, and they need to be stopped before we are attacked again.
Ever since Iran went nuts back in the late 70's, muslims have been telling us over and over again that they are at war with us. We've mostly not taken them seriously while they increased their level of violence against us. Now we have incontrovertible evidence that we cannot ignore of the full scale of their intent. No nation that ascribes to their ideology is safe from our reasoned and rationally inspired attack.
On the subject of Rep. Murtha, who loves his Marines but hates the war --
What evidence do we have for the first part of this statement? He claims to support the troops, certainly, and loudly proclaims his service as a Marine -- but is he truly proud of it, or is he merely trying to score political points from it?
I'd guess the latter. I just went searching for an image of Murtha in uniform, and could not find one. Not a single one.
Normally, a politician trading off his military career will have lots of photos, no? John Kerry used them; John McCain used them; Bush used them; Al Gore used them. Every single photo I've seen of Murtha -- including everything on his own Website -- shows him in civvies.
I don't know about you, but that has me wondering.
Daniel in Brookline
Right-wing demands for due process are a welcome change, but would be far more credible if it were applied in almost any other sphere (Gitmo? Abu Ghraib?). In addition, your defense of the killing of people, including young children, at close range--as the military's evidence suggests--as somehow being justifiable is pathetic. Finally, how is it that you expect to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people in the wake of this incidents like this, plus the military's earlier cover-up of it?
Do you really believe Iraq is the first of many invasion/occupations to come? Who do you think is next? How many countries do you think we can occupy at the same time? Take a look at the map. How do you think we will manage to maintain some semblence of order in two or three countries simultaneously? That argument worked three years ago as a counter to logic because we were going to be greeted as liberators, Iraqi oil would pay for their reconstruction, you know the rest. Do you honestly still believe it's ever going to happen?
"What is it exactly I should be in doubt about? And who exactly should I be "listening" to?"
Never said anyone had to doubt. And if the only "listening" you do comes inside of a set of parentheses, why should I bother?
You know us wingnuts. All alike.
Reading some of the comments, such as Matt a's, makes me wonder whether there isn't a bit of Emily Latella -ing going on here. There is no issue of suppression of speech or anyone's right to expression. The issue is responsibility for what one says, particularly if the "one" is a member of Congress. Matt a, the fact that "censure" sounds a little bit like "censor", and just because the two words may have a common root, doesn't make their meanings the same. To censure is to rebuke, not to suppress information or regulate the content of speech. So, Matt, whaddya say you just give us an "Oh . . . Never mind . . ." and we give you . . . a dictionary:
I once was at an Army Reserve training class where one classmate attempted to justify what had happened at My Lai to the instructor. This was in 1980.
The instructor, a Special Forces master sergeant (who was in Vietnam and also in Bolivia when Che was killed), instantly berated the idea that My Lai was justified, saying that Calley should have been "hung by his balls" for killing innocent civilians and dishonoring the USA.
That made me proud to wear the uniform.
Atrocities against women and children do not make me proud to be an American.
If the facts come out as badly as Murtha implies, and it appears that he has inside knowledge, he is to be commended for telling the truth.
I was in Iraq, as a contractor on governance and democracy programs - I was there then Abu Ghraib broke. It had a devastating effect to our image in Iraq.
Aren't we supposed to be bringing democracy to Iraq?
I sympathize, as Murtha does, with the beleaguered Soldiers and Marines - there are not enough of them to do the job, and Rumsfeld has fought expanding the size of the force tooth-and-nail.
Reprisal killings of civilians are wrong. Telling the truth, however unpleasant, is right.
Iraq Participant, telling the truth is indeed right, but it is not right to speculate publicly for partisan political gain when an investigation is underway to discover the facts. That would be the basis for the official rebuke of Murtha (I didn't use a word that sounds like "censor" because I didn't want anyone -- really, anyone, not necessarily Matt a -- to get confused again about whether this is a freedom of speech issue or just an issue about a public official limiting his public remarks so as not to call into question the fairness of a pending criminal investigation). Even if the investigation discovers facts consistent with what Murtha said, Murtha's premature, politically opportunistic remarks are still damaging, because they will cause many people to believe that the investigation was a sham, with a predetermined outcome.
Sorry to all the Murtha supporters, but for a Congressman to declare soldiers guilty before an investigation is complete is irrespsonsble. That's what he has done and he is obviosuly doing it for political reasons.
Read his statements. It's as if the truth doesn't really matter. I'm willing to bet even if they are found innocent years from now people will still consider them guilty because Murtha said they were.
As a Congressman he should know better.
As to his "sympathizing" with the soldiers, please. He didn't even know what country his own State's National Guard units had gone to (he welcomed them back from Iraq and said he was sorry they had to go there. They had gone to Afghanistan. His letter to them said Iraq. That's how out of touch he is.) He has made it obvious he doesn't give a rat's ass about the soldiers as long as he gets a spotlight and microphone.
If the people in question are found to have committed the atrocities then by all means they should be punished--but before a US Congressman strings up hangsman's noose for them he could at least have the courtesy to wait until the investigation has been completedly.
Censure is a great idea. Contact your congressman and get it started. Get Sean and Rush to talk it up on radio. Get the professor, Michele Malkin and Mr. Hewitt to blog about it. Why keep such a brilliant light hidden under a barrel?
I've said the same thing at various points along this thread and yet no one has really addressed it. If you all think it's such a great idea and think Murtha should be censured, why not give this the launch it deserves? Because you know how it would be recieved? That shouldn't matter. After all, it's about the principle of the thing right? A traitor should be censured shouldn't he? Why isn't anyone willing to follow this through to conclusion? Just askin'....
nickf-you are right about the congressional oversight but, that doesn't mean going on national TV and declaring that the Marines murdered innocent civillians. Wake up and smell the stuff you are shoveling. Like your other illustrious Hero "I don't have a scar but I got three puple hearts" Kerry. Murtha's war record has not been proven I have yet seen anything of his so called heroics. Real hero's don't talk about their deeds they also don't make unproven or substantiated statements when someone sticks a camera in their face. Real Marines don't betray their brethren. People like you and Murtha and the leftist defeatest's are the reason that we are getting our people killed. I can tell you have never been in combat nor would you fight if you had too. Move to France they need more like you. as for our ability to take on Iran you shouldn't make statements that you can not prove. You and people like you feed the insurgency Murthas comments are all over the internet if he really cared about his fellow Marines he would keep his mouth shut and discuss this in the privacy of closed door discussion. But it's an election year and this just shows everyone what the democrats will go to to get elected. Just like the wire tapping meme it wont' wash in those as refered to "Those flyover States" Also if you had served you would be proud of it! United States Navy 1979-1989
Murtha is a piece of [fudge]. The moonbats posting here are cowards and turds. Nuff said.
[folks, I asked you once to please watch your language. Keep it clean, or delete your comment, or worse, I'll make you sound like sissies. Thanks -- C.Y.]
Let's clear up a few misconceptions.
First, whether I served is irrelevant. Second, Murtha has not, at least to my knowledge, called himself a hero. Others have said that about him including Chuck Hagel and John McCain.
Now, are you seriously blaming me for military casualties in Iraq? Are you blaming Murtha? Isn't that a little like killing your parents and asking for sympathy because you're an orphan? Shouldn't we put the blame for those casualties at the foot of the neoconservatives who brought you this war? Are they responsible for anything? According to the logic exibited here, we aren't supposed to criticize the war because it would harm the troops. We shouldn't have been told about warrant-less wire taps because it might tip off the enemy. We shouldn't examine the failures of 9/11, why, isn't exactly clear but I'm sure it's got something to do with showing weakness to the enemy or some such nonsense. Taken to it's logical conclusion, we should just sit here and cheer the great men who brought us this glorious war. Pretend for a minute that we didn't know about the wiretapping, the mistakes leading up to 9/11, and the country was thoroughly united behind the war. Soldiers would still be dying, Iraqi's would still be killing other Iraqis, Iran would still be providing logistical and intelligence support to their Shi'ite surrogates, and they would still be the ultimate winner in this war. Who should we blame for that?
Brilliant! I'm sure that's exactly what the Bard would have written were he alive and blogging.
nick f -- sure, there are some that are calling Murtha a traitor, but I'm not one of them, and if it were treason at issue, we would be talking about much more than censure. Censure of a Congressman (unlike treason) is always politically motivated, so it's effectiveness is always diminished to the extent that the two parties circle the wagons. But, if it makes you feel better, have your argument against the opposing position you find convenient, i.e., the most extreme one, the one that calls Murtha a traitor, rather than the one that says he stepped over the line in his remarks about a pending investigation. And I'll push for a censure of Murtha if you do the same regarding the President.
There are some within this thread that have indeed called Murtha a traitor. But let's leave that aside for now and talk about censure. What would me supporting the concept of a presidential censure have to do with censuring Mr. Murtha? Either you are in favor of censuring him for his comments or you are not.
Now I believe the Pentagon was the one who issued the original report...The place must be crawling with communists I suppose.
But, what's the problem with a little distortion between neo-cons huh?.
Why is it Republican modus operandi to attack the messenger, not the message? Why would Murtha throw himself into the ring (being called a "traitor" by the loyal 29% unless he believed that there would be a cover up by Rummy if he did not say anything?
Oooh, the dreaded "NEO-CONS!" You win the argument, Citizen #00-IQ!
Why is it Donk modus operandi to spew this "messenger, not the message" meme? Well, guess what, junior. The message is garbage too.
Do these words sound familiar? “Our welcome has been worn out," "They're subdued [our troops] compared to normal morale of elite forces," "There's no military solution.” "The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further militarily. It is time to bring [the troops] home."
They sound a lot like the words Rep. Murtha used in his formal call for troop withdrawal from Iraq. However, these are instead the words Rep. Murtha used to convince Bill Clinton to withdraw troops from Somalia in 1993, after 18 U.S. soldiers were attacked and killed in the streets of Mogadishu.
The most important part of this story for every American to know and understand is this.
Al Qaeda, at the direction of our friend Osama bin Laden, organized that street attack against U.S. Soldiers in Mogadishu. Bin Laden himself later said that America's withdrawal from Somalia had emboldened his burgeoning Al Qaeda force and encouraged him to plan new attacks. (This was years before 9/11.) "Our people realize[d] more than before that the American soldier is a paper tiger that run[s] in defeat after a few blows," the terror chief recalled. "America forgot all about the hoopla and media propaganda and left dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat." Osama bin Laden, (Source: HAN in Nairobi)
This is indeed not the first time Rep. Murtha has adopted a “cut and run” attitude towards a challenging, but worthwhile mission. In fact, this is not the first time he has done so while staring into the face of international terrorism and not the first time his words have emboldened America’s enemies, here and abroad.
Just a little history lesson for all the moonbats.....
The phrase “in cold blood” means with callous disregard or lack of emotion doesn’t it? Whatever the other circumstances, I doubt this very much. The “in cold blood” crack (crock, probably) is political hyperbole.
Over on ESPN we have “analyst” Deborah Robinson complaining that the Duke Lacrosse Team Captain is “tainting the jury pool” by doing a press conference after approximately 70 press conferences held by DA Nifong. Here we have John Murtha, a politician (once you become one of those, why should anyone believe you about anything?), who can have direct influence over a soldier’s career, making charges not yet adjudicated by a court martial board. I have sat on three boards, and I am incensed that this jackass is trying to make political hay before the facts are in. By the way, SOP is to relieve an officer if there is an investigation being conducted.
Wasn’t the way that journalist was injured a while back was not by the IED but by small arms fire coming from surrounding houses immediately after the blast? The soldiers attacked the ambush and suppressed it. Is it just too much TV? Is that why the initiated don’t connect the blast and the followup fire into one event? The operating standard is to attack when you are drawing fire after the opening rounds of an ambush. The fastest way out is through.
Now consider construction values and the ammunition types that might be used to suppress that “possible” fire. I have participated in a “mad minute” put on as a demonstration at Ft. Sill in 1970. Four of us with M60 machine guns totally destroyed a 10′x10′ brick building (all four walls) in less than sixty seconds. Our sweetness and light enemies do not tend to evacuate their womenfolk or their children from the line of fire and it is harder to see through walls than to shoot through them.
Was it a “My Lai” moment? I don’t know, it could have been. Was it a doctrinaire attack through an ambush? I don’t know. It could have been. But my kneejerk reaction when Time magazine and a politician are on the same page is to cover my wallet and dive for cover. The fact that is still under investigation in this conflict means very little. With all the second-guessing being done by media, I’m quite sure the Marines want to dot every i and cross every t. Back in March, Lieut. Colonel Michelle Martin-Hing, spokeswoman for the Multi-National Force-Iraq, told Time the involvement of the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) does not mean that a crime occurred. And she says the fault for the civilian deaths lies squarely with the insurgents, who "placed noncombatants in the line of fire as the Marines responded to defend themselves."
Let’s wait for the determination from the people who know something about warfighting and don’t stand to make political points by railing into any loose microphone.
I personally think he is maneuvering for political advantage by getting "face time" and counting on the public to never notice if the findings of the investigation don't lead to any charges. If charges are brought he will be the “crusading leader”. It will be a few months and will never be brought up by the Main Stream Media Party if charges aren't filed and it lasts long enough, only his opponent for November will bring it up and then we will hear from him about "ongoing investigation". So it is pretty much a win-win for him either way. A little sound and fury now may smudge his face time by the election but most voters (they have to be memory-challenged to have kept re-electing him anyway) won't remember it, just that he was "tellin' truth to Power" a few months ago. They'll never even remember what it was about.
Required disclaimer for the “chickenhawk patrol”:
I served ‘69 -’78 (70-77 with 5th & 10th SF). Medically retired as a Staff Sergeant from wounds received in ‘77. Please don’t tell me we weren’t fighting anywhere then, I have the puckered scars to prove it. Silver Star, Two Bronzes with Vs, one without, two Purple Hearts, four ARCOMs, CIB, HALO wings, assorted “i wuz there ribbons” covering Asia, Africa, Middle East and South America. Not eligible to return to service.
Meekrob--There is nothing mimetic about asking a simple question that relates to a personal observation. My sense is that you use the word "meme" to express dismissal of something you disagree with by implying that the statement you disagree with is a copy of some other, oft-heard (and therefore not to be addressed) utterance.
W/ such a response, why dialogue? Again, simple dismissal of the message...that it makes no sense for Murtha (a conservative Democrat) to involve himself in something like this unless he believes that not doing so will cause greater harm (namely to his sense of what the military should be--honorable, honest, and not above the law, or, possibily the fact that 15 civilians lost their lives was something he thought was God-awful).
I agree that this should be solved in a criminal courtroom, although I am not sure that it should not be tried by the Iraqi's, who supposedly have an autonomous nation, where this alleged crime seems to have happened.
Censure can be given by anyone, but typically when someone speaks of censuring a congressman, they are referring to the house or the senate each as a body voting to censure a fellow member.
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/14138980.htm explains that an investigation was performed by the Iraqi police, stating,
"Accusations that U.S. troops have killed civilians are commonplace in Iraq, though most are judged later to be unfounded or exaggerated. Navy investigators announced last week that they were looking into whether Marines intentionally killed 15 Iraqi civilians - four of them women and five of them children - during fighting last November.
But the report of the killings in the Abu Sifa area of Ishaqi, eight miles north of the city of Balad, is unusual because it originated with Iraqi police and because Iraqi police were willing to attach their names to it.
The report, which also contained brief descriptions of other events in the area, was compiled by the Joint Coordination Center in Tikrit, a regional security center set up with United States military assistance. An Iraqi police colonel signed the report, which was based on communications from local police."
So, my question to those of you who believe that we have succeeded in creating a viable governing structure, complete with those aspects of civil society (police, courts, rights of the accused, etc..) in Iraq is do we let the wheels of justice work, by supporting an iraqi investigation, or do we shed doubt on the possible culpabibility of suspects, interfering in the Iraqi justice system as the Marines representative did when he stated,
"We're concerned to hear accusations like that, but it's also highly unlikely that they're true."
elel, this is not the incident mentioned by Murtha. That took place quite some distance away.
Haditha is several hours drive from Balad. It's like Los Angeles is to Phoenix in terms of travel time. It's a totally different event.
Haditha is only a few miles away from a Marine battalion headquarters.
Murtha usually runs unopposed in his district. This time he will have a Republican running against him.
The district is mainly ethnic pro Union democrats, but the VFW and other veterans groups could turn the tide against him...
Is it really surprising that those that circled the wagons for Clinton after impeachment and later disbarment think a trial isn't necessary for establishing the guilt of these Marines? The idea that they have any interest in due process is a joke. They don't need any stinkin trial - they just need to know where the politics fall.
Mike Rettner--thanks for correcting me.
From Time, March 27, for those who haven't read it:
"But the details of what happened that morning in Haditha are more disturbing, disputed and horrific than the military initially reported. According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks, the civilians who died in Haditha on Nov. 19 were killed not by a roadside bomb but by the Marines themselves, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children. Human-rights activists say that if the accusations are true, the incident ranks as the worst case of deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. service members since the war began.
In January, after TIME presented military officials in Baghdad with the Iraqis' accounts of the Marines' actions, the U.S. opened its own investigation, interviewing 28 people, including the Marines, the families of the victims and local doctors. According to military officials, the inquiry acknowledged that, contrary to the military's initial report, the 15 civilians killed on Nov. 19 died at the hands of the Marines, not the insurgents. The military announced last week that the matter has been handed over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which will conduct a criminal investigation to determine whether the troops broke the laws of war by deliberately targeting civilians. Lieut. Colonel Michelle Martin-Hing, spokeswoman for the Multi-National Force--Iraq, told TIME the involvement of the NCIS does not mean that a crime occurred. And she says the fault for the civilian deaths lies squarely with the insurgents, who "placed noncombatants in the line of fire as the Marines responded to defend themselves.""
"A day after the incident, a Haditha journalism student videotaped the scene at the local morgue and at the homes where the killings had occurred. The video was obtained by the Hammurabi Human Rights Group, which cooperates with the internationally respected Human Rights Watch, and has been shared with TIME. The tape makes for grisly viewing. It shows that many of the victims, especially the women and children, were still in their nightclothes when they died. The scenes from inside the houses show that the walls and ceilings are pockmarked with shrapnel and bullet holes as well as the telltale spray of blood. But the video does not reveal the presence of any bullet holes on the outside of the houses, which may cast doubt on the Marines' contention that after the IED exploded, the Marines and the insurgents engaged in a fierce gunfight."
Umm, unless you're a conspiracy theorist (i.e. media=liberals=terrorists idiocy) , why would Time magazine make this up?
Maybe because it is worth investigating, as has concluded the Marines.
What I am hearing from the conservatives is...It is wrong for our leaders to make premature conclusions and more wrong to act on those conclusions when the jury is out. Hmmmmmm...I don't think we'd even be in Iraq if Bush let the "original" investigation/process conclude itself.
I don't think anyone is saying it's not worth investigating. Of course it is. But a congressman should know better than to make public accusations he can't substantiate (especially the part about the number of civilian casualties). He should keep his mouth shut until the investigation is complete, unless he has a reason to believe it isn't being conducted properly.
The entire point of the enemy's strategy is to use IEDs to put pressure on our troops to the point that they flip out and wipe out a bunch of civilians. Maybe it happened the way Time says, maybe not. But Americans, especially congressmen, shouldn't make what amounts to an enemy victory even worse. He shouldn't make unsubstantiated accusations, and he shouldn't accuse the entire military of something a small group of individuals did under stress and in contravention of orders.
nick f belongs in that kos commercial for lamont, where his nerdish, supercaffienated (but alas, incoherent) persona can be put to better use.
Of course there needs to be a thorough investigation. By all accounts one is going on. What we don't need is a sanctimonious old bag like Murtha misusing his position as a political celebrity to prejudge the issue on tv in order to promote his leader Pelosi's cause. He may be a hero, maybe even of the non-Kerry variety--I don't know. I can only base my opinion of him on what I've seen of him and that is rated BS-14.
"...why would Time magazine make this up?"
Would that be the same Time Magazine that reported American GIs were flushing Qur'ans down the toilet in Gitmo?
No one disputes that there is a potentially horrific breach of warfare under investigation. There may be American serviemen who have failed to maintain proper discipline while in a hostile situation.
The point is, let the investigation run it's course. A lose-lipped congressman claiming that Marines murdered civilians in cold blood, serves absolutely no useful purpose other than to score political points. There are procedures that a congressman can follow/initiate if he feels that an investigation is being glossed over. He could have gone to the appropriate sub-committes of even initiate his own congressional inquiry. The services do not take congressionals lightly.
To have completely side-stepped the processes and openly accuse the Marines of murder without an adjudicated process is self serving, not national serving.
Bottom line; Murtha was way out of line. But, then, that seems to be where he likes to stay when the media is paying attention.
They're innocent until denounced by a Democrat.
That's the American way, right?
Murtha's got 28 years as a Marine. He's got a sterling record of support for the military, from broad budget issues down to fighting like a pit bull for the rights of injured vets. If someone like that has no credibility with you people, maybe it's time to wonder wether it's you people who have the credibility problem. I started out where you are, but at some point you have to step back and start wondering WTF is going on, why guys like this are taking the positions they are.
Put it another way: How come there's this weird, unprecedented plague of traitors under W? Not just people who started out being lefties. Guys who like Murtha have a great "conservative" (if that's a meaningful term in this context) record on defense, or who served under Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and even Bush II with distinction. Yet suddenly out of the blue they become W-hating wingnuts and self-serving America destroyers. I mean, you do know what I'm talking about, right? How often have we seen this pattern under W, compared to any other president? Traitor after traitor after America-hating, Bush-hating traitor. All just trying to sell their book, right? Lot of those recently. Still, kind of strange, isn't it?
That's what I had to ask myself after a while. Maybe we're living in an era where there are just an extraordinary number of traitors around. That'd be one way to look at it. Maybe you can stand to keep making yourself look at it that way a little longer, given the alternative. On the other hand, well, that difficulty of looking at the alternative the longer you go on is pretty much what 3-card monte dealers live on.
Interesting and lively arguments. Good discourse!
The armed forces of the U.S., as run by the current, very stringently and prescriptively ideological secretary of defense, has little incentive to provide for a thorough investigation, in so far as our forces have become, in a way that I have not seen it in my lifetime, an arm of a specific political ideology; consider the ongoings at Abu Graib, in which all would have been buried but for leaks. Some of you would argue that if the photos had not been seen by the general public (remember, the executive branch unsuccessfully attempted to keep these images from our eyes) this would have all been for the best, because the public display of torture/abuse was a propoganda victory for both the Iraqi resistance and the Al-Qaida scum. If this had been the case, would the American people be in a position to judge our leaders? If the Abu graib images never saw the light of day, could future historians be able to gauge the reality of our occupation of Iraq? Murtha is putting pressure on those moral folks in the armed forces to ensure that there is not an abu-graib like whitewash, I think.
I like elel's questions
In terms of the killing of the villagers, can someone please make an argument against an indigenous (i.e. Iraqi) investigation/prosecution of the coalition forces who may or may not have perpetrated a crime? I believe that iraq is a recognized sovereign nation, is it not?
The armed forces investigating themselves under the eyes of Rumsfeld has been a problematic process in Iraq (and I don't give a hoot about your labeling me a liberal, if you want--this here libertarian believes in freedom from tyranny, mendacity, hypocracy, anticonstitutionalism, and amorality.)
You can trust the USMC to get to the bottom of this in a very thorough manner. We don't like our reputation sullied and if something wrong happened, it will be properly dealt with. Personally, I wish it were going quicker, but if there are criminal acts involved it is proper to move deliberately and safeguard the rights of suspects and the rights of the victims.
The people of Haditha are not "villagers." Iraq is not some jungle like Viet Nam. Haditha is a medium sized city of probably 50,000 people. The people are generally educated, many of the dam engineers and technicians live there.
But despite this, there is every reason to treat reports by the Iraqis with a grain of salt. They are known to, um, exaggerate at times.
That being said, something definitely happened. The investigation is not even over and three officers were relieved with rather damning comments made about them by their bosses. So far the only substantial questions relate to whether the Marines had reasonable motives to kill these people, whether they were following the rules of engagement, and why there were such conflicting stories when they reported the event up the chain of command when it occurred.
It is being investigated. Murtha is wrong to use such inflammatory rhetoric about it, but it is reasonable to make calls for a quicker resoution to the investigation.
That's all we can say for now.
Representative Murtha may have been a military officer and may have in the past done something for the military as a politician, but he's done a lot to harm us in this war.
He came to visit us in Haditha Dam when I was there. Afterwards he reported things that were entirely inconsistent with how the rest of us would have interpreted the data he was provided. To this Marine, he is purposefully using his background and claimed reputation (although I'd never heard of him before) to derail the war effort for some purpose only he can really know.
Every liberal needs his pet minority to cry over to prove their weaknesses and oppression. Murtha has malcontented GIs - more than willing to cry on his shoulder and prove they're not getting a fair shake out of life.
Murtha is more than willing to lump all into one basket.
As far as the investigation process goes, there were only two questions that needed to be asked:
1) Was Iraq in violation of the UN resolutions that were a condition of the cease-fire (not peace, cease-fire) that ended the Gulf War?
Answer: Yes, every report of the inspectors, every single one, said Iraq was in violation of the inspection resolutions.
2) Since the cease-fire, was Iraq a state sponsor of terrorism, did it directly try to kill Americans through terorism, and did it offer sanctuary to members of Al Qaeda?
Answer: Yes (never got off the State Department list), yes (among them, the assassination attempt on George H.W. Bush), and yes (The Guardian so reported February 6, 1999).
3) Was the Iraqi military engaged in combat with the United States and Britain in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002?
Answer: Yes. Iraq regularly tried to shoot down U.S. and U.K. aircraft patrolling no-fly zones established in accordance with UN resolutions and the support of the French and German governments (among others) in 1991.
So Iraq was legally at war with us and in violation of the cease-fire, was engaged in terrorism against us, was offering itself as a safe haven for Al Qaeda, and was regularly engaged in military attacks on American and British servicemen.
That sounds like a fully-researched case for war to me. I mean, given that we were actually already at war, and the other side was actively trying to kill us? The WMD issue is not an embarassment; that there were so many Americans who weren't willing to go to try to defeat the enemy who already restarted the war in 1994 is the embarassment.
consider the ongoings at Abu Graib, in which all would have been buried but for leaks.
Um? The "leak" in question was from the attorney of one of the defendants who was being brought to court-martial, six months after the investigation had been announced to the press corps. The responsible parties were headed for military prison; the leak was intended to try to embarass the United States into not punishing them.
You can say it would have remained buried, but the people who actually committed the crime were going to be properly punished anyway, so what wrong would have happened without the leaks?
Oh, that's right. America wouldn't have been slimed except for the leak. And that's the important thing -- that the United States be humiliated for overthrowing a genocidal tyrant because of some civilian-life corrections officials who decided to get their kicks while called to National Guard service by abusing prisoners.
Just calling Murtha a "hero", a "conservative" and a "hawk" doesn't make it so.
His "hawkness" has consisted of making sure big defense money goes to certain vendors in his district.
As pointed out above, it also consisted in urging Clinton to withdraw the forces in Somalia.
In my view, he acts like a malicious old fart, blubbering in public and preening at all the attention all the while whispering nasty gossip and slandering people who can't reply in kind.
All that pious anti-military posturing is his ticket to the attention. He wouldn't get a minute of it otherwise, and we all know it. UGH!
And PS, yes, that's calling him names. And it felt really good, too.
I come from Nixon's old congressional district and as God is my Fuhrer believe that:
We are in a state of constitutional crisis. For Rumsfeld to lobby on intelligence reform and now have military acts off the books means that the "linchpin" of the constitution, the taxing and spending powers of Congress, of raising standing armies, has now been violated. My Congressman David Dreier now has no way to effect neither my Liberty nor my Republic.
Our constitution was specifically designed to avoid this combination of the President's office with the Defense Department; that the King shall not have his own standing army to send willy-nilly to wherever he thinks he has the pleasure too. Appointing and confirming a sitting officer to the CIA will only further consolidate this unconstitutional combination of the Presidents office with the Defense Department. That is why I can never believe the neo-cons or Alitos et al., claims to absolute presidential power as Commander-and-Chief even during war. The claim of inherent power of the president has already been settled under Nixon's attempt during the so-called Vietnam War. As Nixon’s assistant attorney general Rehnquist made the argument of inherent power to wiretap the White Panther Party without a warrant – during a war. This power, which was claimed to be held, under the President’s Oath of Office, was rejected by the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision against suspending all or parts of the Constitution. Because this was Rehnquist’s argument as assistant attorney general he had to recuse himself from his very first decision after being appointed to the Supreme Court and rightly so. And guess what? America was still standing in the morning after this and Nixon's resignation avoiding his impeachment. This is in spite of a average of 6 bombings a day, 86 killed policemen, and a record 33,604 thousand injuries between the fall of 1969 and spring of 1970 by our own citizens protesting over the illegal invasion of Cambodia.
Unfortunately, Rehnquist conveniently ignores this when he reviews his history of the power of the President during war. He brings up WWI and WWII in this review. But, for some reason, he completely skips how his “inherent” argument on presidential power was slapped down by the Supreme Court during the undeclared, illegal and immoral so-called Vietnam War. This is bald face intellectual dishonesty, if not outright historical revisionism, that completely belies the important decision on the necessity of War - not to mention the young lives thrown willy-nilly into harm's way. And so much for a responsible versus an irresponsible debates Mr. Bush. That is why I completely reject the neo-con's medieval thesis that constitutional government is too weak to survive in a difficult world and that we should defer to a sole sovereign power since 9/11. We have become weaker since taking on this post 9/11 repeat of Rehnquist's "in terrorem" position. (I would like to read his memo on the subject of presidential power and the invasion of Cambodia but alas that memo has disappeared, nowhere to be found on the Internet. The persuasive force of his ideas no longer count I can only suppose). I only fear that our new Supreme Court justices Roberts and Alito will take what was a tragedy we survived and turn a repeated claim of 18th century inherent power into a farce that destroys the sheet anchor of our Republic - our precious Constitution – along with the Bill of Rights.
Censure is indeed warranted and so is impeachment. Nixon would have approved! Go tell that to the Marines! A Military-King NEVER.
I am Citizen Michael John Keenan
Why am I suspicious that Murtha's military record is as undistinguished as JFK's 100 days in bandaids on river patrol? Murtha spent something like 35 years double dipping as a reserve officer, and how long on active duty, where, doing what?
Is he a hero or a candidate for the Joseph Ellis service award?
Posted by: martin at May 18, 2006 07:23 AM
Why go for JFK, why not compare him to your own military record?
I'd say you are suspicious because you are a complete tool who hasn't the courage to run a google search during the past couple of years.
But I'd be happy to hear other suggestions for why distinguised service medals and bronze stars are given out to veterens for duty serving their country when they may not have actually done that though. All of em awarded so far.
I'd be even happier if you stated in your reply your sincere belief that everyone who served their country in Vietnam should be held in the same regard you have for Kerry and Murtha until they can prove they did something special as this seems to be the new benchmark for respecting war veterens. Among non-veterens that is.
Yeah I reckon you deserve to be called a massive tool again right about here.
John Kerry served in Vietnam?
I learn something new here every day.
Do you hold the Swift Boat Vets in as high regard as you hold these mouthbreathing traitorous Democrats? It would appear that some opinions seem to get more press coverage and de facto support than others, depending on which political party you happen to support...
Just wondering, since Democrats and their leftwingnut supporters seem not to give a hoot that Kerry's entire chain of ommand came out in force to counter his dishonest characterizations of both his and other's wartime service. Hypocracy, thy name is anti-warbot.
(Now for the Donk spin...)
This a fuller quote from the article:
Murtha, a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said at a news conference Wednesday that sources within the military have told him that an internal investigation will show that "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
The blogger here's assertion that pre-empting a military investigation finding is poor form is fair.
Suggesting that these are allegations Murtha has invented or given wieght to himself is not.
If you believe that a man with the connections he has in the military chose to sever them all forever by inventing a fictional outcome to a military investigation that will soon be a matter of public record then have the balls to come out and say that.
Otherwise all you've got to say is you want to bitch about the outcome and blame someone unrelated to the incident rather than deal with it. In that case just grow some balls to start with.
The armed forces of the U.S., as run by the current, very stringently and prescriptively ideological secretary of defense, has little incentive to provide for a thorough investigation, in so far as our forces have become, in a way that I have not seen it in my lifetime, an arm of a specific political ideology;…”
You are quite right, but for all the wrong reasons. The current military is probably the most moral of any force we have placed into combat situations. Is your hometown free of crime? If your honest answer is, “No,” then you represent the median of America. That same median is what comprises our forces. In other words there are stupid people who volunteer and do stupid things (like abuse prisoners). In the case of Abu Ghrab, the military was on top of the issue long before the public was made aware. I have all faith that the military (the Corps and NCIS) will get to the bottom of the incident and if criminal activity was involved there will be prosecutions. The services do not need the likes of Murtha or any other politician spouting off in public to motivate the process.
In regards to the truth of reporting, I would like to remind folks of the stellar performance of our inerrant press corps. They brought us such reporting as Qur’ans being flushed down toilets, soldiers in Afghanistan belligerently defiling dead Muslims, the US use of chemical weapons in Fallujah, US forces specifically targeting hotels utilized by reporters, and of course the ultimate journalism master piece – the Air National Guard memos. The list goes on… So pardon me if I do not unconditionally accept Murtha’s “sources within the military” as pointed out by Tank.
”Our constitution was specifically designed to avoid this combination of the President's office with the Defense Department;…”
Sorry Citizen Keenan, but I couldn’t pass this duck up…
You might want to update the constitution that you are reading. The current constitution actually designates the president as the Commander in Chief of the armed forces – which includes DOD and all its departments and agencies (like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Security Agency… well you hopefully get the picture.)
"In 1959, then Captain Murtha took command of the 34th Special Infantry Company, Marine Corps Reserves, in Johnstown. He remained in the Reserves after his discharge from active duty until he volunteered for service in Vietnam in 1966-67, serving as a battalion staff officer (S-2 Intelligence Section), receiving the Bronze Star with Combat "V" for valor in combat, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He retired from the Reserves as a colonel in 1990."
Investors Business Daily says:
"Murtha funneled nearly $21 million to 10 or more corporate clients of KSA Consulting, where Robert "Kit" Murtha is a senior partner. Carmen Scialabba, a Murtha congressional aide for 27 years, is also a high-ranking official at KSA."
Prior to his assumption of command of an Infantry Company in 1959, there is no easily found entry. I see one year active duty as a "staff puke" in a combat zone and a lot of reserve time. I will leave it to my fellow enlisted "Bronze Star with V" holders to opine about that but I will say that my two purples cost more hospital time than his total active duty time. (One full year of physical therapy at a VA hospital, too.)
It would seem, however, that he is better at producing income for his brother's lobbying firm than he is at giving his Marine comrades the benefit of the doubt. At least, he could have done the "not in anger, but in sorrow" routine if there were any reason to bloviate at all. This incident had already been reported, was it just not getting enough traction? Is he trying to influence the investigation? Being on the Appropriations Committee can cause a lot of downstream pressure in the military. I would hate to think that someone's political hay-making could possibly cause a judicial miscarriage.
It is my belief through my experiences that by far, the majority of liberal democrats in power will say and do anything to discredit the war effort. This is their only way to attack the administration, they are purely partisan and their only goal is to regain the majority in both houses and executive branch.
If we let the likes of Murtha, Kerry, Dean, Clinton and the lot take control we have lost everything our troops have fought for during these Bush years.
I know what was implied by "censure". That's why I want to see this idea leave this small community and enter the mainstream. I'd be curious to see how many of your republican members of congress (the senate would need to defer to the house on any censure movement, Mr. Murtha is a house member after all) would follow you on this. I think we all know the answer to that question. There is little chance the house is even going to consider censuring Mr. Murtha and everyone with any sense here knows that. Why? Because you know what the outcome would be.
As for the Good LT comment, I have no desire to get into a discussion about the swiftboat liars but to say Kerry's entire command came out against him is demonstrably false. Google it before putting your other foot in your mouth.
Martin decides I'm "supercaffienated" and "incoherent". Maybe. I certainly like a good cup of coffee in the morning. As for incoherent, what did your comment add to this discussion? Do you have something interesting or insightful to say?
I'm going to snip a segment from Powerline on this:
Murtha claims that an internal investigation will show "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
As Tananto notes, however, Murtha's description is self-contradictory because if the Marines "overreacted," then the killings were not premeditated. And if the killings were not premeditated, they were not in cold blood.
Moreover, if the killings were not in cold blood, then Murtha is slandering our troops by saying that they were. If the killings were in cold blood, then Murtha, in characterizing them as an overreaction to the pressure of the mission, is making an excuse for horrific crimes.
To all the people that insult an American Marine that fought and bled in two wars so that cockroaches like you can have the liberty to call him names in public forums, I say this:
If you are so worried about the Marines, then join them and help them. Having you people doing some fighting instead of typing will do wanders for their moral, and maybe turn you into real man, because right now you suck.
OH, I forgot. You guys only type. The only fighting you have ever done is with your male lover.
Why does Murtha hate America? Is it because his party can't win elections.
Murtha is a cut-and-run coward. The president has a plan for victory. Murtha has only a plan for surrender.
From I've heard, Murtha's stories of wartime "heroism" are dubious at best.
The man may as well be an Al Qaeda agent at this point.
folks, let's try to settle down a bit, shall we? We can debate the issues without making attacks personal.
Well Murtha has been confirmed by MSNBC and your wingnut fav Fox News. Don't let that stop you from trashing an actual COMBAT VETERAN with multiple decorations for BRAVERY IN ACTION. why don't you Yellow Elephants enlist?
I'll break it down to tiny, tiny bits so that you can process this, okay?
Murtha engaged in purposefully overemotional hyperbole, accusing U.S. Marines of "cold-blooded" murder before charges were even filed. Now, as a liberal, you probably think all people in the Marine Corps and the military in general are baby-killers to begin with, but that says far more about you than it does anything else.
Let's change the circumstances to a comparison you might understand.
Cheech is under investigation as a suspect small-scale pot dealer. He has not been charged. The local mayor comes on local television and accuses him of being part of a large marijuana distribution network.
There's been no judge, not jury, and he hasn't even been charged yet, but he's been declared guilty in public.
That is what Murtha did.
As for the "yellow elephants" many of the posters here are retired veterans. How long did you serve?
you chickenhawk republinazi cowards make me sick....
and you call Murtha a coward? ha ha ha ha ha!!
Confederate Yankee -- you are the one who made the attack on Murtha personal. As far as I'm concerned, your attack on him speaking up (Murtha is deeply tied to the Marines command structure, if he speaks up it's because people there want him to speak up) is what is a betrayal of the country, and of the Marines.
Likewise, your defense of the wrecking and dishonoring of the US military, because you are so blinded by your petty interest in protecting the criminal gang now in charge, is a betrayal of the country.
Go read the Fox News write-up on this. It's uglier than what Murtha said.
Again, Murtha is a war hero, a military hawk, and the person in Congress with the closest ties to the Marines. He didn't change his opinion on the war on a whim. When he changed his opinion, he was reflecting what the command structure of the Marines is seeing and thinking.
Iraq is a strategic, tactical and moral disaster of biblical proportions. You can continue your effort to smear war heros in order to hide this disaster under the rug to protect the Administration (talk about betraying the country!), but the only thing you'd achieve would be damaging the country and the military further. And you probably know it.
if, more likely when, any of the involved marines end up before a court martial the defense should call murtha as a witness and rip him a new a**hole. murtha's idiotic tirade has certianly unminded the accused of getting a fair trial and what's more, he has indited and convicted all the marines present during the firefight whether they might have been involved or not. that's a hell of a way to treat fellow marines not to mention that his primary purpose was to politize the issue which is doubly unfair to those involved. murtha may be right about some things. he is probably more wrong that right in his views but that could be an endless debate. even in a military court martial the accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. murtha himself is guilty of undermining the accused right to due process.
Seditious not traitorious?
Uh, it seems pretty clear something horrible took place.
Of course something horrible happened. It is war. War by definition is horrible.
The question is, "Did the response by the Marines step over the line that we had decided for ourselves, by ourselves?" That is what is being investigated.
The marines have said (to the press, before Murtha had heard anything about it) that they had determined that an after-action report was false and they were investigating. Now generally all of us would assume that that a false report is probably hiding something. I remember in SE Asia the S-2s were always reporting inflated body counts to the press to make their units "look good". (I notice that Murtha was a S-2 in Viet Nam, I wonder what he would have to say about that statement?) Officers that had either signed off on, or forwarded that report have come under investigation, basically to determine what they knew and when they knew it. It is standard operating procedure to relieve officers and NCOs of their command positions while they are under investigation before guilt is established.
As to our self-set Rules of Warfare. We have them, originally from our Judeo-Christian ethic, our fairy tales which come from that ethic, our John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Lone Ranger programming. (OMG, cowboys as roll models? Must be prior to the '70s) Other similar, but different cultures have similar but different ethos. With those we can contract, and agree on the rules. But, there can be no contract under duress. Our military is such that logically any rule at all is in our favor and really only limits our enemies. So of course, they won't play by any rules we would agree to and joyfully take advantage of any we set for ourselves. I have never been to Iraq. I have been to Iran (during the Shah), Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Lebanon. During that time I came to appreciate the lie as an art form. I have no good reason to think it has fallen into disuse since. So I'm not about to automatically believe (or automatically disbelieve) the reports attributed to the locals. They know quite well how well propaganda can cause suspicion to disrupt the mission.
But because we must set rules for ourselves to fit our ethos as the "good guys." There is a price for this, and it is paid in the lives of our soldiers. I have spent a lot of my life at the sharp end of the spear in my country's service and I will tell you it is the duty of our elected rapscallions to make the determination of what rules we will voluntarily follow, realizing that those rules are completely unilateral and every concession to civilization and our own ethos will be paid for in blood. (I have just enough Cherokee blood to sometimes consider that pragmatism has it place.)
Political grandstanding is not helpful. The investigative resources available to a congresscritter are plentiful. If this happened, the culprits need to be punished. If as a politician, you want to slam the other gang of rapscallions, get those psychobabble specialists involved, get their testimony into the court martial record and then slam the other side for overlong deployments leading to an atrocity. Do the "not in anger, but in sorrow routine." Not in the right time window for political hay-making? Tough! Then it is your duty to wait even if you are on an every two year election cycle.
In the meantime, furnishing propaganda ammunition for the enemy side, (the ones that kill people over phony stories in Newsweek, not cut taxes) is not supporting the troops or the mission.
murtha spoke out to keep the issue from being swept under the rug
The story was already covered by national news organizations including ABC News weeks in advance of his comments,and Murtha served to inflame opinion and judgment before charges were even filed.
He is among the lowest of the low.
He's obviously right in that lowest of the low group that includes the murderers he was talking about.
Well, looks like you owe Murtha an apology. May I suggest you send him a gift as well. Because someone who puts ideology over this country is really the lowest of the low.
CONFEDERATE YANKEE,,,,,,,IF A HUMMING BIRD HAD YOUR BRAINS, IT WOULD SUCK A MULES ASS FOR A MORNING GLORY!!!!!!!!!!
What a bunch of right wing koolaid drinking morons. I can't believe you people even have the intelligence to turn on a computer. What a waste. Now I see why Bush got elected, twice.
Let me guess: becuase people such as yourself were too stupid to beat "morons," again?
The Constitution of the United States, Art. III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This offence is punished with death. By the same article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
1. With the obvious pick-up by our enemies of Murtha's comments he has given "aide to the enemy" by giving them talking point's in their quest to recruit more enemies and destroy our efforts, not only in Iraq but in the GLOBAL war on terror.
2. He has, likewise, "given comfort to the enemy" (those that are trying to destroy our way of life and either convert or kill us ((you libs too)) in that he has shown that our Liberal Leaders are taking their side at every turn.
Seems to meet the criteria laid down in our Constitution for Treason. I, for one, will be willing to stand up in court, in the uniform I wore for 22 years, and tesitfy to these FACTS.