Defend Our Marines
grew out of activism on Free Republic and kicked
into gear when charges
were announced against the eight Marines on December 21, 2006.
On Christmas eve 2006, Freepers (notably jazusamo,
pinkpanther111, and lilycicero) took time to help organize support for all
eight of the Haditha Marines and their families. We gathered all
information possible about the accused (including
laudatory articles about Dela Cruz), and reached out to their lawyers
offers of help. By working together, we discovered that Sgt Dela Cruz
was represented pro bono by attorney, Daniel Marino. There was no
need to solicit support for Dela Cruz because he had free representation.
charges were dropped against Sgt Dela Cruz on
April 2, 2007,
there was uproar in the media and online that Dela Cruz had turned
traitor. Defend Our
Marines and Free Republic was the only sources to
congratulate and defend Sergeant Dela Cruz
for the thread on Free Republic).
both websites, we launched our "scorecard" that has since made its way all over the
A good deal has happened since then.
On May 9, 2007, Sgt
headlines around the world when he testified that he desecrated a corpse in Haditha by urinating on it. This
put the prosecution's star witness in the strange position of being the
only Marine to admit to a criminal act of vengeance in Haditha.
Admission of this
disgusting act may have been intended to make all the Haditha Marines look
deranged. If so, it backfired. Dela Cruz also admitted that it was a solo
act and no one else knew what he had done. This act will haunt him for the
rest of his life and he alone is responsible for it.
At LCpl Tatum's hearing
on July 17, Dela Cruz testified he'd been horrified when Tatum allegedly
said Iraq needed a good Old Testament-style smiting. Dela Cruz later attributed
similar statements to SSgt Wuterich.
Then, on September 1, Dela Cruz took the stand as the
chief witness against SSgt Wuterich. Defend Our Marines
contributing editor, Nat Helms, was there and his headline sums it up:
Prosecutionís star witness in Haditha case crumbles on the stand.
Originally, Dela Cruz had faced life in prison for the murder of five Iraqis
at a white taxi (SSgt Wuterich was also charged with killing the same five
men). At SSgt Wuterich's hearing, we learned details of the shooting (see
illustrations at right). Forensics suggested that it was Dela Cruz, not
SSgt Wuterich, who may well have fired the fatal shots.
Dela Cruz has done
a lot of talking about Haditha outside the courtroom as well. He was a
source for Leftwing director Nick Broomfield's film, Battle for Haditha
(Broomfield will not confirm this) and for Leftwing vet Jason Washburn, a
leader of Iraq
Vets Against the War.
It was within a story about Washburn's antiwar
hysterics that I wrote,
"Dela Cruz is one of
the sleaziest characters to emerge from the Haditha prosecution."
(yes, I was the "one
writer" that Chicago magazine mentioned.).
Actually, what I wrote was this. "Dela Cruz is one of
the sleaziest characters to emerge from the Haditha prosecution. And I
say that reluctantly. I wanted to believe the best of Dela Cruz and gave
him every benefit of the doubt" (The original post on Free Republic is
below and at the
Dela Cruz tells
Chicago magazine that he needs to talk about Haditha. Maybe he would
have been better off as a defendant. He might come to some
closure over his deplorable actions. As hard as the prosecutions have
been for the accused, six
at least have been fully exonerated and can move on with their
lives. Dela Cruz will have to spend
the rest of his life justifying his actions to himself and to others.
The main role for Dela Cruz is yet to come. He will be a key witness
against SSgt Wuterich at this court martial--whenever the prosecution
finally allows SSgt Wuterich to have
his day in court. Chicago
when it says that supporters have reason to be pleased because only
SSgt Wuterich still faces
charges. We won't be pleased (if that's even possible) until the
entire truth about Haditha is as well known as the distorted view
served up to a gullible public by the media and Congressman Murtha.
And I firmly trust that the truth will exonerate SSgt Wuterich.
Defend Our Marines and my
friends on Free Republic (a fraction of the whole community) were
right to defend Sgt Dela Cruz until the facts were known. And we're right now to say that he is simply not to be believed.
Defend Our Marines