Every once in awhile a case of government abuse comes along which is so egregious it brings to a boil the blood of people of conscience. The charging of Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani with serious crimes by the US government is just such a case. I beg you to read this all the way through, then ask yourself if you shouldn't do something about this.
It was Calvin Coolidge who spoke the quote in our title above, way back in 1920. He would spin in his grave if he knew about this disgraceful story of our government's betrayal of the very soldiers it places in harm's way. The US government is sparing no expense to convict one of the most effective combat officers in Iraq... on trumped-up charges... to satisfy the political ambition of a well-known congressman.
For twenty years Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani has been defending our nation, often away from his wife and children, so that we could be safely with ours. The US has ordered him to stand trial to please this powerful anti-war congressman and his allies in the liberal press. The Chessani trial will start on April 28, 2008.
The bogus criminal charges against Chessani were triggered by fierce house-to-house, room-by-room combat action taken by four Marines under his command after they were ambushed by insurgents in Haditha, Iraq in November, 2005. You probably recall hearing something about this.
General Thomas McInerney, former Joint Force Commander and Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, called the prosecutions of the Haditha Marines "despicable." He said "We cannot fight a war like that. We're not taking car of our own people."
The four Marines involved in this incident were members of the battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Chessani - the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines - one of the most decorated units in the Marine Corps. Lt Col Chessani is charged with failing to accurately report and investigate this incident. He faces dismissal from the Corps, loss of all retirement benefits, and years in prison.
Lt. Col. Paul Ware, USMC, a judicial officer who heard testimony in several cases involved in this incident had this to say: "To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and... may encourage others to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of the Marine Corps and its mission in Iraq. Even more dangerous is the potential that a Marine may hesitate (to act) at the critical moment when facing the enemy..."
The US Army conducted two independent investigations of the incident and both investigations concluded there was no "massacre" and certainly no cover-up.
Here's what happened. On Nov 19, 2005 at 7:15 a.m., a Marine convoy was rolling through Haditha, a terrorist stronghold. Suddenly, a roadside bomb was set off destroying a Marine Humvee. The powerful blast killed one Marine and injured two others. The bomb was a signal for a terrorist ambush to begin. The Marines immediately received fire from the terrorists who were shooting FROM INSIDE nearby civilian homes.
A four-man Marine fire team commanded by Chessani stormed two houses occupied by the armed insurgents, and in the ensuing gun battles killed at least 9 insurgents. A number of civilians who were in these same homes were inadvertantly killed. In urban combat where terrorists purposefully use civilians as human shields, civilian casualties are, sadly, not uncommon. That roadside bomb was also the signal for insurgency attacks throughout the city, which resulted in additional Marine casualties. Unmanned aerial vehicles video taped the action that morning in Haditha. The video clearly shows insurgents gathering their weapons and attacking Marines throughout the day.
Lt. Col. Chessani was responsible that morning for directing the combat response of approximately 2,000 American and friendly Iraq troops. He immediately reported the deaths of the civilian Iraqis to his superiors. Not one of Chessani's superiors hearing of the civilian casualties considered it "criminal." In fact, his superiors commended him him for a job well done.
Several months later, Time Magazine ran an inflammatory article, instigated by an INSURGENT OPERATIVE, accusing the four Marines of deliberately massacring innocent civilians. This set off a firestorm of political and media pressure which caused military brass to buckle. They assigned over 60 investigators to conduct a year-long, multi-million dollar investigation focused on Jeff Chessani and his four enlisted men! The absurdity of all this is that Chessani is charged with failing to accurately report and investigate a crime which the miltary already concluded never occured.
But a leading anti-war politician, Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, saw the Haditha incident as a way to assert pressure on President Bush to leave Iraq. Even if the congressman had to scapegoat innocent Marines in the process. Murtha appeared on the major tv networks and publicly accused the young enlisted Marines of "cold blooded" murder, and Marine officers of a "cover-up." Mind you, this was long before the investigations were completed. What is particularly mind-boggling about this is that Murtha himself is a decorated veteran of war and certainly must remember the uncertainties of close combat.
But why would the US military react so strongly to one man's opinion? Ah, now there's the crux of the matter. Congressman Murtha is head of the House Military Appropriations Subcommittee - a position with significant influence over the military pocketbook. Murtha, on the other hand, is the same person caught on tape negotiating bribes with Arab Sheiks during the FBI's 1980 Abscam investigation. He is an unindicted coconspirator in that case. Not exactly your white knight.
Chessani's background? The Lt Col has honorably served his country as a Marine for 20 years. He and his wife Alisa have 5 young children (2 to 9 years old) and a sixth is expected. He served three tours of duty in Iraq, including the Second Battle of Fallujah. He also served in Panama and in the First Persian Gulf War. He is a devout Christian with a deep sense of right and wrong. According to his official 2006 Combat Fitness Report, his superiors considered him a superb leader who demonstrated moral courage, with unlimited potential and value to the Marine Corps. He was described as one of their finer thinkers.
Are not the terrorists laughing in their caves at the US? One insurgent operative "plants" a magazine article in the liberal press, it's picked up by an ambitious anti-war politician who thought he could use the incident as a club with which to beat President Bush, thereby advancing his efforts to become the House Majority Leader, and the terrorists have eliminated one of America's most effective combat officers. Not to mention devastating the life and family of this patriotic Marine officer. This could affect our military for years to come.
Military prosecutors are doing everything they can to convict Chessani. He is the scapegoat they must convict to satisfy Murtha. The vast resources of the military are at their disposal. The number of military investigators is virtually limitless. The Marine command structure is mandated to cooperate.
To date, Chessani's legal expenses already approach a half million dollars. Thankfully, he is being defended, pro bono, by the Thomas More Law Center, a Christian legal defense organization to which I donate as I can. But they need more financial help. Their small staff of lawyers will need to file motions to dismiss these bogus charges. Motions to compel discovery which has been withheld from them. Motions to dismiss the charges based on unlawful command influence. They will be requesting depositions from several high ranking military officers and civilian officials, including congressmen, service department heads and others. And much more.
The courtmartial will take place at Camp Pendleton, CA. It will last several weeks. The Thomas More attorneys are former Marine Officers themselves. All are former Judge Advocates, and all are outstanding defense lawyers. They will need to set up headquarters at Pendleton with all the attendant expenses.
Regardless of how one may feel about the war in Iraq, Lt Col Chessani was in Iraq because his country sent him there. That's why he deserves the support of all Americans. Now is the time to show our gratitude and to express our contempt for the politics of personal destruction we see here. The consequences of failure here, not just to Chessani and his family, but also to our nation, demand that we do what we can to help Chessani and his legal defense.
George Washington's words are a somber warning for America: "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in war... shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars are treated and appreciated by our nation."
There are several ways you can help in this case. I hope you will do all three!
1) Send letters and e-mails to the offices of Pennsylvania Congressman Murtha expressing your feelings about his reprehensible actions in this case. All Congressmen's contacts are available on-line through simple Google searches. Emails to other government officials, even to the Marine Corps itself, as well as The White House and the Pentagon, asking for an immediate dismissal of these charges may also make an impression.
2) Donate whatever you feel you can to the defense of Lt Col Jeffery Chessani. $5, $10, $25, $50 or more. Every dollar helps. Your donations are completely tax-deductable. Donations may be made on-line at the More Law Center website (if the url web address isn't active, please copy and paste into your browser address field. These url's may be longer than the line width of this window):
If you want to learn more, here's the More webpage dedicated to this case:
If you would prefer to donate by check, include a note or memo on your check mentioning Lt Col Chessani. Donations may be made out to "Thomas More Law Center" and sent to:
Thomas More Law Center
24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
3) Please pass this along. Tell everyone on your e-mail lists to read this blog and to pass it along to others. The abuse of power shown by Congressman Murtha is despicable. Let us not take this sitting down. You needn't be a supporter of the War in Iraq to see the injustice to one of our own here. People of conscience need to fight back!
Thank you very much for whatever you can do.
It should be pointed out that after this trial, it is very possible that Lt Col Chessani and his men may themselves launch a civil suit against Congressman Murtha and other individuals for their blatantly unpatriotic behavior regarding the Haditha incident. Winning such a suit may be another legal mountain to climb because of the nature of the case and the governmental status of those being sued. Only time will tell.
DISCLAIMER: The writer of this blog is in no way officially connected to the Thomas More Law Center or any of its associates, nor to anyone connected to this trial or incident, but is acting out of personal conviction. The information contained above comes directly from the Thomas More Law Center's literature and other public sources.
The subject of America’s southern border has always been contentious. For decades, our politicians have prevaricated, pretended, stalled, connived and just plain lied to the citizens of America about their stands on the issue of border security.
Following is a condensation of the decades-old debate raging between our citizens (“CIT”) and our elected officials (Senators-Governors-Mayors-Congresspersons “SENGOV MAYCONG”):
CIT: So, Sengov Maycong, I see that you voted in favor of a border wall, but also in favor of providing benefits to illegal aliens. Isn’t that contradictory?
SENGOV MAYCONG: Well, no Cit, that's not factual. I'm in favor of giving a pathway to citizenship to those immigrants who have been in the US and are working and have not broken the law.
CIT: So, basically you're in favor of giving benefits to illegal aliens who have not broken the law?
SENGOV MAYCONG: Well, they are not illegal aliens, Cit, they are undocumented immigrant workers.
CIT: Undocumented immigrants? They've come across our borders by skirting the legal pathway. Isn't that by definition, uh... illegal?
SENGOV MAYCONG: Oh, just a technicality heh-heh-heh. But, Cit, they have come here looking for work... these are hard working people just trying to support their families, Cit.
CIT: So, you're in favor of giving benefits to illegal aliens but just to hard working illegal aliens?
SENGOV MAYCONG: Now you're trying to be clever, Cit.
CIT: Clever? First you say you’re for a border wall, increased security and deporting criminal aliens; then you vote in favor of sanctuary cities and benefits for illegals. You are lying to your constituents!
SENGOV MAYCONG: Now just a second!
CIT: ...Or is it that you vote for a border wall and tighter security because you know it’s a “safe” vote... you know in advance that your vote will have no effect on the outcome because you know the bill will not pass and you just vote yes for your re-election campaign. So your vote and your position are all fake.
SENGOV MAYCONG: (sputtering) That’s outrageous!
CIT: Is it? Are you not an elected official, a public servant? Let me emphasize the word "servant"... and let me remind you that it is I, a citizen of the United States, a legal one incidentally, who you were elected to serve. One of a majority of citizens here who don't want you to reward people who are here illegally. And this is not an interview, SenGov MayCong, this is a performance review. So far, sir/madam you are failing miserably. What about that is so difficult for you to grasp?
SENGOV MAYCONG: Look, you little pisher, we need these people to do the work you and your sports-and-iPod-and-Game-of-Thrones-sex-obsessed fellow citizens are too lazy or too damned proud to do. Who's going to clean your toilets and pick your lettuce?
CIT: What are you saying? Twenty million people came here illegally just to clean toilets and pick lettuce?
SENGOV MAYCONG (winking and poking CIT with his elbow): Hopefully not in that order - hahaha! But seriously...
CIT: There isn't enough freakin’ lettuce in the world for twenty million people to pick, SenGovMayCong! And while you have been stalling for decades, the number of “undocumented aliens” has ballooned to the point where it’s become impossible to actually do anything to fix it because their children are citizens who will vote for you and your pro-immigrant policies (big smiles of agreement from Sengov MayCong). Look, I know some of them are not M.I.T. grads, and most Americans can feel at least some sympathy for them, but just how many illegals does it take to pick a freakin’ head of lettuce? I hate lettuce. A lot of us would gladly give up lettuce if we could clean up this border mess and crack down on sanctuary cities. How about these illegals who are either in prison, driving drunk and killing Americans, or even raping and molesting our children?
SENGOV MAYCONG: Clearly these people don't belong here. But look, kid, you just don’t understand how things work. We all say we want the wall, or higher security or reform of our immigration policy. We say what you want to hear. It’s political rhetoric! None of us really want to change the way it is. If we wanted change, we’d change it! Democrats want the status quo for votes, liberal blocks and enforcers, Republicans want the status quo to appease their big corporate donors. Don’t you see? Everybody’s happy this way. It’s win/win/win.
CIT: Except our middle class. They have become cynical and nobody believes you guys anymore. The only thing you all are good at is making excuses for doing nothing.
SENGOV MAYCONG: Well, we are all against criminals entering the US, you can be sure of that.
CIT: Can we? When you look the other way, and allow them ALL to come here, not just the hard-working freakin’ lettuce pickers! You promised you would support building a wall, didn’t you? Look it’s right here in your voting record. But as soon as you’re elected you reneg on your promise. You always do.
SENGOV MAYCONG (laughing): There you go again. You're a real Charlie Brown, you know that? We hold that border wall football down and promise we won't pull it away... so you can kick it. And you fall for it every time. The border fence is just a football, don't you get it? Like the Middle East. Do you think any of us gives a camel’s ass about that giant litter box? It's just something we can beat the president over the head with. Don't tell me you haven't noticed how flat his head has become.
CIT: So now what are you going to do with all these non-citizen criminals and gangs and drug dealers and terrorists you invited into our country? Are you in favor of deporting them?
SENGOV MAYCONG: Yes. Absolutely. Well (ahem)... unless they’re going to vote for me.
CIT: Whoa! How can they vote if they're not citizens?
SENGOV MAYCONG: Oh, poppycock. It's just like those toilets they clean... if they can push the little handle down, why, they can vote. If they can touch the damn screen in the right place, as far as I am concerned they are fine upstanding Americans. One man, one vote (two if they are voting for me, heh-heh). Where does it say you have to be a citizen in order to vote Democrat? Where does it say you need to be a citizen to get a driver's license? Or to be an American for that matter?
CIT (scratching his/her head): Uh... in the Constitution? In the statutes of all 50 States?
SENGOV MAYCONG: The Consti-TOO-shun!? Ha! Get with the program, you sap, it's a "living document." We change the meaning of “is” on a whim. That’s what Federal judges are for. Remember, we didn't use to let blacks vote. Ha! Did you know that, smarty pants?
CIT: They’re US citizens! But you're in favor of allowing illegal ALIENS, citizens of other countries, to vote in the US.
SENGOV MAYCONG: As long as they vote for me. Duh! It’s who we are. It's the New World Order, Cit. We're an "inclusive society." Besides, how else could I possibly win an election?
CIT: I sure as hell wouldn't vote for you. You're unbelievable!
SENGOV MAYCONG: Unbelievable? I like the sound of that, thank you, Cit. May I quote you? I'll consider that an endorsement. Well, amigo, gotta go. I'm off to Mexico with my family... free vacation you know.
Posted by andyboy at 12/23/2007 02:20:00 AM