(From CNN- Surprisingly)A Marine staff sergeant linked to the killings of civilians in Haditha, Iraq, is suing anti-war Congressman John Murtha for libel, his attorneys announced Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich accuses the Pennsylvania Democrat of spreading "false and malicious lies" about him and other Marines on media outlets, accusing them of intentionally killing 24 civilians and then covering the matter up, according to court documents.

A court document quotes Murtha, an ex-Marine, as saying on CNN May 19: "There was an IED attack, it killed one Marine, and then they overreacted and killed a number of civilians without anybody firing at them."

In a response to the lawsuit, Murtha said in a written statement "I don’t blame the staff sergeant for lashing out. When I spoke up about Haditha, my intention was to draw attention to the horrendous pressure put on our troops in Iraq and to the cover-up of the incident."

The troops are caught in ‘a tragic dilemma,’ Murtha said, and find themselves in a degrading situation, with civilian deaths totaling almost 14,000, a 60 percent unemployment in the country, and growing numbers of insurgents.

"This conflict cannot be won militarily. Our troops are caught in the middle of a civil war. It’s well beyond the time to redeploy from Iraq," he said, reiterating his signature theme.

Comments

  1. Yanno I bet that SSgt could use a few bucks to persue that suit. Anyone know of a fund that is for that purpose.
    I understand that one of the reasons for the suit is to force him to disclose what lead him to make those slanderous statements. But I hope that suit hangs him out to dry.
    Semper Fi SSgt

  2. I put down some of my ideas regarding this on the attached URL.
    I doubt he needs any funds for this suit; a lot of lawyers would take it pro bono, or on a contingency basis.

  3. It will be interesting to see how Murtha likes being in the hot seat. I wonder how much publicity this case will get. The bottom line is let the military do their job & it can get ugly. Continued support for our troops for a hard job they are doing for us!

  4. Perhaps publicity will depend on how well Murtha back-peddles.
    I really hope they hang Murtha out to dry. He has no business defaming the troops like he has, whether they’re guilty or not. It only hurts everyone in multiple ways.

  5. Murtha’s going to have some ‘splainin’ to do:
    “Among other things, the lawsuit seeks to smoke out the military officials who gave him the information on which he based his charge that Marines had killed innocent civilians.
    Asked about this in the interview, Murtha said the information came from Gen. Michael Hagee, the commandant of the Marine Corps, in a one-on-one conversation the day before Hagee made a trip to Iraq. Hagee did not use the term “in cold blood,” he added.
    Col. Dave Lapan, a Marine spokesman, disputed Murtha’s account.
    He said the commandant did brief Murtha about the Haditha incident. But he said that was on May 24, a week after Murtha made his public comment. The next day, May 25, Hagee left for Iraq, he said.”
    http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/15184222.htm
    Murtha is a lying, traitorous jerk.

  6. I have to laugh at this. For starters, Wuterich better find himself a minimally competent lawyer or publicist who knows the difference between libel (printed defamation) and slander (spoken defamation). These are often confused, but if he’s got a lawyer or p.r. person pushing a “libel” suit for what is actually alleged slander, then those people are idiots.
    Secondly, the law of libel and slander couldn’t be clearer. Wuterich will never collect a nickel because, even if there was defamation, it was aimed at a group and not Wuterich by name. You can’t defame groups, only individuals; the only way around it would be for Wuterich to argue that the members of his unit were so few that defamation of the unit amounted to defamation of each member. That is a VERY steep legal hill to climb, even in the most pro-military, knee-jerk Bushbot court in Texas.
    Finally, in defamation cases truth is always a defense. And when it comes to speech about political issues, the courts have always granted a VERY wide degree of latitude to political speech.
    Right-wingers should be grateful for that, or your “milblogs” would be bankrupt in a nanosecond for all the lies they tell.

  7. Have you noticed how careful news agencies are to say things like, the “alledged murderer”? There are past legal reasons for that, check it out.
    I don’t recall Bloviator General Murtha doing that.
    He made an absolute statement.
    With all your legal definitions of libel and slander (you will note I called it slander in the first post) you miss the point.
    That is of course always the way with moonbats. The main reason for this suit is not to gain money. It is to force Murtha to disclose the information he was passed, as well as other information.
    The government has been most uncooperative in providing the defense with this information.
    Further, the government has not informed them of actual charges.
    This is mainly a method, or effort to force disclosure. At least that way the defense knows what they are and how to prepare a defense.
    You are stewing in your own hate.

  8. You either didn’t read what I wrote or you didn’t think about it. I suspect the latter. So let me try again, but slower.
    The issue is defamation. If it’s spoken, it’s slander. If it’s written, it’s libel. Whoever is speaking for Wuterich confused the written form with the spoken form.
    It’s a trivial issue, especially when done by a layman. But if someone’s lawyer or publicist does it, then it’s just incompetence on display. Sort of like the Iraq War itself; you know, incompetence in the planning and execution, and an inability or unwillingness to adjust the plan as events changed.
    Now, to the issue of Murtha’s statements. He’s not required — nor is the media, by the way — to use the word “alleged.” If he had come out and said something like, “Wuterich killed X number of people in cold blood,” without using the qualifier, then he’d have been potential liable for slander damages. But that’s not what Murtha did. He referred to a group. You can’t slander a group, you can only slander (or libel) individuals. Don’t believe me? Then check it out for yourself. Google awaits.
    Wuterich’s lawsuit, if it ever actually reaches a court (as opposed to being nothing more than a press release), is likely to be summarily dismissed on grounds that it doesn’t meet even the minimal standards needed to allow it to proceed. If it does proceed, it’ll be quickly dismissed on grounds that Murtha was making a political statement and not a specific allegation against an identifiable individual.
    But hey, if you and any other right-wingers want to donate your beer money to the lawsuit fund, please do so. I’d advise you to check out the entity you donate to, because you’ll be sending your money to, a) right-wingers, and/or b) military charities, both of which have a piss-poor track record of financial honesty.
    This is America, my friend. You want to stand on the corner and burn $100 bills? I ain’t gonna stop ya.

  9. Not that I think the lawsuit has the slightest bit of merit, but I do wonder why Murtha is the only defendant. A Republican congressman, John Kline of Minnesota, was at least as harsh on the marines as Murtha ever was.
    Could it be that “One Marine” and his fellow “milbloggers,” and Wuterich, aren’t mad at the criticism at all but instead are just far-right-wing Republicans with a political agenda? Perish the thought!
    http://tinyurl.com/lmoz8
    Also, it’s a settled principle of defamation law that he who republishes a defamatory allegation is also liable for damages. So why isn’t Wuterich suing the newspapers and TV stations that carried Murtha and Kline’s allegations? Could it be that they know their lawsuit has no merit but are hoping to do nothing other than fire up their fellow right-wingers? And maybe even shake the money tree for themselves?
    And finally, Wuterich is a Marine Corps enlisted man. Who is paying his legal expenses for this highly questionable lawsuit?

  10. W.W. You are lying when you say the Marine blogs are lying. If you tried to be a Marine and didn’t make it,(there’s really no shame in that), don’t take it out on us and cloud the issue with legalese.
    Anyone know anything about a fund for the sailor?

  11. Have a couple of questions for “dub-ya dub-ya”. (Interesting choice of letters)
    1-Your position on the current conflict between hez-bo and the Israelis?
    2-Was the invasion of Iraq ALL about BIG OIL?
    3-Did President Bush, Rove, Rice and Cheney have knowledge of the 9-1-1 attacks before the first tower was hit?
    4-Were the Israelis aware of the 9-1-1 “plot”?
    5-Were Jews and Israelis told to not show up for work on 9-1-1?
    6-Fill in the blanks:
    Michael Moore is a____ American.
    George Soros is a ____ American.
    Just curious.

  12. W.W. I agree that you are stewing in your own self-hate. You need to feel better about yourself since you could be feeling lousy about yourself since you’re going from blog to blog spewing hate. One way to do this is buy a bunch of cool postcards and some stamps.Go to anysoldier.com,pick out some contacts and write something short like “Stay safe” or maybe “Thanks” (?)…(spare them your rhetoric, please) When you get back from mailing them at the post office you will get a better perspective, and feel good about yourself because life is too short for the good part of yourself to stay hidden.

  13. Beth, your questions are irrelevant. I could believe that Bush is actually the alien who landed in Roswell in 1947 (hmm …) and it wouldn’t matter as it concerns Wuterich’s baseless lawsuit.
    Karen I., you accuse me of clouding the issue with legalese. Wuterich has filed a lawsuit. I’d suggest that lawsuits and legalese go together like — what was it that Forrest Gump said? — peas and carrots. What would you prefer I do, give recipes?
    And Karen, I have given about $12,000 for soldiers in the field, including dozens of packages sent through Any Soldier. What in hell have you done other than stick a yellow ribbon on your S.U.V.?

  14. One other thing: Could it be that Wuterich, who along with others is in deep trouble and is probably very worried about it, is being cynically used by right-wingers with a political agenda?
    His lawsuit is laughable. It has no legal basis at all. It won’t help him one bit with his criminal trial. He and his squadmates have been pawns in someone else’s game from the very start, and they still are.

  15. W.W., I see this as more than just a legal issue. But since you are so good to anysoldier,I will gladly accept a new SUV complete with sticker (despite my environmental concerns) and if you have Gump’s cookbook could you please post his recipe for peas and carrots?

  16. Okay, if it’s more than just a legal issue, I have two questions. First, why pursue it with the legal equivalent of a wild pitch? Second, why is he going after only the Democrat when a Republican said the same things Murtha did?

  17. For a moment I felt sorry for WW.
    I though we should maybe take up a collection and buy him a dog. A dog would be an excellent companion and a source of satisfaction. It would love him without exception unconditionally and fill in that void that he has.
    But then I thought .. no wait what if.. WW is an athiest and also dislexic? He would see his new friend as god. That would upset him and we don’t want to do that.
    And then I thought again. I decided against it cause I don’t know any dogs I would inflict this on.

  18. My dog is sitting next to me as I type. In any case, jim b, do you have anything to offer other than personal attacks? Trust me, I am accustomed to them from the wingnut fringe, but I always find substantive debates more interesting.
    Could it be that I’ve so completely demolished your point of view that you can’t offer any response other than to kick and scream and stamp your little feet?

  19. MURTHA’S MISTAKE
    Rep. John Murtha, responding Wednesday to a defamation lawsuit filed by a Marine accused of killing Iraqi civilians in 2005, mistakenly said Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich had been “charged in the incident at Haditha.” In fact, no charges have been filed against anybody.
    Murtha quickly issued a new press release Wednesday deleting “charged” and describing Wuterich as leader of “the squad accused of killing two dozen civilians.” The lawsuit accused Murtha of spreading “false and malicious lies” about the sergeant in his May 19 statement which said Marines “killed a number of civilians without anybody firing at them.”
    Although Murtha has carried his western Pennsylvania district by landslide margins and was unopposed in 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry won it with only 51 percent. Diana Irey, a Republican county commissioner, is waging a vigorous campaign, and last week accused Murtha of “regular and willful misstatements of key facts.”
    unopposed in 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry won it with only 51 percent. Diana Irey, a Republican county commissioner, is waging a vigorous campaign, and last week accused Murtha of “regular and willful misstatements of key facts.”
    http://townhall.com/columnists/column.aspx?UrlTitle=boltons_new_backers&ns=RobertDNovak&dt=08/05/2006&page=2
    Someone’s butt is hanging way out, and my condolences to your dog.

  20. The truth comes out. This has nothing to do with a lawsuit, nor does it have anything to do with a defamation claim given that the action was filed against Murtha only.
    It’s all about right-wingers using a scared marine in custody as a tool in a political campaign. You people will stop at absolutely nothing to advance your agenda.

  21. “It’s all about [right-wingers] using a [scared marine in custody] as a tool in a political campaign. You people will stop at absolutely nothing to advance your agenda.”
    Just out of curiosity, if the bracketed words in the quote were slightly changed to say “left-wingers” and “grieving mother”, would you think this was an appropriate statement to make about the Democrats and Cindy Sheehan?
    It’s obvious that WW isn’t going to be convinced by any of the rest of us, and I suspect he is fully aware that he isn’t going to win anybody over either, especially if he is a troll like another person noted. I’m not surprised.

  22. Unlike the batshit crazy, left wing fiberals, us conservatives support our Military Warriors whether they are accused of something or not.
    They fight for our liberty, and they damn well deserve the benefit of the doubt, and they are to be presumed innocent, unless proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty.
    Murtha, and his fellow bloodsuckers have gone out of their way to condemn these Marines and Sailor of cold blooded murder, before the investigation is over, before charges (if any), and before a trial and verdict (if any).
    Murtha and his ilk should be shunned and shamed by all Americans and treated like the traitorous scum that they are!
    Murtha and his terrorist loving lemmings are aiding and abetting the terrorist scum, and stabbing our Marines in the back.
    History will remember their treachery, and so will the Almighty, who they’ll have to answer to someday.
    In the meantime, rest assured, we Patriots will do all we can to expose cowards like Murtha, and take their influence and power away.

  23. Hey Ben, how come you only mention Murtha when Rep. John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota, said the same things? If you don’t care about Kline’s comments, then your claims to detest the “fiberals” (gotta love that one — did you invent it yourself?) are phony and you’re nothing more than a cheap politician who would exploit a scared marine to advance your politics.
    In which case, if you’re searching for traitorous scum I advise you to look in the nearest mirror.

  24. Obviously, you don’t keep up on the news, WW.
    Kline has also received a letter, like Murtha, demanding a public apology, on the 4th of Aug., or be sued.
    Your theory of the right wing exploiting the Staff Sgt., is not supported by facts.
    Unlike moonbats, I can care less whether a politician call himself a Republican or a Democrat or anything else.
    I judge politicians, and anyone else, based on what they say and do.
    Since this post is about Murtha, and since Murtha has sought out every talk show he could find to spread his propaganda and guilty verdict, it’s clear that Murtha has had far more negative impact, and free publicity, than Kline. Which is why I responded to what Murtha did, and those that support his agenda.
    But, since your asking, yeah, Kline is a dirtbag too, and he and Murtha better publicly apologize, loud, and often.
    I’m equal opportunity…
    I detest asshats of any political pursuasion, especially when they start talking shit about our Heroes, who are putting their lives on the line, for morons who are quick to believe the worst about them.

  25. The two of them said the same things. The right-wing crazies went after Murtha because he’s a Democrat and let Kline off the hook because he’s a Republican. This shows that you couldn’t possibly care less about the issue itself or the marine in question, who to you is nothing more than a political tool.
    Oh, and by the way, Wuterich’s lawsuit will be laughed out of court. But hey, Ben, send your retirement check to the “legal” fund. I always love it when someone cons fools like you out of your money.

  26. Well, I was asking a perfectly rational question. I’m not sure why my attempt to simply point out the flip side of a controversy draws the accusation that I am unscrupulous, so perhaps I should elaborate on my comments earlier.
    My point was that the same statements can easily be modified to describe either political party and their issues, and that nobody is going to change their mind no matter what is said on both sides.
    So I found the responding personal attack interesting. I may as well address WW directly since yes, the initial question was provoked by your postings. Did you not consider the possibility that I had no underhanded reasons to ask you that? I honestly was curious to see whether you would answer yes or no, and why. Perhaps I am unusual, but I thought it would be interesting to see what you thought on an entirely different angle of the discussion, especially because so far you have seemed to enjoy posting your viewpoint. And of course you aren’t required to answer the question (and didn’t), but why respond at all in that case? I was not saying you supported Cindy Sheehan. I asked if changing the statement would make it an appropriate comment about, ultimately, the Democrats. I wasn’t even using the remark to attack you or liberals. (For all you know, I could be just playing devil’s advocate!)
    So my question still stands. Its purpose is merely to provoke some rational thought 🙂

  27. W.W.- Please have my new SUV and my Gump’s peas and carrots recipe delivered ASAP. You did write “Okay” or are you trying to create the first lie on a Marine blog?Also, you think the Murtha lawsuit is over-the-top and a huge mistake but you want a similar lawsuit against Kline. To your way of thinking, wouldn’t that just be making two mistakes instead of one? Also, you jump to conclusions sometimes. I am not a lady with an SUV…yet, and Ben is no fool.
    Thankyou for your service, Ben.

  28. Hey ya’ll dubya, dubya’s a nut. Let’s ignore his rants and get back to the business of supporting the work of the men and women in uniform and let him move onto another site. If we ignore him… he may just go away… get some sleep…take his meds.. get dressed and go to work. Etc.

  29. WW,
    Honey, is sitting in front of your computer and writing blog comments all that you do?
    Is the negative feedback from the milbloggers you work so hard to piss off the ONLY attention that you get?
    Are you a little lonely?
    You miss the point completely about the lawsuit against Murtha, and since you’re set in your tunnel vision perception of things, why bother to explain what’s really going on there.
    However, it is my opinion that Murtha is guilty of treason and should be prosecuted for his actions. We are at war and just because you disagree with the reason for going to war does not give you or Murtha the right to commit treason. If you will read up on what “fourth generation warfare” is you will see that Murtha is aiding the enemy, and doing a damn fine job of it.
    So now, I’m sure you’ll come back at me with a tirade on just what treason is because I’m pretty sure you believe you’re the only person who understands the law.
    And finally, I have to say it. Just fracking bite me you little weasel! (Is that enough hate to give a little boost today? (wink))
    Everyone else, have a great day and thanks to everyone who supports the USA and her warfighters.
    Capt B: keep up the good work big Marine!!!
    Sam
    .
    .

  30. What a freaking mess this whole debate is…I am NOT going to condemn a marine, soldier or any civilian for suing another based on libel or slander.
    Personally what makes me mad is when some lady puts coffee between her legs and milks a couple of million out of McDonalds…or the mother who sued a furniture store for a rambunctious toddler running around…the woman’s arm was broke, she sued the store and won…and the toddler? He belonged to the mom who broke her arm…That is crazy…
    Rules of debate…
    If you resort to name calling and bashing…you have no more argument. You LOST!
    If you cannot stick to the facts…you have no argument. You LOST!
    LOL…

  31. Um, I’m joining this hootenanny a bit late and am sorry I wasn’t around for the first few rounds if you know what I mean. Seems as if WW has had his snoot in his cup for a while.
    He had a couple of decent “technical” points in his first post re the legal aspects re defamation, libel and slander and how hard they are to prove in court. Fair enough. But, whatever value he added was wiped clean by his other comments.
    Sam West, I’m with you dear. WW’s a jerk and noxious to boot. Mutha’s a big numbnuts and his naked ambition has been shown for what it is: “SEMPER I.” This will not fly as a political strategem no matter how many company or field grade officers, NCOs and enlisted watchstanders it hurts or how many military careers it ruins. He will not be successful climbing the congressional leadership parapet on the shoulders and backs of the Marines he has defamed. Americans of both parties have a nose for chickenscat and unbridled political opportunism. And, they don’t like it much.
    Samantha, Karen, Beth, Laura, I’d be happy to have you on my six any day. You women “get it.”
    SEMPER FIDELIS
    Note that Semper is Latin for “ALWAYS.” John Murtha should take note of this definition.

  32. Also, you think the Murtha lawsuit is over-the-top and a huge mistake but you want a similar lawsuit against Kline. To your way of thinking, wouldn’t that just be making two mistakes instead of one?
    I think ANY lawsuit is nothing but a political stunt, and several posters have essentially agreed with me. My point isn’t to urge that the nutcases add a name to the lawsuit, but rather to point out their willingness to take advantage of a scared marine for purposes of launching a partisan political attack against ONE of the TWO members of congress who told the truth about what happened.
    Michael, the commenter just previous to me, is a great example. He pisses and moans about Murtha the Democrat, and says nothing about Kline the Republican. This tells me that the comment themselves have nothing to do with Michael’s interest. If they did, he’d mention both politicians.
    The reality is this: Michael is hijacking the whole “Semper Fi” schtick — which isn’t phony when it’s real, but is incredibly phony when it’s not real — to get a bunch of whining idiots like the one who runs this website and his robotic followers to sign onto a phony-ass Republican slash-‘n-burn attack.
    I actually approve of every last one of you contributing your beer money to whatever scam artist is doing this. You won’t do Wuterich any good, but you’d at least give your livers a break.

  33. Alright W.W. you can stop the name calling and personal attacks. We have had enough of your crapola. Didn’t your mother teach you “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all!”
    Find something worthwhile to do such as supporting our troops at anysoldier.com.

  34. Willy,(WW)I thought that was you back here again. Where have you been? No trips with the nieces & nephews? How’s your health? Check Will out at…. willypolitical.blogspot.com willymsrant.blogspot.com willysnout.blogspot.com willytravel.blogspot.com
    Like I told you Willy, you’re way too unhappy, look around you, you’ve got so much to be thankful for. Focus on the positive – it will be good for your health.

  35. I am just curious if WW is a lawyer, has practiced law, or has passed any bar exams. If not, then his comments, while well researched, are nothing more than opinions. And, I would very much like to know what his definition of a “right-winger” is. Not the standard rhetoric, but what it actually means to him. And I would like to point out that the freedom he has to express his opinions are defended by the very military that he seems so critical of. And, I can see this as a clear case of slander and libel, as his words were spoken and written, without having obtained the truth about what he said. By directing his comments at the ‘group’, a group that was under Wuterich’s immediate command, meaning he was the responsible party, I believe he does have a good case. And, by God, I hope he wins. I also do not think this case is about money. It is about clearing the name of a competent and upstanding service member. That is priceless.

  36. Laura,
    Well said and diplomatic and with your usual grace.
    Everyone,
    One another note, I have decided to send AnySoldier.com $2 for every address I request. I’ll send the payment via PayPal once per week. Marty won’t require payment for the addresses and I certainly understand why, but his organization has to have money to exist and it’s WAY TOO important to let it be at risk.
    I challenge every AnySoldier.com supporter to do the same. If you can’t do $2.00 then try $1.00. Every little bit helps raise the moral of our Marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen and Coast Guardsmen and lets them know that they are appreciated and cared for.
    We have to work hard to undo all the crapola that people like WW spew.

  37. Three words. OH MY GOD!
    My father served our country for 19 years putting his life on the line as a US Navy Aviator, fought in two separate wars, flew F4U Corsairs on missions they were never designed to perform, survived three separate ditching in the South China Sea. My daughter is at this very is moment serving our country as a United States Marine, has volunteered repeatedly for duty in the Sand Box and is truly disappointed every time the Corps sees fit to send her elsewhere.
    And why? So that individuals like WW can have the freedom to express their opinions, regardless as to how contrary they may be to some of us. And God Bless him. We need guys like WW. Surely with the enlightened guidance of the likes of WW, Hilary Clinton and Michael Moore, “right-wing nut cases” such as ourselves will eventually be saved despite our unreasoned willingness to remain ignorant.
    You know WW…. why don’t you take your imposing skills as a creator of irrelevant rhetoric and offer your services to Hillary’s speech writing team? I find her current rants to be growing rather stale and puerile.
    I am sure you could turn that state of affairs around with stunning expeditiousness. Why are you wasting your superior talent and intellect attempting to bait us poor “beer swilling, cynical crazies” into rational discourse that we simple lack the capacity to understand?

  38. An update from Karen I. She decided that W.W. would make a donation to MS in her honor rather than give her an SUV. (He didn’t say no.)

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