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August 23, 2007

Official Recommendation: Drop Charges against another Marine in Haditha case

ABSCAM Jack Murhta’s ‘cold blooded’ murder case continues to fall apart:

Investigating officer Lt. Col. Paul Ware said the evidence was too weak for a court-martial. Tatum shot and killed civilians, but "he did so because of his training and the circumstances he was placed in, not to exact revenge and commit murder," Ware wrote.

"I believe (Lance Cpl.) Tatum's real life experience and training on how to clear a room took over and his body instinctively began firing while his head tried to grasp at what and why he was firing," Ware wrote. "By the time he could recognize that he was shooting at children, his body had already acted.

The recommendation now goes to Marine Lt. General James Mattis. Mattis has already dropped charges against two other Marines based on similar recommendations.

Via Hot Air

UPDATE:
Having now read the whole report (pdf here), the paragraph most of the wire stories have pulled is a bit misleading without some context (shocka, I know).


The hearing officer is not saying Marines can indiscriminately shoot first and ask questions later.

The paragraphs pulled out of the report for the story relate to actions taken in the 2nd of two houses cleared that day. What the hearing officer is referring to is that LCpl. Tatum saw his team leader firing into a room and joined him in doing so without independently verifying the legitimacy of the targets for himself. In the eyes of the hearing officer, Tatum had a right to do so and in cases like that he is trained to automatically join in. Only once Tatum had time to evaluate for himself who the targets were, did he realize it was women and children but as noted, it was too late.

In the hearing officers opinion even if Tatum’s leader was wrong in his analysis of the threat (and this proceeding was not charged with determining that), Tatum had no duty to independently reach that conclusion for himself before firing and has no culpability if the other Marine was wrong.

After reading the report, let’s just say the articles missed several layers of nuance of what happened that day.

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posted by DrewM. at 09:12 PM

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