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February 8, 2010
John-Jack Murtha is DeadBy Greyhawk
He is now, as I was just told via email, what President Obama would call an "ex-Marine Corpse."
His final appearances at Mudville as a living person will be his role as "guy who threatened to cut military funding unless they'd give Nancy Pelosi a plane". Prior to that, his efforts last fall to raise taxes. ("The tax should be paid by all taxpayers, with rates ranging from 1 percent for lower wage earners to 5 percent for the wealthy.") But whether you think you pay too many taxes or too few, Jack Murtha got more of your tax dollars than anyone else. (At that time he was also being investigated for "ethics violations.")
Now he's dead. So this quote on Afghanistan might be his last on the topic of war: "I'm not sure there's a threat to our national security." Maybe he thought his gallbladder was nothing serious, either.
The Washington Post: "He was revered among Democrats."
Critics dubbed Rep. Murtha, the chairman of the powerful subcommittee that controls Pentagon spending, the "King of Pork" for the volume of taxpayer money he could direct to the area around his home town of Johnstown. Most of the largesse came in defense and military research contracts he steered to companies based in his district or with small offices there.
I will pause now to say something nice about him: he was never convicted.
"Murtha was beloved by his constituents for tapping billions of dollars in federal funds to seed new industries there," reports the Post. That might be true - he could call them "racists and rednecks" and still be re-elected. I don't know if any of them actually voted for him - but he was always reelected.
In the 2008 election, Democrats had to burn a last-minute half million dollars in response to a strong campaign from Murtha's opponent, in what they thought was an easily held district - despite Murtha's "best efforts" on the "campaign trail":
Russell has now issued a statement requesting prayers for Murtha's family.
The Post story neglects to mention that Murtha called several Marines killers, that they were absolved, and that they in turn sued him for libel - along with various other reasons that most veterans consider him "the second ex-Marine."
But who cares - he's dead.
A blast from Mudville' past - back in 2006, Congressman Jim Moran had arranged a "Town Hall" meeting in his Virginia district just outside of D.C. One invited guest was Jack Murtha - other invited guests were Iraq Veterans Against War members who were brought in to appear as local veterans there to say wonderful things about Murtha and Moran's anti war stands.
Most of Murtha and Moran's talking points from this event are from 2003-2004 - not enough armor, Abu Ghraib was a result of poor training, troops aren't getting medical care, only poor people join the army - we've debunked them all here over the past several months. As the Post noted, MoveOn.org sent e-mails to opponents of the war urging the faithful to attend. And although several Iraq war veterans turned activist made the long trek to cheer him on, an actual "local vet" also made an appearance...
And just before the end of the meeting, Vietnam veteran General (retired) Louis C. Wagner approached the mic.
Enough of the past - on to the future:
According to state law, the governor has ten days once the vacancy is officially declared to decide on the date for the special election, which can come no sooner than 60 days following that proclamation.
The story also notes that "Murtha's passing comes at a tenuous time for House Democrats as they seek to convince some of their older members to re-up for another term in the face of what looks to be a difficult national political environment for the party."
Posted by Greyhawk / February 8, 2010 3:05 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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