Defend Our Marines -The Few The Proud The Expendable

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The Few, the Proud…the Expendable

March 4, 2007

Wonder how the search for the leaker is going?

You remember. Back in early January, the top-secret investigative report on the Haditha incident was dropped off at The Washington Post. Defense attorneys screamed bloody murder until General James Mattis ordered the Inspector General’s office to investigate. So far, no progress has been reported.

Meanwhile, over in Iraq, a commander has noticed something. Marines are well-aware that their decisions will be second-guessed. Marines no longer trust that their commanders will care of them. Who can blame them?

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In 2006, when Time magazine accused the Haditha Marines of murder, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani stood up for his men and was promptly relieved of his command.

It’s important that The Washington Post leaker be found because his motives must be revealed. But that was far from the only leak in this case. Just asked Cpl. Hector Salinas.

A month before charges were filed in the Haditha case, on November 21, 2006, National Public Radio reported that five Marines were about to be charged: LCpl. Justin Sharratt, SSgt. Frank Wuterich, Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, and Cpl. Hector Salinas.

A couple weeks later, on December 6, 2006, The New York Times repeated the same list of men who were, according to an unnamed Marine official, about to be charged.

But when charges were finally announced on December 21st, Cpl. Salinas was not charged. No explanation or correction was ever offered and the corporal’s name is still out there on the web.

Is that leak being investigated as well? Inquiries to the media center at Camp Pendleton about this forgotten leak have gone unanswered (as have inquiries to NPR and The Times). I can only imagine the stress this cost the corporal and his family.

Then there’s Lieutenant William Kallop. When the first whispers about a Haditha investigation began, his wealthy parents immediately hired a platoon of lawyers and a PR firm, ready to do battle (for Kallop personally, not his men).

Kallop was not charged with so much as a minor offense despite being the senior officer on the scene at the time of the incident.

Are young Marines without lawyers and PR firms stamped “expendable”? That seems to be the bitter lesson learned.