Patterico's Pontifications


Was Murtha Briefed on a Completed Report Before He Spouted Off About Haditha?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Terrorism,War — Patterico @ 10:23 pm

I have sent this e-mail to Jamie Gold, the L.A. Times Readers’ Rep:


A recent L.A. Times story on the alleged Haditha massacre (Probe Finds Marines Killed Unarmed Iraqi Civilians, May 26), says that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) was briefed by Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee before Murtha went to the press to denounce the killings:

Hagee briefed key congressional leaders on the upcoming report. One of those, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a retired Marine colonel, said later that Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

Are you sure about this?

Murtha made his comments on May 18. Hagee briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee two days ago, on May 25. If Hagee briefed Murtha before May 18, I can’t find any evidence of it.

Can you check to make sure the assertion in the article is correct?


Patrick Frey

As I have already said, the truth of the allegations is paramount — and if they are true, someone needs to be executed. But it’s still a valid (if minor) question whether Murtha spouted off before the report was completed. The L.A. Times makes it sound as though it’s clear that the report was done, and Murtha was fully briefed, before he said a word. Maybe he just got ahead of the news cycle, in other words.

It’s possible, I guess. But I’m not so sure.

I’m interested to see if there is anything factual to bear this out, or whether the paper simply made (yet another) mistake.

I’ll let you know.

Bloggers Win Apple Appeal

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Court Decisions,General — Patterico @ 1:36 pm

Bloggers won the Apple appeal yesterday in a California appeals court. (Via Howard Bashman.) Bloggers in California are now entitled to the protections of the state’s shield law (and the First Amendment too! go figure), and can keep their sources confidential just like “real” journalists.

Props to Calblog‘s Justene Adamec, and to Jeff Lewis of SoCalLawBlog, who has more here, including the text of the decision. Congratulations also to the members of the Bear Flag League who helped Justene and Jeff write the League’s amicus brief in the case.

And keep those tips coming!

Yeah, That Guy Sounds *Perfect* for Congress!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:12 pm

The L.A. Times has endorsed a Congressional candidate who once spoke of the “so-called Holocaust.”

P.S. So has the San Francisco Chronicle.

A Turning Point?

Filed under: General,Terrorism,War — Patterico @ 11:39 am

We often hear about “turning points” in the Iraq war. As far as public sentiment goes, this may be one — and in the wrong direction:

Photographs taken by a Marine intelligence team have convinced investigators that a Marine unit killed as many as 24 unarmed Iraqis, some of them “execution-style,” in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha after a roadside bomb killed an American in November, officials close to the investigation said Friday.

The pictures are said to show wounds to the upper bodies of the victims, who included several women and six children. Some were shot in the head and some in the back, congressional and defense officials said.

I tend to agree with Dafydd ab Hugh on this one: I’d like to see the results of the investigation released publicly before we come to any firm conclusions. We’re still relying on reports from anonymous government officials.

But if these reports are substantiated (and you sure get the feeling that they will be), the guilty individuals should be tried, and if convicted, executed. Swiftly. I think there is some merit to Dafydd’s idea that “those convicted should be hanged and the rest of the Corps forced to stand at attention and watch.”

UPDATE: The always indispensable Allah says:

I meant to post about this last week when Murtha was making the rounds but I got caught up in other things. Yeah, it’s awful and par for the course that he’d pronounce the Marines guilty before the investigation is complete; and yeah, no one’s surprised that he’d exploit the incident to promote a pullout. But it rubbed me the wrong way to watch righty bloggers go ballistic on Murtha while dismissing the underlying allegations with a perfunctory “these are serious charges.” I’m not accusing anyone of not caring, mind you; this is Hot Air, not the Daily Dish. I’m just saying that it’s bad form to kill the messenger when serious malfeasance might be afoot. Not unlike how lefties reacted to the Swift Vets, to take a more benign example.

He has his usual thorough round-up of links.

I agree with all this, except that it doesn’t appear to me that Murtha “pronounce[d] the Marines guilty before the investigation is complete.” From a recent L.A. Times article:

[Marine Commandant Gen. Michael] Hagee last week briefed key congressional leaders on the upcoming report. One of those, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a retired Marine colonel, said later that Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

If Murtha was briefed before he made his statements, then righty bloggers who slammed him were wrong to do so. I’m not a fan of his, but I don’t see any fault on his part in this incident.

UPDATE x2: Then again, it is the L.A. Times. Perhaps we should question whether they got this detail right. Here is a story saying the Senate Armed Services Committee was briefed two days ago, on May 25. Yet Murtha made his comments on May 18. Did Hagee brief Murtha before May 18?

UPDATE x3: I can’t find any evidence that Hagee briefed Murtha before Murtha made his accusations. I’ll have to write the Times Readers’ Rep and ask if they’re sure about this.

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