Thursday, June 01, 2006

Haditha: Rush to Judgment

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) has publicly accused Marines of the murder of unarmed civilians in Haditha, Iraq and of covering up the incident. (The city of Haditha is on the Euphrates River northwest of Baghdad.) The military is investigating what happened at Haditha. Whatever happened occurred after an explosive device killed one of the Marines.

Murtha's rush to judgment is unseemly. The military investigation is underway. As the military showed in the Abu Ghraib case, the military can and will conduct a full and fair investigation of allegations of misconduct. This is more than can be said about Murtha and others like him who are more interested in partisanship than in truth.

We do not know now what happened at Haditha. When the military completes its investigation, all the facts, whether good, bad, or ugly, will be made public. If the Marines did in fact kill innocent Iraqi civilians, they should be and will be severely punished. If the Marines in fact did not commit the alleged acts of murder, they should be and will be absolved of blame. Until the facts are fully investigated, all of us should withhold judgment.

Any Members of Congress who rush to judgment before the military completes its investigation are acting irresponsibly. Murtha expects the military in combat in Iraq to determine all the facts and to hold its fire when not under attack. In far less trying circumstances in the U.S., Murtha failed to determine all the facts and to hold his fire.

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