Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Verdict First; Investigation Later

That seems to be the way that Haditha is being covered now. Mary Katharine Ham has excerpts from the way that Chris Matthews is just salivating over this story and she notes how the media is quick to throw in comparisons to My Lai and then use their own references as the framework for the story.

If the story, as has been leaked to the press, turns out to be true, all Americans will be horrified and those responsible will be prosecuted, convicted, and punished. But, let us not decide the verdict in the media before the investigation is complete. As Time Magazine reported, the military is doing a very thorough investigation that has impressed the residents of Haditha.
Belated as the investigation was, the residents of Hay al-Sinnani say they were gratified by its thoroughness. That there have been three separate enquiries suggests the U.S. military “want to get at the truth,” says Walid Abdel Khaliq, the doctor of the Haditha morgue where the victims' bodies were taken.

They were especially impressed by the NCIS investigators. “They must have visited the houses 15 times,” says Khalid Raseef, a spokesman for the victims' kin and uncle of Emaan and Abdel Rahman Waleed, the children who lost almost their entire immediate family in the massacre. The investigators “asked detailed questions, examined each bullet hole and burn mark, and took all sorts of measurements. In the end, they brought all the survivors to the homes and did a mock-up of the Marines' movements. It was a very professional investigation.”
As Michelle Malkin writes in her column today, politicians like Representatives John Murtha and John Kline are doing the country a big disservice by going out in the press and stating the conclusions before the investigation has concluded. I understand, as former Marines, both men must be heartsick at the thought that Marines may have targeted civilians in a revenge episode. But, when the investigation is not yet complete, it does no one, except those who wish the American military ill, to go on TV broadcasting your own verdict.