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CNS News Service reports on questions regarding the validity of the Purple Heart medals received by John Murtha during his service in Viet Nam, recalling the fight against John Kerry and his run at the Presidency. The strange and pointless investigation appears to have started when Murtha began his public campaign against the Bush administration and his Iraq policy:
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.
What a waste of time and effort on CNS's part, and one that should bring shame on its editors. Unlike Kerry, Murtha is not running for office on the basis of his war record -- and unlike Kerry, Murtha did not leverage his injuries to get n early departure from the war zone. He also does not brag about the Purple Hearts, and to the best of anyone's knowledge, does not use them as a golem in place of real political debate. Neither does anyone doubt that his long service in the Marine Corps was anything but honorable, and he did not engage in the wholesale smearing of American servicemen upon his return from combat duty in Viet Nam.
In short, he may have highlighted his honorable service to the level expected of politicians who served his country during time of war during his political campaigns, but that's as far as he's pushed it. He used his military experience as a basis of credibility on which to speak of politico-military strategy, but not -- I repeat, not -- his Purple Hearts. He has kept those out of the public debate on Iraq or his qualifications for leadership.
That, in my mind, puts them out of the realm of debate. It makes them an issue between Murtha, the DoD, and his physicians, and that's where they should stay -- and CNS should be ashamed of themselves for making them into anything else.
If someone wants to attack John Murtha's policy statements, there's ample room for criticism there. If people have issues with his defeatism, then they should specifically call Murtha out for that. Let's not get into denigrating a former Marine's commendations when he has not abused them himself for political purposes, especially when he has such a long record of honorable military service.Sphere It View blog reactions
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I don't think there is any need to pursue this.CNSNHaving 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 [Read More]
Tracked on January 14, 2006 1:36 PM
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