Theodore's World: Marine ....Ilario Pantano Speaks Out

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May 30, 2006

Marine ....Ilario Pantano Speaks Out

Mr. Murtha's Rush to Judgment
May 28,2006

A year ago I was charged with two counts of premeditated murder and with other war crimes related to my service in Iraq. My wife and mother sat in a Camp Lejeune courtroom for five days while prosecutors painted me as a monster; then autopsy evidence blew their case out of the water, and the Marine Corps dropped all charges against me.

So I know something about rushing to judgment, which is why I am so disturbed by the remarks of Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) regarding the Haditha incident. Mr. Murtha said, "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

In the United States, we have a civil and military court system that relies on an investigatory and judicial process to make determinations based on evidence. The system is not served by such grand pronouncements of horror and guilt without the accuser even having read the investigative report.

Mr. Murtha's position is particularly suspect when he is quoted by news services as saying that the strain of deployment "has caused them [the Marines] to crack in situations like this." Not only is he certain of the Marines' guilt but he claims to know the cause, which he conveniently attributes to a policy he opposes.

Members of the U.S. military serving in Iraq need more than Mr. Murtha's pseudo-sympathy. They need leaders to stand with them even in the hardest of times. Let the courts decide if these Marines are guilty. They haven't even been charged with a crime yet, so it is premature to presume their guilt -- unless that presumption is tied to a political motive.

Jacksonville, N.C.

Pantano served as an officer.... a Lt. and he was a Platoon leader. He served in the Persian Gulf War and most recently as a platoon commander in Iraq.

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More on Marine Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano

During the peak of insurgent violence in mid April of 2004, hundreds of Marines and soldiers were being killed and wounded throughout the "Sunni Triangle." Terrorists, captured while trying to recover a vehicle used in an earlier attack on the Marines, had given detailed information about a supply of weapons and terrorist hideout.

Marine Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano and his platoon were hastily dispatched to search. Their search revealed weapons, ammunition, mortar equipment, bomb-making material and two fleeing terrorists. In an ensuing search of the terrorists’ vehicle, Lt. Pantano, concerned for his safety and the safety of his men, shot them both in self defense and then disabled their vehicle so it could not be used in further attacks. He and his men went on to fight with distinction and honor in Fallujah and the surrounding areas and, when possible, aided in the reconstruction effort.

Marine Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano faced murder charge for his actions in Fallujah, actions that not only saved his life, but the lives of his men and, the lives of countless innocent Iraqi civilians.

Posted by Wild Thing at May 30, 2006 02:55 AM


Murtha is a disgrace he makes everyone guilty before anyone has even be charged.Can we question that fat bastards patriotism yet. all for political Gain.

Posted by: Jack Hamilton at May 30, 2006 05:04 AM

Murtha should be banned from the Marine Corp.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 30, 2006 09:40 AM

I’m so glad they dismissed the charges against this man. This is a prime example of when politicians, the media and Pentagon REMF’s convict you before a trial.

I sure wish their was something the Marines could do to dishonor Murtha. His convicting these Marines before even the investigation is complete is despicable and beneath the dignity of a Marine Officer and, in my opinion, doesn’t deserve the respect accorded a Retired Marine Officer

Posted by: BobF at May 30, 2006 03:21 PM

Bob I agree so much, I wish there was a way to take Murtha and strip him of being a Marine. He has broken the code of the Marines that should be enough right there. Ban him, kick him out...something to shame him....something.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 30, 2006 08:49 PM