Gen Mattis' order for a dismissal follows the recommendation of the investigating officer in LCpl Sharratt's Article 32. A similar decision is expected in the case of a second Marine, charged with dereliction of duty, Capt. Randy W. Stone.
LCpl Sharratt had been charged with murder for his actions against the enemy in Haditha, Iraq.
On November 19, 2006, the Marines of Kilo Co., 3/1, were caught in a complex ambush in Haditha. At the end of the day's action, one Marine was dead and eleven wounded.
The next day, insurgents (using techniques from the jihadist handbook) made a videotape of the aftermath and accused the Marines of wanton murder.
The insurgents' evidence was used as the basis for a cover story in Time magazine. Seizing on the opportunity to erode support for the war, Congressman John Murtha went on a media offensive against the Marines, declaring them to be vicious, cold-blooded murderers.
Today's exoneration of LCpl Justin Sharratt is the first step in officially establishing the truth about what happened in Haditha.
Contrary to claims by Congressman Murtha and the media…
The Marines were under fire that morning. Numerous witnesses at the hearings have testified to that fact. Haditha was a complex ambush that resulted in one Marine dead and eleven wounded.
Marines did not overreact. LCpl Sharratt and his squad mates (Cpl Salinas and SSgt Wuterich) protected women and children from harm as they pursued suspected insurgents armed with AK-47s. One Marine particularly reviled in the press, Sgt Dela Cruz, took prisoners that morning and retained an incredibly cool head in a hostile environment.
There never was evidence of a massacre. Murtha and the media reacted because they wanted Iraq to have an incident as gut-wrenching and divisive as My Lai.
Photographs, which Murtha said were the only proof needed, only showed the tragic results of insurgents fighting among civilians.
A defamation lawsuit was filed against Murtha on behalf of SSgt Wuterich. The Department of Justice is shielding Murtha with the claim that he was doing his duty as a congressman. The suit is on appeal.
Talk Show America 8/16/2007