The wingnuts get it wrong. Par for the course, really. Writing on a new development in the Haditha Massacre story, we have this from Allahpundit:
One of [the Marine eyewitnesses], Lance Cpl. Ryan Briones, was interviewed by the LA Times…. I take Briones at his word because he’s a Marine, but I admit that if he weren’t, I’d find some elements of his story suspicious.
Oh, Allah! Please tell us what bits of info you’d comb over from behind the safety of your monitor! Is it the part about the batteries running out before photos of the cases of stage blood could be taken? (Q: Must every story with more than a handful of details turn into a Nouveau MemoGate?)
It turns out that the same consideration given to the aforementioned Marine was not extended to former Marine and current U.S. Rep. John Murtha:
Murtha was on This Week with George Stephanopolous this morning to talk about Haditha; he used the platform to wonder aloud whether Peter Pace personally ordered a cover-up of the incident — then quickly took it back.
Here’s the lowdown on what the Congressman actually said:
The congressman doesn’t know how far the blame will go.
“That’s what we’re trying to find out,” he said. “It goes right up the chain of command right up to General Pace. … Did he know about it? Did he cover it up? I’m sure he didn’t, but we need to find out.”
“I think we should be calm and re-assuring to the American people that the men and women of our armed forces are [acting] admirably and respectfully.”
“We’ve already lost the direction in this war,” Murtha said. “It’s an isolated incident, but that’s why it’s so important to get it out.”
No backtracking there. In fact, it appears that he’s asking for greater transparency, which is kind of the opposite of backtracking, in a way.
Due to the access that a man of Murtha’s stature has, there is little reason to question the accuracy of his statements here. He knows what a cover up looks like; the Marine investigators know what a cover up looks like. This was a botched cover up.
“So why am I picking on Sr. A-Pundit?” you may be asking. Through her patented link/C&P method, Michelle takes a minimalist stance on most of the major stories that are not related to immigration. She just doesn’t seem all that interested in stories like this. The extent of her editorializing on the Haditha incident can be taken from the following two sentences published on Friday: “Last week, Rep. John Murtha blabbed about the military’s not-yet-complete investigation into alleged atrocities by Marines in Haditha, Iraq,” and, “If what is being reported is true, the Marines responsible for the alleged atrocities deserve the harshest penalties possible.”
In all reality, Murtha’s “blab” was an ingenious PR stunt, and the right move at exactly the right time.
Surely, no one would deny that Murtha is a firebrand when it comes to his position on the occupation of Iraq. He thinks we should have pulled out six months ago, and he’s not afraid to say it. But unlike the collective force of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists, he is not pro-military solely because he needs to win the favor of an audience that will garner ad revenue.
He is pro-military, because he is the military. And his initial statements on the massacre at Haditha had a decidedly pro-military spin, considering the circumstances:
It’s a very serious incident, unfortunately. It shows the tremendous pressure that these guys are under every day when they’re out in combat. One man was killed with an IED and after that they actually went into the houses and killed women and children.
Note the absence of any anti-troop rhetoric, such as Allahpundit’s comment that the term “baby-killer” may be appropriate. Note how Murtha is giving the murderers’ actions an explanation, while refusing to excuse them. Note that Murtha understands what is at stake here.
None of us can afford to have a majority of the American people ashamed of their Armed Forces. Murtha would rather have that shame directed at himself and the civilian leadership that should have understood the consequences of an extended occupation in a hostile region. He voted for this war, and he’s stepping up to get us out.
I highly recommend this post by The Dark Wraith. Here’s a taste:
Dead civilians aren’t I-told-you-so toys to prove just how right one faction was from the get-go about the awful disaster that has been this unconscionably wrongful military adventure on the far side of the world. Dead civilians don’t prove anything; they’re just dead.
To the Left, don’t even dream of co-opting it for a cause; to the Right, don’t even bother with some disgusting idiocy about how war is Hell. Especially on the Right, how the Hell would you know, anyway, considering your hero leaders are a craven pack of cowards who couldn’t even cut it back when it was their turn?