During a press conference held on May 17, 2006, Rep. John Murtha accused U.S. Marines of having murdered at least 30 Iraqi civilians "in cold blood" the previous November. He claimed that the Marines "actually went into the houses and killed women and children."
Murtha's accusation was widely repeated in American and international media during the crucial period when Iraq was trying to form a new government. Murtha claimed to have received his information from senior U.S. commanders. A Los Angeles Times article titled "U.S. Marines Slaughtered Women, Children" reported that Murtha had been briefed by Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee. However, Gen. Hagee's office denied that Murtha had been briefed on the matter prior to his May 17 press conference.
Here is a compilation of Murtha's accusations against the Haditha Marines.
On December 21, 2006, eight Marines were charged with crimes related to the events at Haditha. Defend our Marines is the best resource for the trials that followed:
Eight Marines were originally charged. Evidence of a massacre never materialized, and the original reports by the news media, and Congressman John Murtha, have been thoroughly discredited. Every Marine was cleared of charges of murder and cover-up.
Charges were dismissed against five Marines. The sixth was found not guilty on all counts in courts martial. A Board of Inquiry found no misconduct in the LtCol Chessani case. SSgt Wuterich pled guilty to a single count of negligent dereliction of duty.
John Murtha never apologized to the Marines he wrongly called mass murderers.