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    Default You're only a Marine till you're a critic.

    Purple Heartbreakers

    By JAMES WEBB
    January 18, 2006
    Arlington, Va.

    IT should come as no surprise that an arch-conservative Web site is questioning whether Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who has been critical of the war in Iraq, deserved the combat awards he received in Vietnam.

    After all, in recent years extremist Republican operatives have inverted a longstanding principle: that our combat veterans be accorded a place of honor in political circles. This trend began with the ugly insinuations leveled at Senator John McCain during the 2000 Republican primaries and continued with the slurs against Senators Max Cleland and John Kerry, and now Mr. Murtha.

    Military people past and present have good reason to wonder if the current administration truly values their service beyond its immediate effect on its battlefield of choice. The casting of suspicion and doubt about the actions of veterans who have run against President Bush or opposed his policies has been a constant theme of his career. This pattern of denigrating the service of those with whom they disagree risks cheapening the public's appreciation of what it means to serve, and in the long term may hurt the Republicans themselves.

    Not unlike the Clinton "triangulation" strategy, the approach has been to attack an opponent's greatest perceived strength in order to diminish his overall credibility. To no one's surprise, surrogates carry out the attacks, leaving President Bush and other Republican leaders to benefit from the results while publicly distancing themselves from the actual remarks.

    During the 2000 primary season, John McCain's life-defining experiences as a prisoner of war in Vietnam were diminished through whispers that he was too scarred by those years to handle the emotional burdens of the presidency. The wide admiration that Senator Max Cleland gained from building a career despite losing three limbs in Vietnam brought on the smug non sequitur from critics that he had been injured in an accident and not by enemy fire. John Kerry's voluntary combat duty was systematically diminished by the well-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in a highly successful effort to insulate a president who avoided having to go to war.

    And now comes Jack Murtha. The administration tried a number of times to derail the congressman's criticism of the Iraq war, including a largely ineffective effort to get senior military officials to publicly rebuke him (Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was the only one to do the administration's bidding there).

    Now the Cybercast News Service, a supposedly independent organization with deep ties to the Republican Party, has dusted off the Swift Boat Veterans playbook, questioning whether Mr. Murtha deserved his two Purple Hearts. The article also implied that Mr. Murtha did not deserve the Bronze Star he received, and that the combat-distinguishing "V" on it was questionable. It then called on Mr. Murtha to open up his military records.

    Cybercast News Service is run by David Thibault, who formerly worked as the senior producer for "Rising Tide," the televised weekly news magazine produced by the Republican National Committee. One of the authors of the Murtha article was Marc Morano, a long-time writer and producer for Rush Limbaugh.

    The accusations against Mr. Murtha were very old news, principally coming from defeated political rivals. Aligned against their charges are an official letter from Marine Corps Headquarters written nearly 40 years ago affirming Mr. Murtha's eligibility for his Purple Hearts - "you are entitled to the Purple Heart and a Gold Star in lieu of a second Purple Heart for wounds received in action" - and the strict tradition of the Marine Corps regarding awards. While in other services lower-level commanders have frequently had authority to issue prestigious awards, in the Marines Mr. Murtha's Vietnam Bronze Star would have required the approval of four different awards boards.

    The Bush administration's failure to support those who have served goes beyond the smearing of these political opponents. One of the most regrettable examples comes, oddly enough, from modern-day Vietnam. The government-run War Remnants Museum, a popular tourist site in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, includes an extensive section on "American atrocities." The largest display is devoted to Bob Kerrey, a former United States senator and governor of Nebraska, recipient of the Medal of Honor and member of the 9/11 commission.

    In the display, Mr. Kerrey is flatly labeled a war criminal by the Vietnamese government, and the accompanying text gives a thoroughly propagandized version of an incident that resulted in civilian deaths during his time in Vietnam. This display has been up for more than two years. One finds it hard to imagine another example in which a foreign government has been allowed to so characterize the service of a distinguished American with no hint of a diplomatic protest.

    The political tactic of playing up the soldiers on the battlefield while tearing down the reputations of veterans who oppose them could eventually cost the Republicans dearly. It may be one reason that a preponderance of the Iraq war veterans who thus far have decided to run for office are doing so as Democrats.

    A young American now serving in Iraq might rightly wonder whether his or her service will be deliberately misconstrued 20 years from now, in the next rendition of politically motivated spinmeisters who never had the courage to step forward and put their own lives on the line.

    Rudyard Kipling summed up this syndrome quite neatly more than a century ago, writing about the frequent hypocrisy directed at the British soldiers of his day:

    An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;

    An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

    James Webb, a secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, was a Marine platoon and company commander in Vietnam.
    Last edited by scfire86; 01-18-2006 at 09:30 PM.
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    The idiots on the far-right are making my Party and my Corps look bad.

    At the same time Murtha made his point, and should have left it at the first press conference, it would have allowed the mudslingers to only soil themselves.
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    Yeah an people like Hillary Clinton with her plantation remarks are so much better.


    Or maybe Ray Nagin and his nasty chocolate comments and the comments about katrina being caused from God being angry at America.


    Point is there are idiots on both sides of the line and articles like this only stir pots and start more BS trouble.
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    John Kerry's voluntary combat duty was systematically diminished by the well-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in a highly successful effort to insulate a president who avoided having to go to war.
    Hey, man; don't crap on Dubya's "combat record"...not a single Vietcong EVER invaded Texas while Junior was on duty!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFDNJFF
    Yeah an people like Hillary Clinton with her plantation remarks are so much better.


    Or maybe Ray Nagin and his nasty chocolate comments and the comments about katrina being caused from God being angry at America.


    Point is there are idiots on both sides of the line and articles like this only stir pots and start more BS trouble.
    Webb has been known to stir a pot or two in his day, usually when the cooking is done he is shown to be pretty dead on. The man's moral compass is true.

    Since Hillary and Nagin are asses should that make us want to be asses too in responce? All that does is make the party look like right leaning jerks instead of left leaning jerks. We should go back to the days of aiming to be rightious and moral, rather then self-rightious and in power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFDNJFF
    Yeah an people like Hillary Clinton with her plantation remarks are so much better.


    Or maybe Ray Nagin and his nasty chocolate comments and the comments about katrina being caused from God being angry at America.


    Point is there are idiots on both sides of the line and articles like this only stir pots and start more BS trouble.
    Which one of Hillary's or Nagin's remarks impugned anyone's military service to their country?

    You are now playing a game of "I know you are, but what am I?"

    That's commendable.
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    I read many Ultra Conservative (also ultra liberal) websites and don't recall an attack specifically on Murtha. Did I miss in article which one it was?? I'd like to do a search.

    One thing I don't like that both parties are guilty of is parading veterans out on TV because they agree with an agenda or point of view.

    Specifically junior officers that were not privy to much info therefore couldn’t possibly be an "expert" on anything but their own personal experiences.

    Am I wrong to feel this way?

    I have never served and have nothing but respect for all our veterans.
    This is a reason why I ask? I realize I may be wrong with my thinking.
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    Nevermind, I found it.

    Cybercast News Service
    Fortune does not change men; it unmasks them.

    The grass ain't greener, the wine ain't sweeter!! Either side of the hill.


    IACOJ PROUD

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoughRider
    I read many Ultra Conservative (also ultra liberal) websites and don't recall an attack specifically on Murtha. Did I miss in article which one it was?? I'd like to do a search.

    One thing I don't like that both parties are guilty of is parading veterans out on TV because they agree with an agenda or point of view.

    Specifically junior officers that were not privy to much info therefore couldn’t possibly be an "expert" on anything but their own personal experiences.

    Am I wrong to feel this way?

    I have never served and have nothing but respect for all our veterans.
    This is a reason why I ask? I realize I may be wrong with my thinking.
    No matter how Senior an officer is you will always find someone who can claim seniority and more knowledge then they have. But really when it comes down to it, my opinion is the guy at the front line is the guy that sees the truth and the reality of the situation the best, even if he is denied the "big picture" view. The guy that is paraded out from either side that has first hand knowledge is far more creadable to give an account of what is really happening than the guy who gave the orders from the rear or from the Pentagon or Foggy Bottom; or studied it at Yale, Georgetown, Stanford or Harvard after the fact.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace
    No matter how Senior an officer is you will always find someone who can claim seniority and more knowledge then they have. But really when it comes down to it, my opinion is the guy at the front line is the guy that sees the truth and the reality of the situation the best, even if he is denied the "big picture" view. The guy that is paraded out from either side that has first hand knowledge is far more creadable to give an account of what is really happening than the guy who gave the orders from the rear or from the Pentagon or Foggy Bottom; or studied it at Yale, Georgetown, Stanford or Harvard after the fact.
    Thanks DM,

    I wonder why we have such diverse accounts from the Swift Boat Crews and John Kerry. Both were there. I guess we'll never know.
    Fortune does not change men; it unmasks them.

    The grass ain't greener, the wine ain't sweeter!! Either side of the hill.


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    Quote Originally Posted by RoughRider
    Thanks DM,

    I wonder why we have such diverse accounts from the Swift Boat Crews and John Kerry. Both were there. I guess we'll never know.
    One side is a bunch of hard core conservatives who likely expected access from ROve and friends if they could help W win, the other is a hard core Democrat with serious left leaning stances who planned his life with the purpose of getting to high office.

    I guess.
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Both parties will turn anything into a ****ing contest to the enth degree, yet neither can understand why confidence is hanging by a string in the political process. They are all full of it.

    I respect Col. Murtha's opinion, but I disagree with it.

    If someone who has been over there, actually seen what has gone on and says something I will give them credibility on their points. He served years ago, in different combat situations.

    I am basically sick of it all from both sides.
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    Bob Kerry is not the governer of Nebraska. David Heineman is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman
    Hey, man; don't crap on Dubya's "combat record"...not a single Vietcong EVER invaded Texas while Junior was on duty!!!
    ROFLMFAO!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86
    You are now playing a game of "I know you are, but what am I?"

    And what do you think this article is......?

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB
    And what do you think this article is......?
    Someone criticizing conservative groups who disparage military service.

    That's an easy question. Do you have a difficult one?
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86
    Someone criticizing conservative groups who disparage military service.

    That's an easy question. Do you have a difficult one?

    Missed the point, you did......this post is just as you put it....

    You are now playing a game of "I know you are, but what am I?"
    Hmmm....I guess liberal groups have never disparaged military service? Oh..check that....that's too easy as well.

    Theres nothing you can do but put up with it for the next 3 or so years.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB
    Hmmm....I guess liberal groups have never disparaged military service? Oh..check that....that's too easy as well.

    Theres nothing you can do but put up with it for the next 3 or so years.....
    I guess that makes it okay? Great rationale.

    And Bush's agenda is pretty much toast. He's a lame duck and I doubt much of what he wanted to accomplish will in fact happen.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86
    Which one of Hillary's or Nagin's remarks impugned anyone's military service to their country?

    You are now playing a game of "I know you are, but what am I?"

    That's commendable.
    Let me Quote the part you never commented on.............


    Quote Originally Posted by BFDNJFF
    Point is there are idiots on both sides of the line and articles like this only stir pots and start more BS trouble.

    Thats pretty much all you are doing also and pretty much what you do all the time when you post garbage like this. So with that I am done with this thread before I give you what you want, which is another lame political argument for you to start your conservative bashing views.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFDNJFF
    Let me Quote the part you never commented on.............
    Didn't see anything worth commenting about.


    Quote Originally Posted by BFDNJFF
    Thats pretty much all you are doing also and pretty much what you do all the time when you post garbage like this. So with that I am done with this thread before I give you what you want, which is another lame political argument for you to start your conservative bashing views.
    Actually you need to reread the author of the Op Ed. It is a conservative bashing conservative groups.

    Remember......reading......it' s FUNdamental.
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