My successful defense of Staff Sergeant Wuterich in the Haditha, Iraq, war crimes case continues to be the subject of inquiry, review and hand wringing. As early as 2007, I along with the rest of the Wuterich defense team realized that Wuterich was not the shooter in the houses and had not killed any women and children. The evidence was clear from the statements and the forensics. It was confirmed when we deposed the three survivors in the murder houses. Yet prosecutors, commanders, Congress, Rumsfeld and the president (Bush) persisted in pushing the case forward against Wuterich while immunizing the killers.Now a report from the DoD discussed in a NY Times article suggests the system of prosecuting war crimes allegations should be changed to shift responsibility to theater commanders rather than the service to which the alleged perpetrators belong. Perhaps that is a good idea and perhaps not but it has nothing to do with Haditha. It misses the mark on what happened in this case and fails to consider a number of variables that deserve consideration.
No one spoke to me or any member of the defense team before preparing the report. They are still litigating Haditha to figure out why they could not get any convictions. What they fail to understand is that the defense was more competent, better prepared, and more honest about the evidence. It does not matter who was prosecuting the case. When they immunized the killers to get them to rat on their squad members, they were destined to lose the case.