By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. lawmaker apologized on Tuesday to U.S. Marines under investigation in the deaths of two dozen Iraqi civilians in Haditha in a statement his office said spared him from a libel lawsuit.

Minnesota Republican Rep. John Kline, a retired Marine Corps colonel, issued a three-paragraph statement under a deal with lawyers for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, one of the Marines under investigation.

Wuterich’s lawyers filed a libel lawsuit against another congressman, Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, on August 2 following his comments on the case.

"Some news outlets have promoted incomplete statements attributed to me that gave the false impression that I have concluded those involved committed unlawful acts," Kline said in the statement provided by his office.

"I am, of course, very concerned regarding any allegations surrounding misconduct by U.S. troops in Iraq. Such allegations must be taken seriously, but we should never rush to judgment before all the facts are known and the military criminal justice process is completed," Kline said.

Kline added, "I want to express my sincere apology" to the Marines in the unit that was in Haditha last November 19.

Wuterich and several other Marines are suspected, but have not been charged, in the killing of two dozen unarmed civilians in Haditha, one of a series of incidents in which U.S. troops are suspected of killing Iraqi civilians.

Troy Young, Kline’s spokesman, said the statement stemmed from an agreement avoiding a libel suit by Wuterich. Mark Zaid, a lawyer for Wuterich, said "we are completely satisfied" with Kline’s statement.   



  1. I have not read all of his previous statements. BUT, if he accused our guys of being guilty before they were even charged, my loyalties lie with THEM, not him. No matter how he tries to save his political self at this point. Time will tell.

  2. Well, that’s great that he apologized! Hopefully he’ll think twice before he speaks next time.
    But, the damage has been done. The reputation of those Marines, the Marines in general and the US has been hurt once again because a select few have shouted accusations before having all of the facts. The seeds of doubt, distrust, contempt or what have you have already been planted, presumably around the world. An apology won’t undo that.
    If the Marines are cleared of wrong doing, I doubt the media or anyone else is going to make sure the world knows it. If they are found guilty, the press will most likely hang them out to dry.
    What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? I guess that doesn’t apply to our troops. Hmpf, it seems good is never credited to them, despite the fact that that is what 99% of them are trying to do.
    I’m with Mrs. Diva. My loyalty will always be with our troops first.

  3. I am glad for the apology, but it is sad that it had to be EXTRACTED from him. He’s only sorry because he got slapped. No honor in that.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have been writing to guys in Haditha for a long time and I just don’t believe it. Until the day they present me with INCONTROVERTIBLE evidence my Marines are innocent in my book. That crap flying around in the press just won’t do to convict.

  4. Hmmph.
    Where’s Murtha’s apology? Oh yeah, right…
    My loyalties are with my Marines, and my Military. Godspeed all and Semper Gratus.

  5. I’m with those Marines, and Corpsman.
    It will take a mountain of evidence (not terrorist supporting witnesses)
    to change my mind.
    I keep those men in my prayers.

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