Source: Haditha evidence implicates Marines
Investigators reportedly finish initial review in deaths of 24 civilians

This doesn’t look good:

Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have completed their initial work on the incident last November, but may be asked to probe further as Marine Corps and Navy prosecutors review the evidence and determine whether to recommend criminal charges, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.

Unlike many, I’ve hoped that the accusations were untrue. If this unnamed source is leaking accurate information, it appears that pre-investigation rhetoric from politicians and pundits may have been speaking the truth even though they didn’t know it at the time.

While I would support the very heavy punishment of those involved in the event and it’s cover-up (if, in fact, either occurred), don’t lose sight of the fact that many anti-war, anti-military, and anti-Bush folks were very clearly playing “guilty unless proven innocent”, and they will not only go unpunished, but they will be regarded as having done the right thing.

Regardless of whether what they said ends up being proven correct in the end, is anyone really arguing that politicians adopting a “guilty unless proven innocent” stance, and doing so very very publicly, is a good thing?

Anyone who’s been following the events in Iraq knows that the vast majority of accusations such as this one turn out to be wrong. We don’t often hear much about those cases when the results finally come out. But I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot about this one, which is unfortunate whether the Marines did it or not.

Also in the same article:

Lawyers for Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, one of the Marines under investigation, argue in a lawsuit to be filed Wednesday in federal court that Murtha falsely accused Wuterich of murder and war crimes. The suit maintains that Pentagon officials “who have briefed or leaked information to Mr. Murtha deliberately provided him with inaccurate and false information” and that the congressman subsequently “has made repeated statements …. that are defamatory” to Wuterich and his fellow Marines.

UPDATE: Blackfive has much more.


  1. I wouldn’t buy anything out of an anonymous source at the Pentagon. This has had a surreal quality to it from the beginning, and it has only gotten worse. This is probably the same source that told us how valiantly Jessica Lynch fought.

  2. Unlike many, I’ve hoped that the accusations were untrue.’ Actually Murdoc, everyone hoped that the accusations were untrue. including Murtha. and me.

  3. Zap: I can’t speak for either you or Murtha. But it’s clear that at least some (if maybe not many) really, truly hope that these accusations are true. If these accusations are true, then these people will be able to feel that they’ve been right about their position on the war or the military or Bush. They will get a sense of validation because they’ve been saying all these bad things for a long long time and been proven wrong over and over and over. They will be very, very disappointed if these accusations turn out to be untrue and they’re proven wrong once again. I know some of these people myself. It’s pathetic.

  4. And the media (speaking collectively and in general) certainly seems to hope they’re true. If the accusations are true, they’ve got days and weeks of glorious stories to run on the front page, and they will be justified for all the headlines they’ve run so far. If the accusations are not true, they’ve got a story that they’ve got to bury, just like the other stories where the accusations turn out to be untrue. It’s not just a few outliers who have things staked on the the hope that our Marines committed these atrocities.