Investigating officer Lt. Col. Paul J. Ware has recommended dropping all charges against yet another Marine in the Haditha case:
An investigating officer has recommended that a Marine Corps general drop all charges against a Marine accused of murdering civilians in Haditha, Iraq, finding again that the 2005 shootings were “tragedies” but that the Marine did not violate the laws of combat.
Lt. Col. Paul J. Ware wrote in a 29-page report that there is insufficient evidence to show that Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum did anything other than follow Marine Corps rules when he killed women and children in two houses in a residential neighborhood in Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005. Ware found that Tatum followed orders to attack the houses and shot a group of civilians only because another Marine in the unit was already shooting at them.
“What occurred in house 1 and house 2 are tragedies,” Ware wrote. “The photographs of the victims are heart wrenching, and the desire to explain this tragedy as criminal act and not the result of training and fighting an enemy that hides among innocents is great. However, in the end, my opinion is that there is insufficient evidence for trial. LCpl Tatum shot and killed people in houses 1 and 2, but the reason he did so was because of his training and the circumstances he was placed in, not to exact revenge and commit murder.”
Jack B. Zimmerman, a civilian attorney for Tatum, said he is pleased with the report and will await Mattis’s ruling before commenting further. Should Mattis dismiss the charges, it would leave pending murder charges in the case against one enlisted Marine, Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich.
As a reminder, three other Marines have already been exonerated. This story is falling apart almost as fast as the Democrats’ rationale for wanting to cut and run from Iraq.
Still no word, no apologies from the accusatory Murtha camp.
Here’s more bad news for the usual suspects: Belief that we’re winning the war on terror, and that things will get better in Iraq in the coming months as a result of the surge is ticking up a bit. This follows a trend indicating more and more of the American people support the surge, the more good news they hear about it.
Couple all this with the fact that Iraq war critics left and far left are actually acknowledging that the surge is producing some fruitful results – to the point that they’re having to ‘refocus‘ their Iraq message, and you could say that this has been a long, hot, disappointing summer for defeatist surrendercrats.