The 2005 Haditha massacre as it came to be known in the media was portrayed as a tale of military murder and cover-up in which 4 Marines infantrymen and 4 Marines in the chain of command were accused of the out of control murder of 24 noncombatant innocents and a subsequent military cover-up. Congressman John Murtha a former Marine called the incident cold blooded murder.
United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani, battalion commander, is the highest-ranking officer to face a combat-related court-martial since the Vietnam War was accused of failing to investigate the 2005 shooting deaths of the 24 Iraqi civilians.
On Tuesday, June 17 Col. Steven Folsom, presiding as the military judge over the case against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, ordered the charges dismissed after finding that General James Mattis then commander of both the Marine Corps Forces Central Command and the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton was improperly influenced by Col. John Ewers who was an investigator and witness in the case.
Gen. Mattis approved the filing of charges against Chessani. The General has since been promoted and serves as commander of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and of U.S. Joint Forces.
The Political influence in this case goes as high as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and possibly even the President.
Col. Folsom’s watershed ruling found that Col. Ewers, acting as legal adviser to Gen. Mattis, should not have sat in on meetings and discussions along with generals who have overseen the case. That degree of participation by Ewers, who also investigated the killings in the city of Haditha, Iraq, irreparably tainted the decision to charge and prosecute Lt. Col Chessani, Folsom ruled.
Col. John Ewers, a military lawyer took Chessani's statement regarding the 2005 incident, and later became a top legal adviser to Gen. Mattis and also sat in on briefings that helped Mattis decide who would be charged.
Gen. Mattis testified he never talked with Ewers about Haditha, although Ewers was present during a number of legal meetings where Haditha and Chessani were discussed.
Military policy prohibits Ewers from offering legal advice in such meetings because he also was an investigator in the case.
Six of the original eight Marines have had their cases either dismissed or have been acquitted of all charges leaving only Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich to face trial and theMarine Corps has announced that it is appealing Col. Folsom’s ruling that dismissed dereliction of duty charges against Lt. Col. Chessani, who was accused of failing to investigate the 2005 shooting deaths Iraqi civilians.
The whole Haditha incident is reported to be a hoax reported by Time magazine’s Tim McGirk who was fed anti-American propaganda by al Qaeda insurgents to create anti-Americanism at home and abroad.
Lt. Col. Chessani is considering suing Congressman Murtha for libel because Murtha in an overthetop accusation accused Chessani and his men of murder and cover-up.
The Bush administration seems to be looking to war against terrorism within Islamic states without offending Muslims which will only continue to result in needless deaths of American military and the cold blooded killing of honorable military careers!