Saturday, November 19, 2005

Courageous Veteran John Murtha stands up to the Swift Boaters!

Congressman John Murtha doesn't need to be told about patriotism or the importance of supporting our troops. He knows about military service first-hand.

John Murtha as author on National Security

As summarized in his biography from his Congressional Website:
He learned about military service from the bottom up, beginning as a raw recruit when he left Washington and Jefferson College in 1952 to join the Marines out of a growing sense of obligation to his country during the Korean War. There he earned the American Spirit Honor Medal, awarded to fewer than one in 10,000 recruits. He rose through the ranks to become a drill instructor at Parris Island and was selected for Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia. He then was assigned to the Second Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In 1959, Captain Murtha took command of the 34th Special Infantry Company, Marine Corps Reserves, in Johnstown. He remained in the Reserves after his discharge from active duty until he volunteered for Vietnam in 1966-67, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He remained in the Reserves until his retirement.
The Brad Blog reports on the cynical manipulation of the Murtha resolution to get us out of Iraq by the GOP leadership which rewrote the resolution to an unacceptable "cut and run" statement.

Note the excerpt from the original resolution:
Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of American in Congress assembled, That:

Section 1. The deployment of United States Forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S. Marines shall be deployed in the region.

Section 3. The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.
And now here is the ENTIRE GOP revision:
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.

1 Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.
And this is supposed to be a repudiation of Murtha?

This is what Murtha said on Chris Matthews:
REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I've come to the conclusion, Chris, after visiting Iraq two months ago and listening to the commanders who say obviously what the White House wants them to say — but they don't say it with the enthusiasm.

And they talk about the problems they have. For instance, they told me that every convoy is attacked that goes to Haditha. And I was in Anbar province, which has Fallujah and Ramadi and the areas where they're highly contested.

He doesn't have enough troops to protect the border, so he can't complete his mission because he doesn't have enough people.

He told me none of the Iraqis were up to where they should be. All of them were C-3, which is the lowest state of readiness for the Iraqi units. And he says they only work three weeks out of the month and they go home for a week.

Then I came home and I looked at the report which we required in the Appropriations Committee, and that showed no significant progress at all. For instance, unemployment is 60 percent. Energy is below prewar level. Oil production is below prewar level. And we've become the enemy.

I saw a British poll reported in the Washington Times that said 80 percent of the Iraqis want us out of there. Then I saw a poll, which was confirmed by the Defense Department, 45 percent think it's justified to attack Americans.

Now I'm convinced, until we turn this over to the Iraqis, we're not going to have the success we need. I'm convinced since we've become the enemy, I'm convinced since the U.S. is doing all the fighting or doing most of the fighting, that we're not going to be successful.

The Iraqis are not going to tell the U.S. people where the insurgents are. There's not a great number of insurgents there. There was no terrorism before we went there. And I'm convinced terrorism will be reduced if we redeploy our forces.

Now, a lot of people are saying, "Pull out." They've got a resolution on the floor today — a ridiculous resolution — which calls for an immediate pullout.

No Democrat is going to vote for that. That's not what we're saying. We have what I feel is a very constructive resolution which gives a good proposal about how this war can be ended in a favorable way.

These troops have done a hell of a job. Chris, I go out to the hospital almost every week and I see these young men and women who suffer. I see them asking for nothing. I see them not complaining. I see them actually bearing up very well under the burden.

One young woman from Notre Dame, a basketball player, lost her right hand. She is worried about her husband, because her husband was losing weight worrying about her.

Another young fellow that lost both his hands and was blinded, and the only thing the family asked for that he get a Purple Heart. And the reason he wasn't getting a Purple Heart, because this happened with friendly ammunition.

He got his Purple Heart.

But I find out a lot from the troops that are in the hospitals. I find out what's need. They don't complain.

Only the Congress of the United States can speak for the soldiers. I think we need to change direction in Iraq. I think we need to redeploy our troops beyond the horizon.

This resolution they're going to introduce today calls for immediate withdrawal. That's not what anybody is saying. We need a thoughtful suggestion, a thoughtful resolution, which concludes this war as quickly as possible.

I see no progress at all that's being made. So I came to the conclusion, after almost a year of thought, that it had to be changed.

Now, we provide everything the troops needed. We've made sure they had all the equipment they needed.

When though they went into this war with not enough people for the transition to peace, they come into it with less than the number of people they needed, and also they came in without the body armor they needed, the up-armored Humvee.

They completely miscalculated the degree of resistance they would run into. State Department told them, CIA told them — they ignored that.

The former plan called for a lot more troops and they whittled it down because they thought they could win this thing on the cheap. They said oil would pay for this.

Now let's compare this with his father. His father had a legitimate coalition. He had 500,000 with 100,000 coalition troops. $60 billion — and I was chairman of the committee at the time — went through our committee, was paid for by the international community. Japan, Germany, France — all of these other countries helped pay for it.

He decided not to go into Iraq. He liberated Kuwait with the U.N. resolution and he decided, "I'm not going to go into Iraq." Why? He didn't want to rebuild it. He didn't want it reconstruct it and he didn't want to occupy it. He had an exit strategy.

There is no exit strategy. The path to victory — victory is not a strategy.

I sent a letter to the White House, Chris, in September of last year and I got an answer in May, saying what I suggested they ought to do.

They don't reach out. His dad reached out to everybody, reached out to Republicans and Democrats.
Thank you Congressman Murtha for your courageous leadership and representation of Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District!

And yet the chicken-hawk Republicans continue to attack and smear.

Dennis Hastert:
"They want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
Or Dick Cheney on dissenting senators:
On Wednesday, Vice President Dick Cheney said the suggestion by some senators that the administration purposely misled the public about the reasons for invading Iraq "is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."

Cheney said that a number of the senators who have attacked the president reviewed the same prewar intelligence and voted for the use of force against Saddam Hussein.

"What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war," Cheney said. "The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone — but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history."
Or Rep. Kay Granger, a Ft. Worth Republican, believes that more young men and women need to die to add "meaning" to the deaths of those who died before them. Granger stated:
But Rep. Kay Granger, a Fort Worth Republican who also sits on the defense appropriations subcommittee with Murtha, slammed his call for a troop withdrawal as "reprehensible and irresponsible."

Referring to the U.S. war dead in Iraq, Granger said a pullout would mean that "their lives have been lost in vain." As of Thursday, 2,082 American troops had died in combat in Iraq, according to the Associated Press.
The White House joined in on the personal "swift-boating" of Murtha:
In a broadside issued Thursday night, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said that it is "baffling that [Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha] is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party."

McClellan called Murtha, a retired Marine colonel who earned a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam, "a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting America."

But McClellan added, "The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists."
White House Counselor added to the smear:
White House Counselor Dan Bartlett called Murtha's position "out of the mainstream of his own party," and said that "immediate withdrawal would be, as one general on the ground put it, a recipe for disaster."

Bartlett also called Murtha's reference to Cheney's draft deferments "unfair" and "beside the point," noting there is a long list of wartime presidents who served ably without military experience.
Murtha had this to say about Vice-President Dick Cheney's attack on him and fellow dissenting Democrats:
"I like guys who've never been there who criticize us who've been there," Murtha said. "I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and sent people to war and then don't like to hear suggestions that what may need to be done."

Cheney avoided military service during the 1960's Vietnam era with a series of draft deferments, and Bush served stateside in the National Guard during Vietnam.

Murtha was wounded twice in Vietnam.
Senator John Kerry had this to say about the controversy:
"You can differ on the policies, and we should talk about the policy," Kerry said. "The administration has continuously misled Americans about our presence. We need to have the debate and figure out how we bring our troops home in a responsible way. John Murtha is really just adding to the debate in a very personal way. This man's statements have to be taken seriously even if you don't agree with his policy."
Thank you Senator Kerry. Thank you Congressman Murtha. We need leaders who lead and not persevere for the sake of consistency. A wrong decision is never made right by being in error over and over day after day!

As for you Vice-President Cheney, Mr. Bartlett, and the rest of the White House cronies, perhaps you are a bit irritable because Mr. Patrick Fitzgerald is not done with his investigation. Did you think that the indictment of the Vice-President's Chief of Staff was the extent of the damage? As reported:
WASHINGTON - The special prosecutor in the CIA leak case said Friday that he would use a new grand jury in his continuing investigation, a development that seems certain to extend the political cloud hanging over the Bush administration and could draw new players into the investigation.

The prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, told a federal judge in a court filing that he would begin additional proceedings before a grand jury different from the one that brought an indictment last month against I. Lewis Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

The 18-month term of the previous grand jury expired last month. In his previous statements, Fitzgerald had left the door open to using a new grand jury in the case.

The prosecutor also made clear in the new court filing that ``the investigation is ongoing,'' after saying last month that ``the substantial bulk of the work in this investigation is concluded.''
Maybe you are eligible for a deferment from testimony from his Grand Jury?



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