-- Singing the same tune as The Nation, The New York Times spilled a flood of front-page ink on the case and took things a step further in a lead editorial blaming not just President Bush, but also top Pentagon brass for the "nightmare" killings in Haditha. Times reporter Paul von Zielbauer filed over 30 stories on the case, which the paper wishfully called the "defining atrocity" of the Iraq war.
-- Hoping to facilitate a self-fulfilling prophecy, media tools around the world likened Haditha to the Vietnam War's most infamous atrocity -- from The Guardian ("My Lai on the Euphrates?") to the Daily Telegraph ("Massacre in Iraq just like My Lai") to the Los Angeles Times ("What happened at the Iraqi My Lai?") to The New York Times' Maureen Dowd ("My Lai acid flashback") and the Associated Press, which reached into its photo archives to run a 1970 file photo of My Lai to illustrate a Haditha article.
-- And, of course, there's the permanent stain left by the slanderous propaganda of Rep. Murtha -- the stab in the Marines' backs heard 'round the world: "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
Relatives of the Haditha Marines have called for Congress to censure Murtha, who cuts and runs to the nearest elevator when questioned about the Haditha dismissals. He and the Haditha smear merchants have skated while the men and their families suffered global whippings on the airwaves and eternal demonization in print. Whose "culture of impunity"?