Murtha Maintains He Was Right to Say Marines ‘Killed Innocent Civilians in Cold Blood’
December 11, 2008 - 4:58 PMAlthough all of the charges have been dropped against all of the Marines – except for one – involved in the killing of Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) said he stands by his May 2006 remarks that Marines involved "killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
“Yes, I think it was,” the right thing to say, Murtha told CNSNews.com on Wednesday. “That’s my job. My job is due. Listen, the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigation Service) came to exactly the same conclusion I did."
“They had a two-star general investigate it,” said Murtha. “General Hagee went over right after I spoke out and talked to all of the Marines in the field and said ‘you got to stop this kind of killing.’”
In November 2005, unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed in the town of Haditha in Iraq. While the investigation of several U.S. Marines allegedly involved in the killings was underway in May 2006, Murtha said during a press conference then that the Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”
He later defended his remarks on CNN and MSNBC.
Since then, all charges against the Marines involved – except for one – have been dropped (and in one case, it was an acquittal). Still, Murtha told CNSNews.com after his speech at the liberal Center for American Progress Wednesday, that it was right to make those comments.
Murtha declined to answer any follow-up questions from CNSNews.com on the subject of the Haditha killings.
Below is a transcript of the Dec. 10 interview with Murtha:
CNSNews.com: “Recently, all the charges were dropped with the soldiers involved in the Haditha event. You had been on TV with CNN and different outlets and you were saying that they were, quote, the civilians were killed in cold blood, end quote. But now that the charges have been dropped, do you think that was the right thing to say?”
Rep. John Murtha: “Yes, I think it was, that’s my job. My job is due. Listen, the NCIS (National Criminal Investigation Service) came to exactly the same conclusion I did. They had a two-star general investigate it. General Hagee went over right after I spoke out and talked to all of the Marines in the field and said you got to stop this kind of killing.”
CNSNews.com: “Do you think that –”
Rep. John Murtha: “I’m not going to answer any more questions on that.”