As predicted, the case against the Marines involved in the so-called Haditha 'massacre' is fizzling, largely due to the fact that the only evidence against the devil dogs in question are statements from locals.
A deeper blow came in a report made public Tuesday by Lt. Col. Paul Ware, a career Marine prosecutor who strongly urged that all charges against Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt be dismissed.The families of the dead refuse to allow the bodies to be exhumed by the Marines for autopsies to prove or disprove the allegations. My suspicion is that if they dug them up, they'd find that the families would no longer be eligible for their $2,500 grief money.
In his report, Ware labeled allegations against Sharratt “unsupported” and several times called them “incredible.”
He also suggested that some of the dead Iraqis were insurgents, as the defendants have maintained.
Ware, who presided over the pretrial hearing for Sharratt last month, said accounts by Iraqi witnesses seemed inconsistent with the forensic evidence available.
Such evidence showed that “each was shot facing forward, from a distance, and with a 9 mm pistol, which I find inconsistent with an execution or persons reacting to an execution,” Ware wrote.
He noted that relatives of the dead Iraqis refused to allow the U.S. military to exhume the bodies to conduct autopsies. He also said the Iraqis had a powerful motive to lie, given that the Marine Corps would sometimes pay $2,500 to the family of an Iraqi civilian killed by U.S. forces.
Giving credence to the statements of these Iraqi witnesses would 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 mission in Iraq,” Ware wrote. “Even more dangerous is the potential that a Marine may hesitate at the critical moment when facing the enemy.”
An excellent IBD editorial had this to say:
As it turns out, the insurgents whose communications were intercepted, revealing the planned ambush, were the same two men who were the sources of the fallacious and dishonest March 27, 2006, Time magazine story that prompted the charges against the Haditha Marines.So, y'know, that kind of puts a damper on things, doesn't it? Makes me wonder where Cindy Sheehan or Jack Murtha are to recant their "cold blooded murder" insinuations.
For that matter, where is Time magazine with an official apology? Where is any major newspaper covering the story at all? Go do a Google search for Haditha, you'll see something like this:
Only one article about the Marine's potential acquittal. The rest of them are either part of the smear campaign or results thereof.