R. Lee Ermey's SOUND OFF Forum

censure Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.)

Author:  marinejim [ Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  censure Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.)

(CNSNews.com) - The parents of a U.S. Marine accused of killing three Iraqis
execution-style in Haditha in late 2005 said Thursday they would ask
Congress to censure Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) for saying that the Marines
"overreacted" during the incident and killed civilians "in cold blood."

"It's too late for an apology," Darryl Sharratt of Canonsburg, Pa., told
Cybercast News Service after the hearing officer in the case, Lt. Col. Paul
Ware, released an 18-page report recommending that all charges against
Sharratt's son, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, be dismissed because his actions
"were in accord with the rules of engagement and use of force."

Sharratt said that he, his wife Theresa and other supporters of their
22-year-old son were planning to visit Martha's office, and "we're going to
ask for more than an apology." "We need this man censured by our Congress,"
he said, because "he denied my son -- and the other Marines involved --
their constitutional rights to a fair trial and a presumption of innocence."

"This is what we've been fighting for in Iraq," Sharratt added. "This is what
we've been fighting for -- what soldiers and Marines have been dying for --
for the past 200 years." Sharratt's future now lies in the hands of Lt. Gen.
James Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp
Pendleton, who can accept, reject or modify the recommendation.

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, a roadside bomb killed a
Marine on Nov. 19, 2005, in Haditha -- a terrorist stronghold in Iraq's
volatile Anbar Province -- and initial press reports quoted area residents
as saying that members of his squad retaliated by killing as many as 24
unarmed Iraqi men, women and children. The following May, Murtha -- who by
then was a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq -- said at a news conference
that sources in the military had told him an internal investigation would
expose serious misconduct.

"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed
innocent civilians in cold blood," Murtha said, before calling for U.S.
troops to be "redeployed" out of the country.

The U.S. Marine Corps responded in a statement that three commanders in
Haditha had been relieved of duty, and at least 12 Marines were being
investigated regarding their actions in the incident. The probe was carried
out by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), an agency that
investigates alleged crimes in the Navy and Marines Corps. Lance Cpl.
Sharratt, who was on his second combat tour in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion,
1st Marine Regiment when the incident took place, was the subject of a
hearing at Camp Pendleton in California last month.

Prosecutors contended that the Marine killed three unarmed Iraqi brothers
execution-style with a handgun, which is rarely used in door-to-door
searches for insurgents. Sharratt responded that he fired only after two of
the men pointed AK-47s at him. "I kept firing until my magazine was empty
because I didn't know if they had body armor or suicide vests," he said. He
added that his machine gun had jammed, so he was forced to use a
9-millimeter handgun he had borrowed from a Navy corpsman.

"We did not execute any Iraqi males," Sharratt stated. "On Nov. 19, I did
exactly as I was trained to do. I will always be proud of my service in
Iraq, and I will always be proud to be a Marine." Sharratt's parents
attended the inquiry and told Cybercast News Service they felt "Justin's
statements and recollections of what happened were totally supported by the
forensics evidence that was actually given by the NCIS." "We had three
forensics experts ready to testify, and our lawyers, Gary Myers and James
Culp, didn't call them because the government's case totally supported
Justin's actions," Darryl Sharratt added.

'Unsupported by independent evidence'

Ware agreed, stating in his report that "the government version is
unsupported by independent evidence," and the Marine's actions "were in
accord with the rules of engagement and use of force." Further prosecution
of Sharratt could set a "dangerous precedent that ... may encourage others
to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of
the Marine Corps and its mission in Iraq," Ware added. "Even more dangerous
is the potential that a Marine may hesitate at the critical moment when
facing the enemy."

"We were elated by the fact that finally, the truth has come out as to what
actually happened in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005," Darryl Sharratt said
Thursday. "We don't want to circumvent the authority of Lt. Gen. James
Mattis, who has the final say in the case [but] we hope the charges against
our son are dropped."

Roger Hughes, chairman of the Presidential Watch Political Action Committee
-- the umbrella organization for the "Boot Murtha" and "Expose Murtha"
campaigns -- told Cybercast News Service that he -- "unlike Murtha" -- would
not comment on the Haditha investigations. He did say, however, that
"Murtha's remarks about the guilt of these people having killed civilians in
cold blood is very reminiscent of John Kerry's Senate testimony" in 1971,
when the current senator from Massachusetts stated he'd heard Vietnam
veterans say they had "randomly shot at civilians" and "razed villages in a
fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan." "That hasn't proven to be true,
either," Hughes added.

"Censure is too good for Murtha on this alone," Hughes said, even without
considering such things in his past as questions regarding his war hero
status and involvement in the Abscam scandal. Telephone calls to Murtha's
office seeking comment for this article were not returned by press time.

The Sharratt investigation isn't the first time the Pennsylvania Democrat has
faced problems stemming from his remarks on Haditha. Last August, Staff Sgt.
Frank Wuterich filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that Murtha had
defamed him while discussing the incident. In response, the congressman
released a statement in which he said: "I don't blame the staff sergeant for
lashing out. When I spoke up about Haditha, my intention was to draw
attention to the horrendous pressure put on our troops in Iraq and to the
cover-up of the incident." The war in Iraq "cannot be won militarily," he
added. "Our troops are caught in the middle of a civil war. It's well beyond
the time to redeploy from Iraq."

Wuterich and Sharratt are among seven Marines under investigation over the
Haditha episode. The investigating officer in the case of Lt. Col. Jeffrey
Chessani, the highest-ranking of the seven, has recommended that Chessani be
court-martialed.

Author:  Steel On Target [ Fri Jul 20, 2007 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: censure Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.)

Murtha's not gotten much press lately. I guess the presidential hopefuls and Pelosi have taken the spotlight away from him and his Leftist ramblings.