Mr. Speaker, the New York Times called it the ``nightmare'' killings of Haditha, Iraq, and the ``defining atrocity'' of the Iraq War. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times referred to the incident as the ``My Lai Acid Flashback.'' Another New York Times reporter filed 36 stories on what he called the ``cold blooded killing,'' saying, ``This is the nightmare everyone worried about when the Iraq invasion took place.'' Self-proclaimed expert and ``worst person ever,'' Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, called it ``willful targeted brutality.'' Nation Magazine said of the event in Iraq that ``members of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment perpetrated a massacre.'' And even a Member of this House of Representatives said, ``Our troops overreacted ..... and killed innocent civilians in cold blood.''
It has become the largest investigation in the history of Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which has 65 government agents assigned to this one case. Mr. Speaker, as a former judge and prosecutor, I have never heard of 65 criminal investigators assigned to one case except the 9/11 attack.
What is the terrible atrocity these news sources are talking about?
Well, Mr. Speaker, the Haditha, Iraq, incident took place in November of 2005 when our Marines were attacked by the use of a roadside bomb that exploded, killing one Marine and wounding two others. The Marines were then engaged in a firefight. Twenty-four Iraqis were killed, including some civilians.
After the gun battle was over and the smoke cleared, our government charged four Marines with murder and four others with not properly investigating the case. In a rabid rainstorm of criticism by U.S. journalists who were looking for the scalps of these eight Marines, the eight Marines were tried by a hysterical jury of journalists in the press and apparently found guilty on all charges.
But normally, Mr. Speaker, in America we try folks in our justice system and give them a trial before we send them off to the hangman and the gallows. Be that as it may, now, 2 1/2 years after expensive, intense, and thorough investigation, the facts as portrayed by the sensational National Enquirer-type journalists are not as they were portrayed to be.
According to columnist Michelle Malkin, who covered these cases in depth, seven of the eight Marines have had their cases dropped or dismissed. The eighth is awaiting trial in a real court, rather than the court of yellow journalism.
These journalists, ironically, are the same ones wanting to close down Guantanamo Bay prison and are worried about the treatment of those alleged terrorists there who may get cold blueberry muffins for their breakfast. But these writers could care less about the presumption of innocence for these eight U.S. Marines, seven of which have had their cases dismissed already. Only in America does the press get teary eyed about the Gitmo detainees but is blissfully ignorant about the justice in the prosecution of our Marines.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Marines are still in the midst of battle in Iraq and Afghanistan and standing vigilant in other places of the world protecting American interests and values. Those values include the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press to say anything it wants, even when the press is totally inaccurate and unfair in the expression of those fundamental rights. And for the U.S. Marines, we say Semper Fi. Semper Fi.