I came across an interesting post on Little Green Footballs about Haditha. Charles pointed to a news article printed at HawaiiReporter.com that is really good reading. I have suggested having patience when these types of news stories come out, and this is backing me up by offering some interesting information that is starting to come out from Iraq.

Eager to score points against President George W. Bush, US Representative John Murtha (D-PA) is calling the November 19 incident in Haditha “murder”. He claims there is a “cover up.” Over 40 news stories appeared Memorial Day weekend calling Haditha, “an atrocity” or “a massacre.” Murtha says, Haditha “is worse than abu-Ghraib.” Terrorist cheerleader and Cindy Sheehan associate Dahr Jamail is calling for the death penalty. The terror apologists of the Council on American Islamic Relations are calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign. Al-Qaeda terrorists from Zarqawi’s group, Ansar al-Sunnah are circulating leaflets in Haditha congratulating “those who participated in exposing the dirty deeds of the Americans.”

The liberal media is chiming in to make sure that Haditha is used to wear down support for our troops in Iraq—just as they did with abu-Ghraib. Peering through the media smokescreen few have noticed that all of the actual shooting eye-witnesses in the media’s kangaroo court are local Iraqis–witnesses who are under constant threat from terrorists and whose motivations may be suspect. All the US witnesses currently quoted in the media saw events before or after the alleged shootings—but not the shootings themselves.

Only now—two and a half months after the story broke in the March 19 issue of Time magazine– are the voices of soldiers who question the charges beginning to be heard. Marine Captain James Kimber commanded Lima Company of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. The troops involved in the incident were from Kilo Company. He tells interviewers that he first learned about the shootings in February when he heard that a Time magazine reporter was asking questions about civilian deaths. Notably, Kimber says he heard nothing about a civilian massacre during weekly meetings with the Haditha City Council and talks with local leaders. “It would have been huge, there would have been no question it would have filtered down to us,” he said. “We reported no significant atmospheric change as a result of that day.” Kimber who has been relieved of his command and is back in Camp Pendleton, CA says, “I believe I was a political casualty as a result of the Haditha incident.” Some media accounts indicate that some of the dead were relatives of a Haditha City Council member. The May 12, 2006 edition of Iraq Reconstruction Update carries a photo and short article about Marine officers holding weekly meetings with the Haditha City Council with no mention of the alleged shooting controversy.

The whole article is well worth reading. And there is one additional thing worth keeping in mind: the accused marines have not had a chance to defend themselves, so all the incendiary information you are watching or reading has come from people who are not part of the actual trial.

Have you ever had a cavity in a tooth? Did the dentist drill it out and put in a filling, or did he chop off your head? And if you ever got a splinter in your hand, did you work it out carefully with tweezers or just remove your arm? Unless you were insane, you did only what you needed to fix the situation, but this wisdom doesn’t seem to apply when the media reports on the military.

If you haven’t heard the news already, some Marines in Iraq have been accused of killing 24 Iraqi civilians in the city of Haditha. Here are the first two paragraphs from this week’s Time magazine cover story:

The killings of 24 Iraqis one morning last November may mark a terrible turning point in America’s already shaky presence in Iraq

Like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal before it, what happened at Haditha threatens to become one of the war’s signature debacles, an alleged atrocity committed by a small group of service members that comes to symbolize the enterprise’s larger costs.

Notice how this story begins by painting the entire nation’s military personnel, based on the actions of a few. It’s like taking an axe to your leg to be rid of a hangnail. Assuming for the nonce that the Marines in question are actually guilty of intentionally murdering Iraqi civilians just for the thrill of it, the military investigation currently underway will uncover any wrongdoing and punish the guilty. It is not the media’s place to pre-judge the Marines as guilty, but they are doing exactly that. (Shouldn’t be all that surprising, really, since the people currently in the mainstream media are the same generation who spent the late ’60s and early ’70s spitting on returning soldiers and calling them “baby-killers.” They’ve had years of practice pre-judging the U.S. military.)

Now, assuming the Marines are completely innocent of the charges, what has the media done by dragging their story through the mud and pre-judging them as guilty? The media has successfully provided aid and comfort to the enemy, just like they did with their hyping of Abu Ghraib. Like throwing gas on a fire, these speculative news stories server to inflame the ire of those who hate America. Unlike the Marines, however, the media need never fear a court martial or other tribunal convened to punish their heedless actions.

I suggest patience, as I have done before. The truth will out. If there are guilty Marines, they will be punished. If they are innocent, they can return to their lives without having their good names dragged through mud and filth by an overzealous, anti-military media.

And that’s the appropriate response to these news reports.