Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., confronted by Jason Mattera of Young America’s Foundation (Photo:

A young activist confronted Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., near a Capitol Hill elevator yesterday, pressing the anti-war congressman on whether he would apologize for accusing U.S. Marines of murdering innocent civilians in a November 2005 incident at Haditha, Iraq.

With the case continuing to unravel, Jason Mattera of the Young America’s Foundation was captured on tape questioning Murtha, reports .

Now that charges have been dropped against two of the four Marines accused of murder, Mattera asked, “would you like to issue an apology for saying they killed innocent civilians in cold blood?”

“Is the trial still going on?” Murtha asked repeatedly as he made his way to the elevator.

After entering, the lawmaker made sure Mattera stayed out of the elevator.

“Do you like besmirching our troops, sir?” Mattera asked.

“Have you been in the service?” Murtha retorted. “I enlisted in Korea, and I enlisted in Vietnam …”

As the doors closed, Mattera is heard saying, “You accused them of murdering innocent civilians in cold blood. That’s something that would come from Al Jazeera, not a congressman, sir.”

In May 2006, Murtha claimed, citing military sources, a Pentagon investigation showed U.S. Marines at Haditha “overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

Since then, the Marine Corps has dropped charges against two of the four men accused of murder in the case, and an investigating officer has recommended dropping charges against a third.

Yesterday came news that charges have been dropped against Capt. Lucas McConnell, one of four charged with failing to properly investigate or report the circumstances surrounding the killings.

Another of the accused Marines, Col. Jeffrey Chessani, says he will sue Murtha once he’s completely cleared.

Murtha also was confronted at a National Press Club news conference Monday by Jeff Gannon, a regular of the White House press corps who left amid scandal two years ago, noted the Gateway Pundit blog

GANNON: In May 2006, you said that Marines killed innocent Iraqis citizens in cold blood at Haditha. A year later, some of them have been exonerated. At some point are you going to apologize to these men?

MURTHA: The trial’s not over yet.

GANNON: You’ve spoken out before. You went on national television and called these men “cold blooded killers.”

MURTHA: The trial’s not over yet.

The Hill newspaper said when Murtha answered, he was “reddening slightly in the face.”

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Previous commentaries:

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Muttering madman Murtha

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