Meriden native and U.S.M.C. SSG Frank D. Wuterich will begin the process of defending himself as his Article 32 hearing begins at Camp Pendleton, CA this Thursday. SSG Wuterich ia accused of unpremeditated murder in the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha, Iraq, after a roadside bomb attack killed a member of his squad.
On November 19, 2005, SSG Wuterich was leading 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. They were transporting Iraqi army soldiers at a checkpoint in Haditha when his convoy of Humvees was hit by an IED, killing one Marine. The Marines encountered a car full of military aged Iraqi men lingering by the bombing site. Suspecting them of participating in a common multi-tiered attack, the Marines engaged and killed them. The convoy then took fire from a group of houses, and the Marines did a systematic sweep of the enemy, house to house.
Iraqi witnesses tell of a massacre of innocent Iraqi men, women and children, unarmed, and in many instances begging for their lives. The Marines say they followed the rules of engagement in eliminating the enemy, and civilians were an unfortunate part of the casualties that day.
SSG Wuterich and his fellow Marines were defending themselves that day. Civilians die, and that is unfortunate, but that is the nature of war. Wuterich never concealed the fact that civilians died. It is entirely possible that there was misjudgment on the part of the Marines, but evidence has not corroborated the Iaqi version of an intentional, gratuitous massacre of innocent people. That didnt' stop liberal politicians such as John Murtha from exploiting the event and characterizing American soldiers as wanton killers.
SSG Wuterich is a married father of two, and is responsible for paying for his own defense. If you are interested in supporting him, go here: http://www.frankwuterich.com/