GREAT NEWS!!! All charges have been dropped against LCpl. Stephen Tatum. Let the rejoicing begin. Here’s what Newsmax is reporting:

Charges against Lance Corporal Stephen B. Tatum, 26, for his alleged involvement in the death of Iraqi civillians in Haditha, Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005, were dismissed today.

Charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and aggravated assault were referred to general court marshal Oct. 19, 2007.

Marine Corps Spokesman Lt. Col. Sean Gibson said the charge were dismissed to “continue to pursue the truth-seeking process into the Haditha incident.”

There will be a further explanation forthcoming from military officials.

This is cause for great celebrating, especially since it brings us one step closer to forcing John Murtha to talk about why he made his accusations in the first place. All that’s left is for the Marines to drop all charges against Sgt. Frank Wuterich, Lt. Andrew Grayson and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani.

This is another chapter in the indictment against corruption meister Rep. John Murtha. Frankly, it’s time for someone to file an ethics complaint against him. It’s time for him to be run out of the US House of Representatives. He accused the Haditha Marines of “killing innocent civilians in cold blood” on May 17, 2006. Since then charges against LCpl. Justin Sharratt, LCpl. Stephen Tatum, Sgt. Sanick Del la Cruz, Capt. Randy Stone and Capt. Lucas McConnell have been dropped.

Here’s a timeline of the unravelling of Murtha’s story:

May 17, 2006
Rep. John Murtha, an influential Pennsylvania lawmaker and outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, said today Marines had “killed innocent civilians in cold blood” after allegedly responding to a roadside bomb ambush that killed a Marine during a patrol in Haditha, Iraq, Nov. 19. The incident is still under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Multi-National Forces Iraq.
———-
“It’s much worse than was reported in Time magazine,” Murtha, a Democrat, former Marine colonel and Vietnam war veteran, told reporters on Capitol Hill. “There was no firefight. There was no [bomb] that killed those innocent people,” Murtha explained, adding there were “about twice as many” Iraqis killed than Time had reported.
May 18, 2006
Asked about his sources during a midday briefing on Iraq policy in the Capitol, Murtha confidently replied, “All the information I get, it comes from the commanders, it comes from people who know what they’re talking about.”
Although Murtha said that he had not read any investigative reports by the military on the incident, he stressed, “It’s much worse than reported in Time magazine.”
May 30, 2006
GIBSON: Jonathan just mentioned, there’s no charges yet filed against any of the Marines that were in this outfit, but Jonathan mentioned a moment ago, defense lawyers are already saying, well, there’s drone video and there is actual radio traffic to higher-ups that will give a different picture than you have been talking about of this incident. What do you know about that?
MURTHA: I can only tell you this, Charles. This is what the Marine Corps told me at the highest level. The Commandant of the Marine Corps was in my office just last week, so you know, I know there was a cover-up someplace. They knew about this a few days afterwards and there’s no question the chain of command tried to stifle the story. I can understand why, but that doesn’t excuse it. Something like this has to be brought out to the public, and the people have to be punished.
June 14, 2007
As previously reported by NewsMax, the battalion S2 officer made a full and complete report based on his monitoring of the day’s events and the intelligence he and others had amassed then and previous days. As we wrote at the time, the PowerPoint after-action report he sent up the command ladder proved to all the higher officers that the incident warranted no further investigation.
August 4, 2006
Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is being sued by one of the accused Marines for libel. He had told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Gen. Michael Hagee had given him the information on which he based his charge that Marines killed innocent civilians.
But a spokesman for the Marine Corps said Hagee briefed Murtha on May 24 about Haditha. Murtha had made comments on the case as early as May 17. On May 17, for example, he said at a news conference, “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”
A spokeswoman for Murtha was not immediately available.

It’s time that Rep. Murtha be held accountable for his despicable actions. He accused the Haditha Marines of “killing innocent civilians in cold blood” before he’d been briefed. In fact, he made those accusations before the investigation was complete. That’s unacceptable. He owes these men, and the Marine Corps, a written formal apology. He owes the House of Representatives a similar apology and his immediate resignation. Anything less isn’t acceptable.

This is what happens when House leadership doesn’t fulfill its oversight responsibilities. This wouldn’t have happened had Democrats not allowed Rep. Murtha to run amok.

That level of corruption isn’t acceptable. That level of corruption deserves swift and severe punishment.

To demand anything less is to not fully apologize to the Haditha Marines that were wrongfully accused by Rep. Murtha.

UPDATE: Welcome Michelle Malkin readers. I’ve written a long list of posts talking about John Murtha’s despicable behaviour. It’s time that we pressure Nancy Pelosi into opening a genuine ethics investigation on his accusations.

It’s also time that we demand that the House and Senate Armed Services Committees fulfill their proper oversight responsibilities. Because they didn’t conduct oversight hearings, John Murtha was given wide latitude in this instance. That must stop ASAP.

UPDATE II: Here’s an important quote from Sgt. Wuterich’s attorney:

Wuterich’s civilian defense attorney, Neal Puckett, contended that the Tatum dismissal showed the government has a poor case against his client.

“I think it’s a further demonstration of how weak the government’s case has become,” Puckett said.

I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Puckett. This has been an abuse of the military’s abuse of power.

UPDATE III: The good news is bouncing its way around the world. The BBC comments on it here while Radio Netherlands checks in here. Here are the key paragraphs in the BBC article:

The Marine Corps said it was dropping all charges against him and granting full immunity “in order to continue to pursue the truth-seeking process into the Haditha incident”.

The case stemmed from a roadside bombing in Haditha on 19 November 2005 which killed one marine, L/Cpl Miguel Terrazas, and injured two others.

The US military at first reported that the Iraqis had been killed by that explosion, or in a subsequent gunfight with insurgents.

But Iraqi witnesses said the US troops shot dead five unarmed men in a car when they approached the scene of the bombing in a taxi.

The troops were then accused of killing 19 other civilians in three houses nearby over the next few hours.

‘No deal struck’

Despite the accusations, there was no full US investigation into what happened until January 2006, when video footage emerged of the aftermath, shot by a local human rights activist.

A subsequent investigation by Time magazine suggested that most of the dead were shot by marines after the bomb, and in March 2006 a criminal investigation was begun.

I’ll be sending the BBC an email telling them that they need to print a retraction for this paragraph:

Despite the accusations, there was no full US investigation into what happened until January 2006, when video footage emerged of the aftermath, shot by a local human rights activist.

That isn’t accurate. Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore put together a complete PowerPoint presentation, which went up the chain of commande. I’ll also tell them that they should look into this, too:

But Iraqi witnesses said the US troops shot dead five unarmed men in a car when they approached the scene of the bombing in a taxi.

Those “five unarmed men” were known insurgents. Furthermore, that “taxi” was a white car, which the 3/1 Marines were told to watch for before going out on patrol. They were told this because intel said that this white car would play a significant role in ambushing the 3/1 Marines. This was captured on videotape by a UAV which circled overhead during the long gunfight.

Frankly, the BBC’s reporting on this isn’t surprising. It’s the same lazy reporting that we’ve seen here in the American press.

UPDATE IV: Welcome Gateway Pundit readers.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

7 Responses to “Haditha Charges Dropped Against LCpl. Stephen Tatum”

  • mansworld says:

    Yeah, they said OJ Simpson didn’t do it either. He made a deal.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Mans, What deal did OJ make? Last I read, he was acquitted.

  • Caron says:

    Mr. Murtha has not yet bothered to even say HE MISSPOKE! Talk about a RUSH to JUDGEMENT. The haters of America use him and his fellow Democrats as Poster Children for our DEFEAT. I cannot imagine how much Democrats have changed in my lifetime..it used to be that they LOVED America and heck, they ran the country via the Congress and Senate for almost all the years since WW2..FDR must be rolling over in his grave. I also wonder if Mr. Murtha has any Comments regarding the American GI who was just found Dead and tortured in Iraq..GOSH ..HE WAS A POW UNDER THE TERRORISTS..WHAT RULES WERE THEY WORKING UNDER? THEY HAD NO QUALMS ABOUT MAKING THIS POOR Gi SUFFER ..AND DID NOT ALLOW THE RED CROSS TO VISIT HIM..NOR DID THE ACLU STEP UP TO FREE HIM FROM TORTURE…HOW CRAZY AMERICA HAS BECOME…I wonder..Did they give him a bible? Did they give him appropriate exercise, food and medical care???

    Mr. Murtha has no comments..I already called his office..I guess it is what the Demcorats call…”just Politics”…anything goes and the ends justify the means…SOUND FAMILIAR??

  • Gary Gross says:

    Caron, It sounds far too familiar for my liking.

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