Haditha Update: LCpl Tatum’s Article 32 Day 1

16Jul07 is day one of LCpl Tatum’s Article 32 investigation. Given the success that Cpl Sharratt had with LtCol Ware as his Article 32 investigator, it appears that LCpl Tatum’s lawyers are using a similar tactic:

  • Use of deadly force was the proper response
  • LCpl Tatum was following the orders of his superiors
  • In retrospect LCpl Tatum wishes civilian would not have been killed, but he stands by his decisions on that day
  • LCpl Tatum did what he was trained to do and now he is being charged with murder

The prosecution has its own theme: accountability. The trial counsel, LtCol Atterbury, stated “Marines have to be held accountable.” LtCol Atterbury presented rules-of-engagement cards, that were supposed to be distributed to LCpl Tatum’s unit. The cards require a Marine to positively identify targets as having hostile intent before using deadly force. The prosecution also put on SSgt Laughner who testified under a grant of immunity. SSgt Laghner testified that he did not find evidence of insurgents at the two homes, but he did find shell casings from AK-47 rifles.

The Article 32 will continue for a number of days, to guess about five. The prosecution will try to overcome the difficulties it had during Cpl Sharratt’s case, wherein LtCol Ware criticized the prosecution for failing to have a theory and questioning the veracity of the Iraqis who called were called as witnesses.



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