Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘marines’

Marines saving kittens

Posted by Richard on July 17, 2010

If you like cats and admire soldiers and Marines, have I got a story for you! Usually, I Can Has Cheezburger is where you go for a dose of "lolcats" — pictures of cats with amusing captions. It's for laughs. But this post isn't about laughs, although it should put a smile on your face:

Kittehs Kiki and Keykey have found a home in the midst of war. And it’s all thanks to three US Marines, Brian Chambers, Chris Berry and Aaron Shaw. They started a mission to help find homes for stray cats that they found while serving in Afghanistan. After finding Keykey injured by a c-wire, Berry took care of his wounds and nursed him back to health and the two of them have been best friends every since.

And now Keykey is living with Berry’s parents in Michigan while Kiki is living with Chambers’ parents in Texas and both are enjoying their new loving homes! Those Marines are definitely heroes in our book as is also the group of Royal Marines that started the organization called Nowzad in 2007. This organization rescues stray and abandoned animals in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Kiki and US Marine Brian Chambers
Kiki and US Marine Brian Chambers

Ooh-rah!

I Can Has Cheezburger got the story from Unique Scoop, which has additional information, along with lots and lots more adorable pictures. You've got to check it out.

After what seems like endless weeks of reading disappointing, depressing, frustrating, and angering news on the web, this was most welcome. Best story I've seen in forever. Made my week. Thank you, Jan!

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Another Haditha case dismissed

Posted by Richard on June 17, 2008

The government is now 0-for-7 on prosecuting the eight Haditha Marines:

In a move that prompted tears of joy from courtroom spectators, Military Judge Colonel Steven Folsom, USMC, this morning dismissed all charges against LtCol Jeffrey Chessani on the grounds of unlawful command influence. His opinion from the bench lasted an hour, and prosecutors were given 72 hours in which to notify him if they planned to appeal.

The charges were dismissed without prejudice.

Chessani was charged with dereliction of duty and orders violations for allegedly failing to investigate and report the "Haditha massacre" of November 19, 2005. He was the highest ranking officer to be charged in the well-publicized incident and would have faced dismissal from the service, loss of all retirement benefits and three years in prison had he been convicted.

LtCol Chessani's official 2006 Combat Fitness Report declared him "a superb leader, who knows his men, knows the enemy, knows his business," and recommended him for promotion.The reviewing Major General added, LtCol Chessani has "unlimited potential and value to the Marine Corps," and also recommended him for promotion.

The deaths of 24 Iraqis in the house-to-house, room-by-room battle created a firestorm of criticism both at home and abroad, including comments from Rep. John Murtha who claimed at the time that the Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood." Yet news that seven of eight original defendants have either been acquitted or have had the charges against them dropped has received scant attention.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center that was representing Chessani, said, "We are all grateful for the judge's ruling today. He truly was the "last sentinel" to guard against unlawful command influence." He added, "Tragically, our own government eliminated one of its most effective combat commanders. The insurgents are laughing in their caves."

Only one defendant, squad leader Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, remains. Wuterich, who faces voluntary manslaughter charges, has pled not guilty.

I'm betting that Wuterich will be acquitted or the charges will be dismissed. Maybe after that happens, John Murtha, Dennis Kucinich, Madeline Albright, Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, CBS, etc., will apologize to these men.

But I won't bet on those apologies. 

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Another Haditha Marine is exonerated

Posted by Richard on June 5, 2008

Charles Johnson aptly described the Haditha case as "The most ludicrous politically-motivated prosecution of US soldiers in the nation’s history…" I've blogged about the case before, most recently in March when Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum was cleared. Now, another defendant has been exonerated:

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A military jury acquitted a Marine intelligence officer Wednesday of charges that he tried to help cover up the killings of 24 Iraqis.

Cheers erupted as the seven-officer panel cleared 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson, who was the first of three Marines to be tried in the biggest U.S. criminal case involving Iraqi deaths linked to the war. The verdict came just five hours after deliberations began.

Grayson's attorney, Joseph Casas, said he believed the verdict could influence pending prosecutions.

"I think it sets the tone for the overall whirlwind Haditha has been. It's been a botched investigation from the get-go," he said. "I believe in the end all of the so-called Haditha Marines who still have to face trial will be exonerated."

Prosecutors did not make themselves available for comment.

That means six of the eight men originally charged have now been vindicated. As I said in March, "This travesty has already gone on far too long." The fools who continue to pursue this bad joke of a case ought to finally take the hint and drop the charges against the only remaining defendants, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich of Meriden, Conn., and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, of Rangely, Colo.

And I'm still waiting for Rep. John Murtha to apologize for calling his fellow Marines "cold-blooded murderers."

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More Haditha charges dropped

Posted by Richard on March 29, 2008

The government has dropped all charges against yet another Marine accused of killing civilians at Haditha in 2005:

The case against Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum, 26, of Edmond, Okla., was dropped as jury selection was about to begin for his court-martial. The government has been seeking Tatum's testimony against the squad leader, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich of Meriden, Conn. [Editor's Note: Haditha Marines still need your help! Click here now.]

In addition to two counts of involuntary manslaughter, Tatum had been charged with reckless endangerment and aggravated assault. Tatum's attorney, Jack Zimmerman, said there was no agreement with the government before the dismissal.

''Absolutely, there is no deal,'' he said.

Zimmerman said Tatum would testify if called as a witness in future trials but that he would testify as a neutral witness, not a government witness.

Four enlisted men originally faced multiple murder charges. Tatum is the third to have all charges dismissed. Two of the four officers charged with failing to investigate have also been cleared. (See also my July 2007 post about the case.)

This travesty has already gone on far too long. The "evidence" that the Marines shot unarmed civilians consisted chiefly of "eyewitness statements" by Iraqis who were clearly insurgents, probably insurgents, family of insurgents, or intimidated by insurgents, and whose stories were contradictory and not credible.

The all-day battle was documented in detail by Maj. Frank Dinsmore, an intelligence officer, with UAV video, radio transmission transcripts, and reports from everyone involved up and down the chain of command. The investigating officer at the Article 32 hearing (equivalent of a civilian grand jury proceeding) found the prosecution's case against these men without merit and Dinsmore's evidence compelling, and he recommended that all charges be dropped. The government ignored that and tried to prevent Dinsmore from testifying.

As far as I know, Rep. John Murtha still hasn't apologized for calling his fellow Marines "cold-blooded murderers." Mainstream media outlets that prominently covered news of the "atrocity" and editorialized against it have never retracted or corrected what they said (except for Time magazine, which had to retract several parts of their original story, but AFAIK never apologized for accusing these men of war crimes). And despite losing at every turn, the government persists with the case.

One of the defense attorneys estimated that legal fees for each defendant will be around half a million dollars. If you'd like to help with those, go here. I don't know how they're supposed to get their reputations and the last three years of their lives back.

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Schumer slanders Marines

Posted by Richard on September 6, 2007

The Democrats have long insisted that they really do support the troops, that they have nothing but respect and admiration for the troops. Oh, yeah? Wednesday on the Senate floor, Sen. Charles Schumer labeled the Marines in Anbar province incompetent and said they're part of the problem, not the solution. And he insulted Iraqis, too, dubbing the tribal sheiks who are cooperating with us — the men President Bush met with on Labor Day — "warlords."

Duane Patterson has a 5-minute clip from Schumer's speech, but here's the money quote (emphasis added):

And let me be clear, the violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from al Qaeda said to these tribes we have to fight al Qaeda ourselves. It wasn't that the surge brought peace here. It was that the warlords took peace here, created a temporary peace here. And that is because there was no one else there protecting.

Patterson observed that "Not only is Schumer calling the American military incompetent, he's calling them liars, as well," and offered relevant quotes from Generals Petraeus and Simmons.

But you don't have to take the generals' word for it. Over at the Outside the Wire blog, JD Johannes has a short clip of LTC Valery Keaveny, one of those inept Marines in Anbar who actually talks with and fights alongside the tribesmen Schumer claims we couldn't protect. Johannes, a former Marine, director of the Iraq war documentary Outside the Wire, and independent war correspondent, added his own observations:

I've been on missions with tribal fighters. I've broken bread with them. I've asked them why they started standing up against Al Qaida and the insurgents.

The answer always involves the brutality of Al Qaida. Never once have I heard an Iraqi say they turned on Al Qaida because the coalition could not protect them from Al Qaida.

Which brings us back to LTC Keaveny's point. If a former insurgent is now working with the coalition–how is it possible the joined he joined the Awakening for protection from Al Qaida.

The second major error in Schumer's revisionist history is that he is trying to rewrite a claim no one should be making–that the surge caused the Anbar Awakening.

The Awakening started around this time last year–way before the surge was ever announced.

Schumer isn't just lying about Anbar and the Marines, though. He claimed that we've just been "pushing on a balloon" and that the improvement in Anbar was offset by a worsening situation in "many other provinces." Bunk. Check out the metrics at The Victory Caucus, especially the map showing attacks per day per province. One, Baghdad, has 51. Three others are in the low 20s and one averages 15. Another six range from 1 to 7. The remaining seven provinces average zero (0) attacks. So Baghdad accounts for a third of the violence, and four of the eighteen provinces account for fully three-quarters of it.

While you're at TVC, check out the Info and News links for more stuff you won't hear on the evening news. Then sign the Stand by the Mission petition.

UPDATE: There is no coherent theme underlying Schumer's opposition to the mission, it's just gainsaying — throwing out whatever comes to mind and hoping some of it sticks. The U.S. failed to protect the Sunni tribes from al Qaeda, he now claims. But until very recently, he and his pals insisted strenuously that al Qaeda wasn't present or was an insignificant factor in Iraq, an administration fiction to divert attention from the "civil war" between Sunni and Shia. And since these Sunni tribesmen were previously fighting us, not al Qaeda, the idea that we let them down is just nonsense. 

UPDATE 2: Rush made a good point today (Thurs.): Since forever, Schumer and other Democrats have argued that the Iraqis need to step forward and take responsibility for their own security. So when the Iraqis in Anbar successfully do that, Schumer sees it as a bad thing. This nonsense on stilts.  

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Investigation clears Marine

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2007

Remember the Haditha Marines? The media covered the charges in a frenzy, calling it the worst atrocity of the Iraq war. Time magazine called the three enlisted Marines accused of shooting Iraqi civilians "symbols of a war gone bad," and Congressman John Murtha called them "cold-blooded murderers." Four officers were accused of covering up the "atrocity."

Well, the first Article 32 investigation (analogous to a civlian grand jury investigation) of one of the accused murderers has concluded, and the investigating officer recommended dismissal of the charges against Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt. A previous Article 32 investigation of one of the officers, Capt. Randy Stone, also recommended dismissal of charges.

Defend Our Marines has tons of information about the Haditha case and related matters. Gateway Pundit quoted the Fox News report, adding emphasis and editorializing a bit, and then asked what I assume is a rhetorical question about those who had so loudly trumpeted the charges:

The conclusion of the investigation was reported on Tuesday.
FOX News reported:

An investigating officer has recommended dismissing murder charges against a U.S. Marine accused in the slayings of three Iraqi men in a squad action that killed 24 civilians in the town of Haditha, according to a report.

The government's theory that Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt had executed the three men was "incredible" and relied on contradictory statements by Iraqis, Lt. Col. Paul Ware said in the report, released Tuesday by Sharratt's defense attorneys.

"To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and sets a dangerous precedent that, in my opinion, may encourage others to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of the Marine Corps and mission in Iraq," Ware wrote. (Ya think?)

… 

Do you suppose any of the media outlets will beg forgiveness for slandering this marine?

One of the problems with this kind of conflict and enemy is that it's difficult at best, and often impossible, to determine who is a "civilian." The enemy aren't "soldiers" wearing uniforms and marching under a battle flag. They can be shooting or planting explosives one minute and unarmed "civilians" the next. Or the "civilians" could be the family members, lookouts, and logistical support for the people doing the shooting.

I'm sure there are some bad apples among U.S. troops doing things for which they should be punished.

But I'm also certain that the Islamofascists, who've beaten us badly in the public relations war, have long been encouraging their partisans to bear false witness against U.S. troops in order to erode public support for the mission.

I'm just wondering if Rep. Jack Murtha and the others who aided and abetted our enemies in this matter cynically did so as a tactic to erode puplic support, or if they're merely what the communists used to call "useful idiots"?

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