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Former representative Don Bailey (D-Pa.) has apparently broken ranks and attacked the war record of fellow Democrat John Murtha:
In a conversation on the House floor in the early 1980s, said Bailey, who won a Silver Star and three Bronze Stars in Vietnam, Murtha told him he did not deserve his Purple Hearts. He recalled Murtha saying: "Hey, I didn't do anything like you did. I got a little scratch on the cheek." Murtha's spokeswoman would not address that account.The story was picked up by CNS, a conservative web site. In their report they also cited excerpts from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2002, and several quotes from political opponents in the 1990s that raised questions regarding Murtha's record.
Bailey, who lost a House race to Murtha after a 1982 redistricting, said "Jack's a coward, and he's a liar" for subsequently denying the conversation. "That just really burned me," he said.
But the quote used above comes from a Washington Post article that confirms many of the accusations in the CNS story. But before Murtha's political opponents begin jumping for joy, they had best take a close look at how the Post is spinning the story of blue on blue warfare:
Web Site Attacks Critic of WarBeware of Greeks bearing gifts, they say. The Post dutifully notes the actual source of the accusations (Bailey) a few paragraphs into the piece, but leaves no doubt where this story is headed:
Opponents Question Murtha's Medals
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), the former Marine who is an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, has become the latest Democrat to have his Vietnam War decorations questioned.
In a tactic reminiscent of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth assault on Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) during the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative Web site yesterday quoted Murtha opponents as questioning the circumstances surrounding the awarding of his two Purple Hearts.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, "The Swift Boat-like attacks on an American hero, Congressman Jack Murtha, are despicable and have no place in politics."Let me be clear: attacks on Murtha's Vietnam record are pointless. Murtha's latest statements against the success of US troops in Iraq speak for themselves; his current behavior renders his past insignificant. Democrats, grown tired of waiting for an attack on Murtha's war record from the Right, have created their own. He's painted as a victim now - of "right wing chickenhawk" contempt for real war heroes. But those serious about standing up to the current John Murtha would be well advised to let his fellow Democrats and the mainstream media keep this war "unilateral".
(Hat Tip: The Dawn Patrol)
True enough. Pissing contests over military "credentials," no matter the truth (or lack thereof) behind them are beside the point - either the policy advocated makes sense, or it doesn't. Those of us who support the war and a more robust effort against jihadi terrorism and terrorists generally can't win a pissing contest with MSM over credentials of their hero de jure, unless, of course, that person is certified whacko like Cindy Sheehan or the credential is transparently false. Kerry lost because he was weak on the war and had no credibility on national security due to his post-Vietnamese War actions, not because he was a lousy Navy officer awarded a few medals under dubious conditions.Posted by Tim at January 14, 2006 07:01 PM
I agree. But the only way to keep this card from being played is to take the money out of political outrage. If a Coulter, Hannity or some "dot org" can stir some notoriety or make a buck off of this info they will.Posted by Alan at January 14, 2006 07:29 PM
I don’t like the idea at all of going after Murtha’s military record. That should remain untouched; and we should continue to respect this veteran for his service. You’re right—stick to the point—Murtha’s inept policies but leave the politics of personal destruction out of it. The flip side of the coin is that I believe it is essential that whenever a liberal uses this tactic—smearing the personal reputation of a conservative leader—a big stink should be made about it; conservatives should hold numerous press conferences, etc. It is imperative that the American public be shown the evidence of such low-life tactics typical of the Democratic Party in the hopes of ending it. Maybe that’s a pipe dream, but not to do so guarantees that no honorable man or woman of good character will run for office for fear that their reputation will be destroyed. Regrettably, this may already be the case.Posted by Dogkees at January 14, 2006 08:27 PM
What ever the significance Murtha's response was basically a non denial:
"I volunteered for a year's duty in Vietnam. I was out in the field almost every single day. We took heavy casualties in my regiment the year that I was there. In my fitness reports, I was rated No. 1. My record is clear."
How does his regiment's casualties relate to whether he got a Purple Heart? Strange. The quote comes from his statement at the Huffington Post.Posted by Merv Benson at January 14, 2006 08:36 PM
While it may give the Dem's phony cover for a while even as they are comparing it to the accurate Swift Boat claims. Once Murtha questioned others military duty or lack there of, he opened the door to what duty was served by anyone involved. Including himself. If he only spoke out about the war without attacking others, it would be different. Screw him. If he's the hero he claims he is, and is going to use that as his podium for why everyone should listen to him, let him release his records instead of hiding them like Kerry does. Otherwise there is no reason to believe him.Posted by TrueLiberal at January 14, 2006 08:53 PM
Benedict Arnold was a war hero, too. I don't think military service automatically anoints anyone as beyond question in their commitment to national security or support for the military.
General Arnold sold out to the British for 20,000 pounds. What's Murtha's price?Posted by Joey at January 14, 2006 09:05 PM
The problem is that Murtha's remote past in the military is dragged up with the intention that it give weight and legitimacy to his opinions. Without that past, he's just a silly old man. Similarly, Kerry's war record, whatever it actually was, was his sole qualification for running as a wartime candidate.
So Murtha can be neutralized in at least two ways - first, by arguing that his current ideas are ignorant, unwise, and destructive, and second, by demonstrating that he doesn't really have the qualifications he claims to have. I prefer the first, but I suppose some think they should use whatever it takes.Posted by tom swift at January 14, 2006 09:58 PM
Seemed like the media was making a bigger deal out of Murtha's service (to buttress his anti-war stance) than Murtha was.
Seeing him flirting with Code Pinksters (http://jerseynut.blogspot.com/2006/01/john-murtha-joins-code-pink.html) was the most offensive thing so far, but I do not believe he has quite hit bottom yet
I'm not real big on beating someone up over their military/war record or lack thereof. However, I have even less use for those running around saying 'Look at me, I'm a hero! I did this and this and that too! Aren't I neat?". Whether they are or not is irrelevant. Crowing about your wartime accomplishments is, at the least, undignified. Whenever I hear someone bragging about their heroism or accomplishments, I automatically become suspicious. You will find that the guys who have really "been there, done that" don't have a whole lot to say about it and, more often than not, just pass it off as "I didn't do nothin' special".
If someone wants to use their war record as a qualification, a la John Kerry, you damn well better believe I'm going to question it. I can see they have a military record and generally consider it a net positive. Once they start jumping up and down, pointing at it and bragging, I immediately assume they are, at a minimum, playing up the record for more than it's worth and now it becomes a net negative. If your record speaks for itself, I don't need you to tell me all about it. If it doesn't, best be quiet before somebody who knows better points it out.Posted by 1SG at January 14, 2006 11:18 PM
Good for you Greyhawk! The circumstances of Murtha's wounds is not an issue, he hasn't run on his wounds (unlike John Kerry). Let the Dems do the heavy lifting with this one. On the other hand, Murtha's current stance on our troops and the effort in Iraq are dispicable and he deserves any and every condemnation for that stance and that stance alone!Posted by GM Roper at January 14, 2006 11:21 PM
That should read "is despicable" Sorry.Posted by GM Roper at January 14, 2006 11:23 PM
Purple Hearts are NOT AWARDED based on MERIT. They are awarded based on casualty reports.
In all cases ... Kerry, Kerrey, Murtha, Dole, etc., an award of a Purple Heart is based on official casualty reports that are come through the medical channel to the casualty reporting activity.
No one gets an award of a Purple Heart because of "deserving merit".
But that's not to say Purple Hearth haven't been issued without back up. In such cases, they are definitely suspect awards. Some of Senator Kerry's Purple Hearts come to mind.
If Murtha got a "scratch" under combat conditions and was it was treated at a medical facility (aid station), then he deserved the award. A lot of folks get combat wounds that never receive medical attention, hence don't get a Purple Heart even though they earned one.
Purple Hearts are more than just an "award" ... they carry priveleges that few other awards for merit or braverly carry ... employment prefence with the federal goverment for one.Posted by delta dave at January 14, 2006 11:50 PM
In the “bad old days” where the MSM had absolute control of the national debate, your advice would be good. However, the Swift Boat Vets were almost totally a product of the “New Media” and I am convinced they had a positive effect on the last election. We should be over the fear of the Wash Post and the NY Times. At this point, they fear us, but not enough.
I have no idea if Murtha’s medals are deserved, but there may be a way of smoking him out. Let’s encourage that for two reasons: first, it’s going to happen anyway, and, second, it may be a way of ending a bad habit the Right has developed. That habit is to strike a faux-upper-class moral pose. “We’re too good to get into the gutter in a mudslinging contest.” Let’s face it, Republicans don’t come to a knife fight with a gun, they come with an attitude. This is why they typically found themselves eviscerated by the likes of a fat, stupid lush like Teddy Kennedy. Remember Robert Bork?
If Murtha is a fake, it should come out. There are too many faux-hero characters running around, as proven by STOLEN VALOR. Let the chips fall where they may.
Great points. You're right, the story is not his Vietnam or reserve experience.
He does enough today to hurt his cause like his recent appearance with Code Pink:Jim Hoft at January 15, 2006 12:46 AM
The problem is that Murtha's remote past in the military is dragged up with the intention that it give weight and legitimacy to his opinions. Without that past, he's just a silly old man.
Not true, of course. Murtha's "weight and legitimacy" comes from his years of experience dealing with military matters in Congress, working with Cheney when he was SecDef, consulting with Pentagon generals, etc. The reason his statements on Iraq carry "weight," apart from the fact that they're true (it is an Iraqi civil war, and the U.S. troops can't stop it), comes from the fact that he actually knows what he's talking about. Even Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney have said that his postiion is reasonable even though they disagree with it.
The point of the phony CNS story (based on unverifiable accusations, including people who are dead or can't be contacted) is to distract attention from his credentials on foreign policy and make the argument about whether he got hurt enough in Vietnam. But hey, whatever floats your Swift Boat.Posted by M.A. at January 15, 2006 12:57 AM
Murtha is running unopposed in 2006. (The Socialist Party might run a candidate against him).
Those congressman and Senator's who are running opposed, have to move to the center. Those congressman who are running unopposed, have to move to their respective corners in order to shore up the party faithful.
In my humble opinion, having listend to the guy speak, I think he's been compromised somehow. His words hold no sense of conviction, or possibly he has just become a confused old man.
The hard left is pretty skilled at manipulating people who have become unhinged.
My Aunt's son-in-law went down with the twin towers. She is in a nursing home now. Thank God the hard right didn't parade her around the country as she babbled "Nuke 'm All".Posted by Soldier's Dad at January 15, 2006 01:08 AM
EVEN DEMOCRATES will fu&k you to maybe win back a seat, BAILY learn well from REPUBLICANS
" SMEAR YOU FRIEND TO WIN"
Murtha got his injury when he fell while running to find something to hide behind. Screw the bulbous pile of feces.Posted by Felix at January 15, 2006 05:41 AM
What I want to know is why no one is reviewing his record during the ABSCAM sting. He was the ONLY representative to get off scott free. Was there something more or was he just an innocent bystander?
His service is his own to tout or modestly downplay. However, his record as a congressman should be reviewed as well as his present shameful stance.Posted by Citizen Deux at January 15, 2006 06:10 AM
Who among you is without sin?
You can almost hear the words being spoken today.
(Perhaps I should also pay a little homage to the people who never actually say anything derogatory but imply that there is more to this than meets than eye.)
I agree that incidents from 20 years ago are not relevant to the discussion at hand.
Is anyone allowed to talk about troop withdrawal before the President announces it? Is anyone permitted to discuss bringing the troops home before Rumsfeld says so? OR are we waiting for someone to be the designated approved leaker of a change in our policy?
Over 200,000 Iraqi's trained plus 158,000 American military personnel in Iraq and nobody can speak about scaling back or withdrawal yet? What's with that?Posted by Dale at January 15, 2006 02:12 PM
To clarify, here's Murtha's current position:
Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who has come to national prominence since his call for a quick withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, said Thursday night that he worries about "a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there's a victory."He knows the troops are coming home - he just wants to ensure they come home defeated.
Next to that, I could give a damn whether saved a busload of orphans from being napalmed by Nixon or rubbed some hooker's lipstick on his face and called it a scratch. It's like trying to discover whether a child molester stole or bought the candy he used as bait.Posted by Greyhawk at January 15, 2006 05:06 PM
Don't you just love how the Democrats wrap themselves around Murtha's military service like it's the Holy Grail of credibility? If I was the Republicans, I'd have Bush pardon Duke Cunningham. He is a real-life war hero, you know. Doesn't that trump everything?
Regardless of Murtha's past, he is a piece of shit because he is harming an already strained military in a time of war by encouraging prospective soldiers not to join. He is a traitor to the service, and a disgrace to this Country. He can feel free to disagree with the policy of this President, but like it or not, Bush was elected by a majority of Americans and with that election becomes that Commander in Chief of our armed forces. Murtha's position undermines the strength of this Country and for that he is low grade dog shit and a tool of the disgusting radical left.Posted by Jack Burton at January 16, 2006 03:02 AM
"certified whacko like Cindy Sheehan "
WHAT A BUNCH OF [deleted - profanity] ARE.
I HOPE YOU ALL ROT IN HELL AND HAVE YOUR CHILDREN COME HOME DEAD IN A BOX FROM A WAR ON OIL.
YOU BUNCH OF COWARDLY SKAGS ARE PATHETIC AND NOT TRUE AMERICANS. CINDY LOST HER SON. DO YOU [ditto] NOT GET THAT ? SHE LOST HER SON IN A WAR THAT WAS SETUP LONG BEFORE 9/11 YOU BASTARDS.
THIS IS THE MOST INCOMPETENT CORRUPT INEPT ADMINISTRATION IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY AND WILL LIKELY BE OUR DOWNFALL.
ROT IN HELL BASTARDS AND LET YOUR CHILDREN BE SENT TO YOU IN BOXES LIKE CINDY'S WAS.Posted by Brains at January 16, 2006 04:25 AM
Ah yes, the voice of the principled, reality-based community.
Remind me again: why was it that we weren't supposed to question their patriotism?Posted by DaveP. at January 16, 2006 09:09 AM
Uh oh, he used all CAPS. Better run for the hills.
Thank you, brains, for validating why I hate your party.Posted by Jack Burton at January 16, 2006 04:59 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(25) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)