On Jan. 13, 1898, famed French author Emile Zola wrote a defense of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French army officer, who was falsely charged with giving military secrets to the Germans in a horrendous miscarriage of military justice. Zola began his defense with the phrase "J'accuse."
The Dreyfus case was an example of a politically inspired witch hunt by a government determined to punish an innocent soldier with a stellar combat record on trumped-up charges and Zola rose to the man's defense, exposing the sleazy anti-Semitic campaign to condemn a fine officer on false evidence simply because he was Jewish.
Today another government, ours, along with other entities, is engaged in a similar politically inspired witch hunt, and this time the targets are seven United States Marines with heroic combat records who are now charged with murder and other offenses simply because they fought valiantly in a war liberals hate.
Like Zola, I am outraged at this miscarriage of justice:
I accuse all those who have for more than a year made life a living hell for a band of courageous United States Marines to whom the American people owe a great debt.
I accuse them of creating a mass hysteria over a tragic incident without having a shred of genuine proof that these Marines had committed any atrocities in the midst of combat.
I accuse them of refusing to make even the slightest effort to investigate the claims of the Marines that they acted appropriately.
I accuse the government of conspiring to convict innocent Marines of the crime of murder on the basis of one of the most sloppy and biased criminal investigations ever conducted by an investigative agency.
I accuse certain elements in the Pentagon of consistently leaking false information to members of Congress and the media in an effort to blacken the reputations of seven United States Marines as well as the United States Marine Corps itself.
I accuse them of finding these heroic Marines guilty months before they've been given a chance to acquit themselves in legal proceedings.
I accuse Time magazine of rushing into print with a story charging that members of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines deliberately slaughtered 24 innocent Iraqis in retaliation for the death of one of their fellow Marines without either bothering to learn or simply ignoring that their principal sources were known insurgent propagandists, anti-American Iraqis or those fearing for their lives if they failed to say what the murderous al-Qaida thugs who controlled the city of Haditha wanted them to say.
I accuse Time of cowardice for refusing to question the Marines involved because Haditha was too dangerous, thus denying the Marines an opportunity to tell the real story of what happened on Nov. 19, 2005 in Haditha, Iraq.
I accuse Time Magazine of running stories so sloppily researched that the magazine was forced to issue retractions four times, yet continues to insist that the accused Marines are murderers without making a single effort to get to the real truth.
A Time story on May 28, 2006 stated that: ". . . One morning last November, some members of Kilo Company apparently didn't attempt to distinguish between enemies and innocents. Instead, they seem to have gone on the worst rampage by U.S. service members in the Iraq war, killing as many as 24 civilians in cold blood."
I accuse the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the BBC and the rest of mainstream media of misinforming the world. In hundreds of news stories, the national and international media reported that a massacre had occurred in Haditha and compared the killing of 234 civilians to the murder of hundreds of civilians in Mai Lai, South Vietnam. They continue to do so today, as just a quick glance at Google's Haditha pages will show.
I accuse the mainstream media of refusing to seek out the real facts in the case, facts available to any conscientious reporter willing to find them, and in instead, relying on leaks from anonymous sources with their own axes to grind, and the information these biased sources supplied most of which was untrue or wildly distorted.
With all of the vast resources available to them they were unable to get to the truth which NewsMax was revealing from the very beginning. Instead, they simply ignored the facts NewsMax published in story after story, month after month, all of it based on solid intelligence data made available to me.
I accuse the media of trying to convict real men, heroic United States Marines, of unspeakable crimes when the facts show they lived up to the highest standards of that storied band of warriors that day in Haditha when they faced armed insurgents determined to kill them.
I accuse the mainstream media of deliberately ignoring facts favorable to the defendants during the Article 32 hearings of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani and Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt. In Sharratt's case explosive evidence that proved his innocence beyond doubt and resulted in his being cleared of all charges by the hearing officer, went unreported by the majority of reporters covering the hearing.
I accuse the mainstream media of having a vested interest in seeing the Marines convicted of false charges and of doing everything in their power to bring about convictions and ignore acquittals such as Sharratt's.
I accuse the conscienceless demagogue Rep. John Murtha of branding the Haditha heroes as cold blooded murderers in an obvious effort to buttress his vehement anti-Iraq war campaign and advance his a political career.
He told CNN's Anderson Cooper "This thing's been going on for six months. They knew the day afterwards that this wasn't accurate, the information that was being put out. They put off Time magazine. They were not open about this whole thing. And that's what frustrates me so much."
Cooper stated, "Again, the investigation is still going on. Couldn't it have been the fog of war? There was a military lawyer quoted in The Washington Post on November 19, who said that, day, November 19, 'was an unusually — it was an unusually violent day.'"
Said Murtha: "There was no hostile fire. There was nobody firing at our Marines. A taxi pulled up. They killed the people in the taxi. Then they went into the rooms and killed women and children."
Cooper then said, "There have been those who said you are politicizing this. You're jumping to judgment. The investigation's still going on. A man by the name of Ilario Pantano, a Marine who was accused with two counts of premeditated murder, charges which were later dropped, he wrote a letter to 'The Washington Post.' And he said, 'Not only is he' — meaning you, Mr. Murtha — 'certain of the Marines' guilt, but he claims to know the cause, which he conveniently attributes to a policy he opposes. Let the courts decide if these Marines are guilty. They haven't even been charged with a crime yet, so it is premature to presume their guilt, unless that presumption is tied to a political motive.'"
In their lawsuit against Murtha, the attorneys for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich stated: "As a direct and proximate cause of the publication of Mr. Murtha's statements, Wuterich has been, among other things, embarrassed, mortified, and humiliated before the general public and has suffered emotional distress.
"He may, in fact, end up facing prosecution in part, or in whole, because of the negative and false portrait of his conduct that Mr. Murtha has created. Wuterich's reputation as an honest, loyal, and caring soldier has been seriously harmed and will now always bear a stain of being associated with the Haditha incident due to the conduct of Mr. Murtha."
I accuse John Murtha of using the Haditha tragedy to further his political ambitions, and his power over the congressional appropriations process to intimidate the Marine Corps into following his deceptive lead in the Haditha case.
God bless the Haditha heroes and if you haven't yet contributed to NewsMax.com's Haditha Heroes fund, Go here.
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s.
He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee, which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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