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  • Thursday, December 01, 2005


    If by "newly-minted" you mean "I don't know what I'm talking about but I need a slur"...

    Two Jeff Goldstein Posts in two days. Ugh.

    But onward....

    This insane calculus—which is the position of the Democratic leadership, at least in the House—argues, in essence, that going to war puts a strain on our troops, and that protecting ourselves is impossible if our troops are stretched thin from protecting us.

    Again, I’m not sure how this message has gained any traction whatsoever; but then, I’m stunned each passing day by the number of people who throw their support behind a political party whose base is so obviously and unabashedly craven that it refuses, even, to find a workable rhetorical mask for its power-at-any-cost message that doesn’t insult the intelligence of anybody paying close attention.

    Just like I'm stunned by someone who supports the war but is so obviously and unabashedly craven that they refuse to go enlist. I mean, according to Jeff, we're winning! Bandwagon, Jeff, bandwagon! C'mon, it's your chance to be a a winning team.

    Goldstein again:

    Murtha, I think, probably believes what his own (underinformed) assessment of Iraq; but that the rest of the Democratic leadership (with a few notable exceptions) has embraced his assessment over that of Joe Lieberman, who just returned from Iraq and is a better position to pronounce on such matters, speaks volumes about the party who is willling to sell-out the troops and the country for a few mid-term elections gains.


    U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha has dedicated his life to serving his country both in the military and in the halls of Congress. He had a long and distinguished 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990; and he has been serving the people of the 12th Congressional District since 1974, one of only 131 people in the nation's history to have served more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and one of only 224 Members of Congress who have served 30 or more years.


    Congressman Murtha is so well-respected for his first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues that he has been a trusted adviser to presidents of both parties on military and defense issues and is one of the most effective advocates for the national defense in the country. He is ranking member and former chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, a Vietnam combat veteran and a retired Marine Corps colonel with 37 years of service, a rare combination of experience that enables him to understand defense and military operations from every perspective.

    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. This first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues has made him a trusted adviser to presidents of both parties and one of the most effective advocates for the national defense in Washington. At the request of Presidents and Speakers of the House, he served as chairman of delegations monitoring elections in the Philippines, El Salvador, Panama and Bosnia.

    He was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal by the Marine Corps Commandant when he retired from the Marines.


    Seldom overtly political, Murtha uncharacteristically responded to Vice President Dick Cheney's comments this week that Democrats were spouting "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges" about the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the war.

    "I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done," Murtha said.

    Referring to Bush, Murtha added, "I resent the fact, on Veterans Day, he criticized Democrats for criticizing them."

    Murtha once worked closely with the vice president when Cheney was defense secretary. During Vietnam, Bush served stateside in the National Guard while Cheney's five deferments kept him out of the service entirely.

    With a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, Murtha retired from the Marine Corps reserves as a colonel in 1990 after 37 years as a Marine, only a few years longer than he's been in Congress. Elected in 1974, Murtha has become known as an authority on national security whose advice was sought out by Republican and Democratic administrations alike.

    Murtha's shift from an early war backer to a critic advocating withdrawal reflects plummeting public support for a war that has cost more than $200 billion and led to the deaths of more than 2,000 U.S. troops.

    Known as a friend and champion of officers at the Pentagon and in the war zone, it is widely believed in Congress that Murtha often speaks for those in uniform and could be echoing what U.S. commanders in the field and in the Pentagon are saying privately about the conflict.

    Murtha, who normally shuns the spotlight, said he was spoke out because he has grown increasingly troubled by the war and has a constitutional and moral obligation to speak for the troops.

    But Republicans said Murtha does not represent the views of U.S. troops or military leaders.

    "This falloff of support among Democratic ranks is not shared by the war-fighting forces. It's not shared by our troops," said Rep. Duncan Hunter (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Several times a year, Murtha travels to Iraq to assess the war on the ground and he often visits wounded troops in hospitals at home. And he sometimes just calls up generals to get firsthand accounts.

    "The war in Iraq is not going as advertised," Murtha said. "It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."

    His voice cracked and tears filled his eyes as he related stories of one of his visits to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

    One man, he said, was blinded and lost both his hands but had been denied a Purple Heart because friendly fire caused his injuries.

    "I met with the commandant. I said, 'If you don't give him a Purple Heart, I'll give him one of mine.' And they gave him a Purple Heart," said Murtha, who has two.
    (my emphasis)

    Goldstein seems to find it unbelievable that Murtha may actually care about the military more than Jeff does. And who are you going to believe? A decorated retired Marine who is considered one of the Pentagon's best advocates? Or a curbside, flag-waving, I've-got-diapers-to-change, keyboarding cheerleader?

    Yeah. That's a tough one.

    Fucking wanker.


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