Jack Murtha: Guilty Until Innocent

Five months ago, Jack Murtha had all those marines nailed to the cross as he frothed that they murdered civilians in cold blood.

Don’t look now, but the Marine investigating the incident recommended that charges against the first one charged be dropped.

Hey Jack... need a hand with that hammer and nails?

Marine Cpl. Justin Sharrat 's murder charges will be dropped according to Marine investigating officer Lt. Col. Paul Ware .

This story was reported (hardly) by the press, Jack.

Yup, the Associated Press reported this story, but the MSM had it buried, right there next to the lottery results.

Page 20.

Nice.

You had the hangman's noose around this guy. You tried and convicted this man in the press and in front of the world...and your words were then gleefully carried by every jihadist's blogger worth his salt........ BEFORE even one scintilla of evidence was gathered and a defense could be constructed.

You threw a Marine under the bus, Jack.

How's them apples?

His lawyer's said Ware's recommendation to drop the charges were in contrast to "hysteria of some elements of the press and certain members of Congress"

That's you, Jack.

Hysterical.

Ware also said believing Iraqis could "set a dangerous precedent, that, in my opinion, may encourage others to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of the Marine Corps and the U. S. mission in Iraq."

Geez, how do you feel now, Jack? You aided the enemy. You HELPED them, Jack.

Jack, did I tell you that Captain Randy Stone, an attorney charged with dereliction of duty in connection with the "cover-up" will also have his charges dropped?

Jack, hear that?

That's TWO marines you threw under the bus.

As I said when this story broke: You are a disgrace. You threw (so far) two marines under the bus, and you were the guy at the top of the ladder getting ready to nail them down.

All for politics.

Two innocent Marines is way too much for me, even if a wrong was done by someone else.

Burn your medals, Jack.

They are far too valuable for guys like you.

You belong on the cross now politically, Jack, not Marines.

Do the right thing: Resign. You threw two Marines under the bus.

Two innocent Marines.

Posted by Sicilian Eagle at July 12, 2007 7:53 AM
Comments
Comment #225996

How about a little less emotional rant…something factual and ramifications…and you might want to re-read what Murtha actually said, not just someone’s interpretation of it…

Posted by: Rachel at July 12, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #225997

I can’t wait to see what the libs will say about this. Good post SE.

Posted by: KAP at July 12, 2007 9:36 AM
Comment #225998

Here’s what one lib has to stay: SE’s only telling half of the truth. Other Marines have still been charged.

If Murtha said anything against this guy Sharrat personally, he certainly owes him an apology.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 10:06 AM
Comment #225999

Rachel

Rant? I think not. It came from an AP story. TWO marines will have had charges dropped. When Murtha got before every camera he could find, the way he came across was that his inside info was unimpeachable…that the marines were guilty, and that a cover-up had occurred.

I screamed (ranted) then. As a lawyer, him painting the picture that he painted without due process of the law sickened me. Except for one very important thing that he has that I do not: He is a profoundly powerful member of Congress and what he says gets broadcast by everyone. THAT was the problem. No due process.

Woody

Two innocent marines is way too much. He should have kept his yap shut.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at July 12, 2007 10:43 AM
Comment #226000

How about a link?

Posted by: Max at July 12, 2007 10:53 AM
Comment #226001

Whoa, SE, slow down. Ya might want to get all your facts straight before you go off on a rant like this. Check this out from the Washington Post.

Sharratt, 22, of Canonsburg, Pa., did not take part in the first shootings on Nov. 19, and he has acknowledged killing a group of men in a home later that day, when, he said, he believed they raised weapons at him. Sharratt told investigators that he used a 9mm pistol to shoot them as he and Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich searched the home.

“He responded instinctively, assaulting into the room and emptying his pistol,” Ware wrote. “Whether this was a brave act of combat against the enemy or tragedy of misperception born out of conducting combat with an enemy that hides among innocents, LCpl Sharratt’s actions were in accord with the rules of engagement.”

The rules of engagement have become central in the Haditha cases, as defense attorneys have argued that the troops used aggressive but approved tactics to assault what they thought were enemy targets. The first shootings have garnered more investigative attention because they came immediately after a Marine was killed in an explosion and because unarmed people were killed.

Sharratt’s incident in 2005 came hours later, after Marines swarmed the scene to secure the area. Sharratt and others noticed suspicious behavior in the home before entering and shooting, they said. Marines reported finding two AK-47 rifles in the house.

There are multiple investigations and multiple incidents going on here, and several court marshals have already begun. For the full article, go here.

Wash Post Article

In a nutshell, SE, just because one person in a separate incident may be cleared does not mean that there are others that do not deserve to be “crucified”

L

Posted by: leatherankh at July 12, 2007 11:01 AM
Comment #226002

Boy that last sentence is garbled. You know what I meant. :-)

L

Posted by: leatherankh at July 12, 2007 11:02 AM
Comment #226003

I realize you can’t let this go, SE. For me, I am still angry that the reports of women being raped in Abu Ghraib still haven’t been released.

And not today there’s this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/washington/11surgeon.html?em&ex=1184385600&en=8636051afba0a657&ei=5087%0A

Sickening.

Posted by: Max at July 12, 2007 11:03 AM
Comment #226004

KAP-
I’m fine with the man being exonerated. Evidence shows something did happen, but if it also shows that the evidence is too thin for this one guy doing what he supposedly did, then I’m fine with him getting off.

Sicilian Eagle-
Your trouble is, though, you want more than just presumption of innocence. You want the whole thing to go away, and that’s a different thing entirely.

Keeping secrets about something happening will not help us, because secrets have a tendency to come out, and bring harm with interest. If discipline at Abu Ghraib had been carried out as a matter of course, if operations at the place had been carried out with the possibility of disclosure firmly in mind, what happened there would not have happened. When we keep secrets like this, the corruption and the continuation of bad practices erode both discipline, and America’s reputation.

It’s ironic, but your accusation towards us of throwing these men under the Bus itself represents a prejudgment of our motives. Our concern is for the good name of our country, for the proper airing of issues of a war being fought on our behalf. The unwillingness of this administration to deal with problems, its tendency to try and keep us in the dark to manipulate our opinion of the war.

Haditha, whatever occured there, is a symptom of the failure of this war, the failure to maintain a calm post-war occupation. We’re not still in Iraq because the job proved more difficult than anticipated. We’re still in Iraq because invading the country was far easier than controlling it, and this administration myopically focused on speeding up and optimizing the invasion, while neglecting the nation building and occupational measures necessary to successfully carry out the war.

Haditha is symptomatic of the Right’s failure to support the troops, the Right’s failure to match words and feelings to troop levels, equipment, and strategy. Don’t blame us for the fact that you’ve made the soldier’s situation in Iraq increasingly intolerable.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 12, 2007 11:03 AM
Comment #226005

Woody
Some still have charges against them such as darelection of duty for 4 officers for not properly reporting the insident. I just googled Haditha and read some of the stories.

Posted by: KAP at July 12, 2007 11:05 AM
Comment #226010

Thanks KAP,

I was about to side with WOODY until I read that and did some research.

Posted by: scottie1321 at July 12, 2007 11:22 AM
Comment #226012

“In a nutshell, SE, just because one person in a separate incident may be cleared does not mean that there are others that do not deserve to be “crucified””

That is not the point L.
Murtha “crucified” all of them before all of the facts were known.
A statesman such as Murtha knows better than that and a veteran should have more respect for his fellow soldiers than that.

http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/story?id=2013939&page=1

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2007 11:23 AM
Comment #226014

The fact is Murtha should have keept his big mouth shut until the NCIS made it’s investigations. So far 2 have been cleared, 1 is suing Murtha for defamation, he is still awaiting his hearing, 1 Officer will be tried for derelection of duty. I think Murtha owes those Matines an apology for being presumptious and accusing them before all the facts are in.

Posted by: KAP at July 12, 2007 11:26 AM
Comment #226018

Who exactly did Murtha crucify? What is the standard?

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 11:41 AM
Comment #226021

KAP,

If you are suggesting that all of remaining charges are minor ones, that contradicts what was in WaPo today. They say that two guys (Wuterich and Tatum) are still charged with murder.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 11:49 AM
Comment #226024

Woody

Serious charges against the others remain…..that is not the point of my post though.

Murtha painted All of them with the same brush.

Stephen

Your post is partisian…I am suprised at you. A Congressman wrongly accuised two Mariens…one of murder…the other of a cover up prior to a trial on the merits.

That, my friend is the issue. The rest is nonsense….utter nonsense.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at July 12, 2007 12:00 PM
Comment #226027

Woody
Wuterich is the one suing Murtha.

Posted by: KAP at July 12, 2007 12:08 PM
Comment #226032

Why is that you’re so fanatical about Murphy apologizing, and care nothing about Bush’s misleading statements that drove us into this war? Or the steps he took, or didn’t take, that led to so many soldiers dying? Where’s the apology for leading us down a path that strengthened, as opposed to weakening terrorism? What about the stain he put on the honor of our troops by allowing something like Abu Ghraib to happen?

Posted by: Max at July 12, 2007 12:17 PM
Comment #226043

Wow Max, I didn’t think you guys liked it when the subject was changed or the questions were dodged? And I also seem to recall that comparing this administrations wrongs to similar wrongs committed by the previous administration, isn’t fair to do either. Its history or “different” in someway, is the usual response to info showing that.

Murtha put politics before his country and his fellow soldiers and he was wrong to do so.
IF, it is the wrongs done by this administration that upset you and not the party, then stand up against all wrongs done by anyone.

“What about the stain he put on the honor of our troops by allowing something like Abu Ghraib to happen?”

That “stain” was put on the honor of ALL of our troops by people with a politcal axe to grind. Rational people know that this was just a small group of soldiers and that it in no way represents what the ENTIRE US military is made of.

And, as far as your OPINION of Bush “allowing something like Abu Ghraib to happen,” I will say that at least it was just mistreated enemy POW’s rather than the execution of 70+ of our fellow Americans again.

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2007 1:04 PM
Comment #226045

Perhaps Murtha’s own words best explain his motivations:

Murtha issues statement on lawsuit

JOHNSTOWN, PA, Aug. 2, 2006 - Congressman John Murtha today released the following statement about a lawsuit filed by a Marine Corps staff sergeant who led the squad accused of killing two dozen civilians in Haditha in November 2005. An Associated Press story filed earlier this morning said that evidence collected in Haditha “supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot” 24 civilians, including unarmed women and children.

“I don,t blame the staff sergeant for lashing out. When I spoke up about Haditha, my intention was to draw attention to the horrendous pressure put on our troops in Iraq and to the cover-up of the incident.”

“Our troops are caught in the middle of a tragic dilemma. The military trains them to fight a conventional war and use overwhelming force to protect U.S. lives. I agree with that policy, but when we use force, we often kill civilians. What are the consequences?”

“Three years ago, there were fewer than 500 foreign fighters in Iraq. They were called ‘dead enders., Then there were 5,000, and they were called ‘terrorists., Now there are 20,000, and the administration calls this ‘sectarian violence.,”

“All this time, we,ve had at least 130,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq. In the last year, incidents have increased from 49 per day to 100 per day. About 14,000 Iraqis were killed in the last year, mostly in the last six months. Oil and electricity production are below pre-war level, and unemployment is 60 percent throughout most of the country. Our troops are in 120-degree temperatures with 70 pounds of equipment on their back, and they don,t know who the enemy is.”

“This conflict cannot be won militarily. Our troops are caught in the middle of a civil war. It,s well beyond the time to redeploy from Iraq.”
Source URL:
http://www.murtha.org/node/56

Posted by: KansasDem at July 12, 2007 1:33 PM
Comment #226049

Kansas Dem

Where does he say in his quote that it is permissible for him to be the judge and jury in front of the world PRIOR TO a trial on the merits?

Missed that, I guess.

Would you, or any other liberal/dems at least for once agree that he misspoke…or is that too partisan a request?

Posted by: sicilianeagle at July 12, 2007 1:51 PM
Comment #226058

leatherankh

“In a nutshell, SE, just because one person in a separate incident may be cleared does not mean that there are others that do not deserve to be “crucified””


maybe we ought to give them the benifit of the doubt. sounds like you’ve already made up your mind. this statement says it all. murtha used the incident as a photo op, and slandered these marines in front of the entire country before the facts were out, or they had thier day in court, so SE has this one right. personally this one really disgusts me. murtha wasn’t there and niether were you i’m guessing, how can you even make an assenign statement like that ? you’de think being a marine himself, that he’d have given these men the benifit of the doubt. what a partisan piece of crap he is, and not much of a marine either.

Posted by: dbs at July 12, 2007 3:04 PM
Comment #226059

stephen


“It’s ironic, but your accusation towards us of throwing these men under the Bus itself represents a prejudgment of our motives. Our concern is for the good name of our country, for the proper airing of issues of a war being fought on our behalf. The unwillingness of this administration to deal with problems, its tendency to try and keep us in the dark to manipulate our opinion of the war.”

“Haditha, whatever occured there, is a symptom of the failure of this war, the failure to maintain a calm post-war occupation. We’re not still in Iraq because the job proved more difficult than anticipated. We’re still in Iraq because invading the country was far easier than controlling it, and this administration myopically focused on speeding up and optimizing the invasion, while neglecting the nation building and occupational measures necessary to successfully carry out the war.”

“Haditha is symptomatic of the Right’s failure to support the troops, the Right’s failure to match words and feelings to troop levels, equipment, and strategy. Don’t blame us for the fact that you’ve made the soldier’s situation in Iraq increasingly intolerable.”


you protest to much. it was your party who slandered these men in the press before the facts were out. so all of this ranting about this is actually the republicans fault is pointless.

Posted by: dbs at July 12, 2007 3:10 PM
Comment #226060

max

“Why is that you’re so fanatical about Murphy apologizing, and care nothing about Bush’s misleading statements that drove us into this war?”

because thats not the issue we’re disgussing here, and bringing up bush is nothing more than trying to divert attention away from what we’re actaully talking about. i have marines in my family, and several that have done tours in iraq, and this one realy pisses me off, it’s personal !

Posted by: dbs at July 12, 2007 3:18 PM
Comment #226061

I am sure no one you have ever suggested that Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, or Albert Gore ever did anything illegal. None of them have ever been indicted for, much less convicted of, a crime.


And Murtha didn’t even identify anyone by name, as far as I know.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 3:19 PM
Comment #226064

Murtha is a disgrace! He owes those troops and the American people an apology; immediately! I don’t care what political party he is affiliated with and I don’t care that he served in Vietnam; it is an (absolute) g*d damn disgrace to accuse our troops before they even had a trial!! He ought to apologize or resign!!!

Posted by: rahdigly at July 12, 2007 3:23 PM
Comment #226065

Just because charges were dropped does not mean he is innocent, it just means that there might have not been enough evidence for a convication, and if they were dropped maybe with prejudice, that means that if more evidence becomes available, the charges can be reinstated.

Do to all of US, not having the facts or even access to them, we have to go by what the news or lack of news, and the pr that the attorneys put out to make our case. Then again Bush did not give all the facts except what he twisted to get the war started, therefore I guess you could say Bush is an accessory to murder, and torture.
I wonder if any of the defense attorneys thought about sending Bush a summons to appear on their clients behalf?

Posted by: KT at July 12, 2007 3:23 PM
Comment #226066

To explain a bit - that is always my reaction when conservatives apply the “innocent until proven guilty” standard to merely TALKING (as opposed to locking someone up). It’s a lovely ideal, but conservatives only apply to people they are sympathetic with.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 3:26 PM
Comment #226067
g*d damn disgrace to accuse our troops before they even had a trial

That’s what prosecutors do all of the time.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 3:29 PM
Comment #226069

I agree Woody.
The Conservatives could really learn a thing or two from liberals concerning “innocent until proven guilty.”
President Bush has never been “indicted for, much less convicted of, a crime” either and the far left treats him as one of their own.

And way to hold Murtha to the same standards you all hold Bush and Republicans too.

Yep. You guys are the real deal.

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2007 3:38 PM
Comment #226070

woody


“I am sure no one you have ever suggested that Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, or Albert Gore ever did anything illegal. None of them have ever been indicted for, much less convicted of, a crime.”


they’re not in the middle east putting thier lives on the line either, and once again this is nothing more than a attempt to change the subject.


“And Murtha didn’t even identify anyone by name, as far as I know”

who cares, he should have kept his big trap shut and give these marines the benifit of being assumed innocent until they were proven guilty. thats the least former marine can do for his fellow marines. this was just political posturing at thier expense, absolutly disgusting.

Posted by: dbs at July 12, 2007 3:39 PM
Comment #226071

kctim,

There is no hypocrisy on my part. I’m not the one claiming that you can’t ANYTHING about a criminal situation until after the trial. It’s an impossible standard, and I don’t hold either side to it.

But if you guys want to claim that as a standard, you should use it for both sides or you are simply being partisan.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 3:49 PM
Comment #226072

that is, “…say ANYTHING…”

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 3:51 PM
Comment #226073

KT


“Just because charges were dropped does not mean he is innocent, it just means that there might have not been enough evidence for a convication, and if they were dropped maybe with prejudice, that means that if more evidence becomes available, the charges can be reinstated.”


sounds like your minds made up, and you’re hoping these guys are convicted at a later date. no predjudice in that statement at all. boy wouldn’t that be great for the dems if these marines are found guilty. glad your not covering my back. no agenda there. if anyone deserves the benifit of the doubt it’s these guys, but your more concerned with saving the party image.

Posted by: dbs at July 12, 2007 3:52 PM
Comment #226074

woody

“that is, “…say ANYTHING”

it’s one thing to throw around acussations between politicians and political parties, thats expected. but using our troops as anti war propaganda is a whole nother story. disgraceful to say the least.

Posted by: dbs at July 12, 2007 3:56 PM
Comment #226076

Woody,

“but conservatives only apply to people they are sympathetic with…That’s what prosecutors do all of the time.”

The “sympathy” is with our troops; do liberals not agree with the troops?!* By the way, that is not sympathy; it is giving our troops a fair trial. Is that too much to ask, Woody?!!


KT,

“Just because charges were dropped does not mean he is innocent, it just means that there might have not been enough evidence for a convication, and if they were dropped maybe with prejudice, that means that if more evidence becomes available, the charges can be reinstated.”


A politician should not accuse our own troops of committing crimes until they have had a trial and they are found guilty. Murtha called them “murders”; that is DISGUSTING and DISGRACEFUL!!!

Posted by: rahdigly at July 12, 2007 4:23 PM
Comment #226077

dbs-
The Bush administrations use of the military has been spineless. They pushed a military doctrine of pre-emption, of a transformational light-mobile invasion forces, of putting Iraqi exiles, particularly Ahmed Chalabi’s people in charge.

Then when events invalidated the legitimacy of our pre-emption, proved the insufficiency of the military’s plan A, and dumped the control and administration of Iraq in our laps, this government was not only unprepared, but had intentionally barred people from preparing for such eventualities! People who did try to get them to think of such things were called defeatists, by people too chickenshit to discuss the merits of the plans, and take suggestions for backups.

Beforehand, rather than get Americans into this war by honest means, they intentionally included what they knew to be questionable, while intentionally giving the world the impression of a Slam Dunk.

Because 2003 and 2004 were going into election years, there was of course no way to get Bush to admit there were problems, even as these problems became abundantly clear. After all, then he might have to face political consequences. Cowering in fear of being a one term president, he did nothing that might admit problems, like actually increasing the size of the military to handle the strain he was putting them under, admitting that there were no WMDs, admitting that the insurgents were more than dead-enders, and that security was lacking.

Heedlessly, Bush pushed on through the deadlines, never missing these timetables as he did his best to make Iraq the Iraqi’s problems, even as they had little unified political functioning.

At every turn, it mattered more that some problem might give an opening to Bush’s political opponents than that not taking care of it would make things harder.

It’s into this environment, day in and day out, that we put the Marines in question: an environment where the President’s nervous-nelly politicized decision making has deprived them of the leadership, the manpower and the resources to do the job. The Republicans all say they support the troops, but then they hand them this situation and tell them, without further help, to win the war for the country.

This is something that the ancient sage Sun Tzu actually warned against: generals trying to get the soldiers to win the battles that they hadn’t properly strategized.

Meanwhile, they get to be human shields for the very war policy that’s stuck them hip-deep in shit. How wonderful. That’s what Murtha objects to, and it’s why I object to as well.

Something did happen in Haditha, something that at the very least was complicated by extenuating circumstances. I don’t condemn what happened, but I believe the public had the right to know, and this administration had a duty to first act to make these incidents rare to non-existent, and to secondly act in full candor with the American people, rather than withhold such news to convince us thing were better than they were.

It has not been the insurgents who defeated us in this war, it’s all these damn secrets that the Bush adminstration has been keeping, having deemed us too reactionary, too queasy about war to properly digest the news. It’s also the irresponsibility that this attitude of secrecy has both fed and been fed by, this sense that this administration has that it is entitled to a certain amount of good coverage for the war whether it’s going well or not.

Such attitudes lead to strategies and decision making that are seriously divorced from reality, from outside expertise. It prevents America’s marketplace of ideas from moderating radical and incompetent sensibilities in policy, and also lets problems go on far to long to make the endeavors that they plague recoverable.

But never mind, let’s blame the people who speak up about the problems for them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 12, 2007 4:37 PM
Comment #226079

“Two innocent Marines.”

Sic Eagle is claiming that because the Marines are now choosing not to hold their own accountable for murder, it means they are innocent.
The problem with that is that if the Marines involved in the Haditha incident had actually been innocent, then they wouldn’t have chosen to lie, and try to cover up what had occurred. But this group of Marines did lie and try to cover up.
Such things are not a good indicator of innocence — and these two “innocent” Marines participated in that lie and cover up.

During the first meeting between families of the Haditha victims and US military officers, the family members were told that the 24 deaths were caused by a roadside bomb and by “terrorists.” The reason that was said by the officers is because none of the Marines involved were telling the truth.
Despite the fact that “insurgents” were blamed for these killings, our military paid these families 2,500 dollars for each person who had been killed in the incident roughly a month after it took place. This compensation money is NEVER paid out when our soldiers kill people in a battles where innocent civilians die alongside actual combatants. It is only paid out when clear incidents of wrongful death have occurred.

Murtha, a former Marine, knew this before he ever said a word. Indeed, this seemed obvious not just to him, but to another former Marine who also understands the Marine’s Code Of Honor.
That would be Republican Representative John Kline, who at the same time made this statement:

“There is no question that the Marines involved, those doing the shooting, they were busy in lying about it and covering it up.”

Sic Eagle won’t acknowledge Kline’s statement. None of the Republicans will. They don’t want any of us to know about it, or mention it. Because once you do, you’ll then notice that what Kline said is an even more emphatic statement on the perceived guilt of these Marines. No question about it, he said. That goes far beyond any of the comments which Murtha made at that time.
But Kline has said that his comments, while “accurate,” were “taken out of context.” (How can you take that statement out of context?)And then he apologized, and so, he is not being sued as Murtha is being sued for his comments.

The attacks on Murtha continue — and they are as transparently politically motivated today as they ever were.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 12, 2007 5:00 PM
Comment #226080

stephen

what does any of that have to do with a politician making inflamatory statements about or troops before they’ve thier day in court ? i’ll answer that one. nothing.

Posted by: dbs at July 12, 2007 5:01 PM
Comment #226081

So, if this administration wasn’t so secretive, Murtha wouldn’t have called those Marines murderers without knowing the facts?

Great, what Murtha says is now Bushs’ fault too.

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2007 5:09 PM
Comment #226083

rahdigly

No, a fair trial is not “too much to ask”. Everyone wants these guys to get a fair trial.

If a bunch of people raid the barracks and lynch these guys, you can complain about how they didn’t get a fair trial.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 5:19 PM
Comment #226084

adrienne

my point is not about guilt or innocents, only that the presumtion of innocents until proven guilty, should be the standard. what comes out in the discovery and trial is what it is. if found guilty they should be punished appropriately. i was not aware of klines statements, but would hold him to the same standards as murtha. he should have kept his mouth shut until all the evidence was available, and weighed appropriately.

Posted by: dbs at July 12, 2007 5:20 PM
Comment #226091

dbs
The reason you did not hear much about Klines statement is because he was refering to what could have been a cover-up by “those doing the shooting.”
His statement showed a black eye and didn’t really make the US or its entire military look bad, so Bush didn’t look bad. Hardly somebody the left would want to embrace.

Murtha called that entire group of U.S. Marines murderers who killed “innocent” people in cold blood. His comments make the whole military look bad, the US look bad and that makes Bush look bad.
Do that and the far left takes everything you say as gospel.

And you are right, BOTH should be held to the same standards. But Murtha was made into an idol so his comments were widely bragged about while Klines faded off.
It is fun to watch all his supporters defend and excuse him now though.

Posted by: kctim at July 12, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #226092

Kline got a free pass because he is a Republican. That’s why his comments “faded off”.

Of course, his comments really prove that all Republicans hate the military, Bush, and America itself. It stands to reason…

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 12, 2007 6:08 PM
Comment #226096

Reading all the remarks from the Lib/dem side I know now that they really don’t care about justice. If a Rep said the same thing Loud Mouth Murtha did they would not only crucify him but also draw and quarter them. Republicans are no angels and by far have made many mistakes. I am glad I don’t claim any party affilliation. Those Marines deserve their day in court, but they sure don’t need any liberal ignorant remarks especially when they weren’t there.

Posted by: KAP at July 12, 2007 6:31 PM
Comment #226097

dbs, there WAS evidence available when both Murtha and Kline made their comments. The evidence was the fact that the US Military had paid out wrongful death compensations to the victims of the Haditha. That’s how they knew that these Marines had lied, and that some sort of a cover up was taking place.
I also think it’s clear that the reason that both of these Representatives spoke out is because as former Marines themselves, they were understandably alarmed by the fact that the Marine’s core values and code of honor no longer seemed to apply.

Honor, Courage, and Commitment:

Honor

Honor guides Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior; to never lie cheat or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity; respect human dignity; and respect others. The quality of maturity, dedication, trust and dependability commit Marines to act responsibly; to be accountable for their actions; to fulfill their obligations; and to hold others accountable for their actions.

Courage

Courage is the mental, moral and physical strength ingrained in Marines. It carries them through the challenges of combat and helps them overcome fear. It is the inner strength that enables a Marine to do what is right; to adhere to a higher standard of personal conduct; and to make tough decisions under stress and pressure.

Commitment

Commitment is the spirit of determination and dedication found in Marines. It leads to the highest order of discipline for individuals and units. It is the ingredient that enables 24-hour a day dedication to Corps and country. It inspires the unrelenting determination to achieve a standard of excellence in every endeavor.

As Marines, both Murtha and Kline knew that Semper Fi (Always Faithful) means that they had to speak out about what they saw as something very wrong taking place regarding the actions of these particular Marines, and perhaps, even the actions of The Marine Corps itself.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 12, 2007 6:42 PM
Comment #226100

adrienne

what troubles me about the payout is that it was done before these marines had been tried or convicted. obviously evidence of a cover up is troubling, and if proved should be used against them as evidence at trial. it would also be a breach of those principles. i have several marines in my family, so i’m pretty familiar with them.

i think there is a difference though between the gov’t paying those claims based on guilty verdicts at a court martial, and a guilty conscience. with out the first being the case, that only leaves the last. this in my opinion makes the statements of those two congressmen out of line, and prejudicial. while it’s reasonable to be concerned with up holding of moral standards in an orginization you are proud of, it is still not justification for making inflamatory statements that could cause people to prejudge these men before they’ve had thier day in court.

Posted by: dbs at July 12, 2007 7:17 PM
Comment #226101

“Where does he say in his quote that it is permissible for him to be the judge and jury in front of the world PRIOR TO a trial on the merits?”

Sicilian Eagle,

Who assumed that he was “judge and jury”?

Murtha expressed an opinion.

Show me a direct quote where he NAMED any individual Marine (or Marines) as being responsible for the suspected wrongdoing at Haditha?

His focus was on “leadership” and “mission”.

Anyone who’s ever served in the military knows very well that shit, er—uh—oops—guess I should say BLAME, rolls downhill. I believe Murtha was trying to stress that the mission, and those who defined it, were responsible for events such as that in question.

I certainly don’t see any evidence that Murtha used his political power to influence the outcome of a military investigation or any court proceeding.

Posted by: KansasDem at July 12, 2007 7:22 PM
Comment #226102

dbs-
There is a profound disconnect between those who write the policy, and those called upon to carry it out. In an effort to shore up the politcs of the war, the Bush administration made it clear to commanders on the ground that requests for more soldiers would not be smile upon. Hell, they made it clear a large invasion force would not be smiled upon when they gave the Army Chief of Staff the lame duck treatment, and publically chastised his words.

Do you call what they did to Eric Shinseki, who testified truthfully before Congress, an encouraging message to those who want reinforcements?

This lead to a rather chronic problem of security throughout the war, and a situation win which we never had stable control of territory. Haditha is part of the Sunni Triangle, a hotbed of such insurgents as those who took advantage of the hatred for Americans in that place.

Bush sent those soldiers into Haditha with no real strategy to clear and hold. They became targets of a hostile enemy supported by unfriendly civilians. Unfriendly but civilians nonetheless.

We ask our soldiers, especially in the midst of an occupation that could faced an inflamement of civil discord, to target combatants, and not civilians. Had the security situation been better, and those soldiers been in there with greater force, restraint on both sides would have prevailed.

But when faced with a situation like that in Haditha, morals and rules of engagement can seem like terrible parodies of what is right, a straitjacket to the kind of all out fight we really want to do against our enemy and those who support them.

The Haditha Massacre is a product of policies where the right questions were not asked soon enough to make sure the right outcomes prevailed. Murtha merely brought it to our attention.

KAP-
I don’t think you know anything of the kind. I think you believe that we have no interest in justice. I can speak for myself in saying that if any man among them is innocent, let them go free. I would not take, though, that presumption to mean that we cannot frankly state what the facts seem to indicate: that Americans were involved in these killings. The Presumption of innocence does not prevent the media from speaking about murder suspects ahead of time, or what they are accused of doing. How is it that we get this kind of gag rule for Murtha?

How is it? Put simply, Murtha spoke out before, and it has been the pattern of many on the right to target those who have been vocal in the past to be bashed again and again every time they open their mouth. This is the politics of personal destruction, not justice for wrongly accused soldiers.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 12, 2007 7:33 PM
Comment #226114

I think this shows a divide.

Murtha jumped immediatley on the guilty bandwagon. He might have give marines working under difficult conditions the benefit of the doubt, but he obviously took sides AGAINST them.

Many of the writers defending Murtha are trying very hard to call attention to their countries sins, real and imagined. Instead of taking the side of their and giving thier people the benefit of a doubt, they jump on the anti bandwagon with crooked old Murtha driving.

This is bad enough, but when we are talking about detainees, these same guys give suspected terrorists the benefit of a much bigger doubt than they ever give to young Americans doing a hard job.

Why?

Conservatives sometimes do not give the presumtion of innocence to murder suspects. Yes, I still think OJ did it. I thought Ted Bundy deserved what he got.

Our soldiers and marines deserve BETTER. Nobody was out to get OJ or Ted. Terrorists and enemies of America are trying very hard to demonize our soldiers and marines. They will lie to do it. WE Americans do not need to become their allies.

Murtha is a discrace. The dishonored his previous honorable service. He deserves no respect. It is a tragic fall, but it is his fault. He let his dishonest politcal judgement trump his patriotism. Shame on him.

I am only “expressing an opinion” but I would not cross the street to help Murtha climb out of a sewer.

Posted by: Jack at July 12, 2007 8:46 PM
Comment #226116

The point being missed is that these Marines shouldn’t be in a peacekeeping role at all. Does anyone think sending highly-trained killers (God bless ‘em) to direct traffic and “escort kids to school” is the right mission for them?

George Bush and Condoleezza Rice certainly didn’t think so — nor did Republicans in general — until this fiasco in Iraq. Bush is using combat-trained Marines as policemen. That’s not right.

Posted by: American Pundit at July 12, 2007 8:49 PM
Comment #226117

Here we go again trying to paint a Dem. war hero that trys to do so much for the brave people that are serving this country by twisting words and telling lies to promote a right wing neo-con agenda. When will the lies stop.

Posted by: Jeff at July 12, 2007 9:03 PM
Comment #226119

When Murtha stops telling them.

Posted by: Jack at July 12, 2007 9:10 PM
Comment #226120

I’m telling you (all), if some (out there) would just drop the anti-Bush hatred and the bias partisanship for two friggin seconds, you would see how ridiculous the comments, of defending Murtha, actually are. I’ve seen some comments where conservatives are attacked for giving the benefit of the doubt to our troops, yet not to “criminals”. UH, YEAH!!!! Another where there is concession that the troops should get a fair trial, yet shouldn’t the enemy, killing our soldiers, get a fair trial, too? UHHHHHHH!!!!!


Posted by: rahdigly at July 12, 2007 9:13 PM
Comment #226123

And still, “I certainly don’t see any evidence that Murtha used his political power to influence the outcome of a military investigation or any court proceeding.”

Please show me I’m wrong!

Posted by: KansasDem at July 12, 2007 9:40 PM
Comment #226125

Jack, your rabid partisanship is once again on blatant display. You attack Murtha, and like Sic Eagle, are refusing to acknowledge Kline’s even more emphatic statement — and only because he is one of you own. How typical you are.

rah:
“concession that the troops should get a fair trial,”

No one has said the Marines shouldn’t have been given a fair trial. That includes Murtha and Kline. But the fact remains that they were only making some public statements about something which had already been made clear by the actions of our military. No matter how you rabid partisans try to twist this, the truth is that the US military did not wait for any trials before paying out compensation money to the victims families after that incident. By this action, they were basically admitting that THEY believed these Marines had lied, and had been guilty of a bunch of wrongful deaths that included women and children.
I know you don’t like this, but I think it says a lot about what real Marines are made of that a couple of former Marines, one from each side of the political aisle, were clearly so outraged by what they saw as a clear cut case of an obvious subversion of their own code of values, that they naturally had to comment upon it.
Rather than villanize and dump all over them, you should be applauding that kind of faith toward such a sterling code of honor, and praising the integrity it takes to speak out whenever that code is being broken.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 12, 2007 9:57 PM
Comment #226127

Kansasdem
No where do we say he used his influence We just say he shouldn’t have opened HIS BIG MOUTH and accused those marines of murder before the investigation and trials. Yes there were mistakes made by 4 officers who should have done a better job of reporting on the insident. He,Murtha jumped to a conclusion before all the facts were presented, and I hope all those marines are found innocent and Murtha has to grovel and ask for forgiveness for being a BIG ASS.

Posted by: KAP at July 12, 2007 9:59 PM
Comment #226129

Adrienne
It is a possibility that the payments were made because the people that got killed might have been killed in a cross fire between the marines and insurgents? The insurgents are known to hide behind women and children.

Posted by: KAP at July 12, 2007 10:05 PM
Comment #226131

Freedom fighters hiding behind women and children??? You must be mistaken.

Posted by: andy at July 12, 2007 10:21 PM
Comment #226138

Adrienne

If this Kline guy said that, he too is an Ahole. We then agree. You say Murtha is a retrograde fool and I will say the same about Kline. I got no sympathy for such people on either side.

We agree, Adrienne. You hate what Murtha said and admit he was a fool and we both feel the same way about Kline. We are both good Americans. I understand that Kline appologized for his foolishness. Did Murtha?

Andy

The terrorist often dress AS women. Transvestite terrorists is the new thing, as we saw in Pakistan and London. They enjoy the feeling of the long, black dresses. That is one of the perks of being a terrorist.

Posted by: Jack at July 12, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #226140

“Murtha jumped to a conclusion before all the facts were presented”

KAP,

As I said before Murtha’s conclusion was that the leadership and the mission itself were to blame as much, if not more so, than any individuals actions on the battlefield. He’s been steadfast in his position that it’s time for an orderly redeployment of our troops.

Spin it however you wish, but the facts are the facts!

Posted by: KansasDem at July 12, 2007 11:25 PM
Comment #226142

SE
I have the suspicion that you believe Mai Lai never should have become public either. Yes or no?

Posted by: BillS at July 12, 2007 11:44 PM
Comment #226157

KAP:
“Adrienne
It is a possibility that the payments were made because the people that got killed might have been killed in a cross fire between the marines and insurgents?”

No KAP, it isn’t. As I mentioned before in my first post, our military doesn’t pay out these compensations to the families of civilians who are accidentally killed when our soldiers are engaged in fighting the enemy. It is only given when our military views the incident as wrongful death(s).

Posted by: Adrienne at July 13, 2007 4:13 AM
Comment #226162
“As I said before Murtha’s conclusion was that the leadership and the mission itself were to blame as much, if not more so, than any individuals actions on the battlefield.”


Sounds like another anti-Bush, partisan attack to me. Murtha was absolutely wrong and should be forced to apologize or resign. Period!


“He’s been steadfast in his position that it’s time for an orderly redeployment of our troops.”


Yeah, to Okinawa! He was also “steadfast” in his vote for the Iraq war in 2003; don’t suppose you supported him then, did ya?!*

Posted by: rahdigly at July 13, 2007 6:55 AM
Comment #226163

Jack-
What lies?

Rahdigly-
Have you seen anybody here on this site say that these people shouldn’t have their day in court, that they should be strung up outside the courthouse right here and now?

The lynch mob hasn’t shown up yet, and it’s probably not going to any time soon. It’s too bad, given how much effort the Red Column is putting into vilifying us.

Murtha is known for having the inside track on military matters, which means he did not make his comments in ignorance. Trouble here is that the Red Column is looking for us to act as traitors, and think of us largely in that way.

This administration has done it’s best to keep its errors secret, which while understandable, is not permittable. We have an interest in knowing how well, or how poorly this administration is waging the wars it fights, and in pulling the plug if we believe it’s lost them.

Many will support this war to the bitter end, no matter what opportunities are lost. They will have us pay and pay and pay, perversely doing the very damage our enemies wished to inflict on us by our government’s own hand. They are willing to sacrifice our economy, our army, everything, just to avoid admitting the problems of the war to a public they largely think is below explaining things to, a public they think has chickened out on the war.

They miss the role their folk’s misbehavior has had, the morale drop that their unwillingness to end terrible, counterproductive strategy has had on people. They didn’t chicken out. They lost faith in the leadership, in their ability to deliver on promises, in their competence to carry out the mission to the extent it could be carried out. Anybody who reads the actual comments that Murtha made will see that the themes that his words, taken at face value, present to the audience, are those that relate to the quality with which the war has been managed by the president.

This is not merely about some soldiers that snapped and killed civilians. This is about the policy that put them in that position. This about the denial that the Right practices, which which poisons its ability to halt this kind of dysfunction, to prevent these kinds of debacles from taking place.

The time has come to see the criticism of Murtha on this matter for what it really is at its origins: a means of diverting attention from the seriousness of the conditions that would bring an ardent hawk like John Murtha, a man who fought in two wars, whose base is highly patriotic, and apt to not take any wavering lightly, to state the cause in Iraq is lost. We have to ask ourselves: why pick Murtha as a punching bag?

The answer is simple: because Murtha’s background gives his change of heart more credibility and impact. They cannot bear to have a critic such as him not humiliated, not discredited, not vilified, because otherwise they have to face that they’ve lost many who they can’t honestly claim never wanted America to win the first place. If the people who never wanted to lose are giving up on the war, they have no defense against the final public disapproval of the war.

The Administration hasn’t done its job, but it expects everybody to let it continue doing that job indefinitely. That’s not going to happen, no matter how many John Murthas they slime.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 13, 2007 7:07 AM
Comment #226164
This is bad enough, but when we are talking about detainees, these same guys give suspected terrorists the benefit of a much bigger doubt than they ever give to young Americans doing a hard job.

Bulls__t!

All we ever wanted for the detainees is some semblance of due process instead of locking up them up forever on a suspicion.

In the case of the soldiers, the are being tried (or not) according to military law. The possibility of them being locked up indefinitely without a trial was not even on the table. If Bush deprives them of their rights, we will complain.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 13, 2007 7:35 AM
Comment #226165

(I say Bush because he is the guy in charge of the proceedings. Jack Murtha couldn’t lock them up if he wanted to.)

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 13, 2007 7:37 AM
Comment #226166
“Murtha is known for having the inside track on military matters, which means he did not make his comments in ignorance.”


Ok, so who are the others, that saw this report initially, and said: “These were wanton killings done in cold blood”?!!!! I will condemn them equally as Murtha. Until then and if not, then he should apologize or resign!!!


“Many will support this war to the bitter end, no matter what opportunities are lost. They will have us pay and pay and pay, perversely doing the very damage our enemies wished to inflict on us by our government’s own hand. They are willing to sacrifice our economy, our army, everything, just to avoid admitting the problems of the war to a public they largely think is below explaining things to, a public they think has chickened out on the war.”


The “they”, you were referring to, includes the military by the way; the ones that VOLUNTEERED and RE-ENLISTED for this mission. Yet, the “arm-chair” generals (bloggers who haven’t served) don’t want to hear that, mainly b/c it gets in the way of Blaming Bush!!!


“This is not merely about some soldiers that snapped and killed civilians. This is about the policy that put them in that position.”


Ahh, sounds like the Bush bashing I referred to earlier…

Posted by: rahdigly at July 13, 2007 8:59 AM
Comment #226171

“The point being missed is that these Marines shouldn’t be in a peacekeeping role at all”

Good point indeed AP, but it still does not excuse what Murtha said.

Stephen
“Have you seen anybody here on this site say that these people shouldn’t have their day in court, that they should be strung up outside the courthouse right here and now?”

And how many people have said Murtha should not have brought this incident up?
Most people are pissed at Murtha because he tagged Marines as being murderers, cold blooded ones at that, BEFORE a proper investigation was done and ALL the facts were known.

You can blame policy, Bush or Republicans all you want in your attempts to defend and excuse Murtha, but that still does NOT change what he said.

People are upset because of his words, not because of his party.
And others choose to ignore his words and defend him because of his party.

Posted by: kctim at July 13, 2007 9:49 AM
Comment #226173

As usual, Murtha is a target. He has the temerity as a former vet to disagree with the military, and thus has a big ol’ paritsan bullseye painted right on his backside. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the posts by dbs, rahdigly, and Jack. Lots of loud opinions, not many facts, lots of namecalling. So let’s ask this: if one or more of he accused Marines are convicted of premeditated murder, will there be apologies to Murtha? I will eat my keyboard if I ever see one. This is about discrediting the anti-war movement, not about right and wrong.

Adrienne, as usual, wonderful posts. I had no idea about the payouts by the government. Thank you for the breath of fresh air.

And before anyone accuses me of being against the troops, let me say this. My nephew is currently serving in Iraq. I have all the respect in the world for our troops and the job they are doing over there. What I have no respect for is the government that put them there. I have serious worries, considering what my nephew has seen and been through, as to what state he will be in when he comes back, if he even does in one piece. Thus I have all the sympathy in the world for the Marines accused in the Taditha situation. I hate to draw similarities, but this is so very like Vietnam. Our boys are facing a faceless enemy in unfamiliar settings, fighting a type of warfare they were not trained for. If a few of them snap and do something horrible, is it so very surprising? I would never support death or life in prison for any of these boys, no matter what they did, because I blame the government for putting them there. What does bother me is the attempt at a cover-up. If this does prove true, I hope we come down on those bastards like a ton of bricks. While Murtha may have been inflamitory in his remarks, he wants what I want: to bring them home. That I support.

Posted by: leatherankh at July 13, 2007 10:22 AM
Comment #226185
“So let’s ask this: if one or more of he accused Marines are convicted of premeditated murder, will there be apologies to Murtha?”


No! And, that is b/c he accused our troops without them having a fair trial. He basically took the word of the Iraqis and insurgents (in the “fog of war”) over our own soldiers!!! I’ll say this, if those soldiers actually did do this, I will speak out against them; just like I did with the troops at Abu Ghraib. Right now (though), those of you defending Murtha need to admit he is wrong and urge him to apologize or resign!!!


“My nephew is currently serving in Iraq. I have all the respect in the world for our troops and the job they are doing over there.”


Excellent. Your nephew is a good American for serving his country; especially, in wartime. I have clients and military brethren that are (or have been) over there fighting in Iraq. I’ll give you a piece of advice that I learned from each (and everyone) of them; listen to the troops who are over there fighting in Iraq real good about what is actually going on over there. Every person I know that has been over there have told me that the news and politicians (here in the States) are not being honest. They all have concluded that the bad is being magnified more than it should. Just a little food for thought.


“I hate to draw similarities, but this is so very like Vietnam. Our boys are facing a faceless enemy in unfamiliar settings, fighting a type of warfare they were not trained for.”


This is not like Vietnam; one particular reason is that, in Vietnam, there was a draft; today’s military does not have that. Your nephew and my friends & Clients had a choice to enlist (or re-enlist) during this war.


“While Murtha may have been inflamitory in his remarks, he wants what I want: to bring them home. That I support.”

So, you would be ok if Murtha said: “These were wanton killings done in cold blood” about your nephew and his company, you would be ok with that?!! Even if you talked to your nephew and he swore it was legit and it was a setup by the insurgents (like these troops Murtha accused have said)?!?! Because, I wouldn’t be ok with those comments for my friends and clients serving over there.

Posted by: rahdigly at July 13, 2007 11:51 AM
Comment #226198

Rahdigly-
It’s convenient to your rhetoric to suppose that Murtha and those who defend him are taking the word of the enemy over our soldiers. One problem: much of what we know about this is coming from the soldier, from the investigators.

I’ve seen it time and time again: support the soldiers, until they complain or come out against the war. Then beat the shit out of them, because they’ve turned traitor in your eyes.

That is the way you support the soldiers: supporting the President’s politics and policies on the war. Anytime they deviate from that, they’re traitors.

I find it rather sickening. Truth is, I don’t blame many soldiers for believing the media’s overhyped the violence. Depending on where you’re stationed, you might see little violence, and a lot of support from the people around you. It happened with Vietnam, too, as General Zinni (I think. It’s been a while) recounted in Battle Ready, the book he did with Tom Clancy. He observed that folks serving in the Delta had a different experience than those who served in the mountains, those who served in the North of the country different from those who served in the South. You casually talk about the Fog of war, but fail to consider that it might extend to those whose combat assignments take them far away from the parts of the war which have the most problems.

As for the Draft? It might have been a good idea. Nobody likes to be conscripted, and the Vietnam War gave it a bad name, but WWII, which you are so fond of was also fought under a draft. As superior as a purely volunteer army might be, it’s letting the perfect become the enemy of the good to not bow to strategic necessity and find some way of increasing the army’s size to deal with the mission at hand.

Never mind reenlistements, the Army’s been consistently missing enlistment goals for the last two years. We’re to the point where we have to start withdrawing troops in April because of the shortfall in numbers of fresh troops. We literally can’t get them back in their fast enough, the way Bush is pushing them. He’s got people on multiple deployments, he’s pushed the reserves and the national guard in, and has tried every trick in the book to continue the war like this. It’s depriving our soldiers of necessary training, working equipment, and the rest they need to recuperate from the pressure cooker that even a good war can be.

The worst part is, he’s fooling nobody except for his supporters. Everybody else is astounded at how thin he’s wearing these volunteers.

The President is responsible, on multiple levels, for the environment these troops find themselves in. His manpower policies, his failures in getting the occupation right. You folks worry about the objections people would have to a draft. But if that’s what it takes to win, why are you folks sitting on your backsides on this issue? As quick as you are to take down critics of the war, you fellows seems slow when it comes to advocating for what it takes to win a war.

I never had a problem calling for that, and I was a critic of how Bush got into Iraq. What the hell were you folks doing?

kctim-
My impression was that the first part of the investigation was mostly over with when Murtha talked about it. The article on the matter showed up in either Time or Newsweek in March of that year.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 13, 2007 1:28 PM
Comment #226209

May of 06

Warner, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the former Secretary of the Navy, said the Senate will proceed with its own investigation and hearings into the Haditha killings if and when they can do so without interfering with the military’s formal inquiry. (ABC News)

Warner pleaded for a “sense of calmness” as the military conducts their investigation, but Murtha contended, “I understand what happened, but I don’t excuse what happened.”
(ABC News)

Investigations were not complete, but Murtha understood what had happened?

And now, AFTER investigations, we get:

“An investigating officer in the case against a U.S. Marine accused of murdering civilians in Haditha, Iraq, has recommended that charges against him be dropped, concluding that the government’s allegations that the Marine executed a group of men are “unsupported and incredible.”
(Washington Post)

IF, this is the outcome, then these Marines are not the cold blooded murderers that Murtha “understood” them to be and he was wrong to tell the world they were murderers before he knew all of the facts.

I don’t care if he resigns or not. I don’t care if he apologizes or not.
Our country is getting ready to go through a lot worse in the next 4+ years and a politician trying to score political points pales in comparison.

But wrong is wrong and Murtha was wrong.

Posted by: kctim at July 13, 2007 2:34 PM
Comment #226210
“That is the way you support the soldiers: supporting the President’s politics and policies on the war. Anytime they deviate from that, they’re traitors.”


It is not about the President and his policies; I have said that in a previous comment about hating Bush. It is about how a congressman, who voted for the troops to go to Iraq, turns on the troops and says: “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood…These were wanton killings done in cold blood”. He is rendering a verdict before the trial. And, I saw that Congressman Kline made conclusions about what happened at Haditha before reports were finalized and hearings were convened. That is bullshit! Kline is wrong!! As is anyone leaking this story; regardless of whether it is the soldiers, the press, or Pentagon officials. It is wrong!!

So, stop with this partisan bullsh*t and come out and defend these soldiers presumption of innocence and demand that Murtha be forced to apologize or resign!!!

Posted by: rahdigly at July 13, 2007 2:34 PM
Comment #226222

Ahhh…. rahdigly solely determining which rhetoric and analysis is “partisan bullsh*t”

Priceless.

Posted by: LawnBoy at July 13, 2007 4:13 PM
Comment #226225

Leatheranhk:
“Adrienne, as usual, wonderful posts.”

Thank you. Very kind of you to say, and right back at you, sir.

“If a few of them snap and do something horrible, is it so very surprising?”

No, it isn’t surprising at all. And that is exactly what the majority of Murtha’s comments on this incident have been about. As AP astutely mentioned, our soldiers weren’t trained to be police officers, but were trained for combat missions. Therefore, none of us should be shocked when and if any of them (most especially the Marines) suddenly turn into cold blooded murderers from the first instant they are attacked in the midst of trying to do peacekeeping patrols in insurgent stronghold territories.

“I would never support death or life in prison for any of these boys, no matter what they did, because I blame the government for putting them there.”

I have to agree with you here. I think they should serve time in jail for these murders (if proven), but it should not be for life. It isn’t their fault that they’ve been put into such an untenable situation by a government guided by chickenhawks that don’t know the first damn thing about waging war — and who haven’t even the sense to listen to what any of their generals have been telling them all along.

“What does bother me is the attempt at a cover-up. If this does prove true, I hope we come down on those bastards like a ton of bricks.”

Again, I agree. And I believe that being Marines themselves, Murtha and Kline both felt the need to make public statements about this incident due to what smacks as the attempt to cover-up. Because I’m certain it appeared to them (as it appears to many of us) that the screwed up way this administration has chosen to wage their wars could actually damage and subvert the core values of The Marine Corps, and that should not be allowed to happen. The long running tradition of honor, courage and commitment of our Marines (our proudest, best, bravest), or those of any of our armed forces, should not be allowed to fade away merely because a deluded, moronic, and clearly callous leader has been the Commander in Chief of our Military.

“While Murtha may have been inflamitory in his remarks, he wants what I want: to bring them home. That I support.”

That’s what I support too, but I think his inflammatory remarks were, and still are, entirely necessary. It’ll be two years in November that Murtha first submitted the resolution to remove our armed forces from Iraq, and things have only gotten more insanely untenable, and whole lot bloodier for them since.

Again, my thanks to you, and my best to your nephew. I appreciate his service.


Stephen, excellent, very well written posts in this thread — even more so than usual.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 13, 2007 4:23 PM
Comment #226229

“The “they”, you were referring to, includes the military by the way; the ones that VOLUNTEERED and RE-ENLISTED for this mission.”

Does that they include those National Guard troops that have seen their tours extended again and again?

“Yet, the “arm-chair” generals (bloggers who haven’t served) don’t want to hear that, mainly b/c it gets in the way of Blaming Bush!!!”

So what you’re saying is that anyone that has served gets a pass, and only their opinion counts?

Bush’s desk is where the buck is supposed to stop, but from what we have seen, the buck doesn’t even slow down any where near his desk.

Murtha said he “understood what happened… but he didn’t condone it”.
Sounds to me like he understands that there is no on/off switch that can be thrown at a moments notice in the “fog of war”.
Murtha’s comment sounds like he understands that shit sometimes happens in the pressure cooker we have placed these Marines in, but that doesn’t mean their actions were right and proper.

Posted by: Rocky at July 13, 2007 4:58 PM
Comment #226241

kctim-
Nothing about what you argue speaks to the degree of the investigation’s completeness. It’s one thing to suggest that Murtha’s information was insufficient for his conclusions, it’s yet another to say that for sure. The whole point of the presumption of innocence is that folks making an accusation are not omniscient. That includes people making accusations about Murtha.

Note, for example, the singular number of that Washington Post excerpt: “the marine”. One guy. What logically necessitates that his guy’s innocence implies that of the others, especially if this is the guy who was involved in a separate incident at Haditha? That is the logical fallacy at the heart of this article, and the true target of Liberals like myself. The right, from good intentions or cynical, wishes to sweep this all under the rug, wishes to pretend that this and other symptoms of the problems of this war simply don’t exist. Unfortunately, you can’t pretend awaqy realities on the ground, and they remain to plague those troops that we commit to this war.

Rahdigly-
This story was not leaked by these men. It was out in March; they commented in May. You want to know something creepy? I heard something about this in December of the previous year.

The reporting on this was already out in the Arab Media. If it was a secret, it was poorly kept, and mostly kept from the American people. How many of these poorly kept secrets are in play? How many things are Americans not hearing about that affects how others regard them as a people? We have a right to know what is done in our name.

We also have a right to know what this war is doing to our people, what it’s driving them to. I think it would also be be informative to know what kind of conditions the Kilo Company Marines themselves had to live under According to Wikipedia:

On June 20, 2006, the BBC ran an article alleging that conditions in the Kilo company headquarters were “feral.” The four hundred men were based at a dam three miles from Haditha. The camp was described as a “decaying rabbit-warren.” As a result, unofficial shacks had been set up outside the building to house Marines. Oliver Poole, a reporter who visited the camp, called the conditions filthy and disgusting. He said:
The fact that the officers had let conditions deteriorate to the level in which where people living [sic] in such basic environment, that says something,” he said. “Where were the officers keeping the standards that the US military keeps in the field?” [54]

Conditions in Haditha itself were known to have been deteriorating under militant rule, and attacks on U.S. troops as well as executions of suspected informants were common.[55]

Even today, conditions on the Marine Forward Operating Base still have not improved. The base located near Haditha Dam is regarded by Marines as one of the worst places to be stationed due to living conditions. There is no running water, so Marines who need a shower are required to use a water bottle as a “field shower.”

This is one of a number of reasons that I find it galling to be told to support the troops out there by keeping quiet, and not dissenting. What service do I do these people by keeping quiet about what’s happening to them? From the beginning of the war, I have shown these people the respect due them by not being silent about the ordeal this president has put many of them through. I had hoped early on that by point these things out, we could push the President to take care of these things, but I watched in dismay as this President stood apart in his own little world, and let these things continue on.

To me, it’s beneath us that we would maintain our troop levels at an insufficient level to win, if that is our goal. It’s beneath us to send our soldiers out to battle riding in vehicles retrofitted with scrap iron, sandbags, plywood, and compromised ballistic glass. It’s beneath us to allow our soldiers to be quartered in Rabbit Warrens without running water. It’s beneath us to have them coming home to insufficient health and mental care, to have those staying in Apartment’s sharing their residence with roaches, mold, and putting up with walls, ceilings and other parts of these homes in disrepair.

We are dedicating two thirds of a trillion dollars to our defense, and it doesn’t buy us better than this? What good are all these arms we’re buying for a Cold War long past, if they don’t help us win wars in the now?

Murtha merely pointed out what these soldiers had been reduced to, and if you look at the quote, you’ll see how my comments about Bush’s management of this war relates to all this.

We cannot ask our soldiers to do the impossible in an impossible situation, watch their comrades die, and not see men snap as the worse these men see in their lives lies before them. What the right offers these troops is not support, it’s a continuation of their failure to support them, along with more secrecy to hide their failure from those who might take sides against the adminstration if they knew the full extent of the foul-ups of this administration.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 13, 2007 7:16 PM
Comment #226248

Stepehen et al

This is the difference between conservatives and liberals. We all have our blind spots. We conservatives give US marines and soldiers the benefit of the doubt over terrorists. Your side gives the terrorists the benefit of the doubt. Maybe we are wrong, but at least we know the who are friends are.

Murtha is not keeping faith with his country or his our soldiers and marines. Like Benedict Arnold, he may have been a hero is times past, but like Benedict Arnold, he threw that away in the hopes of political gain. He no longer deserves our respect.

We should give our own people the benefit of the doubt. IF they are guilty, we should AND do punish them. But we certainly should not be leading the radical villagers, torch in hand.

I cannot think of any reason why anybody would defend Murtha in this case. WHY does he jump to the worst conclusions? I would think even if he thought it was true, he would act more in sorrow than anger and he would want to wait for the facts. He would not be so eager. A partisan jumps to conclusions about his enemies. We know who Murtha considered the enemy. That is also a difference between conservatives and liberals.


Posted by: Jack at July 13, 2007 8:39 PM
Comment #226249

“We conservatives give US marines and soldiers the benefit of the doubt over terrorists. Your side gives the terrorists the benefit of the doubt”

“We know who Murtha considered the enemy. That is also a difference between conservatives and liberals.”

Really?

Who’s jumping to conclusions now?

Perhaps the difference between hyperbole and bullshit isn’t really that great.

Posted by: Rocky at July 13, 2007 8:47 PM
Comment #226251

Both Demecraps and Republicraps have both done a PISS POOR job at running this country. We have a blow hard Murtha calling o group of Marines cold blooded Murders and a President who calls our military pussies both need to appolligize to our military forces, also all you A HOLES who defend these two butt heads.

Posted by: KAP at July 13, 2007 9:02 PM
Comment #226252

Jack, agreed. In reviewing the comments it is hard to find where the support is. There are plenty of comments for due process, however, open support is not evident above.

What’s so hard about saying “These kids deserve better, and if they made a mistake they’ll be punished.”

It would seem to me that apologizing for these soldiers would fit with the Liberal mantra about the “circumstances” under which these soldiers were placed. Like excusing a criminal for a bad childhood, or a politician that had to surpress their sexual orientation. It would seem to me that the first thing Liberals would do would point ot the circumstances under which these soldiers were placed. Certainly fits with the continued opinion of Bush and the administration. That their failed policy “I’ll say it Kim-Sue” is what put these poor boys into a situation like this.

Where is the outright frustration with blaming the soldier … it is the establishment right? Or is it left?

Posted by: Honest at July 13, 2007 9:03 PM
Comment #226253

One of the first things to ask yourself when you are angry:

What have I lost?

It is the loss that causes anger, especially in a person like Murtha. His anger shows me that he is a true Marine. I have no question of his patriotism, care for the military and ethics.

Posted by: womanmarine at July 13, 2007 9:13 PM
Comment #226254

Rocky

We know what Murtha said. Your comparison between his and my hyperbole is exactly correct. I am a partisan. I am against Murtha. I have indeed drawn a conclusion that puts him in a poor light. I am acting against those I oppose. Murtha, behaving in the same way, acted against those he opposes - those young Marines. I understand his behavior and I can do nothing but deplore that he has chosen them as targets in his partisan hyperbole.

We can acknowledge his former service. It is a tragedy how far he has fallen. But Murtha no longer deserves our respect.

Posted by: Jack at July 13, 2007 9:47 PM
Comment #226255

I wonder if Eagle and his ilk recognize the irony in declaring Murtha guilty until he proves himself innocent?

Somehow I doubt it.

Posted by: ElliottBay at July 13, 2007 9:49 PM
Comment #226263

Jack, what makes you partisan is not that you don’t agree with Murtha or think he is wrong. What make you partisan is the fact that you don’t mention John Kline’s comments. Equally as deplorable as Murtha’s but he is a Repub. Is he not also opposed to the Marines?

Posted by: 037 at July 13, 2007 10:11 PM
Comment #226265

Jack, (obviously not Jack Matel)

“I have indeed drawn a conclusion that puts him in a poor light.”

On what evidence?
Murtha may have crossed the line, but he didn’t make this statement merely to make his fellow Marines look bad, or to make the terrorists look good. He saw a flaw. Perhaps he exploited it for some hidden agenda, but I doubt it.
He is a Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Always.

I have no horse in this race, I am not, as you say you are, a partisan, except when it comes to the United States, and how we are wasting the lives of our men and women in America’s military.
If Murtha’s comments in any way help to change the way our military is being abused, I’d say more power to him.
You guys on the right want to play semantics.

Murtha called it as he saw it.

Posted by: Rocky at July 13, 2007 10:15 PM
Comment #226268

Rocky

It’s just me. Murtha in this case just really makes me mad. I really do not understand his motivation if it is not partisanship. If it is that, I have to deplore how he has chosen to make these young marines pawns in his game.

Think of how you might react if you suspected someone you had respected had done something very bad. Would you immediately express the most extreme conclusion, or would you wait until you were really sure of your facts. Would you not give the benefit of a doubt? That is what I would expect of a man of integrity. It says a lot that he would jump to the attack. It shows his true motivation.

I have criticized Murtha much less than he criticized those Marines. I have expressed the sense of tragedy that a person who was a good man has gone bad. I would expect Murtha to at least extend the same benefit of the doubt to the Marines that I extend to someone who I am trying to criticize.

Rocky, let’s me perfectly open. I do cannot think of any scenario that would allow Murtha to be both a thoughtful man worthy to be in public office AND a patriot. Either he spoke out without thought for the consequences. We could forgive him if he appologized. OR he spoke out in partisan calculation, making the Marines collateral damage. Either way, it is not good.

Posted by: Jack at July 13, 2007 10:30 PM
Comment #226270

Jack-
His motivation is easy to understand if you leave out the partisanship. He’s sick of the way this war is being run, and the effect it’s having on the soldiers.

If you can’t understand that, it’s only because this whole thing has been sold on the notion that protecting the troops means covering up for their mistakes so the world doesn’t think less of them. But is that protection for them? not really. It’s protection for the policies and the failure of leadership that gives them lethal force, but little guidance or help in its proper employment.

Benedict Arnold committed actual treason, helped the British in the Revolutionary war. Only by the convoluted logic of Republican’s imaged-based notion of policy, does Murtha qualify. The logic basically has to be that any pessimism about the war is a betrayal of the troops. Never mind that this pessimism is so broadly defined as to include realistic, or disappointed commentary on progress in the war.

In short, this is the way betrayal is defined in an age of military affairs where the dominant party on the matter defined the politics of war based on the power of positive thinking. But positive thinking that doesn’t have certain checks and balances can lead to unrealistic choices which further positive thinking-based attempts to win things only makes worse. You cannot take a positive spin out of every bad war situation. Sometimes a loss of faith in one course of action a war leaves you open to another alternative.

Trouble is, being open to alternatives has been defined as an ideological weakness by the Republicans, especially when the alternatives resemble Democratic, or worse, Clintonian policy.

This war has not been lost by heedless pessimism. It’s been lost by a narrow-minded approach that mistakes willpower for strategic momentum.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 13, 2007 10:51 PM
Comment #226273

Stephen

So he is sick of the war. So he makes young Marines the victims. This doesn’t make it better. His anger is displaced. Being angry is easy. Being angry at the right person, to the right extent and for the right reason is hard. Murtha fails. He should either know better or be better or both. He is an experienced man acting in a situation that allows thought and reflection. He is not a young Marine in a confused and life threatening situation who has to make a quick decision. There is no excuse for his behavior. This is not about his anger or about the war; it is about his tragic flaws.

Posted by: Jack at July 13, 2007 11:02 PM
Comment #226275

So, stop with this partisan bullsh*t and come out and defend these soldier’s presumption of innocence and demand that Murtha be forced to apologize or resign!!!

“Ahhh… rahdigly solely determining which rhetoric and analysis is “partisan bullsh*t”


Sounds like you are taking the side of Murtha; rather than the troop’s “presumption of innocence”. Suprising, seeing as how you are a big fan of the ACLU.*****


“Does that they include those National Guard troops that have seen their tours extended again and again?”

Yes, it does. Sucks when some of you oppose the troops, doesn’t it?!


I wonder if Eagle and his ilk recognize the irony in declaring Murtha guilty until he proves himself innocent?


Ahh, yes. There is that “ilk” comment that triggered a blast from the past. So, does Murtha qualify as “bad as the enemy” with his comments, huh, Rock?!!!!!


Posted by: rahdigly at July 13, 2007 11:35 PM
Comment #226276

Two things rahdigly,

1) I don’t see how a draft makes a difference. Our government is putting out boys through hell, does it matter if they were drafted or they volunteered? Not a bit.

2) I have talked with my nephew about how things are there. He got to see one of his comrades electrocuted by a boobytrapped cow carcass in the middle of the road. He has said that he doesn’t want to come home to visit because if he did, he probably couldn’t make himself go back. He said that he loves letter and e-mails, but doesn’t want pictures because they hurt too much. I don’t know who you’ve talked to who’s been to Iraq and say it’s not that bad, but they sure as hell don’t serve with my nephew.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at July 13, 2007 11:57 PM
Comment #226277

Leather, once again, as I have stated before, some on this blog need to take off the partisan blinders and stop making this about Bush. This is not about Bush. This is about how Murtha said: “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood…These were wanton killings done in cold blood” without them even having a trial or investigation. It is absurd and every American should urge Murtha to either apologize or resign.


As far as your nephew is concerned, I am sorry to hear about that; the enemy are a bunch of sick psycho paths that will boobytrap anything and even burn children. I will say this, you can tell him to converse with others in his battalion; they will certainly take him under their wing and show him the ropes. I’m sure many of them know what the real situation is like and, let me tell ya, it’s not like the MSM reports it. The two clients I had, one Marine and one Army Ranger; they both agreed that the mission is not finished and they want to complete it. The friends I referred to said that the enemy attacks convoys so the death toll rises and the media will report it; winning the propraganda war to sway the American public here at home. That is their words; not mine.

As for the draft; the point is that, in Vietnam, they had no choice but to fight, today’s military has a choice to enlist or re-enlist in wartime.

Posted by: rahdigly at July 14, 2007 12:14 AM
Comment #226283

rahdigly,

“Yes, it does. Sucks when some of you oppose the troops, doesn’t it?!”

Just who opposes the troops?

Surely, you can do better than that.

“Ahh, yes. There is that “ilk” comment that triggered a blast from the past. So, does Murtha qualify as “bad as the enemy” with his comments, huh, Rock?!!!!!”

Actually my comment was “worse than the enemy”.
If you want to denigrate someone, at least have the courtesy to get the quote right.

And the answer to that is no.
Apparently you are still cherry-picking comments that fit into your agenda, or you would have allready read what I have to say concerning Murtha.

Jack,

“So he makes young Marines the victims.”

He didn’t make the Marines his victims.
He tried to show the Marines as the victims of a system that caused this debacle in the first place.
Had Murtha named these Marines, I might tend to agree with your point, but he didn’t.
Murtha’s point was the system is the problem, and these Marines are as much victims of the system as the Iraqis they have been accused of killing.

If this administration had the stones to enact a draft when it would have useful, we wouldn’t even be having this debate.

Posted by: Rocky at July 14, 2007 1:35 AM
Comment #226288
So, stop with this partisan bullsh*t and come out and defend these soldiers presumption of innocence and demand that Murtha be forced to apologize or resign!!!

I can do the presumption part. These soldiers should not be punished without a fair trail.

I don’t think Murtha should resign. You guys need a “liberal” scapegoat, and it may as well be him. Go get ‘im!

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 14, 2007 8:13 AM
Comment #226289

I put liberal in quotes because Murtha is pretty conservative. He is a pro-life and has an “A” rating from the NRA.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 14, 2007 8:23 AM
Comment #226298

Rocky

I still do not think that flies. If someone says a murderer is a victim of the system, they are still saying he is a murderer. Murtha was just wrong. He is often just wrong. As Woody implies, he is only loved by liberals because he hates Bush. His history is that of a corrupt bully. And Woody is also right that it is easy to find fault with him and attack those who support his outrages. So why don’t you guys just say NO to Murtha. He consistently does the wrong thing. You don’t need guys like him and neither do we.

Posted by: Jack at July 14, 2007 9:49 AM
Comment #226300
“If this administration had the stones to enact a draft when it would have useful, we wouldn’t even be having this debate.”


Yeah, instead the debate would be about sending someone’s child to a war that people don’t like. Then, Bush’s “stones” would be busted by the anti-war groups; and that just ain’t gonna happen my friend! The military volunteered and they will complete the mission.


“Actually my comment was “worse than the enemy”. If you want to denigrate someone, at least have the courtesy to get the quote right. And the answer to that is no. “


Same difference, Rock; I see you are still playing the semantics game. You did said that “the comments of Ann Coulter and her ilk are worse than the enemy that blows up women and children and cuts off their heads”. Then, you wouldn’t answer (directly) if what Rosie Odonnell said (about British Hostages) fit into the same category. Now, you have (yet) another chance to answer (directly) whether or not Murtha’s comments are (indeed) “worse than the enemy”! [Jeporady theme]: do,do,do,do, do, do, do….

Posted by: rahdigly at July 14, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #226302

You see Jack, that is the difference between us.

I believe that, right or wrong, Murtha is entitled to his opinion, just as you are entitled to yours.

The partisan hacks on the right believe anyone that isn’t in lock-step with their black and white beliefs on the way the world is should be pilloried, and made an example of.

Our fearless leaders have asked the American people to accept a “world wide war on terror” with no sacrifice, except to their privacy, and oh, by the way, here’s a few tax cuts, to pave the way.

The brunt of this gambit is being carried by the very few whose lives are on the line every minute of every day, while the morons in chief concentrate on the “gee whizz” idea of creating a democracy out of thin air, instead of actually doing what it takes to win this “war on terror”.

Through all of this blather, I am amazed that incidents like this one aren’t more common.

Murtha knows what these few face every day, and is one of the few that actually do.

Posted by: Rocky at July 14, 2007 11:32 AM
Comment #226303

rahdigly,

“Now, you have (yet) another chance to answer (directly) whether or not Murtha’s comments are (indeed) “worse than the enemy”! [Jeporady theme]: do,do,do,do, do, do, do….”

In your gleefull attempt to yet again put your thumb in some one’s eye you missed it.

Posted by: Rocky at July 14, 2007 11:40 AM
Comment #226305

It’s all the Democrats’ fault. If only they’d clapped louder, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Posted by: ElliottBay at July 14, 2007 11:45 AM
Comment #226307

With the democratic lead congress trailing GW by 5 points I think you democrats better get something together here. The crap that Murtha pulled probably isn’t setting right with some people and the Marine that got the charges were dropped, I hope he does all that he could to see that Murtha does not get elected again ever seeing how he is form PA.

Posted by: KAP at July 14, 2007 12:07 PM
Comment #226308

KAP,

“The crap that Murtha pulled probably isn’t setting right with some people and the Marine that got the charges were dropped,”

This was one Marine out of how many accused?

Posted by: Rocky at July 14, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #226310

KAP

“President who calls our military pussies”

KAP i haven’t seen or heard this comment. where did you see or hear it ? just curious.

Posted by: dbs at July 14, 2007 12:42 PM
Comment #226311

ElliottBay


“I wonder if Eagle and his ilk recognize the irony in declaring Murtha guilty until he proves himself innocent?”


he made the statement publicly. what is there to prove ? you either think it’s inappropriate or you don’t.

Posted by: dbs at July 14, 2007 12:47 PM
Comment #226316

Rocky

Murtha did not know the facts. He knew he did not know them. That often keeps people from speaking their minds quite so unequivocally. Not Murtha. I understand that a partisan spins and he is a partisan. I have no trouble with that. I disagree with his lack of concern for those Marines he ran over in his rush to attack the president’s policies.

I know you are a reasonable person and I guess we are just seeing this differently.

Posted by: Jack at July 14, 2007 1:28 PM
Comment #226318

Jack:
“So he is sick of the war.”

Aren’t we all?
The thing that gets you is that Murtha was 100% behind Bushco in the beginning, but finally reached a breaking point. When he finally realized the moronic way they were going to run this war indefinitely, he had to bail on it. Sickened and disgusted by the shabby treatment of the soldiers, he declared that he knew we wouldn’t, and indeed couldn’t, win the war the way it was being commanded by the president. After hearing about the massacre in Haditha, he made comments about how these Marines had clearly snapped, because of how they were being mistreated and neglected by our military. Obviously the military thought they had snapped too, and were in the wrong — that murder had taken place — or they wouldn’t have paid out all that compensation money after only a month. Murtha reiterated that this is the kind of thing that can be expected with the way that Bush has chosen to run his war.
This is what you can’t take — because he was a hawkish guy and well respected by everyone in the military, and on both sides of the political aisle. He was solidly with the GOP at the beginning, but he turned away from this war in anger and disgust at your leadership’s complete incompetence and neglect. The reason you loyal Bushies hate him is because you are incapable of admitting to your leaders incompetence, and that makes it easy for you to dismiss the neglect of our soldiers as nothing but a political attack.

Thankfully however, you are in a very small minority these days. The vast majority of the American people are on to the incompetence of this leadership. And they don’t approve of the terrible neglect of our soldiers. Not at all.

“So he makes young Marines the victims.”

Murtha and Kline both commented, but only Murtha is attacked. Because he’s a Democrat who criticized the president in no uncertain terms.

Bush is the one who made those young Marines the victims of a situation that caused them to lose it and kill a bunch of civilians, including women, children, and old people. In their homes. Well aimed shots, at point blank range, directly in the heads and chests. Do their lives or the manner of their deaths mean nothing to you people? Why the hell would our military quickly acknowledge their deaths as murder if nothing wrong took place?

No matter how the trials on this come down, you cannot escape this glaring fact: Our military has already acknowledged that it was a massacre of innocents that day in Haditha. Even if not a single one of the Marines who were involved ever serve a day of jail time for what took place, the blood money has already been paid.

Rocky:
“This was one Marine out of how many accused?”

Eight were charged in connection with the incident, three of them with murder.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 14, 2007 1:52 PM
Comment #226320
As Woody implies, he is only loved by liberals because he hates Bush.

Say what?

He is liked by some and disliked by others because he is a highly credible anti-war voice. Guys who “hate Bush” (=want a drastic change in US Iraq policy), as you would put it, are a dime a dozen. The fact that he is a Marine who was praised by Dick Cheney is what it makes him such a prime target.

That’s OK. There are so many people on both sides of the aisle who “hate Bush” now that he is quite dispensible.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 14, 2007 1:57 PM
Comment #226321

Adrienne

Everybody is sick of war from the minute one starts. Nobody is pro-war. We have different interpretations of the alternatives.

Re Murtha & Kline - I told you that I deplore what Kline said (and I understand he appologized). If you and the the others would just as clearly deplore Murtha, we would have had nothing more to write about on this thread.

They both did wrong. One appologized.

Posted by: Jack at July 14, 2007 1:57 PM
Comment #226322

Jack-
What do you call the deliberate murder of civilians, with precise gunshot wounds? What do you call going house to house and blowing men, women, and children away? That this happened is not in that much question. Murtha’s general description is accurate about what the unit did, and probably accurate as to why.

I want you to note what the Democrats are not doing: they are not going out there holding up signs calling our soldiers baby-killers. We’re not alleging that they set out to commit this crime because soldiers are somehow less human than the rest of us.

The legal process demands that judgment be withheld, but not that an observer, informed about the events, cannot comment on the proceedings. Were his words premature, his conclusions inaccurate? That remains to be seen. His conclusion, did not place any suspicion on the character of what Kilo Company did that was not already there, as a result of the coverage. What he had to add, though was that the guilt that was there was not all their own, that the guiltiest party of all was the administration that put them there with so little material, strategic, and (Iraqi) political support. This, by the way, is about the same thing that John Kerry said about the atrocities of Vietnam in his Winter Soldier testimony before the Senate Foreign Affairs committee.

Soldiers cannot be expected to win a war by themselves, especially one as complex as this one. They need good orders and training from the top. They need the manpower to carry out the mission. They need the equipment, the defenses and the weaponry for that purpose as well. Morale, both at home and abroad, flows from the good conduct of the war. Those who expect the war to catch up to the morale have the dynamics of the situation backwards.

The legalistic way in which the Republicans expect people to talk about the incident, while justified on an individual basis, is more of a stalling tactic when applied broadly to the company, an attempt to stifle discussion about the insufficiency of Bush’s approach to the war.

As for Bush Hatred? I think it’s rather pointless to address things in that way, because negative feelings can be both justified and unjustified, and there are plenty of justified reasons to dislike Bush. Even your own folks have found some- false conservative, right? Liberal in disguise? Point is, the intense dislike of Bush in this country did not just spring out of our heads like Athena from Zeus’s. A lot of people’s feelings about Bush have to do with what he has done, and that’s what we typically talk about, and it’s what we should be talking about in the first place, without the inhibition of pussy-footing around whether or not we have hard feelings against the man.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 14, 2007 2:05 PM
Comment #226326
“Murtha and Kline both commented, but only Murtha is attacked. Because he’s a Democrat who criticized the president in no uncertain terms.”


Kline spoke about the marines before there was a trial; he was wrong and he apologized. Murtha, not only spoke about the marines, he called them “murders”; so, he should (definitely) apologize on both counts. Yet, no apology from Murtha and nothing but the left’s spin to protect him. It is ridiculous, if some of you are (truly) against the war but “support” the troops, then you will easily condemn those comments from Murtha!

Bush is the one who made those young Marines the victims of a situation that caused them to lose it and kill a bunch of civilians, including women, children, and old people.


It is not about Bush; I have told some of you to look at this without the Bush hatred, and yet (some of) you are showing partisanship and hatred.

Posted by: rahdigly at July 14, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #226348

Stephen

I call it a good principle to consider suspects innocent until they are proven guilty. I think we should give our Marines in harm’s way the benefit of the doubt until we have reason to do otherwise. I think that jumping to the worst case scenarios is what our enemies do, not what we or those who support the troops should do.

Clearly Murtha was wrong about details. He shot off his mouth way too soon. He wanted to kick the Marines in the keister for his own political reasons. You should stop defending this terrible man.

Posted by: Jack at July 14, 2007 7:10 PM
Comment #226349

Rahdigly-
When are you going to apologize for the conditions that our soldiers had to live under in Haditha, and which they still live under? When are you going to apologize for supporting a policy that sends them in to try and take care of these places without enough troops to do the job? When are you going to apologize for a political process that is nowhere near giving the soldiers the promised victories that will bring them home, but which you make the primary condition of their return?

You’re asking Murtha for an apology for what probably is a reasonable interpretation of events, especially given the blood money paid, and the cover-up attempted. If you’re suggesting that individual soldiers may be innocent of murder, I think you might be right. That said, it’s very unlikely that nothing happened in Haditha to merit Murtha’s comments.

Meanwhile, the conditions that broke these soldier’s discipline, which had them living under conditions that western observers found disgusting continue. What is your priority here? Protecting our soldiers from unnecessary harm and hardship should be it, but it seems helping Washington lawmakers and Bush cover their asses on this war is your priority instead.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 14, 2007 7:19 PM
Comment #226350

Jack-
Enlighten me here: which details? Did he even get into details, or did he keep his comments generalized?

As for jumping to conclusions? My policy is, I go the conclusion that the evidence merits. I think the evidence merits some pretty grim conclusions. If we only let ourselves acknowledge the best in what is going on in a war, we cannot properly handle what is worst in them. We must redeem the parts of a war that are not working, and keep our soldiers and politicians accountable for what they do, or else the simple chaos of the war will lead us astray.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 14, 2007 7:22 PM
Comment #226356

Stephen
I know that you are a pretty intelligent guy. But the sad reallity of war is that innocent civilians get killed. I’ve read alot of articles after googleing Haditha. I, myself, cannot make an intelligent assumption of what actually happened. I will not say if they are guilty or innocent. Charges were recommended to be dropped for one of the Marines, but his fate is still up to his commanding officer. The 4 officers who were supposed to investigate the insident after the fact definetly bungled their job and should be punished accordingly. From what I read payouts to the Iraqi people are quite common to the tune of 1.5 Million. One thing that bothers me about one of your posts is that you mentioned Kerry, he to said derrogatory remarks about the military, I’m not sure but I think he kinda appoligized for that but since than he has kept his mouth shut. All war is bad, I know from first hand experience, Viet Nam was no picnic. I think most Viet Nam vets can back me up on this statement, the enemy used women and children to kill our soldiers by blowing themselves up. The insurgents in Iraq do much the same thing by hiding in groups of civilians. You people on the left condemed Israel when they returned fire after Hamas attacked them from Lebanon because they were killing civilians in the process, but what about the Israely civilians that were being killed? Every time a civilian gets killed it’s not murder. If every time a civilian got killed during wartime and the soldier was charged with murder we wouldn’t have a military anymore. Give those Marines the benefit of the doubt, not condem rhem before they have their day in court as Murtha did.

Posted by: KAP at July 14, 2007 8:49 PM
Comment #226362

Stephen

Murtha did not know enough to comment on this case. He jumped to the conclusion that was most harmful to the Marines in question. He should have said nothing or that he would say more when he knew something more.

We should expect more from Americans and even more from a member of congress and more still form a former Marine. We should not expect our own people to take the terrorist line so quickly.

Posted by: Jack at July 14, 2007 9:27 PM
Comment #226375

Jack,

“I know you are a reasonable person and I guess we are just seeing this differently.”

I am trying to find reason in an unreasonable world, but comments like;

“We should not expect our own people to take the terrorist line so quickly.”

just fry me.

The guys out there on the fringes are too quick to judge any one you disagree with as “in league with Lucifer”.
I, for one am so tired of the right’s bullshit line. I am tired of hearing that anyone that dissents is taking the treasonous, traitorous, terrorist line.
This is just baloney.

“Murtha did not know enough to comment on this case. He jumped to the conclusion that was most harmful to the Marines in question. He should have said nothing or that he would say more when he knew something more.”

Just how do you know just what Murtha knew?
Are you guys privy to the information that he receives?

I know that I haven’t walked in Murtha’s shoes, so I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I don’t know what Murtha knows, but I do know that anyone that claims they do is merely regurgitating a talking point, not an original thought.

Don’t take this personally. This is just more of the same “talking points” baloney that I hear from Rush and Hannity, repeated ad nauseum, every day, and I am sick to death of it.

Posted by: Rocky at July 14, 2007 11:36 PM
Comment #226379

I joined too late on this one, oh where to start. I am just curious as to how many people rose up to the defense of these marines as fast and furious as they did Jack Murtha’s? Personally if any American should get the presumption of innocence, it should be the soldier in a combat zone. It amazes me how a former combat soldier can forget that. Just for the record, I despise Rep. Murtha for his comment,”Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood…These were wanton killings done in cold blood”. Even if three of the four he was speaking about are tried and convicted of murder, Rep. Murtha is guilty of a heinous crime himself, and if he were still subject to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, then he would be tried as a felon for falsely accusing a United States Marine. The same goes for anyone else that stood up and pronounced guilt without trial. I wish for one year the entire legislative, judicial, and executative branches of government would be subject to those laws. Of course we would have to form a new government or at least replace everyone in it.

Adrienne:

Do not read too much into the fact that the government paid compensation to these people as being proof of a coverup or even an admission of guilt of any kind. These payments have been made over the last 60 years to peoples that have had “loses”. I am speaking of a time in West Germany during the Cold War when a farmer could say that a tank or artillary practice led to livestock or even chickens deaths, and they would be not only comped for the actual loss, but for precieved losses in eggs and offspring up to three generations of animals. Now I am not comparing the human losses to livestock, but I am saying that at times compensation payoffs has an emmense PR value and is not an indicator of wrongdoing and conspiracy.

KansasDem:

You said,”And still, “I certainly don’t see any evidence that Murtha used his political power to influence the outcome of a military investigation or any court proceeding. Please show me I’m wrong!” Rep. Murtha said,”These were wanton killings done in cold blood”. This is from a MC that serves on a comittee/subcomittee that oversees the funding of the military. He is a war hero and former Marine. His voice has credence, and the only way you can assume that his opinions have not influenced the investigation is to believe that no person that was a witness to, investigator of, member of the jury or Pentagon official who has any connection or influence over the investigation has read or heard his statements.

leatherankh:

You said‘“Take a look at the posts by dbs, rahdigly, and Jack. Lots of loud opinions, not many facts, lots of namecalling. So let’s ask this: if one or more of he accused Marines are convicted of premeditated murder, will there be apologies to Murtha?” The question should be if any of the Marines in question are found NOT giulty, will Rep. Murtha apologize? If Rep. Murtha has tarnished the reputation of one innocent Marine, he is a disgrace to our military. Again, if he were subject to the UCMJ, and made false accusations about even one Marine, he would be court martialed and if found guilty and be a felon the rest of his life.

You also said, “I hate to draw similarities, but this is so very like Vietnam. Our boys are facing a faceless enemy in unfamiliar settings, fighting a type of warfare they were not trained for. If a few of them snap and do something horrible, is it so very surprising? I would never support death or life in prison for any of these boys, no matter what they did, because I blame the government for putting them there.” A few things here. First, there are similarities between Iraq and vietnam from many angles. The foremost of them is that the anti-war politicos(note I did not say Democrats or Liberals”) are quicker than most to blame troops for what they may not have done. I do not see much difference in being called a cold blooded killer and a baby killer.

Secondly, that statement in itself almost accuses them of snapping due to lack of training and comitting horrible crimes. At the very least, it assumes that the military will do these kinds of things and excuses them. I do not think that you will find many professional soldiers that will excuse cold blooded murder.

Stephen Daugherty:

As I have said , I am late to this discussion, so I am going to pull a few of your paragraphs out and try to connect a response to your general thesis on this thread. If you feel that I have taken any of them out of context, please say so. I understand that the debate is dynamic,so it is my intention to disagree with what I think is your opinion and thought process, not to distort your words and I will let you make the call as to which I achieve.

You said,”Haditha, whatever occured there, is a symptom of the failure of this war, the failure to maintain a calm post-war occupation. We’re not still in Iraq because the job proved more difficult than anticipated. We’re still in Iraq because invading the country was far easier than controlling it, and this administration myopically focused on speeding up and optimizing the invasion, while neglecting the nation building and occupational measures necessary to successfully carry out the war.Haditha is symptomatic of the Right’s failure to support the troops, the Right’s failure to match words and feelings to troop levels, equipment, and strategy. Don’t blame us for the fact that you’ve made the soldier’s situation in Iraq increasingly intolerable. In your next reply, you said,” To me, it’s beneath us that we would maintain our troop levels at an insufficient level to win, if that is our goal. It’s beneath us to send our soldiers out to battle riding in vehicles retrofitted with scrap iron, sandbags, plywood, and compromised ballistic glass. It’s beneath us to allow our soldiers to be quartered in Rabbit Warrens without running water. It’s beneath us to have them coming home to insufficient health and mental care, to have those staying in Apartment’s sharing their residence with roaches, mold, and putting up with walls, ceilings and other parts of these homes in disrepair.We are dedicating two thirds of a trillion dollars to our defense, and it doesn’t buy us better than this? What good are all these arms we’re buying for a Cold War long past, if they don’t help us win wars in the now?”

Your next reply said,”It’s into this environment, day in and day out, that we put the Marines in question: an environment where the President’s nervous-nelly politicized decision making has deprived them of the leadership, the manpower and the resources to do the job. The Republicans all say they support the troops, but then they hand them this situation and tell them, without further help, to win the war for the country.This is something that the ancient sage Sun Tzu actually warned against: generals trying to get the soldiers to win the battles that they hadn’t properly strategized.Meanwhile, they get to be human shields for the very war policy that’s stuck them hip-deep in shit. How wonderful. That’s what Murtha objects to, and it’s why I object to as well.”

In your next reply, you state,”As for the Draft? It might have been a good idea. Nobody likes to be conscripted, and the Vietnam War gave it a bad name, but WWII, which you are so fond of was also fought under a draft. As superior as a purely volunteer army might be, it’s letting the perfect become the enemy of the good to not bow to strategic necessity and find some way of increasing the army’s size to deal with the mission at hand. Never mind reenlistements, the Army’s been consistently missing enlistment goals for the last two years. We’re to the point where we have to start withdrawing troops in April because of the shortfall in numbers of fresh troops. We literally can’t get them back in their fast enough, the way Bush is pushing them. He’s got people on multiple deployments, he’s pushed the reserves and the national guard in, and has tried every trick in the book to continue the war like this. It’s depriving our soldiers of necessary training, working equipment, and the rest they need to recuperate from the pressure cooker that even a good war can be.The worst part is, he’s fooling nobody except for his supporters. Everybody else is astounded at how thin he’s wearing these volunteers.The President is responsible, on multiple levels, for the environment these troops find themselves in. His manpower policies, his failures in getting the occupation right. You folks worry about the objections people would have to a draft. But if that’s what it takes to win, why are you folks sitting on your backsides on this issue? As quick as you are to take down critics of the war, you fellows seems slow when it comes to advocating for what it takes to win a war.”

The connection that I get out of your stated positions is simply this: our forces were sufficient to invade, yet not to build a nation. Our soldiers’ situation is intolorable because it is beneath us to require the servicemen/women to live and function in the parameters that we have allowed them to have. Our troops are deprived of the living conditions, strategy equipment and training and manpower needed to complete their mission. We have been missing enlistment goals for two years and have been cooking the books with the National Guard and Reserves and therefore we need to bring back the draft because in April we have to start withdrawing troops due to deployment schedules. Please, anyone, before you read further, check if you agree with these summaries. Please!

If you agreed with those summaries, I would like to remind you of our history. These events happened starting with President Bush and Clinton and continued to the present. If you are looking for a particular party leader to blame, you have your choice. Both Democrats and Republicans have held both the Presidency and a majority of BOTH houses during these events. Both parties could have stopped our inadequite military but DID NOT! Both are culpable at the same level. Please allow me to explain my viewpoint.

Remember at the end of the Cold War we had a budget surplus called the “Peace Dividend”? We were able to transform our million man military into a ready military composed of mostly Reservists and we saved a boatload of bucks? We cut the Military budget by reducing the number of active duty personel and still be able to fight two regional conflicts and deal with a national emergency at home. We were able to do that by transforming our army to a rapidly deployable force with the cheaper Reservists to fill the long term needs. It sounded really good, and to the liberals it was a Godsend. We had more money for domestic(read that as welfare) programs and the best part…we had no need for a strong, active military. We soaked it to the military industrial complex. Anyone that said we needed a stronger military was ridiculed as a “hawk” or “right wing extrimest”. We cut equipment such as bombers, fighters, submarines carriers, tanks and even…especially manpower to save money.

We tied the hands of our intelligence agencies to act and coordinate with other and we set standards of informants so that a person that could infiltrate a terrorist organization was not good enough of character to be paid by our security orgs for info. We provided all of our troops with unarmored Humvees(look at the design and purpose of a Humvee and tell me why they should have been armored).

Ten to twenty years later we argue that our government deployed insufficiently trained, equipped and manned troops. We argue that the intelligence has failed misibally and try to blame it one one man. Get real!!!! It was a liberal mindset mixed with a sense of euphoria for winning the Cold War that led to the position our military is in now. Fifteen years ago it was politically chic to cut the military and intelligence budgets and here we are!

Horace said,”In peace, the prudent prepares for war.” For two decades we did not, and now if we reap what we sewed, dont act suprised. If you were for military and CIA cuts in the 1980’s YOU WERE WRONG and that is what got us here today!!!! And now retreating is the answer….Hell it should be, look how we framed the question!

If you disagree, let me pose this query, how many troops died before you showed outrage about insufficient armor? Should we have taken care of that before or after the commencement of hostilities? And yet you support the troops. It must be Bushes fault for commiting them before they were armored. Were it not for PG2, would you be calling for a increased military budget? But of course you support the troops. It is so easy to support them AFTER they are in a war, but it takes courage to support them when thing are good.

Posted by: submariner at July 15, 2007 12:22 AM
Comment #226385

submariner,

“Horace said, “In peace, the prudent prepares for war.”“

What did Horace say about a “pre-emptive” war, or a war of choice?

Any child that has played “Risk” knows that while you may be able to overrun a country with a minimum of troops, you cannot hold, and secure a country without overwhelming odds. Especially when you are inviting all the neighborhood bullies over to play.
We went blindly into a country with an untried strategy, against the advice of the smartest guy in the room (who had actually lead a previous engagement in the area), and now our guys in the theater are paying the price for that ignorance.
We have been in Iraq for 4 years and have dumped hundreds of billions of dollars into this gambit, and we aren’t a hell of a lot further down the road than we were when we got there.

The “Blitzkrieg” worked in WW2 because Germany had, and spent the troops to back up and secure that which was taken.

Why haven’t we done that?

Posted by: Rocky at July 15, 2007 1:05 AM
Comment #226387

KAP:
“the sad reallity of war is that innocent civilians get killed.”

Another sad reality is that when people are forced to live under horrendous conditions and under stress for too long, they become desensitized and stop caring one way or another whether innocent civilians get killed.

Here are some quotes from
‘Simple Failures’ and ‘Disastrous Results’
These are excerpts from Army Major General Eldon A. Bargewell’s report, from the Washington Post, April 21, 2007 (Bargewell is the one who lead the first investigation into the incident.)

“The most remarkable aspect of the follow-on action with regard to the civilian casualties from the 19 November 2005 Haditha incident was the absence of virtually any kind of inquiry at any level of command into the circumstances surrounding the deaths… .

“It also suggests an unwillingness, bordering on denial, on the part of the Battalion Commander to examine an incident that might prove harmful to him and his Marines.”

· Attitudes toward civilian life

“Statements made by the chain of command during interviews for this investigation, taken as a whole, suggest that Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as U.S. lives, their deaths are just the cost of doing business, and that the Marines need to get ‘the job done’ no matter what it takes. These comments had the potential to desensitize the Marines to concern for the Iraqi populace and portray them all as the enemy even if they are noncombatants… .

“Most witnesses also noted that civilian casualties were to be expected because the insurgents intentionally hid among civilians, used them as shields and/or intentionally tried to provoke coalition responses that would produce civilian casualties. Although this proposition may accurately reflect insurgent tactics, the officers from Company K and 3/1 who were interviewed raised this point so uniformly in response to questions about the number of casualties that it almost appeared rehearsed… .

“The RCT-2 Commander, however, expressed only mild concern over the potential negative ramifications of indiscriminate killing based on his stated view that the Iraqis and insurgents respect strength and power over righteousness.”

· Recommendations

“I recommend that this investigation be used to inform the continuing development and improvement of ROE [rules of engagement] reset training and that it be used as a case study for training in staff procedures and reporting. The lessons are particularly applicable to ROE application in counterinsurgency operations against an unscrupulous enemy employing hit and run tactics designed to provoke indiscriminate, disproportionate, or simply misdirected responses from coalition forces. The lessons for staff procedures and reporting are basic, but the case study will illustrate how simple failures can lead to disastrous results.”

“I’ve read alot of articles after googleing Haditha. I, myself, cannot make an intelligent assumption of what actually happened. I will not say if they are guilty or innocent.”

It is difficult to make an intelligent assumption reading a lot of random articles, because you may well end up reading just lot of BS opinions. That’s why I try to stick to reading news reports where they quote what military officials and those who have been investigating the incident have had to say. Allow me to assist your desire to make an intelligent assumption with this particular New York Times article from June 17, 2006:

Contradictions Cloud Inquiry Into 24 Iraqi Deaths

Here’s a quote from that article:

“Saying who’s a civilian or a ‘muj’ in Iraq, you really can’t,” the marine said. “That’s how wishy-washy it was. This town did not want us there at all.” Mr. Puckett, the lawyer, said that the marines in Haditha believed that they were operating within established rules when they cleared the house.

When the smoke cleared, however, the marines found seven civilians dead, including two women and a 4-year-old boy. Two young children survived the attack by hiding under a bed, the children told reporters later. Another child and an woman escaped.

The marines saw a back door open, Mr. Puckett said, and believed themselves to be in “hot pursuit” of an insurgent gunman. They burst into a second house, using assault rifles and grenades to clear a room, killing eight civilians, including two women and five children ages 3 to 14.

This account, however, does not square with the survivors’ recollections and the conclusions of the military’s preliminary investigation led by Col. Gregory Watt of the Army.

For several reasons, Colonel Watt does not believe the marines’ version is accurate, according to a military official who has been briefed on the investigation but who would not discuss it on the record because it was not yet complete.

Colonel Watt has interviewed more than two dozen people, including all the marines in the First Squad, their reinforcements and Iraqi civilians in Haditha, including the morgue director.

Some marines told Colonel Watt they were let into the houses they entered; others said they conducted forced entries, the military official said. Colonel Watt was also troubled by the fact that marines did not change their tactics after discovering that they had killed unarmed civilians in the first house, the official said. A dozen more civilians were killed after the first encounter.

The wounds of the dead Iraqis, as seen in photographs and viewed by the morgue director, were not consistent with attacks by fragmentation grenades and indiscriminate rifle fire, Colonel Watt found. The civilian survivors said the victims were shot at close range, some while trying to protect their children or praying for their lives. The death certificates Colonel Watt examined were chillingly succinct: well-aimed shots to the head and chest.


Submariner, according to this Christian Science Monitor article, it’s been pretty hard for Iraqi’s to get compensation money:
Are all lives equal? Not according to the way the US compensates victims
Of course, the guy who wrote that article is Iraqi-American, so maybe many of you will choose to dismiss what he has to say. What I found interesting is that he claims the victims of Haditha had received 1,600 dollars per victim, while I had read we gave them 2,500 dollars per dead civilian in another article. So I am perhaps wrong regarding the amount that was paid out. However, I know I’m right that we paid compensation money to the families about a month after the incident, because I’ve read that had been the case from several different sources.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 15, 2007 1:55 AM
Comment #226391

Submariner-
There’s no excuse for it. The reductions were bipartisan, and there was good reason to believe it was the right thing to do. Cold War was over, why keep the forces bulked up without a potential threat to fight? Dick Cheney and Bush’s father, along with much of the Republican party, oversaw this demobilization. It’s convenient to blamed the Democrats, because in right wing mythology, we’re supposed to be the ones weakening our forces, but the facts make it both our party’s responsibility.

All that said, what forced Bush to keep the status quo in place for the last five years, especially during this rather obvious major war with manpower problems out the wazoo? You guys were in charge for most of the last six years. You had the time, the money, and at least in the first few years, unprecedented support from the American people.

It was his war to manage, his to win.

On the subject of my timing, I began complaining immediately about the matter, When I first heard about it in October of 2004. I apologize that I could not call for that sooner, but I’m not psychic. I was voicing concerns about the way Bush was using the troops even before then. I didn’t start complaining about these problems when it was fashionable. Nor were my original intentions to prompt a withdrawal. At that point, I felt we could win, and called for it on a regular basis.

What’s sad to me is that Bush simply could have said the word on these things, and they would have gotten done. But he’s done what it takes, to allow our forces to get the job done, and at this point, it’s too late. He missed the opportunities to get this right. What galls me is the depth and the breadth of the warnings he was given before all of this screwed-up and the absolute lack of action to take care of these things. It’s just obscene the degree to which the Right has become disconnected on these issues, given their interests.

I don’t think the Right can even begin to teach us about preparing in a time of peace when it won’t even reinforce in a time of war. One is understandable, given the softening of edges that comes with time and peace. The other is unforgiveable, because the need is immediate. So lets forget whether we support them when times are good, how about supporting them here and now?

KAP-
The problem with Israel’s response is that it’s the same kind of intimidation tactics that have gotten it nowhere, and which have made it difficult to defend them. Civilian casualties justify civilian casualties, and harden the position of those who do the greates harm as terrorists. Their unnecessarily punitive campaign not only failed to unseat Hamas, it also gave them fresh grist for the propaganda mills.

But as for the sad reality of civilians getting killed, when you have people getting precision shots to the chest and head, you’ve gone beyond the sad reality of war, and onto something else quite a bit darker.

Jack-
How do you back the claim that he didn’t know enough?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 15, 2007 3:22 AM
Comment #226404

Sorry for the faulty link.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 15, 2007 9:25 AM
Comment #226408

Stephen

Because it was a legal case. He was acting as jury before he heard the case. By definition, he COULD not have known enough.

He attacked his enemies before the verdict was in. He attacked the young Marines before the verdict was in, before the process had really started, perhaps because he DID suspect the verdict would not fit his political goal. Maybe he did indeed know enough.

It just goes to show the type of man he is. He cuts no slack to Marines in combat. He no longer deserves our respect. He has squandered his earlier service.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2007 10:30 AM
Comment #226422

Adrienne
I have read the NYT, LAT, Washington Post and some other articles, but I still won’t assume guilt or innocence of those Marines. I will after the reports ARE released from the military investigating services, FBI, and any other reputable investigative source. Newspapers are NOT RELIABLE SOURCES.

Posted by: KAP at July 15, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #226439

KAP:
“I will after the reports ARE released from the military investigating services,”

As I said, my first link was direct quotes from the report from the guy who lead the first investigation.

“FBI, and any other reputable investigative source.”

Oh, so you think the government always tells you the truth? I don’t.

“Newspapers are NOT RELIABLE SOURCES.”

I think they can be — after all, if it hadn’t have been for an article in Time Magazine, the Army would have never looked into what happened at Haditha at all. And as Bargewell commented, there was an “absence of virtually any kind of inquiry at any level of command into the circumstances surrounding the deaths.” Good thing that article alerted them to the incident, huh? Or doesn’t America want to know, that way we don’t have to hold anyone accountable for anything?
I definitely think the press has the power to ask questions and inform the public about things the government doesn’t necessarily what us to know. And that is a Good Thing. When the press is doing their job correctly and well, asking pertinent questions and informing the public is exactly what they do. And that’s why freedom of the press was considered important enough to be part of the First Amendment.

Btw, I’ve found that to make sure that I am getting reliable news, I read several articles, from several newspapers, websites or magazines.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 15, 2007 2:15 PM
Comment #226442

Adrienne
Like I said, we will find out what really happened after all the investigations have been completed, until then I will reserve my choice of guilt or innocence. I have read your links still there are more answers yet to be answered. I do however think that the Officers in charge should be punished for not doing their job of investigating the insident.

Posted by: KAP at July 15, 2007 2:43 PM
Comment #226443

That should read questions to be answered.

Posted by: KAP at July 15, 2007 2:45 PM
Comment #226455

Adrienne et al

Ask yourself why you and Murtha are so eager that these guys be guilty. If a friend of yours is implicated in a terrible crime, do you speculate about all she did, or do you wait as long as you can to make sure all the facts are right?

There is too much eagerness and energy here to find these guys guilty. If they are, it is a source of sadness, not triumph. And if they are not… well we should wait for that.

We conservatives are acussed of jumping to conclusions re drug dealers or others who are innocent until proven guilty. It is a fault of ours. We do it because we do not like these guys. If liberals do the same to our Marines and Soldiers, what does that say about liberal attitudes?

So my point is not whether or not they are guilty. Right now we do not know. Why should Murtha push into this unknown territory, unless it is to push an agenda that is harmful to the Marines in question?

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2007 4:21 PM
Comment #226465

Jack,

why you and Murtha are so eager that these guys be guilty
I saw nobody here who said they were “eager” for anyone to be guilty - except for a bunch of conservatives who were eager to condemn those of us opposed to this Godawful war of being “guilty” of not supporting the troops, of hating Bush, of wanting the terrorists to win, etc.

So, Jack, why are you & the right so eager for so many Americans to be guilty?

Posted by: ElliottBay at July 15, 2007 6:13 PM
Comment #226486

Stephen:

I had a few Sam Adams last night and unloaded some of the things that have bothered me for some time. You gave me a well written reply, and I assume by your reply that I did not take your words out of context. I must take some exceptions with your reply(like you were not expecting that lol). I did read your link, and think it very interesting.

First, you said,”There’s no excuse for it. The reductions were bipartisan, and there was good reason to believe it was the right thing to do. Cold War was over, why keep the forces bulked up without a potential threat to fight? Dick Cheney and Bush’s father, along with much of the Republican party, oversaw this demobilization. It’s convenient to blamed the Democrats, because in right wing mythology, we’re supposed to be the ones weakening our forces, but the facts make it both our party’s responsibility”. I agree with most of that statement, but I would like to point out a few things:

1. The reductions were bipartisan. BOTH parties were to blame. I believe that we agree on this point. IF that is the case, then we should agree that a President sending inadequately armed, trained and manned forces into combat MUST be the fault of BOTH parties. Whatever situations they encounter due to lack of training, improper equipment and shortages of manpower then fall to both parties for allowing the situation to exist! I note that your link was from 2004. THAT IS AT LEAST 10 YEARS TOO LATE!!! You cannot man, train and arm a military AFTER the commencement of hostilities.

2. You then said,”All that said, what forced Bush to keep the status quo in place for the last five years, especially during this rather obvious major war with manpower problems out the wazoo? You guys were in charge for most of the last six years. You had the time, the money, and at least in the first few years, unprecedented support from the American people.It was his war to manage, his to win.” Your last statement is so obtuse, but I will get to that in a moment. The President acted with the authority of the Congress to conduct this war. I do not agree with the day to day decisions made in the conduct of this war, BUT I do at least try to give him credit for confronting a tough problem. As for your last statement, AS LONG AS OUR BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN ARE IN HARMS WAY…IT IS NOT JUST THE PRESIDENT’S WAR!!! IT IS ALL OF OUR WAR!!! If you really believe that it is his to win or lose, then give him the ability and resources to do it.

3. Vice President Cheney, President Bush and President Clinton all oversaw the demobilization of our military forces. At one time or another during this process, BOTH parties had the opportunity to stop it. Both parties promised that we had the ability to fight 2 regional conflicts and deal with a national disaster at one time. Were both parties wrong? Damned right they were. But you want to pin the blame on President Bush. So let’s try this: Would you care to search the Congressional record for any dissent to the downsizing of our military? Would you care to wager that the dissenters were liberal or conservatives? Both parties went along with it, but which ideology was correct? Left wing, Right wing or the Moderates, which group/groups brought a consensus together, convinced the country that they were right, and at the expense of our armed forces, gained political power? My God, this should not be about Party or Politics, but if that is the way it is going to be, lets take a good look at it. You say that it a right wing mythology that the Liberals are weakening out military, I call your bluff and rhetoric. The Liberals led the way to our military readiness crisis, not through treason, but through a faulty view of the world that could not see dangers coming in just as little as five years ahead. And to top it off, they blame a President of the same failings WITHOUT implicating themselves. And both damned parties fell in line.

4. You said,” I don’t think the Right can even begin to teach us about preparing in a time of peace when it won’t even reinforce in a time of war. One is understandable, given the softening of edges that comes with time and peace. The other is unforgiveable, because the need is immediate. So lets forget whether we support them when times are good, how about supporting them here and now?” Both are unforgiveable. Point blank unforgiveable. Hell they are even the same thing. If you do not support the troops in peace by giving them what they need, you have failed to provide for them in war. IMHO that is not a difficult concept. How do you expect to reinforce in time of war when the reinforcements are not in place at the outbrake of hostilities? I do have to admit that it is a smooth move to say that both sides are wrong, but we should forget that your side is wrong also. Although your side did not support them in peace, you are here for them now. I cannot tell what comfort that truly is. Especially when an ideology was so wrong in military needs for so long has finally rode in to save the day.

Adrienne:

I do not deny that we paid comp to the Iraquis, nor do I think that it was unjust. I just do not think that any inferrences should be made about the fact they comp was paid. I did read the article and no, I do not dismiss the author, but I do have a few thought about his story. If you are interested, let me know.

Posted by: submariner at July 15, 2007 9:13 PM
Comment #226493

Jack-
The Conservatives nowadays, in dealing with opponents of the war are more willing to believe that folks have undergone radical changes in their core underlying values, rather than believe that the war has lost favor among core constiuencies.

Thusly, The previously hawkish Murtha becomes a devious peacenik who’s waiting in the wings at the airport to spit on our soldiers. That assumption is so hair-trigger on your part that you’ve failed to try an figure out, empathetically, how a person could retain the values in question, yet still come to a different position than yours.

This can all be explained by one simple notion: that Murtha means what he says at face value, and that it’s unlikely that he took al-Qaeda or any other enemy at their word. The documentation on this story indicates that Murtha learned these facts from investigators and sources within the Army.

As for him not cutting them any slack? Well, he baldly states what he believed happened, but that can be as much him truthfully stating his conclusion, like a good soldier should, rather than him deviously slandering the soldiers to fit a political goal.

You fail to consider that he could do worse than say that they snapped and deliberately gunned down Iraqi civilians. He could have easily made villains out of them. He could have neglected the mitigating circumstances of the pressures they were under entirely, and just portray the military in a completely negative light. Because you’re looking to portray Murtha negatively, the mitigated assessment he gives is glossed over. You want him to have simply crossed over to the far left, because that creates far less cognitive dissonance for attacking him as unredeemably wrongheaded. Unfortunately for that line of thought, Murtha, as critical as he was of the sin, was not so hard on the sinners. He presented them as victims as well.

As for whether or not he squandered his previous service? It saddens me that I am barely shocked to hear Republicans so casually dismiss the sacrifices that political opponents make for their country. Disrespect like that strikes many people, myself included, as shockingly offensive. One should not have to serve a Political party as well as the country as a whole, in order to get respect for one’s military service.

When I was half as young as I am now, I believe I was still a Republican. I still am somewhat old-fashioned in my opinions on certain matters. But what broke the party for me, was the sense that all the old modes of respect didn’t matter to them any longer.

As a kid, I’d been taught to be respectful about our leaders. No sooner did Clinton take office (believe it or not, I was rooting for his opponent) did I decide that because he was president, he was going to be considered with great respect. I did about the same thing with Bush. I felt, after 2000, that there was little point in beating the dead horse of that election much further. He was president, and I’d live with that for the next four years.

When the Republicans started getting vicious about Clinton, I was appalled. I had never seen politics carried out like that. The behavior of these people was destructive to just about everything I considered part of the status quo, the order of things in the world. But worse than the radicalism on policy was the sheer disrespect they showed their opponents. As a person who was going through quite a bit of harrassment myself at the time, I reached a point where I felt supporting the Republicans no longer felt right.

After 9/11, Bush had a new lease on life with me. Unfortunately, he chose to work against the post 9/11 unity, chose to take our nation into a war that seemed like a distraction, lied to us about the reasons for going to war, and in the midst of it all, continually showed the same kind of virulent disrespect for dissenters and critics that your people show now towards Murtha.

It’s sad that Republicans nowadays are choosing to read so many sinister motives and so much darkness into their opponents. Love your enemies for once, and try and think of what better intentioned motives there might be for Murtha to make this revelation. Stop assuming that people like myself wish our soldiers evil.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 15, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #226495

Stephen
“Stop assuming that people like myself wish our soidiers evil.”
One question I have for you. Do you think those Marines are guilty? A simple yes or no or I don’t know will suffice. I don’t need a 6 paragraph long explanation about GW or anyone else.

Posted by: KAP at July 15, 2007 10:20 PM
Comment #226500

Stephen et al

I am not going to debate the war here. I will not change the subject. If Murtha hated the war, he did not have to take it out on individual Marines. The subject is whether or not Murtha jumped to harmful conclusions and perhaps why. It is clear he jumped to conclusions. We are only debating why. I think it is strange that an American would do what he did.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2007 11:26 PM
Comment #226501

Jack,

Is this any different than assuming that because someone is against the war in Iraq they are pulling for the terrorists?

I think it strange that the right would accuse someone of siding with the terrorists simply because they are against the war.

“It is clear he jumped to conclusions.”

And what gave you that impression?
What information do you have that leads you to believe as you do?

Posted by: Rocky at July 15, 2007 11:35 PM
Comment #226530

submariner:
“I do not deny that we paid comp to the Iraquis, nor do I think that it was unjust. I just do not think that any inferrences should be made about the fact they comp was paid.”

Cut the crap. We don’t pay out blood money for no reason.

Jack:
I won’t dignify most of your comments with a reply. I know what blatant liberal bashing and demonizing looks like, and I’m heartily sick of it.

“So my point is not whether or not they are guilty. Right now we do not know.”

I think we know plenty already.

“Why should Murtha push into this unknown territory, unless it is to push an agenda that is harmful to the Marines in question?”

You honestly just don’t get it do you? Murtha was a Marine who fought in two wars. Nothing about what Marines go through in war, or the pressures they face is unknown territory for him.
After Vietnam, I’m sure he understands exactly what it is like to fight a war where soldiers live under horrendous conditions, where they don’t know who the enemy is, and where the Commander(s) in Chief don’t know what the hell they are doing, or even know what they are asking others to do — and maybe not even caring.
It’s pretty clear to all but those who play the Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil game what happened to the Marines in Haditha. In fact, it was all outlined in the Time Magazine article that started the military investigations into the incident.
It involves soldiers living under brutally inhuman conditions for far too long a time, not knowing who is friend and who is enemy, and watching IED’s blow up their fellow soldiers on a daily basis — which lead to a moment where everyone became the enemy, and all were a target. And when the smoke cleared and a bunch of civilians — including women, children and old folks were laying there dead, they lied and tried to cover it up. And unfortunately, they got plenty of help from those up the chain of their command — even if it meant they made a mockery of the core values that lay at the heart of the Marine Corps.
Your outrage with Murtha (or Kline) for merely commenting on all this after the story broke is entirely misplaced.
You should be angrier with the fact of what our soldiers have been enduring, and with a chain of command who would actually feel they need to subvert their own code of honor by accepting lies and by covering up a massacre, all because they’ve got a Commander in Chief that has, and still is, betraying them and their bravery in every way they could possibly be betrayed. And you should also be angered and saddened by the fact that innocent civilians would end up dead, shot in their homes, at point blank range, as a result of such a terrible betrayal.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 16, 2007 11:16 AM
Comment #226533

Adrienne,

This thread has been fairly circular, and Jack’s comments, along with most of the others, seem to reflect talking points more than facts.

The sad reality is that this thread seems more like a Merry-go-round than a debate.

Posted by: Rocky at July 16, 2007 11:33 AM
Comment #226541

1) Some believe in being militarily prepared for all things, but on 9/11, having the worlds greatest military didn’t mean a damn thing It only became truly imperative to bulk up our forces when it became obvious that we were going to be relying heavily on the military for the next few years. Your start date for hostilities, while theoretically correct, hardly qualifies as the beginning of the kind of war that would involve large numbers of conventional forces.

But as for manning, training and arming a military after the commencement of hostilities, it’s been done plenty of times. The logistics of war are all about doing that in real time. It’s Bush’s failure to keep up with that I have a problem with.

2) He’s CINC now, Clinton’s not. Who can do the most to change what’s going on? The answer should be obvious. The past administration, whatever mistakes it made, is no longer there to correct them. The Bush administration is different. As for our involvement? I can speak for myself, at least: I’ve kept track of these things from the beginning. The day the planes hit the towers, I knew it was al-Qaeda, because I was familiar with their past deeds. How many Republicans could say the same?

You can talk about my rhetoric, but I don’t bluff. Truth of the matter is, you’re watching a president run our military into the ground, but because he’s not a liberal, because Clinton was president six whole years ago, Bush is given the relative mitigation of not being alone in his error.

There’s a problem with this line of thinking, and that is that Bush is CINC now, and has been for most of the last decade. Even before then, the folks running Congress were Republicans for nearly all of that time. since 2000, they practically had all the control in the world of these affairs. Yet, even with their ambitions, even with their insistence on the continuation of the war, they haven’t been doing anywhere near enough to take care of this problem. When they’re the leading party in the country, why are they accorded equal blame for their sins with the other side? For most of the time in question, they’ve had all the political control they needed to push the policy. Blaming liberals for the policy is just a dilution of the real responsibility

4) My theme here has been proper logistics at the proper time. To the extent that policy in peacetime is insufficient for the force levels in existence, it’s wrong. But it’s worse, in the end, to let such insufficiencies go on when they can lose a war for us, when the need is obvious and immediate. It’s downright cowardly.

I talked about preparation during a war and during peacetime. People are not going to bulk up an Army in the absence of a threat in that direction. Governments have priorities, and they shift according to events. What I was saying is that preparations naturally slackens in times of peace. That’s understandable. Correct? Not necessarily. It’s worse when the folks being unprepared are hawks in a time of war.

You can sit around blaming the people who take it easy in easy times, but how can you compare their foolishness to that of folks who try and take the easy path when there’s even less room for error? It’s equivocation in the service of remaining aloof.

I think the war and the country have suffered for the fact that Republicans and the Right’s eagerness for war is neither tempered by an understanding of its costs and risks nor by the courage to ask for what is needed to get things done properly. As enthusiastic as they are, they don’t know what they’re doing. I can only hope we do better, but that is an active ongoing process.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 16, 2007 12:47 PM
Comment #226543

KAP-
Group responsibility for the incident belongs with Kilo Company. Obviously something bad happens. Where the reserved judgment is entirely justified, and where it has been so far seen on the left, is in the individual’s culpability.

There’s too much evidence to let the unit on the whole off the hook. The Haditha killings did happen, and were not simply some masterpiece of fraud by the insurgents. That fact is not insignificant, the facts are not all that ambiguous about what happened overall, and they are significant enough to merit open, robust public discussion.

Jack-
You’re not debating anything, you’re insisting on a conclusion without providing much evidence for it.

You haven’t proved that he jumped to conclusions. Reportedly, he was kept well informed about the investigation. You haven’t proved the harm of getting this out in the open among Americans. You’re insisting that his motives were malicious, his reasons dark and sinister, based on nothing more than just a partisan belief about the character of Democratic dissenters.

Why do I debate the war? Simple: the character of the war, from the Sunni insurgency, to what most likely drove Murtha’s commentary, come from what’s gone wrong with it. You cannot understand Haditha without understanding the strategic position, the mission requirements, the soldier’s living conditions, or the political and civil discord in that region.

Without that context, everything becomes a void of abstract principles, and we can go all day debating the issue without making meaningful progress on it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 16, 2007 12:59 PM
Comment #226553

Stephen,

You’re asking Murtha for an apology for what probably is a reasonable interpretation of events, especially given the blood money paid, and the cover-up attempted. If you’re suggesting that individual soldiers may be innocent of murder, I think you might be right. That said, it’s very unlikely that nothing happened in Haditha to merit Murtha’s comments.”


It is (completely) absurd for any American to think it is “reasonable” to blame our troops before there is a trial. Murtha does not deserve any merits! He was (completely) wrong to imply that these soldiers did anything without them having a trial first and for his comments. This is not about Bush, the Iraq War, or any partisan vendetta. Jack & I both agreed that the GOP Congressman (Kline) was wrong to imply there was any wrong doing without a trial; and, it looks as though he apologized, Murtha did not! Also, Murtha went (way) further then just talking about the case before the trial; he said: “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood…”These were wanton killings done in cold blood”. Where is Murtha’s apology? Better yet, were are the lefties calling for him to apologize; like some of us righties have with Kline?!! Murtha needs to apologize or resign! And, it looks as though some of the parents of the troops feel the same way.


Posted by: rahdigly at July 16, 2007 2:34 PM
Comment #226561

Stephen
I never said the whole the Officers should be court martialed for the botched investigation. As a Viet Nam Vet myself I do know the pressures of war but I do know Murtha was wrong. And as a Lawyer he should know not to assume guilt before a trial or all the facts are brought forth. As rahdigly said Kline did appoligize.

Posted by: KAP at July 16, 2007 4:00 PM
Comment #226607

Stephen Daugherty:

To make easier for me and to make my reply shorter, I will not copy and paste Your work. I will address it point by point.

1) IMHO this paragraph shows the largest gap in our prespectives. Off the top of your head can you tell me what the mission of the United States Armed Forces in the 1950’s? 1960’s? 1970’s? 1980’s? Even though we had police actions and conflicts during these decades, the mission of the military was stragetically the same. It was not to fight a war or wars, but rather it was to deter wars. And it by and large worked.

Now enter the the end of the Cold War. Led by both parties in both Houses of Congress and by both parties in the White House, we restructured the military for cost savings. We were promised by both parties that we had enough forces to fight 2 regional conflicts and deal with a national emergency. We shifted the bulk of the military from Active Duty to Reserves again to save costs. We then gutted the intelligence corps. Flat limited their capabilities for cost savings. Hell we were at peace. Why do we need spies when we are at peace? There were a few conservatives that voiced opposition and they were written off as right wing nut jobs. They were the only ones that were correct in our defense needs.

One other thing on your first paragraph. I do not see where I gave a date for the start of hostilities, I avoided that because it just starts a partisan blame game and my point is that both parties have failed us. But given that you say it is “theoretically correct”, and given our situation, how can say both that we have “manpower problems out of the wazoo” but the start of hostilities ” hardly qualifies as the beginning of the kind of war that would involve large numbers of conventional forces”? You used both lines in the same arguement(different replies). Unless you are trying to blame one side for the problems and are willing to put Party before Country, I do not see how it can be done.

2)President is NCA now and has been for a term and a half. He bears the responsibility for all day to day operations of the military. He has had many failures in Iraq. I do not minimize any of his errors of judgements. Any mistake that he makes puts my son’s life in jeopardy. But in all fairness, the same has to go for credit where credit is due. If one listens to the partisans, not one thing has went right and not one thing is better now than it was a year ago. If anyone is willing to criticize the bad, they should have enough integrity to applaud the good.Of course, it would do political harm to say that the President has gotten something right and we cant have that.


You did say that you do not bluff. That was a direct response to my “You say that it a right wing mythology that the Liberals are weakening out military, I call your bluff and rhetoric. The Liberals led the way to our military readiness crisis, not through treason, but through a faulty view of the world that could not see dangers coming in just as little as five years ahead.” It may take a full article, but show me how my statement is incorrect.

You say that the President is running the military into the ground and ” but because he’s not a liberal, because Clinton was president six whole years ago, Bush is given the relative mitigation of not being alone in his error.” Again I have not given him any such mitigation. I am willing to hold all that by lack of awareness and foresight accountable for the reduction of our military capabilities to the point that fighting in two countries that are relatively close is unsustainable. Put the shoe on the other foot. I can tell you about a time in the last decade that aircraft carriers were sent on extended missions undermanned by almost 1/3 of a crew. I can tell you of people that I went to basic with that achieved the rank of E7 with 13 years in that did not reenlist because of the increased demands of sea duty. Would you then condemn that President for running the military in the ground? I hold the belief that BOTH parties failed us, we allowed it to happen and therefore WE failed our troops. President Bush has made errors, HUGE errors in this war and should be held accountable. But so should the past Congresses and Presidents that formulated the force and intelligence structure. If we do not hold that position, the pattern will repeat! But by then, we will be at peace again and then it just wont matter will it? You said that manning, training and equipping after the commencement of hostilities has happened many of times. Name one time in world history that that has happened and it saved lives and did not hinder the war effort for the country that was attacked.

4)My theme is proper logistics BEFORE a war will either prevent the need for war, or allow the war be faught with less friendly losses. In any contest, if you are not prepared before the event, you are at a terrible disadvantage. You have to take more risks and choose the lesser of evils in the decision making. That is where we are.

Adrienne:

Your own link says,”It’s hard to get definitive data on compensation for Iraqi victims. However, it is clear that the precise sum of money paid is often done so at the whim of the commanding officer. This compensation is channeled through a discretionary fund that is given to the field commanders, and the criteria for disbursement are subjective at best.” I do not know how a discretionary payout from a field commander can be used as an indicator of guilt in this case. At best it is a circumstancial arguement. You said it…Cut the crap. I do not maintain that nothing wrong happened nor do I maintain that these four men are innocent. But I do maintain that although it is proper for people to discuss their opinions and judgements on the case before it comes to trial, elected officials with power of the purse over the investigating unit should temper their remarks out of fear of undue influence of the process.

Rocky:

I apologize for overlooking your comments to me. I am not ducking them, but I have to get to sleep. I promise to answer them tomorrow. I am really sorry for my oversight and I assure you that it was not intentional.

Posted by: submariner at July 16, 2007 9:25 PM
Comment #226636

submariner,

“Even though we had police actions and conflicts during these decades, the mission of the military was stragetically the same. It was not to fight a war or wars, but rather it was to deter wars. And it by and large worked.”

We did however also build a military that was designed to fight a conventional war in eastern Europe.

“Now enter the the end of the Cold War. Led by both parties in both Houses of Congress and by both parties in the White House, we restructured the military for cost savings. We were promised by both parties that we had enough forces to fight 2 regional conflicts and deal with a national emergency. We shifted the bulk of the military from Active Duty to Reserves again to save costs. We then gutted the intelligence corps.”

Pardon me if I am incorrect here but I think your chronology is wrong.
Wasn’t the Intel Corps gutted after the Church Committee Report in the mid 70’s?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee#Aftermath

On the Rapid Deployment Force;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_Deployment_Forces

“The Carter Doctrine stated that the Persian Gulf area, because of its oil fields, was of vital interest to the United States, and that any outside attempt to gain control in the area would be “repelled by use of any means necessary, including military force.”

I’m thinking that the whole point of the RDF, wasn’t nation building, and that is where this whole Iraq gambit went very, very, wrong.
The idea that America would attempt to secure a country the size of California with a minimal amount of troops is ludicrous, and the pressure on our military to accomplish this “mission” must be immense.
The military will do what it’s told to do. That is it’s job. The fact is that adults thought this was a good idea, is insanity.
The day that the looting started in Baghdad, and Rumsfeld’s best answer was basically “oops”, was the day we should have ramped up our manpower in Iraq.
I have been posting here since that time and there were many voices here that called for more troops then, but we were merely a few solitary voices in a vast wilderness, and “stay the course”, support the President, and your not in the militery, you don’t know what you’re talking about, was all we heard from the right.

I hate to say I told you so, but Haditha is a prime example of what happens when too few are asked to do too much.
That, I believe, was Murtha’s point. He didn’t condemn these Marines, he said that while he knew why it happened, he didn’t condone their actions.

Posted by: Rocky at July 17, 2007 12:33 AM
Comment #226648

Rocky:

“Adrienne,

This thread has been fairly circular, and Jack’s comments, along with most of the others, seem to reflect talking points more than facts.

The sad reality is that this thread seems more like a Merry-go-round than a debate.”

You’re right, and I guess I’m done here.
I’m sorry if I’ve contributed to this being more like a merry-go-round than a debate. I can honestly say however, that I have not been using any canned talking points here. I’ve been trying hard to simply stick to the facts that are known, and give my opinions without an excess of emotion. That is often rather difficult for me to do, because it is an emotional subject for me to think about what our soldiers have been enduring in Iraq — and that is no doubt due to the fact that I had a family member who served in Vietnam who endured much, and who did not come home in one piece.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 17, 2007 4:08 AM
Comment #226673

The purpose of the military was containment. That was the mission. With the Cold War over, Containment was no longer necessary. Deterring war, though, was not the purpose, but rather deterring nuclear conflict and/or World War with the Soviets.

I said your read on the Bin Laden situation was theoretically correct. The first WTC attack was the beginning of hostilities in a sense. In a sense alone, though. The fact of the matter is, these were not hostilities that required the Armed Forces to step in. Not until 1998, and the beginning of Bin Laden’s highly sophisticated attacks on the embassies, do we find a situation where military intervention is warranted.

Even then, though, it was nothing that would strain our resources.

Even after 2001, Afghanistan hardly put us under a strain. It would take Iraq to take us to breaking point.

However, Iraq was in the planning stages for years, and during those first few years, the President could have easily gained the forces to fill the ranks needed to fight this war long term. And don’t tell me that he couldn’t have proposed early in the war that more forces be added, and not successfuly make that argument.

There’s no excuse for the current manpower shortfalls, and every reason why he should have asked for more recruitment early on. Unfortunately, he and they were too convinced of their own wisdom, and did not follow the advice of those who knew best. They were the ones that followed a partisan track, doing their best to cut out everybody they thought unworthy, everybody they thought wasn’t loyal to their cause.

That is my central problem with you blaming all this on the liberals. Our control was pretty much over by the time Bush gets into office, We had no place, were allowed no place in their discussions. Yes, we reduced the readiness for peacetime purposes. But that’s customary, and in many ways necessary after a long war. Since George Washington returned his hands to the plow after serving as military commander, after serving as President, it’s been a tradition that we not be a nation perpetually focused on war. Even in the midst of the Cold War, we maintained far fewer men in our military and far less of our economy invested in maintaining it. As a percentage of our GDP spent on defense, we were dwarfed by Russia, which spent over a quarter of its economic strength on maintaining military readiness. America’s power is in its ability to mobilize as needed, not in its tendency to remain perpetually ready for war.

When the Republicans criticized Clinton’s readiness, it was largely theoretical- if we suddenly had to fight a WWII style war, they said, we would be in trouble. For most people, though, the idea that we would, with one war not done, go to the next of our own choice, was unthinkable. Of their own choice, the Republicans committed us to a war when most Americans were happy to finish Afghanistan and get it working before moving on. It wasn’t idle politicizing when we told them that it would be a distraction, that we would be putting a greater strain on our soldiers.

Bush and his people knew, or should have known what they would be getting into, and given their complaints to Clinton, they should have been prepared to reshape the military for its new mission. Instead, they just coasted along on their popularity and insisted such questions were merely meant to slow them down.

I guess the most important point I’m going to make to you is that the course of foreign policy often double backs on itself, and what is good in one time is not good in another. However, if somebody makes a criticism of one side, then fails to heed the central argument of that criticism and ends up creating a crisis in the process, they are more to blame than the other side. More to the point, if they are in charge right now, still making decisions that are unsupportable on those grounds, the priority should not be evenhanded historical overview, even if its merited, the priority should be taking the folks to task that are screwing up now.

Those who failed to speak up against this when it was first happening can only look back on what they didn’t say, what they didn’t object to and regret that. I only regret that I supported going into this war in the first place. I don’t have to regret questioning from the start whether a policy that left us without enough troops to stop looters could bring order to Iraq. I don’t have to say that I didn’t ask for the start for more soldiers to reinforce those already there. I don’t have to regret that I didn’t do my best to ask those in power to make this thing work.

No war, even a legitimate one, is going to start with ideal circumstances. Despite our massive military, we were caught by surprise on 9/11. We can spend the time complaining about what we started out with, or we can do something about it. The Bush administration’s approach has been to keep quiet about any problems, to avoid blame. Their strategy has not only been unsuccessful, it’s made us more unready than ever before for any kind of emergency fight.

If we are attacked right now, we might just have to leave Iraq to its devices in order to respond. Even short of that, we will have to get a draft in place, and that will take time. If you are concerned about our readiness, our preparation for the next war, then understand this: our current situation in Iraq, and that of the near-future is shaping our readiness for whatever happens in the next few years. Can you afford to be quiet about what Bush is doing now?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 17, 2007 12:01 PM
Comment #226679

Adrienne,

“I’m sorry if I’ve contributed to this being more like a merry-go-round than a debate.”

I would never presume to criticize your contributions to the debate.
Besides, unlike our “red column” contemporaries, it is not my place to judge.

Posted by: Rocky at July 17, 2007 2:33 PM
Comment #226712

Rocky and Stephen:

I got caught up at work until very late last night. I will try to catch up with you today. Sorry about that, but work is work.

Posted by: submariner at July 18, 2007 5:53 AM
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