Haditha: The Collapse of a Liberal Fiction
By Michael Reagan
You'd hardly know it if you relied on the mainstream media, but the government's case against the Haditha Marines took another body blow last Friday that may be the beginning of the end for this whole sorry attempt to severely punish eight heroic United States Marines for doing what they are trained to do.
In a surprise development on the day Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum's court martial was scheduled to begin, all charges against him were dropped without explanation. Tatum, facing charges of reckless endangerment and aggravated assault that could have sent him to prison for 18 years, was the fifth Marine -- and the second of three enlisted men -- to be exonerated, leaving only one enlisted Marine still facing court martial.
Full details of the incident on November 19, 2005 were supplied in great detail to the entire command structure the very night of the engagement, and the incident was regarded for what it was -- a tragic result of an enemy ambush. No further action was required or taken.
Months later, however, Time magazine published a story reporting that the Marines had gone on a rampage, wantonly killing innocent civilians to avenge the death of their fellow Marine killed in the IED explosion.
Using Time magazine's fallacious account of the civilian deaths, Pennsylvania's Democratic Rep. John Murtha went on a rampage of his own, telling every media outlet that would listen that the Marines had committed "cold-blooded murder." He first claimed that his information came from a briefing from the Marine Corps Commandant, but when that claim was disproved he admitted that his source was Time magazine.