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Don't Our Marines Deserve the Benefit of the Doubt?

Sean Hannity's exchange on FOX News' Hannity & Colmes last night sums up my emotions on the Haditha story:

HANNITY: Colonel Cowan, let me go back to you and let me get some facts on the table here.
Not one Marine has been charged with anything as of yet. We are now getting other information that, for example, that Brigadier General David Brahms, who was quoted as -- you know, as saying this is going to be worse than Abu Ghraib has said, "I'm sorry. Quotes attributed to me have been taken completely out of context, its meaning distorted. Many facts that are favorable to believe the Marines involved have not yet been disclosed in this particular case."
You know what's bothering me, Colonel? You know what? We're wrong on cases like Richard Jewell. We were dead wrong. Nobody thought we'd find Elizabeth Smart. We found her. We were wrong in that video that we had of the mosque where the Marine had to shoot and all these liberals politicized this war rushed to judgment.
COWAN: Right, right.
HANNITY: If anybody deserves a right to at least have their day in court, are we not going to give it to the Marines and not have people like John Murtha politicizing this war and accusing these guys of killing civilians in cold blood? Could we at least give this to the Marines that are risking their lives for us?
COWAN: We should, Sean. You know, John Murtha and John Warner, who's a U.S. senator, both of them former Marines, were both briefed on where these investigations are right now.
Senator Warner came out very carefully, very casually said this doesn't look good but we'll let the investigation continue, and we'll get the results when it's done.
In contrast, Senator -- John Murtha, Congressman Murtha, who I saw about an hour ago live on another news network, was extremely emotional about it to the point that he was really almost losing control. And, indeed, condemning and convicting these young Marines.
I expect, Sean, at the end of the day...
COWAN: ... we may find that some incident happened over there, but we will certainly also find that every Marine who was there did not participate in this, that anyone who was there, most of them did not want this to happen, and many of them reported it to their superiors.
HANNITY: Well, here's the problem, Bob, that I have. He said, quote, "They killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
We had John Kerry saying that our soldiers are going into the homes of Iraqis in the dark of night and terrorizing women and children. And similar comments such as this.
Do you remember the name Ilario Pantano?
BAER: I do absolutely.
HANNITY: A year ago, Bob, Ilario Pantano was charged with two counts of premeditated murder and other war crimes related to his service in Iraq. And he and -- he wrote this piece in the Washington Post. They painted him as he said as a monster, until an autopsy blew away this case out of the water and the Marine Corps dropped all charges against him.
You know, I don't know what evidence they have now, but nobody's been charged, and we don't know the facts. Is it not unfair for an American congressman to go out and say that these guys are killing innocent civilians like this in cold blood?
BAER: Oh, no doubt about it. And we've taken these troops and put them in the most dangerous part of the world ever, in years and years, in Anbar Province. And we have to find out what happened. Especially these guys...
HANNITY: Well, we do know one thing that happened. We do know that a bomb went off just seconds before. We do know that. We know Marines were killed then and Marines were injured there, didn't we? We do know that they were trying to find the people responsible.
And it angers me to some level to think that people can sit in their comfortable offices in Washington or in a studio without the facts and adjudicate this case like this.
BAER: I agree with you. But what intelligence did they have? Maybe somebody pointed this house out, and they kicked the door down and it was dark? You just don't know. And I agree with you. You've just got to wait. These guys...
HANNITY: They deserve the benefit of the doubt, don't they?

You're damn right our Marines deserve the benefit of the doubt. I watched the beginning of NBC Nightly News' broadcast on the Haditha incident last night and I felt sick, angry and depressed. I know this story has to be covered, I know that we have an obligation to the 99.99% of all the other troops in the field and to the American people to find out what really happened, and if there was wrong doing to punish the individuals who grotesquely crossed the line. But can't the story just be mentioned in passing or relegated to page A19 where they put all of the good news about Iraq and the economy, until at least the military finishes its investigation?

Why the urge to cover this story on the front page and lead your broadcast with it when no one has all of the facts? Who does that help? Don't our men and women who are putting their lives on the line for our country every day deserve at least that respect?