The Washington Post offers a little balance to the story of the alleged Haditha “massacre” today:
Marine Says Rules Were Followed
Sergeant Describes Hunt for Insurgents in Haditha, Denies Coverup
A sergeant who led a squad of Marines during the incident in Haditha, Iraq, that left as many as 24 civilians dead said his unit did not intentionally target any civilians, followed military rules of engagement and never tried to cover up the shootings, his attorney said.
Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, 26, told his attorney that several civilians were killed Nov. 19 when his squad went after insurgents who were firing at them from inside a house. The Marine said there was no vengeful massacre, but he described a house-to-house hunt that went tragically awry in the middle of a chaotic battlefield.
So we have two completely different accounts of what happened in Haditha. We weren’t there, neither was Jack Murtha. Neither were any of the Democrats using the alleged incident to further their agenda of retreat from Iraq.
When Congressman Murtha first preemptively declared the Marines’ guilt last month, we said:
…if at the end of the investigation it turns out that some serious wrongdoing occurred in Haditha, that will not excuse Murtha’s prejudging the investigation and using it to further his political agenda.
Go read some the top left-wing blogs today. Notice how quick they are to believe the very worst about our troops with a minimum of evidence. Notice how quick they are to tar the entire operation with the (alleged) actions of one single unit. (But they support the troops!)
However the investigation into this alleged incident comes out, it is despicable and dishonorable for Murtha to use the matter to score political points or try to advance his anti-war agenda.
Note that our initial comments were about Murtha shooting off his mouth, not about the alleged incident itself. We have chosen to wait until the investigation is complete to offer any conclusions. Just look at how far out in front of the story so many pundits and news outlets have gotten already. And now here we have some of the Marines who were there totally contradicting the conventional wisdom that has already developed around the story.
As we said, we have no idea which version of the story is true at this point, and make no judgments now about that. We will continue to give the Marines the benefit of the doubt until a complete investigation concludes otherwise. The brave men putting their lives on the line for their country in a very dangerous place deserve at least that much.