Murtha Swiftboated


Having ascended to the national stage as one of the most vocal critics of President Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq, Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha has long downplayed the controversy and the bitterness surrounding the two Purple Hearts he was awarded for military service in Vietnam.

Murtha is a retired marine and was the first Vietnam combat veteran elected to Congress. Since 1967, there have been at least three different accounts of the injuries that purportedly earned Murtha his Purple Hearts. Those accounts also appear to conflict with the limited military records that are available, and Murtha has thus far refused to release his own military records.

Refused to release his military records?? Is he running for president? Why on earth are we asking for someone’s military records of 40 years ago(!)? Maybe someone’s fishing for dirt? No, perish the thought.

No wonder Atrios always calls it “journamalism.” I know, CNS is a BS right-wing hate network, but not everyone is as smart as we are, and this will be all over the Net come tomorrow morning. Bastards.

The Discussion: 14 Comments

No offence, but a lot of people in other countries laugh at purple hearts and at America for going on like this. Espeially as these guys received medels while their comrades, who were doing exactly the same thing as they were,but, through chance or skill, didn’t get shot, didn’t get a medel.

This makes a Purple heart seem a lot like a ‘condolence prize’.

I think that America is one of the few nations that gives out medels to wounded soldiers even if they weren’t conducting themselves with any more valor than would be expected of even the rawest recruit.

January 14, 2006 @ 4:59 am | Comment

Maybe Purple Hearts don’t mean much (and often they don’t). But to take a decorated veteran and, once he goes against Bush, try to make him appear to be a coward and to focus on his medals of 40 years ago with no evidence — well, let’s just not say it’s my kind “journamalism.” Especially when you consider the war record of Bush and his other chickenhawks, all of whom were evading service in cushy jobs and privileged places whilst Murtha was out risking his life. Shameful.

January 14, 2006 @ 5:03 am | Comment

I think that the point that I was trying to make was that calling a man who has a Purple Heart a ‘decorated veteran’ is often considered a joke outside America.

It’s also a bit of an insult to all of the ‘undecorated veterans’ who did exactly the same thing, but who didn’t get shot.

Still, it is a mean trick to try and dishonor the guy in public like that, regardless of what medels he has.

Technically, my father should have some small peice of ribbon-work for his brief jaunt to Vietnam, but he never recieved it, and he considers it to be such a joke that he never even bothered to do the paperwork to try and claim it (he wasn’t ‘combat personel’ or a US citizen, so things were different from US service personel).

I think that only one person who served with him ever did anything about it.

January 14, 2006 @ 7:47 am | Comment

ACB, perhaps you’re not aware that Germany
has/had a similar award system for injuries sustained in combat, but instead of getting a single Purple Heart for a combat related injury, they had a system that awarded a higher medal for each injury sustained.
Anyway, I’m of the opinion that Purple Hearts are over-rated.
Young Marine Blasts Rep. Murtha at Town Hall Meeting

During a Town Hall meeting earlier this week Democrat Congressmen John Murtha (PA) and Jim Moran (VA) touted their call for a withdrawal from Iraq, an unexpected turn of events occurred.

Moran and Murtha continued the anti-war diatribes which included their relating talks they’ve had with military officers and rank-and-file troops in Iraq. Murtha has said the military is broken, morale within the ranks is poor, we need to pullout immediately, and other defeatist rantings.

Murtha had just finished his presentation during the Virginia townhall meeting, in which he added that he feared a slow withdrawal may give people the impression the US achieved victory (God forbid Americans think we’re victorious), when he opened the meeting for a question and answer session.

At that point a man stood and spoke:

“Yes sir my name is Mark Seavey and I just want to thank you for coming up here. Until about a month ago I was Sergeant Mark Seavey infantry squad leader, I returned from Afghanistan. My question to you, (applause)

“Like yourself I dropped out of college two years ago to volunteer to go to Afghanistan, and I went and I came back. If I didn’t have a herniated disk now I would volunteer to go to Iraq in a second with my troops, three of which have already volunteered to go to Iraq. I keep hearing you say how you talk to the troops and the troops are demoralized, and I really resent that characterization. (applause) The morale of the troops that I talk to is phenomenal, which is why my troops are volunteering to go back, despite the hardships they had to endure in Afghanistan.

“And Congressman Moran, 200 of your constituents just returned from Afghanistan. We never got a letter from you; we never got a visit from you. You didn’t come to our homecoming. The only thing we got from any of our elected officials was one letter from the governor of this state thanking us for our service in Iraq, when we were in Afghanistan. That’s reprehensible. I don’t know who you two are talking to but the morale of the troops is very high.”
The only response from Murtha and Moran was Moran saying, “That’s a comment not a question.”

January 14, 2006 @ 9:42 am | Comment

Murtha also has a Bronze star and a Vietnamese medal as well…

And this “news” outfit is connected to Talon News and our old buddy Jeff/Jim Gannon/Gluckert.

January 14, 2006 @ 7:16 pm | Comment

I’m not questioning Murtha’s record, like Sergeant Seavey, I just want to know which soldiers he has been talking to?

I had Thanksgiving dinner with two of my cousins who just returned from Iraq, and they were really surprised at how the media was reporting the situation in Iraq – especially when it comes to THEIR morale.

Incidentally, both of them have volunteered to return to Iraq.

January 15, 2006 @ 12:20 am | Comment

Gordon, I’m sure there’s a wide range of opinions and states of morale among our military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan (and personally, I think the Afghanistan mission has a whole lot more merit than the Iraq – how to put? I’m going with “debacle”). It doesn’t surprise me that you can find plenty of soldiers who feel positively about what they are doing in Iraq. You can also find others who don’t feel the same way.

The important point here is that Murtha has long been the mouthpiece for the military and represents their interests. He is undoubtedly getting an earful from Pentagon generals who feel strongly about what the Bush Administration is doing and who are afraid to speak out, for fear of being prematurely retired, like other Bush Administration critics. And look what happens to Murtha – he gets Swiftboated by dubious operatives using scurrilous “evidence.” This shows me that the Adminstration is very worried about what he has to say, suggesting that there is some truth behind it.

You know, regardless of how Bush’s foreign policy has affected the regular military, it’s very hard to argue against the proposition that they have broken the National Guard and the reserves, who have been treated like second class citizens all along in this war. And when I read stuff about how we had body armor that would have significantly reduced casualties among the frontline combat troops and yet this admnistration did not seem to care overmuch about equipping them with it – well, all I have to say is that any loyalty and enthusiasm about the mission from our armed forces is a gift, and there’s no way their commander in chief deserves it.

January 15, 2006 @ 3:31 am | Comment

Gordon you gotta read what the soldiers themselves are saying about Murtha. Kind of different from your friends. There are two siders to the story.

January 15, 2006 @ 6:31 am | Comment

Richard, they’re not just my friends, they’re family members.

I’ve also talked with several of my former classmates who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and while none of them like it over there, not one of them has confirmed ANYTHING Murtha has asserted.

Have you personally talked to any soldiers, Richard? Or do you just believe everything you read?

Hey, don’t take my word for it – Listen to Sgt. Seavey.

January 17, 2006 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

Oh, I didn’t understand they were your relatives. That makes it all different. Obviously they know your own leanings and were catering to them.

I never believe anything I read blindly. I’ve read lots of soldiers saying how good things are, and also how bad things are. None of them is capable of knowing the larger picture, only the picture from their small universe. I spoke to one marine who is very gung-ho about the war. I didn’t argue with him. I’ve read enough from people who are capable of seeing the bigger picture to believe things are going badly and we are losing. I also believe that we still may win the war over the insurgency, but what will be left will be nothing worth dying for: an Iranian-style, Iran-loving theocracy hostile to America and in no way an institution worht dying for or bankrupting the US treasury for. The exact opposite of the scenario Bush used to tantalize many into suporting him, i.e., a Western-style beacon of democracy with womens rights and equal representation for all. Total bollocks.

January 17, 2006 @ 6:00 pm | Comment

Nice try, both happen to be well-educated black men who are serving as officers in that theater and neither one of them hesitate to speak their mind.

That’s not to say that there aren’t aspects of the war that they do not agree with (such as the number of troops initially sent in), but regardless of their criticisms, they still support the war and have volunteered to return – which refutes your statement that they were just catering to my leanings.

January 17, 2006 @ 6:10 pm | Comment

I was being a bit humorous/snarky re. their catering to your leanings. I am sure they and other soldiers there are completely sincere. But for every positive soldier’s story I can show you a negative, and I really don’t see how a soldier on the ground can assess the overall poilitical/military picture. A German soldier in Greece in 1943 would have thought things were spectacular. A German soldier in Stalingrad would have a different impression (especially since he would have been dead by then).

January 17, 2006 @ 7:36 pm | Comment

Sorry Richard, classes have wore me out the past week and my sense of humor is lagging.

Your final point is quite true and there are some aspects of the war that I will agree with you on, but Murtha is the one who has come forward with his assertions that most of the soldiers in Iraq have been demoralized and if you watched the video on the prior link you will would have seen the soldier ask Murtha and Moran just what soldiers they had been talking too and they simply dismissed him.

Sgt. Seavey also pointed out that his unit has never heard from either of them since their return.

Rep. Murtha may have served some 30 years in the Marines and he may have looked after their interests in the past, but many of them do not feel that’s what he’s doing today.

It could easily be said that he and people like him are empowering the enemy to continue ther fight knowing that Americans at home are losing the stomach for the war. In that sense, it is like Vietnam because that’s where the Vietcong won the war – in the livingrooms of America.

January 17, 2006 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

It could easily be said that he and people like him are empowering the
enemy to continue ther fight knowing that Americans at home are losing the stomach for the war. In that sense, it is like Vietnam because that’s where the Vietcong won the war – in the livingrooms of America.

Of all the myths perpetuated by the right, this one is the most heartbreaking. I won’t argue it in detail now because it is so immense and raises so many feelings. I’ll just say this: After 12 years of fighting peasant “gooks” in pointy hats, we were still losing, with no hope of victory ever. McNamara himself finally admitted this, and no true scholar of history believes we could ever have won in Vietnam. To blame the defeat on the liberal media and Jane Fonda is so misguided, so historically false, so based on Malkinesque populist manipulation of the facts that I don’t have the strength to deal with it (at least not today). Popular opinion was totally with the war at first. bush was at the nadir of his success and at the top of his polls after the invasion. As the war worsened, popularity declined. It was not the other way around. The war didn’t worsen and we didn’t start losing because of lack of support. It lost support because people realized after nearly three years and no drop in violence and death (quite the contrary) that the war could never be won. No matter what your cousins say.

January 17, 2006 @ 7:55 pm | Comment

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