Blurtha in the Crosshairs

Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha has been a man on a mission — to single-handedly take down the Marine Corps and maybe all of DoD. 


Blurtha, as he’s known at “Inside the Headquarters,” has engaged in more than one petulant rant. He can make any tragedy worse, and that takes skill. It is one of his most infamous statements about Marines’ actions during an incident in Iraq that might have him in court defending himself against accusations of libel and defamation of character.

His comments in May 2006 followed a briefing regarding actions at Haditha, Iraq, that left 24 Iraqis and one Marine dead. Blutha blurted publicly, “There was no firefight. There was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” The M-word (massacre) followed in the court of public opinion. Eight Marines were charged.

The man who wants his day in court — on the offense this time — is Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, USMC, the battalion commander at the time of the incident. His case was dismissed in June when the judge ruled there had been unlawful command influence.

Events surrounding Haditha are as complex as the legal structure surrounding the GITMO (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) detainees. Most of the cases have been dismissed; one trial remains. But attention has turned to that powerful member of Congress — the once-revered, silver-maned, retired Marine Corps colonel who has seemed angry and vindictive in recent years.

What happened?

Though possibly no one knows for certain (except Blurtha), we hear his vendetta against DoD goes back to an earlier round of Base-Realignment-and-Closure Roulette — and he apparently lost. He has gone from one known as a friend of defense to unreasonable opponent, taking out targets of opportunity along the way.

Will Chessani and the other Marines become as bitter and embattled as the veteran from Pennsylvania?

The “blurt watch” continues.

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