It was touted as a major massacre, where innocent civilians were killed in cold blood by trigger happy soldiers.

The “massacre” was widely publicized, with news reports and pictures inflaming the public. Indeed, the news reports and pictures were deliberately manipulated by some as a way to influence public opinion against the regime that the soldiers were representing.

But when the case came to trial, the “evidence” fell apart, and most of the soldiers were acquitted, and only two given a minor punishment for lesser charges for their part in the killings.

Haditha? No, the Boston Massacre.

The one who represented the accused soldiers was no other than founding father John Adams.

Adams told the jury: “Soldiers quartered in a populous town will always occasion two mobs where they prevent one.” He argued that the soldier who fired first acted only as one might expect anyone to act in such confused and potentially life-threatening conditions. “Do you expect that he should act like a stoic philosopher, lost in apathy?”, Adams asked the jury. “Facts are stubborn things,” he concluded, “and whatever may be our inclinations, or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

So history repeates itself as today’s New York Times admitted:

“When you have an investigating officer like Ware, who says ‘don’t go there if you can’t prove,’” your case, Mr. Solis said, “we’re left with what appear to be very reduced charges.” He added: “He’s aggressive, and he seems to make his judgments without regard for anything but the law.

Without regard for anything but the law? Does that paper perhaps mean that military justice should be meted out according to Gallup polls rather than the evidence?

What is more disturbing is that, like the propaganda pamphlets against the British soldiers in the so called “Boston massacre”, there is increasing evidence that the inflammatory reports were  actually false, the facts being manipulated as anti American propaganda in a way reminiscent to the al-Dura case was manipulated to incite anti Israeli hatred.

In the Haditha case, the anti American propaganda was made worse by a political hack, Congressman John Murtha, who went on numerous news shows declaring the incident was a deliberate massacre, knowing that those involved in an active court case could not defend themselves.
Murtha’s motives are unknown, but as one that used to live in his district, I am aware that he didn’t need the publicity to be reelected.

I therefore suspect his motives were to further his bid to become Congressional Majority leader, hoping that the publicity as an anti war ex Marine would offset his negative factors, including his involvement in the Abscam scandal..

The irony is that, like the British soldiers defended by John Adams, the Marines will end up with minimum or no convictions, because they acted as soldiers are trained to act.
The bad news is that propaganda deluge has already done much harm to tarnish the reputation of good men, by a MSM who are looking to chronicle “important news”, (i.e. if it bleeds, it leads) not relate the dull facts.

Yet those of us with an internet connection who followed the trial at the North Country Times website were already aware of inconsitancies concerning the case.

Yes, the details were boring, but the details were available, as were bloggers with expertise who explained in detail the rules of engagement that are followed when armed enemies take refuge among civilians that they use as human shields.

And if one followed the blogs, one would know that  the story was brought to the attention of the media by an  “budding journalism student” who was 42 years old, and a human rights group that had two members with “insurgent” connections.
Despite the raging chorus of the wrathful MSM and the left wing  blogosphere that for months called the Marines murderers,  the dictum of our passions cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

Legally, the military refuses to prosecute a case where there is no adequate evidence that any crime had been committed.

But even the facts cannot stop the spin:

As Blackfive wryly notes:

It is plenty fair to look at the difficulties faced in gathering evidence to try and prosecute these men. It is low and shameful to fail to note that all charges were dropped against 5 of the 6 and maybe, just maybe that was because they were innocent.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

an earlier version of this was posted to Podkayne’s blog.

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