Democrats & Liberals Archives

Haditha and Elsewhere

An official involved in The Military’s investigation into the Haditha incident say that it is likely that Marines deliberately killed 24 civilians. Which of course is what many on the Blue Column have been saying for some time. Not that everybody’s been really listening.

Do we speak of such things with joy? The right likes to portray us as being the crowd at the gallows or the stocks throwing the rotten fruit, or worse, the pitchfork wielding lynch-mob. Many invoke the years-old argument that liberals are all lined up at the airport to find a soldier to spit on, preferably a veteran whose fought for their country. Deliciously concentrated and vitriolically partisan rhetoric to be sure, but they'll insist that this is the truth about Democrat opinions about the matter, even when they're speaking to those very Democrats, responding to their indignant protests about the slander.

Once again, though, the Democrats have gotten it right. It's become a pattern. Folks insisted Rove was not involved in leaking Valerie Wilson's identity. Then they insisted that she outed herself. Then they say it serves them right for playing politics. On and on it goes. Fact remains, though, Wilson's identity was secret, and the CIA wanted it that way, listing it as classified information. In his indictment of Scooter Libby, one of a number of people who leaked the story, Patrick Fitzgerald would say he could find no proof of the Wilson's being careless in regards to who she worked for, and that the GOP's assertion that it was an open secret was not the least bit true.

So far, as Democrats have said, the WMDs have not turned up in Syria, muich less Iraq. The former WMDs that Santorum and other Republicans claim to be proof otherwise, are generally acknowledged by people like David Kay and Charles Duelfer to be spoiled, militarily useless, and not representative of what we were supposed to find. They are the same kind of battlefield relics that remain in other former battlegrounds, though perhaps with an extra chemical touch to make them interesting.

No facilities were found for the active development of WMDs. Contrary to the claims of the Bush Administration, Iraq did not have the capacity to manufacture the world's worst weapons. The best they could do was wait, hoping that one day they'd find their way out of the sanctions and restore their program.

After years of tax cuts, the Bush administration has still yet to dig themselves out of deficit, much less equal the economic or fiscal abundance of the Clinton administration. Once again, supply side economics fails to raise the economic tide, though it beautifully succeeds in hobbling future economies with enormous debt.

What's happening here? It's extraordinarily simple. Republicans have gotten arrogant about what they believe they know, arrogant about their perception that they have greater honesty, morality, and understanding than their liberal peers. By that, they are trapped by their inevitable human errors. Where liberals are more free to cross party lines for a solution, or for information, Conservatives in this country have developed a picky appetite with their sources and their methods of dealing with problems.

Like Pandas, Koala's, and other creatures with specialized diets, they become endangered when their primary food supply declines in amount or quality, and the Republican's certainly has.

Much of the information approved by the party comes from the party, for the most part . As with any party, one can get into a situation where the truth is inconvenient to the goals of the organization, or to their members. In that case, you have a conflict of interest. Good government requires awareness of the quality of leadership. Are we getting good results from our government's endeavors? Is the war going well? Was it justified? If we don't get the best answers possible to these questions, our ability to shape our nation's destiny for the better is crippled.

There are many states in the world that hide negative information about the government's dealings from folks, arguing that it's merely political sniping from opponents with dark motives, or that knowing such information would lower morale and threaten whatever war or work was concerned. The disigenuousness of this line of reasoning becomes apparent when you consider the consequences of errors uncorrected, of will vigorously applied to the service of the wrong approaches and methods. There are those pockets of people who can profit from this, literally or figuratively, who have the capacity to ignore or just not care about what happens to everybody else, and given unrestrained authority, these people can make life more difficult for the rest of us.

This is why we formed a republic, a democracy, rather than some more autocratic or aristocratic form of government. The more people can remain unaccountable, regardless of their screwups, the more these screwed up situations can develop and persist. Our leaders are not uniformly wise and intelligent, and at the same time, they are uniformly fallible whether they come from the left or the right. The guiding principle of a Republic is that a mistake doesn't become an error until you refuse to correct it. America profits from being a country where leaders can be held accountable, where mistakes can be revealed and reacted to sooner rather than later.

However, the life blood of a Republic is knowledge. What you don't know can hurt you, and it only gets worse the longer secrecy is maintained. Bush and the Republican congress have walk-in closets full of skeletons they'd rather not have people know about, that they think you're too much of a threat to their power for them to let you know. Fact is, all politicians feel the temptation to remove from themselves the vulnerability that a Republic requires of them: the vulnerability to the judgment of the people. When the conservative media decides to deliberately shield the politicians of the right from such vulnerability, it reinforces a harmful problem for the functioning of our Republic.

And this is where the Democrats and the mainstream media come in. Are we happy about this? If the stakes weren't so high, we might be. Unfortunately, we are having to be right about the kinds of things that keep folks up at night. While I would like to see justice done regarding the Haditha incident, I would have much prefered that the soldiers never be put in that situation to begin with. I would have preferred a short and successful war, that we found what we were looking for, that Bin Laden was in Jail or in his burial shroud, that al-Qaeda was dead and gone from the world and others discouraged from following in its footsteps. But we need to know the truth, because we need to know what oure next response is.

No matter how unpleasant it is, we must face our current realities. Haditha is more than a problem in and of itself, it is a symptom of greater problems. America is supposed to act with greater mercy and morality than its enemies, yet here we have our soldier allegedly murdering innocent people. This having happened, ignoring it might mean passively letting the problem that brought this about continue to do more damage. Rationalizing it might mean taking another step towards being the kind of vicious imperialist power we deplore, which we don't have the stomach to become as we are now. The only way to face this now is to consider that this likely happened, and that justice must be done for all concerned. We must recognize whatever larger problem this might be a part of that, and deal with that appropriately. Only as we confront the difficult and undesirable challenges that the world throws at us do we grow as a nation to become more capable of defending ourselves and standing as a paragon of liberty and justice in the world

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at August 2, 2006 12:41 PM
Comments
Comment #172827

What about this?

Posted by: Cliff at August 2, 2006 2:17 PM
Comment #172832

Were you there? Were you in Haditha? Do you know for a fact that the Pentagon is not playing politics? And finally, why are you so prepared to throw these soldiers to the lions?

Posted by: Charlie at August 2, 2006 2:29 PM
Comment #172834

Stephen:

H.L.Mencken said:

“I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.”

With the decline of investigative journalism and the media in general (mostly because of the enourmous consolidation of media corporations into a relatively few hands governed by greed instead of the national good), the average American citizen is having an increasingly difficult time ascertaining what the truth is.

Because of the polarization of the political landscape in the United States, the minority that are involved in current affairs are more slave than free in marching to the party tune, in spouting the party talking points and surrendering the ability to reason for themselves.

Because of the decline in quality, affordable education, the bastardization of real journalism, the reduction of complex issues to simplistic, partisan ‘sound bites’, the ability of the American citizen to know, to lift himself from ignorance, is made more and more difficult each week that passes. A free flow of information, a transparent government operating in the sunshine, an administration and Congress commited to the truth, is part-and-parcel of a healthy democracy.

Truth, freedom, knowledge. These foundations of government and human intercourse have all been compromised—through partisanship, bigotry, hubris and fear.

I believe that the decline of quality government mirrors the decline in quality personal ethics and interaction. This country has a belligerent runaway foreign policy because we don’t know how to be friends to strangers. The country’s fiscal crises mirrors our inability to have fiscal discipline in our personal lives. The vicious partisan polarization mirrors the fact that we don’t know how to listen, much less walk a mile in the other person’s shoes.


Posted by: Tim Crow at August 2, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #172837

I live in Houston, Tx and I did not support GWB for governor or president. I would not vote for him for dog-catcher. He has failed at every endeavor he has ever attempted except possibly when surrounded by knowledgable partners with the Rangers.

When he was first elected, but no, that’s not right… when he first gained the office of President, I was appalled and feared for our country, but I figured we could get through four years with all the other good and smart people keeping him in line. I was wrong. Seems he only listens to people who agree with him, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. (Where have they been lately????)

When he was reelected, after 9/11 and getting us into the Iraq fiasco, I was terribly alarmed for our country. We are being “led” by a bumbling fool, supported by neocons and K Street interests; our economy is being bled by no-bid contracts, Iraq and Katrina ineptitude and graft; and we have lost all respect with the international community; we are playing into the hancs of the terrorist groups by continuing policy and non-policy that breeds hatred of America.

Haditha is just more fuel for the American-hatred machine. As with many other events, this could have been handled in a way that supports American morality, but instead was mishandled or ignored, making us look as if we tolerate this sort of inhumane action. The unbearable situation in Iraq has our soldiers on edge, and the civilian leaders, Rumsfeld et al, are to blame for the total mismanagment which has led to the enormous stresses for our troops, and horrible conditions the Iraqi civilians find themselves in.

I’m not sure we will make it for another two years if the Democrats don’t take over at least one branch of Congress and begin to rein in this very stupid man and his inept friends, and force some accountability. There seems to be Rep support at least in the Senate to restrict W’s out of control presidency.

Maybe the fundamentalists are right…maybe this is the beginning of armegeddon. If that is so, the George W. Bush is the anti-Christ, because it will have been his incompetence, arrogance, and failure to ever listen to dissent that will have brought about the destruction of the world, or at least our great Anerican society as we know it.

Posted by: MaggieRose at August 2, 2006 2:40 PM
Comment #172843

Stephen:

Remember that many on the red column said that the key to the Haditha situation was to wait for the investigation to be concluded before pronouncing innocence or guilt. The presumption should be innocence until guilt is proven.

That’s been my position all along, but its not the position of many on the left. (Unless of course the accused is a Democrat :)

A shining example of this is in relation to Karl Rove and the Plame incident, which you refer to. My position was to allow Fitzgerald to conduct his investigation and reach his conclusions. Many on the left simply called Rove guilty. The investigation is now complete and Rove was not even charged, yet some still say he’s guilty. To hold such an opinion, my friend, would be a subversion of our judicial system.

If the Marines in Haditha are proven to have done what they are accused of, then they should be held fully accountable. Even if our enemies do the same kind of things with regularity, we cannot lower ourselves to their level. But we surely must give them every benefit of the doubt. And certainly we should give them the same level of benefit of the doubt that we give to the most common of criminals in our society.

To give them less of a benefit of the doubt could not be considered support for our troops. I’ll hold my judgement as to guilt until the process runs its course. I will support them (our troops) until that time, and if found guilty, I will call for them to held fully accountable. If found not guilty, then I will hold them to be exonerated (though many on the left will simply cry “coverup”).

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 2, 2006 3:10 PM
Comment #172844

Stephen

People were listening. We just think it is better to leave these things to the investigators and not extrapolate in ways that might implicate innocent people. Rove is one thing. He is a public figure and can take care of himself, but the soldiers and marines are trying to do a hard job in an ambiguous environment. If a crime has been committed, we should investigate and punish. But we have no business speculating (and niether does Murtha)

Posted by: Jack at August 2, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #172846

1.) “Which of course is what many on the Blue Column have been saying for some time.”

YES INDEED! Steven Daugherty says this, and Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Belefonte, Hugo Chavez, and the entire “Hate/Blame America First” crowd. Sure is fun to broadcast presumed guilt against US Marines based on 1 anonymous source in your url saying something is “likely” (though we can all be sure everyone in Gitmo is innocent … at least until they are given more legal rights & due process that the US Military gives to any of our own).

“Joy” over this, you said?? Well, one unnamed source in CNN sure is Red-Meat to you, to write >1300 words. Or do you find such “Joy” in writing about any subject? WOW, one of the longest posts I have EVER seen – something about this rumor sure made you feel good to repeat / broadcast this.


2.) “Once again, though, the Democrats have gotten it right. It’s become a pattern. Folks insisted Rove was not involved in leaking Valerie Wilson’s identity.”

I have never heard of “Valerie Wilson” in the news. Not to say there is a pattern here re Dems Getting Identities Right, but do you mean Valerie Plame, the wife of Joe Wilson?

Posted by: Brian at August 2, 2006 3:32 PM
Comment #172849

JBOD-

Legal guilt and moral guilt are two very different things. Rove not being charged has more to do with legal maneuvering than guilt or innocence. The facts show that he was involved in outing Plame. Whether he is able to hide behind a procedural loophole is a different matter.

Brian-

Is that the best you can come up with? Loose generalizations and semantics? You’re not a Republican strategist, are you?

Posted by: David S at August 2, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #172850

Tim Crow:

Absolutely dead on correct.

Our government is absolutely a mirror of our society. In this case, a broken mirror.

Posted by: Chi Chi at August 2, 2006 4:18 PM
Comment #172851

DavidS:

You are correct about moral guilt and legal guilt. The problem is that some on the left still want Rove to be punished legally, despite the fact that there is no legal guilt, nor even any legal charges.

Moral guilt is harder to assess. I don’t want to segue this thread onto the Plame thing, but there are varying possibilities for why Rove did what he did. The investigation was to determine his legal status—it has been determined as not guilty to the point that there weren’t even charges brought.

If we punish all our politicians for “moral guilt”, then David Remer and VOID would achieve a stunning success—no incumbents would be left to run for office. Then again, there might not be any challengers, either.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 2, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #172852

Nice piece.

“Once again, though, the Democrats have gotten it right.”

Yup. Hard as some things are to face, it’s always better to be pragmatic and reality based, rather than try to defend the indefensible, or hide from the awful truth. It would be nice to think some of the Republican’s in this blog would now acknowledge that Murtha wasn’t just talking trash, and only for political reasons, but somehow I doubt they will.

Btw, Stephen, have you heard who will be making the decision on whether or not the marines who were responsible will ever be held to account?
This from CNN:

The decision on whether to press criminal charges ultimately will be made by the commander of the accused Marines’ parent unit, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California. That currently is Lt. Gen. John Sattler, but he is scheduled to move to a Pentagon assignment soon; his successor will be Lt. Gen. James Mattis.

Do you happen to remember who Gen. Mattis is? It rang a bell with me instantly. He’s the guy who said back in February 2005:
“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.”

Those remarks sparked a pretty big controversy if you’ll remember, yet even though General Hagee (Commandant of the Marine Corps) issued a statement at the time saying that he should have chosen his words more carefully, Mattis was never disciplined for making those remarks. Now, it looks as though he’ll be the one who decides whether the Haditha Marines will be let off the hook for this massacre.
Judging by his previous comments, should we expect criminal charges to be pressed? Doesn’t seem very likely, does it?

Posted by: Adrienne at August 2, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #172854

“The problem is that some on the left still want Rove to be punished legally, despite the fact that there is no legal guilt, nor even any legal charges.”

No, what we want is for bush to honor his word when he proclaimed he’d fire anyone involved in the leak. rove WAS involved, whether legally culpable or not.
Instead, guys like this in bush’s circle get rewarded. THAT is why we “hate” bush.

Posted by: Observer at August 2, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #172856
If a crime has been committed, we should investigate and punish. But we have no business speculating (and niether does Murtha)

Murtha always knew more than the rest of us, but when you spoke you guys trashed him. Now it turns out he was probably telling the truth.

So are you guys going to apologize to Murtha, once we can be sure he wasn’t “guilty”?

Posted by: Woody Mena at August 2, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #172857
The investigation is now complete and Rove was not even charged, yet some still say he’s guilty. To hold such an opinion, my friend, would be a subversion of our judicial system.

So you think OJ Simpson is innocent? That’s what our legal system determined.

Oh, and holding an opinion is NEVER a subversion of anything.

Posted by: Woody Mena at August 2, 2006 4:44 PM
Comment #172858

Cliff-
I don’t know that anybody ever identified him before he identified himself. If the evidence the Pentagon has is solid, he’ll lose the case in a heartbeat. The best defense in a libel case is that the charges are true.

Charlie-
I don’t know anything from Haditha first hand, but I’d be willing to bet neither do you.

I don’t know what kind of politics might be played, but I will not make it up trying to come up with rationalizations for my personal prejudice. As noble as I believe soldiers are in general, I do not carry that admiration to the point where I believe they can do no wrong. They’re not warrior angels, divinely protected from error. They’re only human.

It seems to me that the Red Column doesn’t want this to be true. Here’s a little secret: neither do we Liberals and Democrats. We Blues like to believe that we are a nation set apart in terms of humaneness and restraint, that we don’t go a around capping innocent people to make object lessons of them.

Each soldier will be judged according to their actions. In the meantime, the preponderance of the evidence suggests that the Marines unit did this. No plausible alternatives have been suggested that are founded on available evidence. This is not about throwing people to the lions, this about understanding the situation so we know what went wrong, and what we can do to minimize incidents of this kind in this war.

Joe-
The presumption of innocence does not mean that we should consider such charges false by default. Our theories and interpretations on the matter should be tentative, and founded on the best available facts as they become available, but that does not mean that we cannot lean one way or the other, minus conviction in a court of law.

The law is not always the definition of truth and justice. We exist in a Democracy for that very reason: so that the law may change to suit what is just and true.

As I recall on the Rove question, Rove is not exonerated; he merely remains uncharged. There can be any number of reasons why this is the case, not the least of which might be that Rove is cooperating with Fitzgerald. Innocence is not the only way to avoid an indictment.

Jack-
I have a great deal of sympathy for the soldiers out there. That sympathy, though is tempered by the knowledge that these are human beings, fallible men and women who fight this war, not angels in camo clothing. The Republican response is meant to inhibit discussion and therefore public reaction to what looks like the breakdown of discipline in the Iraq war.

It is the preponderance of evidence that pushes this case in the media. It’s pretty unambiguous from the facts alone that our soldiers were involved. presumption of innocence does not mean denial of the facts. It means we remain open to context and alternative explanation. If the facts emerge to back that up, we should alter our opinions accordingly. So far, we haven’t had that kind of luck. That, though, is what a trial, and investigation, and presumed innocence are about. Maybe the defense lawyers for the soldiers know something we don’t. If so, I’d like to hear it.

Brian-
1)My Posts are always this long! I’m an essayist in blogger’s clothing.

2)I’m interested in the facts, inside and outside a court of law. Am I not allowed to have an opinion without the sayso of a Court-Martial? I don’t have some wish to see Marines fry at a whim. I come to this opinion because I see the others as more unlikely. That simple. It doesn’t make me feel good, but since when should every fact I learn and every interpretation of the facts yield good feelings, even about the things and people I admire?

3)You’re not reading around enough. She is indeed Valerie Wilson, Plame being here maiden name, used in her undercover work as an energy expert. Rove was involved; that is unquestionable from Time author Matt Cooper’s testimony.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 2, 2006 4:53 PM
Comment #172860

David S.,

I have many disagreements with Steven Daugherty’s l e n g t h y post. However, while I do not agree with your characterization that these are loose generalizations and semantics, you are correct that the best I could come up with are:

- His statement that “the Blue Column has been saying for some time” that US Marines are guilty. Isn’t ‘Pre Judging’ what ‘Prejudice’ is all about? Why be so prejudiced against US Armed Forces??? How about being prejudiced *for* them, if at all?

- That 1 unnamed source in a CNN story is enough to ‘confirm’ guilt in his mind and, as Steven writes, many others in “the Blue Column”

- That I find odd that so many in the “Blue Column” want great process and representation for Gitmo prisoners (and all criminals, yes?): Give Gitmo prisoners and all criminals better legal rights and due process than the US Military gives to *any* US soldiers — AND now to not even give this lesser process to US soldiers before concluding and broadcasting to the US/World their guilt (‘likely’ guilt, according to 1 anonymous source).


I also find odd that you take issue with these criticisms.

Also, ‘Yes’ I find oddly humorous that Steven Daugherty so boldly proclaimed:

Once again, though, the Democrats have gotten it right. It’s become a pattern. Folks insisted Rove was not involved in leaking Valerie Wilson’s identity.

then mis-identifies Valerie Plame. LOL!! Even if you are partisan liberal and would like his claim to be true (which I suspect most do not), don’t you think after trumpeting oneself and castigating his enemy, then making the same mistake in the same sentence is both IRONIC(*) and inviting comment??

(*) btw, to my thinking and to my reading of Websters, this is ‘ironic’ and not ‘semantic’.

Posted by: Brian at August 2, 2006 4:57 PM
Comment #172859

Stephen D.

Once again, though, the Democrats have gotten it right.

Everything you’ve used to support this statement has been after the fact. The Dem’s voted for an invasion of Iraq based on the idea that Iraq had WMDs, and now they backpedal? Give me a break.

Adrienne,

Those remarks sparked a pretty big controversy if you’ll remember, yet even though General Hagee (Commandant of the Marine Corps) issued a statement at the time saying that he should have chosen his words more carefully, Mattis was never disciplined for making those remarks. Now, it looks as though he’ll be the one who decides whether the Haditha Marines will be let off the hook for this massacre. Judging by his previous comments, should we expect criminal charges to be pressed? Doesn’t seem very likely, does it?

I have to dispute your assessment that the Commandant of the Marine Corp will be making the final decision. This kind of thing gets handled in military tribunals governed by law, the UCMJ, to be exact.

More to the point, though, your comments infer that you think Mattis should be disciplined for his remarks about shooting people in Afghanistan. It doesn’t matter if you find General Mattis’s remarks to be offensive or not. Even a high ranking member of the U.S. military is still a U.S. citizen. Are we going to relieve them of their first amendment rights just because we don’t like what they say? I don’t think so. The Constitution can’t be thrown out just because someone is offended.

Posted by: John at August 2, 2006 4:57 PM
Comment #172861
An official involved in The Military’s investigation into the Haditha incident say that it is likely that Marines deliberately killed 24 civilians. Which of course is what many on the Blue Column have been saying for some time.

You’ve been saying this for quite some time? Don’t you see a problem with that?

Why won’t you give these young men the benefit of the doubt? Anyone who is willing to give their life for their country should be considered a hero. You might as well wait at the airport and spit on them because your baseless accusations are far worse.

If you think you are so ethical than why the hell have you found them guilty without a trial?

What you are stating is that you don’t believe in the presumption of innocence - or is it that you like Murtha only want to endanger the lives of our soldiers by inciting our enemies with unsubstantiated claims???

Posted by: G.K. at August 2, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #172863

Stephen:

The presumption of innocence does not mean that we should consider such charges false by default.

Well, duhhhh. No kidding. I know that, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve never said anything remotely to that effect. What I’ve said is that proclaiming guilt prior to the conclusion of investigation is stupidity. So too would be proclaiming innocence. What I’ve advocated is the presumption of innocence.

Before you investigate, there’s no way to say with any knowledge that someone is innocent or guilty. You simply don’t have the facts or evidence to reach any conclusion at all. That being said, though, our system calls for us to presume someone innocent until proven guilty. That simply means that we diligently review the circumstances and the evidence before pronouncing guilt.

That has not happened with Haditha (Murtha proclaimed guilt before the investigation was complete) nor with Rove (where many on the left claim his guilt, despite his not even being charged. We can theorize why he hasn’t been charged all we want. Doesn’t really matter. If you truly believe in the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ concept, then Rove is still innocent. The question remains for many on the left….Do you REALLY believe in the concept? For many, their words speak loudly—-they are willing to forgo it if it helps their agenda.

Adrienne:

It would be nice to think some of the Republican’s in this blog would now acknowledge that Murtha wasn’t just talking trash, and only for political reasons, but somehow I doubt they will.

I’ll speak for myself here (you well know I don’t speak for the entire Republican party, as I’m sometimes accused). I’ve never once said Murtha was talking trash. What I’ve said so plainly that anyone with cognition could understand is that he jumped the gun on his statements.

That means that he could be 100% correct in his statements, the Marines could have done all they are accused of, they could ultimately be found guilty, and Jack Murtha would still be wrong to have said what he said WHEN he said it.

He presumed guilt before the investigation was complete. If that is what passes for “supporting the troops”, then I simply have a different idea of what support means. Murtha opened his yap and proclaimed guilt—and for that he was wrong. In his position, he should know better.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 2, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #172864

Stephen,

If Valerie Wilson is her correct legal name, I withdraw my ‘humor’. While I agree Plame is both her Original/Maiden and CIA name, I have never heard that she changed her name to Wilson, or heard her identified as Wilson by the mass media (not that they are right). I also Yahoo’ed this before replying.

Yes, I have heard that Rove was ‘involved’. However, he says involved in legal ways (I am involved with Global Climate by breathing).

And Rove is not possibly-guilty-enough to be even charged with a crime so, like the US Marines, I am not sure you/others should assume him to be guilty (though if so, like anyone else, he should be fully sentanced).

Posted by: Brian at August 2, 2006 5:17 PM
Comment #172865
That means that he could be 100% correct in his statements, the Marines could have done all they are accused of, they could ultimately be found guilty, and Jack Murtha would still be wrong to have said what he said WHEN he said it.

AMEN, joebagodonuts. Same goes for this post.

Posted by: G.K. at August 2, 2006 5:19 PM
Comment #172866

Here we go again making accusations before the investigations are done. I wonder how many of the posters have ever been in a combat situation. How many have had children come up to them with granades straped to them or some other type of explosive device. Lets not make baseless accusations. If these soldiers are guilty then they need to be punished. Lets not punish them before they have their day in court or in this case court martialed.

Posted by: KAP at August 2, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #172868

Maggie Rose…..you are a boob, god love ya….

Posted by: Mike at August 2, 2006 5:21 PM
Comment #172871

Here is what Jack Murtha said on 5/17/2006.

It’s much worse than reported in Time magazine. There was no fire fight. There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. And that’s what the report is going to tell.

All Murtha was doing was describing an internal investigation that had already taken place.

Posted by: Woody Mena at August 2, 2006 5:31 PM
Comment #172872

Joebagodonuts,

It’s likely that if Murtha hadn’t spoken out, bravely, that Haditha wouldn’t have been investigated as extensively as it has, and the truth uncovered. Now that evidence is emerging, what say you about Murtha’s claim that it sounded like a coverup to him and he wanted Haditha investigated? To me that’s Brave. Murtha never said they definitely did anything either. He just said he wanted an investigation and pushed for it.

Posted by: Max at August 2, 2006 5:36 PM
Comment #172874

Stephen,

I’m interested in the facts, inside and outside a court of law. Am I not allowed to have an opinion without the sayso of a Court-Martial? I don’t have some wish to see Marines fry at a whim. I come to this opinion because I see the others as more unlikely. That simple. It doesn’t make me feel good, but since when should every fact I learn and every interpretation of the facts yield good feelings, even about the things and people I admire?

I am all for collecting fair & honest info, and I like your words that you support the US Marines. But your post:

- did not seem fair to the Marines (or to others)

- did not mention that there was only 1 person who was the source of these accusations

- did not mention the source was anonymous

- seemed to be more of a Conclusion of guilt that you wanted broadcast, to advocate that your Prejudging should be accepted by others (not to misquote, but: ~”I & Democrats have been saying this for a long time. But has anybody listened? Nooooo.”)

- I did not say you have to receive good feelings from everything. But something about disseminating this anti-Marine story US/Worldwide must have felt very good to you, or else I don’t think you would have done it.

I am GLAD you generally support our Armed Forces, and I look forward to your future posts where your pro-Military (and, I hope, pro-American) views are not misinterpreted.

Posted by: Brian at August 2, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #172878

Joe bag of donuts
I find this very interesting
From the right we get (for our soldiers)
“innocent until PROVEN guilty”
Benefit of the doubt
lets not rush to judgement
do not lynch
etc etc etc
YET
for the detainees in Gitmo we get
they are scum
don’t deserve right and judicial treatment
leave them to rot
worst of the worst
Terrorists
etc
Yet those in Gitmo have never had the luxury of investigation of the charges, let alone anything remotely resembling a trial.
Funny how hypocrisy works isn’t it?
Russ

Posted by: Russ at August 2, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #172880

In the military you are guilt until proven otherwise. Not being there, not knowing what exactly happened, I can not see how anyone here can pass judgement. That will be for a court to decide. I think also that it is politically motived to appease the so-called Iraqi government.

Posted by: KT at August 2, 2006 6:13 PM
Comment #172881

“or is it that you like Murtha only want to endanger the lives of our soldiers by inciting our enemies “

You mean with taunts like “bring em on”?

Posted by: Observer at August 2, 2006 6:13 PM
Comment #172882

Brian-

Look up semantic. I’ll think you’ll see it applies.

I agree with Observer’s point from earlier. Bush said that anyone in his administration who was involved would be fired. Is that another lie?

Posted by: David S at August 2, 2006 6:15 PM
Comment #172883

John:
“I have to dispute your assessment that the Commandant of the Marine Corp will be making the final decision. This kind of thing gets handled in military tribunals governed by law, the UCMJ, to be exact.”

I guess I’d better repeat the CNN quote I previously put up, since you obviously didn’t bother read it the first time:

The decision on whether to press criminal charges ultimately will be made by the commander of the accused Marines’ parent unit, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California. That currently is Lt. Gen. John Sattler, but he is scheduled to move to a Pentagon assignment soon; his successor will be Lt. Gen. James Mattis.

I only mentioned the Commandant of the Marine Corp — who is Gen Hagee — in regard to the fact that he didn’t discipline Mattis after the man made remarks that could only come from the lips of an insane madman, rather than an intelligent, wise and responsible military leader.

“More to the point, though, your comments infer that you think Mattis should be disciplined for his remarks about shooting people in Afghanistan.”

Yes. Because of what he said :

“So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.”

That is INSANE.

“It doesn’t matter if you find General Mattis’s remarks to be offensive or not.”

Correct. Gen. Hagee should have.

“Even a high ranking member of the U.S. military is still a U.S. citizen. Are we going to relieve them of their first amendment rights just because we don’t like what they say?”

No. But they should definitely be relieved of their commands as soon as it becomes apparent that they’re jacked in the brain, IMO. Just common sense, yes?

“The Constitution can’t be thrown out just because someone is offended.”

I agree. But that’s kind of funny. Because Bush has completely thrown out the Constitution, yet that doesn’t seem to phase the Republicans who always defend him the least bit.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 2, 2006 6:17 PM
Comment #172884

After reading all the comments supporting our troops and catigating Stephen for things he didn’t even right or say — it is just stomach churning.

It would be more credible if you people were more consistent in your application of presumption of innocence.
If a dark skinned person is detained in Gitmo or elsewhere
It is ok to imprision without trial, torture, maim, kill, or treat him in whatever inhumane way you can imagine, after all “they’re “ONLY” terrorists” — the bad guys, “the enemy”
VERY INTERESTING insight!
Where is your outrage for all the injustices that we have inflicted on people who have only been ACCUSED of terrorist activities (or perhaps only of being somewhat suspicious and being in the wrong place at the wrong time)
You people sicken me
You accuse the left of “rushing to judgement” — this “rush to judgement is a glacial pace compared to how you judge those people!!

The Moral Majority my rear end
The Party of Values????

Posted by: Russ at August 2, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #172885

Karl Rove is not being charged with a crime because ‘Scooter’ Libby and others (including Rove himself) LIED during prosecutor investigations, depositions, and grand jury hearings. What Fitzgerald said was that he could not charge Rove with a crime because he could not get the truth from witnesses (who just happen to be high ranking Republican public officials.) The hypocracy of Republicans who crowed about the ‘rule of law’ regarding Clinton is boundless!

Many mafia bosses have gone uncharged with crimes because their underlings and associates refuse to testify honestly. They are ‘innocent’ per the law, but prosecutors know that they are deeply involved. Rove himself has retracted and recanted testimony and admitted that he knew more than he first ‘remembered’.

The point of the post is that the Republicans have buried their heads in the sand and tried to hide the elephant in the room. Their leadership has repeatedly shown itself willing to hide information, obfuscate positions, pick selective facts, and flat-out down-right LIE to the American people. Their supporters in the press and in the general population continue to wear blinders and try to come up with explanations and rationales for the Administration’s policies and actions.

When I see a duck, it doesn’t really matter to me how many people are trying to convince me that it is a bluebird… if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… it’s a DUCK!

Posted by: LibRick at August 2, 2006 6:20 PM
Comment #172886

LibRick and Stephen
It is very interesting because all of the “Red” posts do nothing more than validate the point you are making in your post!!!

Posted by: Russ at August 2, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #172890

Has anyone seen S. Eagle? I just re-read his thread from mid-June: he wanted to Murtha to appologize.

Just wondering if he’s read this new info, and what his response is…???

Posted by: tony at August 2, 2006 6:46 PM
Comment #172892

Russ,

From the LEFT we gat (for Gitmo terrorists)
“Innocent until proven guilty”
Benefit of the doubt
Let’s not rush to judgement
Do not lynch
etc,etc.

And for our own soldiers who risk their lives defending the rights of libs to say:

They are scum
Don’t deserve rights and judicial treatment
Leave them to rot
worst of the worst
cold blooded murderers

Forgive me, but I think I’ll take my chances with the description you gave of the Right, but that’s just me.

Posted by: Duane-o at August 2, 2006 6:57 PM
Comment #172893

———We met the Enemy an Became them!—— Is this
the Epitaph we want to leave for the Historians?
I would like to believe all most all our Military
personnel are Honorable an capable military soldiers
and are under great pressure under great extremes
trying to do their best. I also believe a group
this large accused of this crime has had a major
group psychotic episode an must be kept strictly secret
until all soldiers have been evaluated. This is
not the time for permanent decisions to be made or
even discussed until all facts have been shown!

Posted by: DAVID at August 2, 2006 7:09 PM
Comment #172895

Keep to the topic, don’t compare Rove to a Mob boss.

Duane-o I agree, what fits the situation in the case of soldiers (not all other cases) seems to be the lean on this posting.

I would be curious to hear if there were to be true, what is its relevance in the grand scheme of the war. Going back to other blogs, the professionalism of the soldiers and lack of similar incidents, would seem to magnify a very unique incident.

Perhaps if this were more common place, American solidiers involved in incidents like this, we would not feel as much conviction.

Posted by: Edge at August 2, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #172894

Stephen,

Your entire post is talking about how you guys on the blue side were right all along about those bloodthirsty murdering Marines. This proves that you guys have been spouting this garbage since BEFORE Haditha. At the airport today, just for me, could you spit on just one less soldier? Thanx. {}{

Posted by: Duane-o at August 2, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #172907

Stephen:

I want to second what Jack has said. What I see on the left is simply wanting to hang these young men. What is interesting is you are willing to “rush to judgment”. (Hmmm where have I heard that before).

Murtha and company want to be ahead of the investigators, and be judge jury and executioner. If crimes were commited then deal with it. You all seem eager to find wrong to validate your position on the war. The problem is that these are young troops with their life on the line. These are not politically elected people. Many are probably liberal like you. I assume they are a mixture of democrats and republicans doing a job.

I think Murtha has been shameful for not letting the system work. I also think you are guilty of the very crime (rush to judgment) the left so quickly (and possibly correctly) places on Bush.

Let the system work,

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at August 2, 2006 8:45 PM
Comment #172909

—-Tim Crow an Steven —Both a nice evening read!

Posted by: DAVID at August 2, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #172913

“I want to second what Jack has said. What I see on the left is simply wanting to hang these young men.”

Of course that’s what you see. You see what you want to see, and those who do not agree with you, you feel they must obviously be evil. Please quote a single instance on this post where ANYONE has suggested that we hang these soldiers. And if you can not find one, would you mind appologizing for such callous remarks?

“Your entire post is talking about how you guys on the blue side were right all along about those bloodthirsty murdering Marines. “

No - the post is discussing the real issues on the ground, and trying to get to actual solutions that might work. We’ve seen “you guys” staying the course for long enough to know for fact it is not working. Also, we’re amazed at the RIGHT who immediately attacked Murtha - who is being proven right - and is now silent about their own remarks.

“I think Murtha has been shameful for not letting the system work.

It is because of Murtha that the system worked. It’s not the system many supporting Bush want to work, but then again, Bush supports torture - and that says a lot about why the incident happened in the first place.

Posted by: tony at August 2, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #172914

“From the LEFT we gat (for Gitmo terrorists)
“Innocent until proven guilty”
Benefit of the doubt
Let’s not rush to judgement
Do not lynch
etc,etc.

And for our own soldiers who risk their lives defending the rights of libs to say:

They are scum
Don’t deserve rights and judicial treatment
Leave them to rot
worst of the worst
cold blooded murderers”

Please back this “crap” up. I’ve searched the post, and you’re the only one I can find who has written this ??? (I can’t even think of a word to call this…) If you’re going to argue with yourself, please - at least have a little imagination.

Posted by: tony at August 2, 2006 9:27 PM
Comment #172917

Observer,

Despite the fact that it wasn’t borderline treasonous, Bush regrets using the phrase, “Bring ‘em on”. That clown Murtha not only is unapologetic, he’s persistent in trying our soldiers in the court of public opinion. If only his constituents were as prejudicial as he is, they would have voted his ass out despite his pleas of innocence in the ABSCAM scandal. He’s a hypocrite who asks not to be judged, but turns around and judges others.

I can’t believe ANYONE would defend him on this.

Posted by: G.K. at August 2, 2006 9:44 PM
Comment #172922

Tony,

Duane-o slammed Russ hard by turning the argument around on him. You spent hours looking for references to this?

To quote you, “please - at least have a little imagination.”

Posted by: G.K. at August 2, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #172936

Lack of similar incidents?

Ever heard of Abu Graib? (I admit I can’t spell it before I get that response).

There’s also this:

Soldiers smiled before killings in Iraq: witness

War is always a mess, and there are always incidents like this. It is worse under the current conditions, like this:


General admits most National Guard units not ready

And anyone who has been there, or in Korea, or in Viet Nam knows that there are many that never get caught/reported.

Not charged does not mean innocent, just a thought for those posting to let the charges be the decision maker. Opinions in a blog are not trying any trial.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 2, 2006 11:23 PM
Comment #172937
I can’t believe ANYONE would defend him on this.

I feel the same way about many of the current policies and the things our president and his cohorts have said and done.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 2, 2006 11:27 PM
Comment #172948

John-
When we started this war, the Administration’s war cry was not Democratize Iraq, it was disarm Saddam. Democratization would be a nice side-effect, ala the postwar axis power rehabilitation. (we didn’t set out to Democratize those nations, but rather to defeat the threat they posed.

We, at least can honestly say we were mislead and that we changed our minds based on what we learn. It’s no flip flop to change your mind when new information comes along, it’s common sense.

What is a flip-flop is to go to war with cries of “Disarm Saddam!”, and then insist after that crapped out that it was Democracy all along.

As for General Mattis, he does not have full free speech rights. Joining the military, one forgoes many rights and freedoms.

Brian-
I did not say that they were guilty, I said it was likely that they were responsible. I can say that somebody’s a main suspect in a case without saying they’re guilty.

I think you should go back through the articles in the archive I am biased for them, and always have been. This case is not as simple as a terrorist’s word against a soldiers. There are other soldiers that witnessed these things, other soldiers who investigated this, and it’s likely a soldier who shared the results of this investigation to CNN

It’s funny to hear about support from the Republicans when I talk about giving just that, about soldiers asking for just that. A soldier comes up and asks about armor, and what is the response of the right? Somebody’s trying to politically embarrass Rumsfeld. Men are dying in spite of, and sometime because of that “Hillbilly armor” (The metal shatters into shrapnell rather than absorb the hit right), and the main concern of the Red Column is political embarrassment for the Secretary of Defense. That is the priority I see the right having on supporting our troops, at least politically speaking: all support starts from the top and trickles down.

As for Gitmo? I’m not going to protest about that because I love terrorists. I’m going to do it because I love my country’s superior status on human rights.

My support of the Soldier rights has not been inconsistent with such a point of view. I have not suggested that a lynch mob of Iraqis should go string the marines up. I have not said that insurgents should attack us for this (in fact, it’s well documented that they’re constant attacks are part of what brought the situation to a fever pitch) I have not laid down any statements as to what I think the verdicts should be. The facts, as presented to a jury should dictate that.

However, the right persists in treating this debate here as if it’s taking place in a court of law, where any positive allegation of wrongdoing is considered prejudicial. Looking at the facts, it is possible to logically come to the conclusion that Marines could be guilty of what they are accused of. Not ARE guilty. COULD BE guilty. Potential as opposed to actual.

The fact that we have an investigation and charges underway in this incident, that people are confirming that reports were falsified and that the false report came form the marines merits such suspicion. This isn’t terrorist propaganda driving the story.

What I see from the right is one rationalization after another, one bit of far-out speculation meant to deny flatly the justified nature of suspicion in this case. Political motives are alleged. Claims of insurgents faking the incident are peddled. These aren’t neutral claims that acknowledge the suspicion but caution us to be tentative about our conclusions, these are claims that try to paint this as an active deception by the enemy, or by a government afraid of looking like it’s protecting murderers.

And why take that direction? If all we’re talking about are the factually justified suspicions, then the Republicans are deprived of the sympathy-milking charge that Democrats are once again spitting on the military. With faked massacres and political caving in to bloodthirsty natives , you can claim the good old backstab, rather than answer question like Murtha poses, about how our soldiers could get to such a point. You can pretend everything is right with the war, rather than question the President’s war plan.

G.K.-
Can you present me with facts telling me its unlikely? Why would the military investigate this any further if there was nothing to it. They’ve exonerated others before.

I have no desire to mire soldiers in baseless charges, but also no desire to play the games of rationalization that leads to even more shameful incidents.

What gets me is how quickly you jump to accuse me of a lack of patriotism, of a lack of support for the soldiers, having failed to examine my quite lengthy record of pro-military, sometimes quite hawkish material.

I’ve always found winning Iraq to be a priority, even as I excoriated the president and his staff for how they started it; to let Iraq collapse, if we can help doing otherwise, would be appallingly stupid in my opinion. Winning Iraq, or at least leaving it in some stable form that can heal from the war, is essential to digging us out of the strategic hole that invading in the first place dug.

Questions about the war are merited on the facts. Questions about the Haditha incident are merited on the facts. What’s not merited are most of these charges of disloyalty and disrespect.

As for Murtha, I think you folks neatly forget the fact that speaking out like he did in his district was inherently risky. He has nothing to gain from baseless charges, nothing to gain by opposing the war unreasonably. As for his honesty, he was noted in ABSCAM for having refused the bribe, and was eventually exonerated. The thing that gets me here is the GOP insistence on using talk of presumed innocence to level attacks at Democrats that most decidely don’t presume innocence.

Joe-
The argument is legalistic. It is up to a court martial to determine what the soldiers are guilty of, if anything. It’s not up to me. I can entertain notions that the preponderance of the evidence would suggest where the court must prove these things beyond reasonable doubt, and according to the formal requirements of the law.

I don’t have enough facts or evidence to reach a legal conclusion, but that’s neither my job, nor my responsiblity. Even if I took the most prejudiced position against the soldiers I possibly could, and groused at how slow the investigation and everything was proceeding, I couldn’t do a damn thing to convict them in a court of law.

I have no burning desire one way or another here, so long as they are judged on the facts and on the law. That’s not merely as I know them but as they are. My poor-ass ignorant self is only fit to have an opinion, not the legal power to judge.

Duano-
If I wanted to call them bloodthirsty murderers, I would have chosen such words. I don’t know all the facts, and am willing to admit it and let justice take its course.

What your post proves is that you don’t waste a chance to spit on Democrats like me. When’s the last time you heard me say that our soldiers are scum, don’t deserve rights and due process, that they should be left to rot, that they are the worst of the worst, and that they are cold blooded murders by default?

You’ve never heard me say such things. But then you’re not listening to what I am saying, you’re waiting for the right time to allege the latest betrayal.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 3, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #172952

JBOD,
You and I know each other’s position on this.
I’ll add this one tidbit.

I learned about Haditha through Murtha’s interview. I suspect many other Americans did, as well. I believe I have a right to know what our troops are doing in my country’s name. Jack Murtha did a great service for his country, and I find it disingenous to criticize his candor.

Jack did not convict them, he simply told us what was, at the time, relatively new information regarding Iraq. You may not like the news, but shooting the messenger doesn’t make the news better.


Posted by: gergle at August 3, 2006 1:18 AM
Comment #172967

——-Stephen——
there seems to be a serious problem
in this Country when so many people rush in to defend the apparent bad guys all the time. These people are the same folks whose parents teach them,
it’s wrong to get caught doing something wrong,
rather than teach them not to do wrong. Also shows
lack of moral character to try an justify shooting
24 people, which the Military now said on the news late this evening, charges may be pressed. Some
of these same people also believe it was ok to kill
those 36 kids sleeping in that apartment, in
Lebanon.

Posted by: DAVID at August 3, 2006 6:47 AM
Comment #172982

Stephen,

Can you present me with facts telling me its unlikely?

What the hell are you talking about? ou certainly have poor comprehension skills. I do not know whether or not it is unlikely. It may be true. What I am saying is that it was wrong for Murtha to publicly convict these men they way he did. He prejudged them. Isn’t that contrary to what you say you stand for?

And as for ABSCAM, I do not know whether or not he was guilty, but it does go to show you that people are NOT ALWAYS guilty (so he shouldn’t prejudge them) - or it shows that he is a hypocrite who doesn’t want to be prejudged, but is prejudicial himself. Which is it? Either way, he was wrong to say those things when he did.

Wait until after the trial.

Posted by: G.K. at August 3, 2006 8:58 AM
Comment #172992

DAVID-
They are right to ask that there be tentativeness in our conclusions. God is often in the details, and a rush to judgment is foolhardy…

…in both directions. If we get to the point where we can’t possibly believe we’re capable of wrong, then justice will not be done when discipline and good character fails, and that will both warp the sensibilities of this country in terms of what’s right and wrong, and it will sow the seeds of future hostilities and threats.

At the same time, if we get too overly moralistic and judgmental, we’ll get like the Belgians, who pulled out of Rwanda when their soldiers got killed, which helped enable the murderers to begin their genocide. We must take on the character of righteousness in both spirit and action.

G.K.-
My comprehension skills are just fine. Murtha has not publically convicted anyone. He has merely stated what the facts indicate: That Marines are likely responsible for the deaths of 24 innocent civilians. Who, why and how are not unimportant, and that’s what the investigation is about.

Prejudgment means having an opinion before you even see the facts. If anything, Murtha’s prejudgment would be for the soldiers, rather than against. Murtha is responding to what his sources in the defense establishment are telling him. He’s not doing this on a whim.

It seems odd to me that many on the Right assume he’s doing this for his own benefit, never once considering that in his conservative, Reagan Democrat district, he’s actually taking a risk. This is a man who has so much to lose by taking a stand like this. This is not some hippy fresh from the latest iteration of woodstock. This is a Korean and Vietnam war veteran with years of supporting the military and supporting armed interventions under his belt. He’s no peacenik.

Yet Republicans judge him at the drop of a hat, assuming his motives, putting words in his mouth, and conveniently forgetting to listen to what he’s actually said.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 3, 2006 9:52 AM
Comment #172999

“Duane-o slammed Russ hard by turning the argument around on him. You spent hours looking for references to this?”

Duane-o made up quotes to fit his own perceptions… is that the Smackdown you were referring to?

OK, maybe the imagination is the wrong place to start.

Posted by: tony at August 3, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #173025

Max:

Murtha never said they definitely did anything either. He just said he wanted an investigation and pushed for it.

You are simply 100% wrong here. I’ll prove it by showing you what Murtha said, in his own words. You will see that Murtha did, in fact, definitely say what the Marines did. He concluded their guilt even while calling for an investigation to determine what happened. Here are his words:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS)
(Off-camera) Thank you, sir. You have been briefed several times on this incident on November 19th. And you’ve said that the evidence shows that Marines killed innocent civilians in cold blood. From what you know, what happened?

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN MURTHA (DEMOCRAT

Well, there’s no question in my mind, what happened was an IED went off. And you gotta put this into perspective. Every day they go out, an IED goes off. And I sanitize when I say IED. I’m talking about explosive device goes off. It doesn’t - hurts somebody one day, the next day it kills somebody. The next day, it maims somebody. And I see those people in the hospital all the time. So the pressure builds every time they go out. So this particular case, an IED exploded. It killed one Marine. And then a taxi drives up. When the taxi comes up, there’s four or five people in it. And they shoot; shoot those four or five people, unarmed. And then they go on a rampage throughout the houses and kill people. One woman, as I understand it, in talking to the officials in the Marine Corps, was bending over a child pleading for mercy and they shot her in cold blood. That’s the thing that’s so disturbing. And even more disturbing is the fact that, we know the Iraqis knew about it because they made payments to the Iraqis for accidental deaths or for salacious deaths, whatever you want to call it. And then in addition to that, they had - there has to have been a cover-up of this thing.

Later in the interview:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) You know, a Marine who was accused last year of committing war crimes, Lieutenant Alario Pantano, has written a letter to “The Washington Post” this morning saying you’re rushing to judgment. And saying, that, as he wrote in ‘The Post,” ‘members of the US military serving in Iraq need more than Mr. Murtha’s pseudo-sympathy. Let the courts decide if these Marines are guilty. They haven’t even been charged with a crime yet, so it’s premature to presume their guilt unless that presumption is tied to a political motive.”

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN MURTHA (DEMOCRAT

George, I can understand - anybody that’s been over there, I can understand anybody that feels that you’re denigrating the troops. What I’m saying is, there’s nobody done more for the troops than I have. Nobody’s worked harder than I have, in trying to make sure the troops have what they need. But I will not excuse murder. And this is what happened. There’s no question in my mind about it. This investigation should have been over two or three weeks afterwards. And it should have been made public. And people should - should’ve been held responsible for it.

gergle:

I’ve never taken any shots at Murtha for spurring on the investigation. In fact, I’ve taken great pains to explain the difference between Murtha’s comments and those of Senator John Warner. Both men jointly deserve credit for calling for the investigation, but Warner did it in the right way. He did not reach the conclusion of guilt before the investigation he was calling for.

My whole point has not been that Murtha called for an investigation—so did Warner. They were well within their rights to do so. But Warner called for an investigation to figure out what happened, while Murtha already called the Marines murderers and liars.

You tell me—-who would you rather have “supporting” you—-A) Someone who waits for all the facts to be uncovered before concluding your innocence or B) Someone who tells the world you are guilty, while at the same time saying we should uncover all the facts.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 3, 2006 12:12 PM
Comment #173034

My last question should read:

You tell me—-who would you rather have “supporting” you—-A) Someone who waits for all the facts to be uncovered before concluding your innocence or guilt or B) Someone who tells the world you are guilty, while at the same time saying we should uncover all the facts.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 3, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #173035

Joe-
The simple answer here is: What are the facts? If the facts present these boys in a bad light, that’s just how it goes.

These Marines presented a report that said one thing when another was true. What do you call that. If they were involved with the incident, and the deaths occured, what do you call that?

I think many of you on the right don’t want to call these things what they are. They want to bring the legal guilt and innocence into the equation, and forestall any moral judgments on what happened. To this point, I believe, the only identified soldier in all this is the one who identified himself. Without that identification, there is no real claim of guilt or innocences for anyone. As for the whole group, the facts can be arrayed to show they were involved, and cast suspicion on them as a group. But nobody is going to be tried and convicted as a group.

If we don’t allow a free and frank discussion of what’s going on, I think it’s more likely you will see both sides polarized and both sides wrong. Only if both sides of this debate acknowledge that discussion is appropriate and opinions do not constitute convictions or exonerations will we trully be able to address the issue fairly in the court of public opinion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 3, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #173044

I love those people like GK who advocate complete silence on such an important issue. They would have us apply to ordinary discourse the same standards as those in criminal procedings (gulilty BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT)?

Look, Murtha should be viewed as a whistle-blower. You know, those people who we constantly try to encourage through special protections in our laws. His intentions were obviously not to defame the marines, but to protect their reputation from being legitimately drug through the mud. To call him a traitor or whatever else is just nonsense. On one hand the government NEEDS whistle blowers to be able to ensure adherence to legitimate laws. But then when someone blows a whistle they are pegged as a traitor?

But the most idiotic argument is still to say we are not allowed to make any independent conclusions that are not entirely in line with the criminal trial procedure, timelines, and conclusions.

Does this mean that I am not allowed to tell any more OJ jokes?

Sorry, but a brain is not a court seeking to deprive one of life, liberty, or property through due process. If someone says something baseless, then call them on it. But don’t say that we have no right to come to our own opinion based on the reported facts and discuss it publicly. That is what a free country is all about.

Now go back to defaming those who don’t agree with you and leave the real important discussions to those who can handle people forming their own opinions.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 3, 2006 1:52 PM
Comment #173046

——-Stephen Daugherty—-If a dog had not stopped
to sh—, He would have caught the rabbit. I am only
stating that if you don’t keep within a set pattern
of moral character and live by a set of rules and
only apply those rules towards things that are
used for oneself, would show that person has double
standards. By not at least, expecting all people to
at least make an effort to conform to some ethical standards most of the time, we most certainly end up just like all pryor great Civilaziations. I also get your drift

Posted by: DAVID at August 3, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #173060

Stephen:

The entire point I’ve been making—-apparently not well enough for people to understand—-is that the TIMING of Murtha’s declaration of guilt is the problem.

Think about the Duke lacrosse situation as an example. Lacrosse team members are accused of rape, police investigate preliminarily,DA presses charges, police begin to investigate more deeply. All okay by me. What would NOT be okay is if a politician from Durham, NC weighing in saying that the Duke players were guilty. Wouldn’t be okay for the politician to weigh in saying they were innocent either. It would be okay to say “an investigation is warranted, but lets not jump to conclusions yet. Let’s remember the players are innocent until proven guilty.”

I’ve specifically called Murtha onto the carpet because he is a public figure. He’s not just some nobody like you or me on a vapid blog site. He’s pretty much the guy the entire media corps goes to for quotes about military affairs, especially in Iraq.

As such, he has a higher responsibility to be careful about what he says. He proclaimed guilt and then proclaimed a cover up. That sets the stage for international perception to conclude guilt, and if the evidence shows anything other than guilt, international perception has been primed to think COVERUP.

You claim that those on the right dont want to discuss these issues. But that’s a direct contradiction of what I’ve said all along, and what’s worse, I think you know that, but ignored it in order to try to score a point.

I’ve stated that we need a full and thorough investigation of Haditha. It needs to be conducted as publicly as reasonable, knowing that certain information cannot and should not be divulged publicly. At the end of the investigation, they move forward to the legal aspect, trials, tribunals etc.

If they Marines are found guilty under our legal system, then throw the book at them. If found not guilty, then those of us who have steadfastly maintained their innocence until proven guilty will be happy that we did so. In fact, whatever the outcome, I am proud to have considered them innocent until proven guilty.

As in the Duke case, the facts are more and more seeming to exonerate the players. The outcome is not definitive either way yet, though. Which makes me very happy to not have rushed to judgement on the players, just as I have not rushed to judgement on the Marines. Those of you who have, should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 3, 2006 3:43 PM
Comment #173068

keven,

“But the most idiotic argument is still to say we are not allowed to make any independent conclusions that are not entirely in line with the criminal trial procedure, timelines, and conclusions.”

You can all the independent conclusions you want. You can even call me a baby killer because I served in Viet Nam. If we think you are wrong we will call you on it.

The primary difference is that Murtha is a public figure and his forum was a TV camera.

Murtha was wrong to call the Marines guilty before they go before a court martial even if they are guilty.

I personally hope they are innocent. I don’t know they are and if they are guilth they should be punished to the fullest extent of the UCMJ.

Murtha should apologize.

Posted by: tomd at August 3, 2006 4:27 PM
Comment #173074

Stephen:

An additional point. Consider what I’ve said about Warner. Go check out what Warner said in calling for the same investigation that Murtha called for. They actually did so jointly, or at least at the same time.

I’ve nothing bad to say about Warner, despite that he wants the investigation. He’s as much the whistleblower, as Kevin puts it, as Murtha is.

The difference is that Warner did it properly, while Murtha created a publicity stunt that will hurt our standing in the international community.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 3, 2006 4:53 PM
Comment #173093

Yes, let us never fight another war again since some infinitesimal percentage of our soldiers might perform badly or even commit crimes.

Excellent plan!

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 3, 2006 5:49 PM
Comment #173109

—-KenS—-I have a Trick Question for you? do you
want to play!
What does the United States Stand for?
What is the meaning of a Military salute to the
American Flag?
What would the Consequences be if most people
lost respect for our Flag?

Posted by: DAVID at August 3, 2006 6:42 PM
Comment #173160

joe-
Timing? The article that started this all was two months old. The allegations were out there. Was Murtha making them uninformed? No, I don’t think so. I think if things like this are happening, somebody needs to tell us, somebody needs to let us know, so we can put an end to the behavior that so blackens our image. We cannot and should not maintain facades of innocence on these matters.

There is more to the incident in Haditha than just the trial of the servicement that is to come. We cannot afford as a country to wait until a conviction has been gained on the charges to act on the knowledge of what happened, if in fact investigations have already validated the general allegations.

Knowing what we know, claims of uncertainty are pretentious. There are things we know from reliable sources as to what happened. The things that happened had factors thatfed into them and consequences that came of them, and stifling the debate and turning it into one more arm of the general attack on Democrat’s patriotism is about the most useless response we could make to this incident. The time has come not to declare any one soldier guilty, but to recognize that the Haditha Massacre did take place at our hands, and do something about what happened.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 3, 2006 10:49 PM
Comment #173171

Stephen:

Forgive my bluntness, but your comments simply don’t hold water.

The time has come not to declare any one soldier guilty, but to recognize that the Haditha Massacre did take place at our hands, and do something about what happened.

You say we shouldn’t declare any one soldier guilty, but Murtha declared each and every one of the soldiers guilty of murder. We can’t do something about it until we know what happened; hence the need for the investigation. Remember Jessica Lynch and all the misinformation? Remember Pat Tillman? How could we have done something about the Tillman issue until we knew precisely what had happened…the initial information was horribly inaccurate.

The article that started this all was two months old. The allegations were out there. Was Murtha making them uninformed? No, I don’t think so.

If this statement is correct, then why did Murtha call for an investigation. You are saying that he knew the facts, so why investigate further? The reason is obvious—-he didn’t know for certain if the information was correct. He has suspicions, but not definitive knowledge. If he had definitive knowledge, as you suggest, then there’d be no need for additional investigation, now would there?

Murtha had every right to call for investigations, and he did so in order to have complete information on what happened in Haditha. By calling for more investigation, he tacitly admits to not knowing or being able to confirm all the information, and therefore, he should not have made his personal conclusions of guilt. Especially not in a public forum.


Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 4, 2006 12:18 AM
Comment #173189

JBOD,
Mr Murtha did not hold any tribunals declaring guilt that I am am aware of. Your premise of his declaration of guilt is false. That he stated they did commit murder, is a reporting of the conclusions of the investigation by the military. Obviously, that is a distinction you choose not to make. I can understand your position, I don’t agree with it.

As to your question about who I whould choose to support me, I guess that would depend on whether I were guilty of murder or not. If I were guilty, I would want it kept as quiet as possible hoping I could avoid being held responsible. If I were not guitly, I would appreciate someone exposing those who were dragging my reputation through the mud as loudly as possible.

In the scenario that has an administration who chooses not to be honest about conditions or tactics that it has pursued, in order to hide it’s failed policies. Exposing the rot from within is necessary. Painful, but necessary.

Sometimes it takes drama to bring issues to the attention of the American public. Mumbling about it in the bowels of Congress doesn’t always bring in the mass media.

I reiterate, while I was aware of a number of murders committed through the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, I hadn’t heard of Haditha or seen much in the way of real justice happening in any of these cases, until Murtha spoke.

Posted by: gergle at August 4, 2006 3:00 AM
Comment #173193

—-Joe bagodonuts—-Do you remember the two Americans
hanging an burned, from that bridge in BD an the out
rage we all had. I wasn’t impressed by those photos
of those detainees on the Internet either. When
we hear no outrage from President Bush or very few
outraged people after discovering all those unarmed
civilians all apparently being shot by some solders? An look at how many people are attempting
to defend these people. Had all these incidents
been taken care of immediately, we most likely
would have more help from other Countries with this war on terror.

Posted by: DAVID at August 4, 2006 3:25 AM
Comment #173198

“We cannot afford as a country to wait until a conviction has been gained on the charges to act on the knowledge of what happened, if in fact investigations have already validated the general allegations.”

That scares me.
That offends me.

Posted by: Tom D. at August 4, 2006 3:44 AM
Comment #173202

Tom D.

Sometimes even politicians use common sense as opposed to hiding behind procedure. Criminal proceedings are just a small part of justice and consequence. If I was to commit some heinous act and got arrested and prosecuted, I would still have to face my boss and possibly lose my job, I would still have to face my family, peers, the media, and the general public. Murtha was using information available to him (much more than was available for you and I to read) to make a stand he felt was right. He does not need to have a prosecution made under narrow definitions of specific criminal offenses in order to make a general judgement as to whether they behaved appropriately and act accordingly to prevent similar future problems. If he thought they acted innappropriately, he SHOULD speak up. He’d just better hope he’s basing his public disgust on good information.

Fact is that even if the marines are found innocent of crimes, they may have still acted innappropriately and deserving of public censure. If they believe themselves to be defamed and have actual damages to show for it, then they can always sue an individual under that claim. If Haditha had knowledge of the falsity of his claims and he acted in reckless disregard for the truth, then he’s liable. Otherwise, he’s acting in good faith and should be judged not by the fact that he took a stand, but by whether that stand is supported by the facts as time goes on. If it is not, then we will know he went out on a limb for some political reason and he will rightfully lose credibility. Until then, let him do his job which is to take stands on behalf of all of us who do not have top secret clearance. And don’t call anyone a traitor unless you KNOW that they did something against the interests of this country. Trying to hold marines accountable, with good supporting evidence, in order to protect the reputation of the entire military at a critical time is NOT against the interests of this country.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 4, 2006 4:21 AM
Comment #173225

gergle:

Mr Murtha did not hold any tribunals declaring guilt that I am am aware of. Your premise of his declaration of guilt is false. That he stated they did commit murder, is a reporting of the conclusions of the investigation by the military.

Yours is just a strawman argument, for a couple of reasons. First, if Murtha’s statements were simply a “reporting of the conclusions of the investigation by the military”, then why did he call for further investigation. According to you, they already had all the facts.

Secondly, the information Murtha speaks of was already in the public domain thanks to Time magazine. Murtha admits that it was Time who brought the story to light:

GIBSON: In terms of a cover-up, do you think this ever would have come to light if Time Magazine hadn’t pursued this so relentlessly using the video form this human rights organization?

MURTHA: No, I do not think it would have come out….

Lastly, Murtha called them guilty—not in a court of law, but in the court of public opinion.
If you don’t understand the importance of the ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in the House publicly calling the Haditha Marines murderers, then your ignorance of how publicity works is beyond my ability to work with.

And as I’ve said, he might be right that they murdered people. I’ve never swayed from the idea that the Marines MIGHT have done that. But for a prominent anti-war politician to publicly say they are guilty before the investigation he is calling for is conducted is in no way supporting our troops.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 4, 2006 8:31 AM
Comment #173227

Joe-
We can establish a high likelihood of their guilt, given the evidence. That doesn’t mean they are already convicted or should be treated as if they were, but they should not be given the privilege that so many other suspects in criminals cases are not: freedom from the allegation. Rare is the murder case as I know it where somebody does not claim guilt for the murderers. Reasoned arguments about guilt in high profile cases the press are not unheard of.

So too, are the counter claims. Which bears more credibility in the public sphere depends largely on which side tells the more credible story. The Right doesn’t. It either expects everybody to clam up and wait for official results, or it uses fallacious arguments that claim staged massacres even in the presence of information that repeated corroborates the real nature of the massacre.

The Right has repeatedly rationalized much of the errors and offenses of this war. Y’all try and argue yourselves out of having to concede virtually every problem of this war. Such perfection isn’t human. Good guys wear white, not whitewash. All heroes have flaws, soldiers included.

TomD-
If a medicine appears to be causing disastrous side effects in a number of people, do you pull it now, or do you wait until official findings and a number of deaths to act?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2006 8:37 AM
Comment #173250

Stephen:

I’m not sure how many times I have to correct your incorrect statements. You attribute things to me that simply are not correct.

We can establish a high likelihood of their guilt, given the evidence. That doesn’t mean they are already convicted or should be treated as if they were, but they should not be given the privilege that so many other suspects in criminals cases are not: freedom from the allegation.

I’ve never even remotely suggested they be free from allegations. I’ve said precisely the opposite of that. Yet you still try to throw out your vacuous claim. I’ve stated unequivocally that the allegations are acceptable, that investigation should be complete, that any wrongdoing be punished etc. You sidestep my 100% clearly written statements to suggest that I want freedom from allegations. Either show me where I’ve even hinted at that, or stop using it in your argument. Its incorrect, I’ve shown it to be incorrect, so now your continued use of that line of reasoning is either deliberate or out of sheer ignorance.

The Right has repeatedly rationalized much of the errors and offenses of this war. Y’all try and argue yourselves out of having to concede virtually every problem of this war.

I don’t know if you are talking about the “right” in general here or me specifically, since you use the term “The Right” followed by “Y’all”. I don’t speak for the “right”—-I only speak for myself.

If you refer to me with this comment, then again you are dead wrong. I’ve stated clearly that Haditha is a problem. I’ve stated clearly that the Haditha Marines might be guilty, and if so, they should be punished. I’ve not rationalized anything about the Haditha incident (if you feel I have, then the burden of proof is upon you to show how and where).

I’ve said over and over and over again: Let the investigation be complete before pronouncing guilty. I mentioned the Duke lacrosse team situation, in which many people assumed guilt. Facts have been coming out that put that assumption in jeopardy. They could be guilty. They could be innocent. But the reality in that case is that several members of that team are now scarred by the assumption of guilt, whether they are actually guilty or not. The bell cannot be unrung—just ask Richard Jewell about that.

Stephen, my point has been undeniably clear. You haven’t addressed my point—-you address points that are not mine. You are usually better than that.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 4, 2006 9:57 AM
Comment #173272

Joe-
Everything depends on how you use that argument. I said that it was likely that U.S. soldier deliberatedly killed 24 civilians. This is not dissimilar to what Murtha said. Yet you criticize us both for having jumped the gun and convicted the soldiers.

Consider: the only soldier identified so far as being involved has been Wuterich, and he identified himself. While the FBI singled Richard Jewell out as a suspect, no such thing has happened here. All the rest remain anonymous, their guilt and innocence undecided in both a court of law and the court of public opinion. The unit’s involvement in the incident, the falseness of their report, the true nature of the deaths of those involved are all factually supported, whether or not even one soldier gets convicted.

Yet you and your side do not even allow that. For even alleging the Marine’s involvement, we are said to be “convicting” them. It’s nearly impossible to allege what’s happened without narrowing down the suspects to mainly them, though.

You can’t talk about the way events went down without relating them to the unit, and in disputes about the facts of the case, your fellow right-wingers have to this point relied on argument of conspiratorial hoaxes and political pressure from the Iraqis to railroad the soldiers. Substantive issues in the dispute about what happened have not surfaced. Perhaps yours is the more moderate position; deferred opinion.

I don’t see, though, the reason to defer on my opinion. Despite your claims, Neither I nor Murtha are pre-emptively convicting anybody. We have not singled out anybody as guilty, even the one guy who gave out his name. We do have possession of facts that indicate what happened, and we would like to discuss what happened in those terms.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #173284

Stephen:

I said that it was likely that U.S. soldier deliberatedly killed 24 civilians. This is not dissimilar to what Murtha said…For even alleging the Marine’s involvement, we are said to be “convicting” them.

Your comments are so categorically incorrect that its hard to understand whether you are arguing simply to argue, or just uninformed. Murtha said there is no doubt in his mind that the Marines murdered innocent civilians. That’s entirely dissimilar to you saying its likely.

You then come back to your false premise about allegations. How many times do I need to repeat my statements on that before you accept what I say and not distort it? I’ll only do it this one more time—if you cant get it then, I’ll have to assume you just are not capable of understanding.

Allegations are fine. I’ve said that repeatedly. I’ve not come close to saying you are convicting the Marines by making allegations. I’m saying Murtha convicted them in the court of public opinion by saying they were guilty. Its pretty basic, Stephen. Someone of your intelligence, with even minimal effort, can follow along. Murtha said they are guilty. He said so publicly.

Do you know anything about journalism? Notice how journalists never say someone committed a crime until they’ve been convicted. They always say someone allegedly committed a crime. The reason is libel and slander laws. Murtha didn’t allege they were guilty—he said they ARE guilty.

You can try to say you support our troops by saying you haven’t singled any specific Marine out as being guilty. When you take the whole platoon and say they are guilty, you put guilt on each individual member—you just haven’t used their names. That’s a horseshit semantical argument.

I’ve said my piece—I’ve restated it when you’ve gotten it wrong—I’ve clarified it for you. If you still choose to mischaracterize and misstate my comments, you do so to your own discredit. I challenged you to show where I’ve not just said, but even just hinted, at some of the things you say I stand for. You’ve not done that—you’ve simply restated your claims.

That won’t stand, my friend. People are too intelligent to fall for that. You should know better. On second thought, some will fall for it. If those are the people you want to pander to, you are welcome to them.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 4, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #173315

——Stephen Dangherty— I have heard about changes
being made to the Military Court System an came across this site after downing street.org that will
knock your socks off. The Senate is making new rules
which will include civilians being snatched up
an charged (as in the Rico) law. If you get a chance, check it out. Might be something for you to
expound about.

Posted by: DAVID at August 4, 2006 1:26 PM
Comment #173340
I’m saying Murtha convicted them in the court of public opinion by saying they were guilty.

Murtha said there is no doubt in his mind that the Marines murdered innocent civilians.

Murtha is not a journalist, and he stated his OPINION based on what information he had.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 4, 2006 3:14 PM
Comment #173344

Joe-
If you wish to speak journalistically, let me address this legally: Killing and Murder are not necessarily the same thing. Murder in the legal sense is also not necessarily the same thing as murder in the colloquial sense.

Let me address it colloquially: Depending on your definition of what cold-blooded murder is, Murtha may have been wrong, or maybe just using a different sense of cold-blooded.

In terms of the facts, there are certain limitations the facts would give for a reasonable, logical interpretation of events.

Consider: the unit was basically the only one involved in the incident. Any allegation would selectively stigmatize those people.

The report the unit submitted was a deliberately false report. This would implicate the soldiers in misconduct immediately. It also would lend weight to the reasonable interpretation that the unit killed civilians.

Documentation from both Iraqi and American military sources indicate that there was something real ugly to cover up. If the unit was not responsible, what else could they be covering for? The truth would exonerate any group falsely implicated by a terrorist set-up. It would take a pretty foolish group of soldiers to implicate themselves by agreeing to falsify a report.

Many of the victims were old men, women and children. Involvement as combatants is possible for some, but unthinkable for many of the victims. Facts from the investigation seem to indicate that this wasn’t shooting through walls in a frenzy of self-defense but house to house sweeps with the people subdued before they were killed. Documentation shows that typically victims were shot only once in the head or chest. Such precision rules out carelessness or being caught in the crossfire, and speaks to greater deliberateness in the action.

You could say this is a prejudicial picture, but prejudice is something based on feeling rather than factual information. In the classic triangle of motive, opportunity, and means, who else is reasonable suspect, and if it’s the insurgents who did this, why are military officials with few if any exceptions talking about this as if the Marines did do this? It makes no sense unless the the Marine unit involved is the responsible party.

What remains to be seen is the level of responsiblity each individual in the unit had. Who was party to that false report? Who did the actual killing. Who helped subdue folks, but didn’t kill them? Who is blameless, who is not? These are still open questions, and nothing of what Murtha said would mean that he was accusing any individual soldier of an action. Nor would his words “convict” anybody of anything that an open-minded examination of facts present and facts Murtha had the clearance to find out would not convict them of by implication.

The unit, one way or another, is responsible for its own infamy, it’s own convictions in the court of public opinion. If Murtha had such good reason to believe what he did, what business did he have not calling it like he saw it? Murtha’s comments could do little to get them into any more trouble than they already were in, due to their own actions.

Your problem here is that you’re trying to apply standards that are innappropriate for the forum for the speakers, and you’re not weighing what conclusions are reasonable and supportable by available evidence.

Murtha, not being a court of law, or a journalist writing a story, has the right to offer what he considers a factually supportable conclusions, without the need to qualify his words or wait for a conviction.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2006 3:25 PM
Comment #173401

JBOD,
Murtha was invited on a talk show to speak about Iraq. He responded to questions directly and honestly. Yes, Time reported the rumor, as I understand it, of this episode. Murtha confirmed the story. Yes, the Time story did spur another investigation. Murtha had access to insiders with knowledge of the report, and conveyed the known information at the time.

As I have stated several times, I did not read the Time article. The news coverage expanded gratly after Murtha spoke. Many Americans, like me, became aware of this when Murtha spoke.

Mr. Murtha went on to discuss that this was a symptom of a mission gone astray. That Marines were being put into positions that would lead to this kind of incident. Recently, top brass acknowledged the deteriorating conditions in Iraq.
This is what Murtha has been railing about for a year now. It’s a mission out of control and there is an obvious need for redeployment. Perhaps George and Donald don’t want to hear that, but I think a lot of Marines know it already.

Supporting the failed and mismanaged mission of GW and Rummy is not supporting the Marines. What Murtha is saying IS supporting them, in my opinion. JBOD, I think you’ve got it exactly backwards.

The problem appears to me, to quote a famous line from a Jack Nicholson movie, is that “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.” Jack Murtha was right and I think that just bothers you.

Posted by: gergle at August 4, 2006 7:49 PM
Comment #173432

An official involved in The Military’s investigation into the Haditha incident say that it is likely that Marines deliberately killed 24 civilians. Which of course is what many on the Blue Column have been saying for some time. Not that everybody’s been really listening.

Stephen:

This is the very reason nobody listens. Did every left-wing blogger launch a formal investigation into Haditha? Huh, that’s a good one. The left-wing media are like vultures, depraved vultures searching for any reason to lambast the war effort. In this case, the vultures grabbed hold of a blanket rumor and portrayed it as fact, if for none other reason then to defame Bush and the war.

Your’re not an investigator, you didn’t have all the facts, but you wouldn’t know it just by reading your columns—mass murder!—horrific massacre!—brutal slaying!—the list goes on.

So, thank you, Stephen, for such a candid opening paragraph. It speaks volumes of the feeble moral fiber of the Democratic Party, so quick to lambast and chastise, so swift to latch onto a sexy rumor, so eager to assail your hapless prey, belittling them into submission…

…your party are vultures, nothing more than depraved vultures…

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at August 4, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #173452

gergle:

you simply need to read any of my posts to learn how wrong your assessment is. I’ve said over and over that my issue is not about whether Murtha ends up being right. Its about his rush to judgement before the investigations are complete. As one of the highest ranking politicians when it comes to military affairs, he ought to have known better.

You tried for a witty little repartee with your “You can’t handle the truth” bit. Problem is that my posts have already shown that I can handle the truth, and that I’m more than willing to accept the truth….but only when we truly know it, and not before.

Stephen:

More semantical crap, in my opinion. Murtha spoke in inflammatory tones, and did so prematurely. End of story.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 5, 2006 3:35 AM
Comment #173457

——Alex—- It appears that you have been blindsided
so badly with your attempt at spinning that you can no longer keep up with the obvious facts that have been
supported an documented, Your attempt at applying
your personal views in place of the true facts, an
distortions are becoming a bit disingenuous!

Posted by: DAVID at August 5, 2006 5:57 AM
Comment #173461

JBOD,

What you see as a rush to judgement, I see as long overdue (It was over 8 months since the incident) candor.

It seems to me that your comments, not Murtha’s, were inflammatory. A rather Knee-Jerk reaction to negative comments on reckless and even psychopathic behavior brought on by a desperate administration at the expense of soldiers and human life. To decry Murtha’s truth telling as inflammatory in the shadow of this debacle policy of Bush, is to say the least, disconnected.

I always try for repartee and sometimes humor, often failing miserably. I always enjoy our little tiffs, too:)


Posted by: gergle at August 5, 2006 8:26 AM
Comment #173472
It appears that you have been blindsided so badly with your attempt at spinning that you can no longer keep up with the obvious facts that have been supported an documented, Your attempt at applyingyour personal views in place of the true facts, an distortions are becoming a bit disingenuous!

DAVID:

Was it an obvious fact at the time that marines slaughtered 24 civilians in cold blood? No, it was mere speculation, concocted by Bush-hating leftists like Stephen in a shameful attempt to defame the war effort…and just b/c that mere speculation may have been correct doesn’t justify the irresponsible act…but a good guess nonetheless…

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at August 5, 2006 9:33 AM
Comment #173504

Alex-

A guess? Really? I thought we were being told what ended up being true by every good major media source. Of course you and others bashed those media sources for their constant “good guesses”, but imagine that? It’s amazing what you learn by asking questions and NOT sticking one’s head in the sand.

Posted by: kevin23 at August 5, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #173515

—-Alex— The Facts show that this group lied about
these civilians in their report there by sealing
Their fate. That lie also left them open to most
of the criticism they now, are receiving. Those
people defending that lie an the apparent coverup
in general are morally just as guilty,( birds of a feather flock together) if you get my drift!!

Posted by: DAVID at August 5, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #173574

Joe-
You can’t talk about an issue like this without stepping on somebody’s toes, especially with the politically emphasis the right has on whitewashing the war to win it.

I do not mind giving the individual soldiers the benefit of the doubt, nor having Murtha be more careful in his wording, but there comes a point where the care your side wants in how things are said becomes a kind of political correctness, an obstacle to full and robust debate about the issues. It becomes an authoritarian means of controlling the debate; you may say this or that, but if you allege this you’re a traitor, or if you express this opinion before legal verdicts are in, no matter how well informed you may be, you’re convicting them prematurely.

It’s maddening. When can we actually discuss the issues, and not merely the rules and proper subjects for discussions? When will you folks be through telling us what we can and cannot talk about with this war?

Alex-
I’m sure the rest of my party are fully capable of coming to their own defense, so I will come to my own and let that stand for the rest.

A person analyzing the text of my postings would find many references to winning the war, supporting the soldiers, making sure our men had the equipment to win, and also strategies and approaches to winning. They would find a person who, while being an unswerving critic of the war, is also an firm advocate for its successful completion. I have no desire to leave a failed nation for terrorists like al-Qaeda and Iran’s catspaws to exploit.

Give me something better than partisan rhetoric. Give me facts, chains of events, explanations for why all these military personnel speak of things getting ugly, or of the mission in question. Otherwise, we have nothing to talk about.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2006 10:57 PM
Comment #173582

Kevin:

First of all, the “good guess” part was directed towards all the psychics out there (which happens to be most of the Democratic Party) who were able to tell the whole Haditha story without first accumulating all the facts.

Maybe there was a misunderstanding.

DAVID:

No where did I “defend” a potential lie. I merely chastised any who irresponsibly and intentionally jumped to conclusions about Haditha.

Stephen:

I don’t know what facts you want me to present, b/c all I’m saying is that many pundits and bloggers negligently labeled Haditha a cold-blooded slaughter, “which of course is what many on the Blue Column have been saying for some time.” (Stephen)

And chains of events matter not. You’re attemtping to be an investigator, trying to divulge the truth without all the facts. I remained neutral after the Haditha story broke, b/c I didn’t have all the facts. So unless you and every lefty blogger launched a formal investigation and saw every document the military saw, spoke with every potential witness, etc., don’t jump to conclusions. You failed to do that. You took unsubstantiated rumor, uncorraborated gossip, and spun it as fact…

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at August 5, 2006 11:43 PM
Comment #173592

Alex-

That “unsubstantiated rumor, uncorraborated gossip” turned out to be real intelligence which, if we all did what Alex proposes to be the correct way to act and all remained silent, would have probably been covered up or swept under the rug. I’m just thankful there are noble people watching over the military like Murtha who will make absolutely sure that where there is good information about a horrific act committed by our troops (who NEED to keep their reputations clean if we are to have any hope of winning hearts and minds), that the information gets followed up on.

He may have assumed a risk in putting these guys’ feet to the fire (then again he may have had good information), but he turned out to be right, the military is better off for it, and he didn’t break any laws doing it. I think this is a perfect example of an instance when the media and the public back home played an important role in providing oversight to the military. Nothing traitorous about us back home wanting to keep up the noble image of our military personnel. If the noble image turned to a sadistic image, I seriously doubt our stated goals of winning hearts and minds and building stable democracies will pan out.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 6, 2006 3:59 AM
Comment #173634

Alex-
Like I told Joe, you can’t talk about this issue without stepping on somebody’s toes. Let me expand that: you can’t talk about anything in this war without stepping on toes like yours.

I could quite easily venture a guess that if you’re willing to jump to conclusions like this about us Democrats, then you’re willing jump to conclusions about why we believe this as well.

What’s driving this is a number of detailed accounts of what happened. These are not unsubstantiated rumors. These are mainstream news reports. This is not some piling on of little bits of information, but a fairly clear narrative situationed in the events of that day.

We cannot wait until we have all the information, or until we have a chance to interview all the witnesses, too. No, we’re in no position to do that, any more than you are in any position to go out and independentally verify every news story you see.

I don’t think I need to be a professional to do some investigation of the facts. It strikes me as rather authoritarian to be told to hold my tongue, when I see the evidence as it is.

If there is new information for investigators to find, we will find out eventually, and those who are substantially wrong will be on record as such.

I think the Republicans are given this talking point because little of the available information indicates what they want it to: that the soldiers weren’t involved.

I wish this war wasn’t the headache and a half that it is, but then it being that way was not my decision.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #173647

Kevin/Stephen:

This is becoming a joke. This will probably be the last post I make on this thread, unless I actually read anything worthy of a response.

Murtha’s comments were entirely out of line. There’s a difference between questioning and blatantly accusing without substantial evidence. When the Haditha story first broke, nobody could have garnered enough evidence to delare the event a reckless slaughter. Heck, the military didn’t even have that information. But no, the media supposedly knew the whole story, as did Murtha, so they decided to irresponsibly lambast the military and those involved in the Haditha tragedy.

I agree that our leader’s should be questioned, but blanket accusations without facts is irresponsible and should never be tolerated.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at August 6, 2006 4:10 PM
Comment #173666

Alex:

Too bad they were apparently right. At least so far with the available information.

Murtha is entitled to his OPINION and has a right to express it, just as you are.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 6, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #173711
Too bad they were apparently right.

Womanmarine:

Whether he was right or not is irrelevant. It’s principle. Just ask Machiavelli about principle.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at August 6, 2006 10:11 PM
Comment #173723

If Murtha’s comments were out of line, so are yours and everyone else who forms and expresses an opinion.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 6, 2006 11:26 PM
Comment #173724

That’s the principle.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 6, 2006 11:27 PM
Comment #173771
If Murtha’s comments were out of line, so are yours and everyone else who forms and expresses an opinion.

womanmarine:

Hahaha! I need my morning laughs, Matt Lauer wasn’t cutting it for me, but you, you’re a funny one.

Let’s argue principle: Murtha chastised and lambasted the military and those involved with Haditha without garnering enough evidence to make a factual conclusion, and please don’t argue that point, because it is true, no matter how you cut it. If the credible intel had been disclosed, Murtha would not be out of line. But Murtha didn’t know; he didn’t have all the facts; he only knew half the story. But what did he do? Murtha slammed the military’s actions at Haditha, without even knowing if the actions had taken place…and just b/c he ended up possibly being right does not justify his actions, unless you’ve been hanging around Machiavelli for too long.

Again, Murtha can concoct any ill-conceived conspiracy he wants, justifying his position with flimsy rumors and erratic hearsay…he’ll just look like an idiot…

I don’t think I need to be a professional to do some investigation of the facts. It strikes me as rather authoritarian to be told to hold my tongue, when I see the evidence as it is.

Stephen:

Evidence, what evidence? At the time, Murtha knew little more than the public. This is what he knew: 24 civilians were killed by US military at Haditha. But somehow Murtha could see what formal military investigators could not: a cold-blooded, deliberate killing.

So stop defending this man on this issue. He may have been right when the dust settled, but he was shooting through a sand storm the whole time.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at August 7, 2006 9:30 AM
Comment #173816

——Alex—- This is a double edged sword, Murtha
should have attempted going through the chain of
command first. Unfornately, we have seen too many
serious incidence’s show their ugly heads in
this war from day one. there is no need for me to
to describe these problems again because we have
been shocked by them enough. The question is,
do you believe Murtha should have his arss kicked for telling the truth, or for not trying to bury
the truth which seems to be the pattern in
this war!

Posted by: DAVID at August 7, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #173827

Alex-
Murtha is the ranking democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee, and served as its Chair from 1991-95. Several news sources and his own statements indicated that he had insider connections in the Armed Forces and the Pentagon. If you’re looking for somebody to call an ignorant bastard, or out of the loop, I think you’ve got the wrong man.

Murtha did not speak to the events in Haditha until two months after the breaking of the Time Magazine Story. This is after serious questions were raised by the article, documentation about the incident was reviewed, and Murtha had his chance to speak to his sources inside the Military and the Pentagon.

You keep on talking about people not knowing the whole story, about them jumping to conclusions or this or that, but all I see here is a bunch of rhetorical gum-flapping, and very little evidence to back your point up. This incident happened in November, the story broke in March, and Murtha waited until late may to actually comment upon the case, and doing so, cited military investigators as his sources. Additionally, other military commanders have gone on the record to say that Haditha, as it comes out, is going to be real ugly. People don’t go on the record on things when they are unclear.

So go on repeating your claims that everybody jumped the gun, that the Democrats are rushing to conclusions, and that we’re all trying to pull the rug out from under these soldiers for our own selfish gain. It’ll go nicely with all the other erroneous partisan myths the far right has cocooned itself in, rather than face the realities and responsibilities of this war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 7, 2006 2:02 PM
Comment #173830

Oh, and regarding “reckless slaughter”, the entire problem with Haditha was that it wasn’t reckless at all, according to the facts of the case. The actions alleged of the soldiers are much more precise and systematic than the simple bloody rampage of soldiers caught in a battle rage. It is the deliberate nature of these killings that make them so abhorrent to men like Murtha.

Murtha, by the way, has a long history of military service. He served actively in the Korean war, in the reserves in the fifties and sixties, volunteered for active service, and coming out of that war became the first Vietnam Vet to win election to congress. I find it much more plausible, after years of military service, that a man would oppose the continuation of a war, and atrocious behavior by soldiers because of his continuing belief in the military, not because he’d suddenly given up on such values.

So keep on talking about flimsy rumors and erratic hearsay. Just keep in mind that most of it’s coming from your end of things.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 7, 2006 2:11 PM
Comment #173860

—-Stephen Daugherty— I am happy to see this
cognizant, chronological issue with Mr. Murtha
explained as well as you have. I seriously doubt
even in the name of tact an politeness can this
issue be considered less serious than others would
have us believe. Perhaps one day you might consider
doing a post on causations of these dysfunctional
events in the first place. I like your post!

Posted by: DAVID at August 7, 2006 5:31 PM
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