Thursday, November 17, 2005

Credibility Gap

From the AP:
"It is time for a change in direction," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., one of Congress' most hawkish Democrats. "Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region."

House Republicans assailed Murtha's position as one of abandonment and surrender, and accused Democrats of playing politics with the war. "They want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world," Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said.
Retreat, Dennis? Nope. It's not in Murtha's vocabulary. From his bio:
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.
Want to talk about "retreat" and "surrender" Dennis? We can if you'd like to---because while Murtha was literally putting his life on the line in Vietnam, you were sounding the retreat, waving your own personal white flag, and avoiding military service due to a "sports injury" (wink wink). How's that healed up, by the way? Apparently you were well enough to coach wrestling, eh?

Late note: Perhaps I was a bit harsh on Speaker Hastert, who I generally respect. But we've seen this tactic from him before, and to the extent his aforementioned personal history is a bit thin in this area, in the future he'd probably do well to choose his words more carefully when engaging the Murthas of the world.


Anonymous scott_api said...

Yea, the Vice President tried to run smack on him too, and he pretty much said that if you got 5 deferments, you don't have the right to question anyone who was there. Pretty much puts the score at Murtha 2, GOP 0

Not that they won't keep trying. I think you will find that the GOP will assail this as bad, but Conservatives will pay attention. Maybe even enough of them to save the GOP from the legislative train-wreck they've become.

11/17/2005 6:27 PM  
Anonymous thirdeye said...

These petty square-offs between Republicans and Democrats, war veterans and neo-cons will be a pimple on the side of the anti-Semitic elephant over the coming years as our sons and daughters become acutely aware of the true nature of our quagmire. Check back with me in 2007 and 2008 when NOTHING has changed. Just anguish, remorse and hated exchanges between Smiths, Johnsons, Jones and Goldbergs, Weinsteins and Cohens. I think I’ll leave the country.

11/17/2005 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we avoid petty shots here? Especially ones that are blatantly stupid?

Having a real and even severe sports injury wouldn't stop someone from coaching. A quick look around the world of sports would show you lots of coaches who used to do whatever but who can't now as a result of an injury sustained during competition.

Attack the spurious "injury" sure, but the additional, irrelevant and empirically wrong shot undermines your credibility: "if he's that wrong about the obvious, why should I believe anything else he has to say?"

11/17/2005 7:35 PM  
Anonymous marycal said...

"real and severe sports injury"? It's my understanding Hastert had a sore shoulder and used that excuse to dodge service.

His standing to use words like retreat and surrendar about Murtha is mightly weak.

11/17/2005 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Hey *Watchie Outie* some of these resident of Dennis Hastert Corners can be awfully touchy bout their ole Home-Boy Denny.


Besides they musta love all the Congressional PORK Denny funnels to his district. Sue-ieeeeeee! Sue-ieee, Sue-ieeee!!! is how ya call them HOGs here in the Heartland.


11/17/2005 8:00 PM  
Blogger Automax4000 said...

I'm a fiscal conservative/social libertarian Democrat who opposed the invasion--I thought the justifications were shifting and unproved and the aftermath would be extremely complicated to manage and require huge resources. That said, I've accepted with reservations the establishment idea that we can't pull out now without making the situation worse in the long run. But I'm beginning to question that idea. How much worse would the violence get? What's the incremental number of Iraqis that would be killed? Congress has to consider the option of leaving Iraq now and estimate the costs, human and other.

And yes, the idea that we have to stay to honor those who have died is insane and illogical and a dishonor.

11/17/2005 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Congress has to consider the option of leaving Iraq now and estimate the costs, human and other."
Beyond their capability. They're as ineffective as the department heads ... e.g. Brownie, Chertoff, Snow

11/17/2005 8:42 PM  
Blogger SherAn said...

Respect for Hastert? Puleeze. The man is dirty. Engage in a little google searching; it's quite instructive. I have him archived as in on at least six different scams. Illegal campaign contributions? Check. Abramoff involvement? Check. It's adds up to quite a list, actually. Impressive.

As for the rightwing smear machine, it's losing its effectiveness. The more the criminals push back, the more exposed they are. Voters are now wide awake and alert, but D.C. remains in deep denial. How else to explain attempting to pass $50 billion in program cuts so that next week they can pass $72 billion in tax cuts for the rich and famous?

11/17/2005 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget 5 deferments Dick Cheney who took shots at Murtha too.

11/17/2005 10:42 PM  
Blogger maeldon said...

Boy.... this is just ugly.

Think about a "real" veteran
congressman having to defend himself
on charges of retreat and surrender.

This is very ugly.

And not useful to finding a

11/17/2005 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At this point, why would anyone be surprised by this sort of thing? The pattern was set a year ago when these jokers were apparently able to convince just enough voters that the guy who actually went to Vietnam (even though he was rich) was somehow not a "real American" while the guy who skipped out in the Guard (with a questionable record at best) was Mr Patriot. A year later and my head is still spinning from that one.

11/17/2005 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The neocons' treatment of some Vietnam vets (kerry, Cleland, Murtha, McCain) has been truly reprehensible and shame on the voters that went along with it. As if those guys didn't suffer enough in the war. I have been sick watching these true patriots' loyalty to the nation attacked by those awful draft dodgers over the last several years.

11/18/2005 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm in the military. I know many guys with injuries who wanted to be in, but were told no. I know guys who sucked it up only to find themselves medically discharged with permanent injuries.

The military has detailed medical files on every service member who has ever been in. They know exactly how bad an injury you can have and still serve usefully. They also know that, unlike in sports, you can't simply sit down on a bench if a bum knee is acting up. You might have a 60 pound rucksack and 20 clicks to get home.

So if someone was rejected because of a seemingly trivial injury, do us all a favor and shut your trap.

Think about a "real" veteran
congressman having to defend himself
on charges of retreat and surrender.

But you know what? The "real" veteran *really* is trying to retreat and surrender. He may have been a brave man, but he is now behaving like a coward. That's the plain and simple truth of it.

The neocons' treatment of some Vietnam vets (kerry, Cleland, Murtha, McCain) has been truly reprehensible and shame on the voters that went along with it. As if those guys didn't suffer enough in the war.

Cry me a fucking river! No one put a gun to their heads and made them go into politics. All you care about is silencing their critics. You don't give a *damn* about anyone's military service.

11/18/2005 7:49 PM  
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