The New York Times relayed the breaking news that all charges have been dismissed against the battalion commander of the Marines who killed (not “in cold blood”) 24 people in Haditha, Iraq, on November 19, 2005:
Col. Steven Folsom dismissed charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani after finding that a four-star general overseeing the case was improperly influenced by an investigator probing the November 2005 shootings by a Marine squad in Haditha.
”Unlawful command influence is the mortal enemy of military justice,” Folsom said. ”In order to restore the public confidence, we need to take it back. We need to turn the clock back.”
Chessani, of Rangely, Colo., was the highest-ranking officer to face a combat-related court-martial since the Vietnam War.
The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning they can be refiled, but Folsom barred Marine Forces Central Command from future involvement in the case.
The latest dismissal leaves only Marine SSgt Frank Wuterich to possibly face court-martial for voluntary manslaughter. Two weeks ago, LT Andrew Grayson was fully acquitted and all charges against the six other Marines involved were previously dismissed.
Looks like I’ll soon have to make another 45-minute drive to Congressman John Murtha’s office in Johnstown to help him look for the words of apology he can’t seem to find.