From Defend Our Marines….

Thanksgiving, the uniquely American holiday that heralds the beginning of the joyous Yuletide season, also marks the beginning of another year in the Twilight Zone for the families of a diminishing handful of Marines accused of murder and cover-up in Iraq.

In the dawn of November 19, 2005, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich and a small band of infantrymen under his command set out on a routine mission. In Marine Corps parlance Wuterich’s 12-man squad was on a resupply run, a daily occurrence in every combat operation. An hour into it they were hit with an ambush that left one of their number dead and two wounded. In the year that followed, eight of the Marines became casualties of lies and distortions so extraordinary they reshaped the way military justice is perceived.

On this Thanksgiving day, four Marines, two officers and two enlisted Marines are the last untreated casualties of the attack. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, 44, soon to be the father of six children, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, 27, the father of three little girls, 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson, 26, a feisty Ohioan denied a Bronze Star for his alleged role in covering up the incident, and Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, 26, a quiet Marine from Oklahoma who distinguished himself repeatedly during two combat tours in Iraq, all face prison time, huge legal expenses, and emotional scars that may never completely heal.

Four other Marines, including former Lance Corporal Justin Sharratt, from Pennsylvania, Captain Lucas McConnell, a rugged Annapolis grad and brilliant company commander, Captain Randy Stone, a promising Marine Corps lawyer personally recognized by President George W. Bush for his exemplary service, and Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz, a Marine who felt compelled to turn on his brothers, have been either exonerated or had their charges dismissed.

Forces of darkness enjoy selves

On the other side of the battle line is Congressman John Murtha, the king of pork from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a retired Marine reservist and chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee. The 16-term Democratic Congressman is the vocal opponent of Bush’s Iraq policies who publicly accused the Marines of cold blooded murder.

Before he quit condemning the Marines in public Murtha variously said he learned of the alleged murders from former Marine Corps Commandant General William W. Hagee, command debriefings, and/or Time magazine reports. The reports Time cited were written by Tim McGirk, an ambitious reporter who now runs the Jerusalem bureau of Time Magazine. McGirk wrote the inflammatory March 19, 2006 report that accused the Marines of murdering 24 innocent Iraqi citizens that triggered the debacle.

Working to prove Murtha’s allegations of behalf of the aroused media is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (as uncovered by Chickenhawk Express, the former-employer of Murtha’s policy director, Gabrielle Carruth) as well as a platoon of Marine Corps reserve lawyers called to active duty to prosecute their brothers-in-arms.

Somehow or other, the 40,000-page confidential NCIS investigation found its way into the hands of the Washington media before it was received by the attorneys preparing to defend the Marines. So did the names, ages, and hometowns of Marines “about to be accused” just before the Thanksgiving holiday last year.

Now, after two years of accusations, denials, legal motions, unchecked human emotion, and endless drama, the costs are mounting to unimaginable heights while the public generosity that paid much of the defendant’s endless expenses is waning.

There’s more at the link – much more. These Marines have been accused (and I might add tried and convicted in the enemedia and by Murtha and his traitorous compatriots. If you can, please contribute to their defense fund. They are having to fight a battle in the courtroom that they never should have had to fight. In my opinion, the government, when these men are exonerated, should have to foot the bill for the honorable Marines’ defense. It’s not right that they should be fighting to keep their heads above water financially because of the whim of a traitor in Congress.