“Eight Marines were charged. Seven have been cleared as the facts have been revealed. Now one more trial remains.” — Defend Our Marines
Welcome to 2012. The headlines will be awash in presidential politics this week, but I want to make sure you take note of the trial of SSgt Frank D. Wuterich set to open Wednesday. He’s the last of the Marines charged in connection to an alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians in the village of Haditha in 2005. The late corruptocrat John Murtha and the New York Slimes convicted and hanged the Marines in 2006 over the case before a single formal charge had been filed. Murtha slandered the troops before the world, declaring that “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” Then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama unabashedly backed Murtha’s smears. NYTimes reporter Paul von Zielbauer initially filed over 30 stories on the case, which the paper had hyped as the “defining atrocity” of the Iraq war.
And then: One by one over the last six years, the Marines were exonerated.
April 2007: Charges dropped against Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz.
August 2007: Charges recommended dropped against Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum.
August 2007: Charges dropped against Lance Corporal Justin Sharratt.
September 2007: Charges dropped against Capt. Lucas McConnell.
March 28, 2008: Case dropped against Haditha defendant Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum.
June 5, 2008: Haditha Marine Lt. Andrew Grayson acquitted.
June 17, 2008: Charges dismissed against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani.
(Graphic via Defend Our Marines)
The Fishwrap of Record fell silent on the issue. So did troop-smearing tool Keith Olbermann, the Nation, and countless other progressive executioners likening Haditha to My Lai. Smear merchant John Murtha went to his grave without apologizing — encased in federal immunity protection.
Now, SSgt Wuterich is the last Haditha Marine standing. His war-crimes court martial begins on Wednesday at Camp Pendleton:
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich goes on trial for nine counts of manslaughter, assault and related offenses tied to his role leading his squad in the killing of two dozen Iraqi civilians in 2005.
Wuterich has pleaded not guilty and is the last of eight defendants charged in the killings that took place in the city of Haditha after a roadside bombing that killed a fellow Marine.
The seven other defendants charged in that —- which resulted in the largest war-crime prosecution arising out of the Iraq war, changed the rules of engagement, and touched off a political firestorm —- have all been exonerated through a variety of legal findings.
SSgt Wuterich has maintained his innocence from day one and has the support of military families nationwide. Defend Our Marines will be posting live blog updates from the trial. So will his law firm, Puckett and Faraj. They report:
SSgt Frank Wuterich, the last Marine originally charged in the deaths of 19 of 24 Iraqis killed in Haditha, Iraq in 2005, will be seated at the defense table in his general court-martial in just eight days. On November 19, 2005, insurgents detonated a 500-pound improvised explosive device under the fourth vehicle in his convoy, instantly killing the driver and seriously wounding the assistant driver and the gunner.
The platoon’s commander arrived soon after and ordered the Marines to clear houses to find the triggerman for the bomb and to neutralize snipers. By mid-afternoon, 24 Iraqis were dead. This was the first coordinated attack of five total launched against the Marine forces that morning in Haditha.
SSgt Wuterich’s case has been long and drawn out, first due to the choice to prosecute a group of Marines involved in a separate incident at Hamdaniya, Iraq occurring in 2006. Secondly, the government has incorrectly interpreted the evidence and assumed that the squad leader, SSgt Wuterich, was responsible for all the deaths. Lastly, Marine prosecutors delayed this trial two years litigating the admissibility of the outtakes of the CBS 60 Minutes interview of SSgt Wuterich. Later there was appellate litigation challenging the Government’s severance of SSgt Wuterich’s attorney/client relationship from his detailed military counsel who was not allowed to stay on active duty long enough to defend him.
This has been a long and hard fought battle for justice and the preservation of SSgt Wuterich’s Constitutional rights. We begin the war crimes general court-martial on January 4th. The government will try to prove that SSgt Wuterich was on a rampage and directed unlawful killings. The defense team will prove that the government overlooked key evidence and the truth of what really happened that day will be revealed.
The Law Firm of Puckett & Faraj is very appreciative of all the support for SSgt Wuterich over the last 5-1/2 years. We want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughts, prayers, outspoken words and belief in Frank Wuterich’s innocence. We will be publishing a status of the trial when we can to keep you posted on our progress. Keep Frank Wuterich and his family in your thoughts throughout January!
Hey, you know who else smeared the Haditha Marines and has never apologized to the exonerated troops?
Vice President Joe Biden, who called for then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to step down during the Murtha-driven witch hunt campaign.
Wielding a tar brush to appease the appeasement lobby means never having to say you’re sorry.
Cox & Forkum, as always, put it best: