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I just got the Thomas More Law Center’s official statement saying that the military has dropped its appeal of an appeals court ruling. Here’s the good news:

A government official has informed the Thomas More Law Center that the government will not seek to appeal the recent unanimous decision by the Navy Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) in favor of LtCol Jeffrey Chessani, USMC.

The decision makes permanent the ruling by the trial court judge, Colonel Steven A. Folsom, USMC, dismissing the charges against LtCol Chessani, without prejudice, due to Unlawful Command Influence. The government could have sought an appeal to the civilian Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces (CAAF), and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s the bad news:

In order for the government to start the process of recharging LtCol Chessani, the Commandant, General James Conway, USMC, would have to appoint a new convening authority (the rank of General) that was not precluded by Col Folsom’s ruling, which was based on Unlawful Command Influence.

Col Folsom precluded the commands of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Marine Forces Central Command (MARCENT), and General James Mattis, USMC in particular. Whoever is named the new convening authority (the new General) would have to make an independent decision on whether or not to bring new charges against LtCol Chessani. If the General did desire to bring charges, LtCol Chessani would be subject to a new Article 32 Hearing.

I’m not at all confident that Gen. Conway will do the right thing, though that’s what I’m hoping for. It’s time for the NCIS to admit that the persecutions of the Haditha Marines was a political witch hunt that was ignited by Tim McGirk’s farcical Time Magazine article. With Lt. Col. Chessani’s charges being dropped, the military’s record against the Haditha heroes is 0-7, with 6 Haditha Marines having their charges dropped and one Haditha Marine getting acquitted.

Let’s remember what Lt. Col. Chessani was charged with. He was charged with not conducting a full investigation into the Haditha firefight. Here’s what I wrote last week:

Every officer in Lt Col Chessani’s chain of command, including his reviewing General approved and commended him for his actions until the publication of a Time magazine article months later charging the Marines with committing a massacre.

It’s impossible to logically explain how an officer can be charged with not conducting a full investigation after he and then-Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore put together a detailed PowerPoint presentation outlining what happened during the November 19, 2005 firefight.

That reason alone is enough to justify dropping the rest of the charges and letting Lt. Col. Chessani and SSgt. Wuterich live out their lives in dignity rather than waste time with another investigation.

UPDATE: Welcome Gateway Pundit Readers. We’re nearing the end (hopefully) of a disgusting chapter in US military history. Who can forget John Murtha’s initial accusations? I can’t forget Rep. Murtha’s telling ABC’s Charlie Gibson that he knew there was a cover-up somewhere because hearing him make that statement told me that he didn’t know anything. After all, if you know something, shouldn’t you be able to talk with specificity about the nature of the cover-up?

UPDATE II: If you want to help end this travesty of justice, consider making a contribution to the Thomas More Law Center. They’ve done yeoman’s work defending the Haditha Marines.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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