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Ok, we all knew it was coming. Now they're (i.e. the Bush administration, duh) Swift Boating John Murtha to discredit and get back at him for calling for a near-term redeployment out of Iraq and embarrasing the administration. He's not taking it lying down, and neither will we. This time, we need to go all the way to the source and make sure the public knows who's behind this and how slimy they really are. John Murtha will NOT be the next sacrificial lamb!

(Incidentally, this has already been diaried today, Swift Boating Murtha, but the diary was quite short and basically consisted of links to several articles about this, and doesn't appear to have gotten much notice judging by the comments. I'm glad this diary was put up but I thought there was room for a followup diary that included more details and links. If people feel this is redundant, let me know and I'll delete this diary.)

Update: Not trying to toot my own horn but I think this diary is worth RECOMMENDING, if only to alert everyone to what is sure to be the start of a VERY vicious smear campaign by the administration against not only John Murtha but also against every Democrat that it views as a potential threat and enemy, e.g. Harry Reid, Byron Dorgan, Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, John Conyers, etc. This is just the tip of a potentially VERY sharp spear that can cause us HUGE problems as we attempt to take on the administration this year for its numerous crimes and misdeeds, and we have to get mobilized for this RIGHT NOW and be ready to not only DEFEND but go on the OFFENSIVE.

First, here's an article on the Huffington Post describing a "secret" administration campaign to smear Murtha while putting up a facade of praising his war record and supporting his right to voice his opposition to the administration's Iraq policies.

Bush Admin. Launched Secret Smear Campaign Against Murtha...

It's a brief piece so I'll quote the whole thing:

The Huffington Post has learned the Bush administration recently asked high ranking military leaders to denounce Congressman John Murtha. Congressman Murtha has called for the Bush Administration to withdraw US troops from Iraq.

The Bush Administration first attacked Rep. Murtha for his Iraq views by associating him with the filmmaker Michael Moore and Representative Jean Schmidt likened him to a coward on the floor of the House of Representatives. When those tactics backfired, Dick Cheney called Murtha "A good man, a marine, a patriot and he's taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion."
Though the White House has backed off publicly, administration officials have nevertheless recently made calls to military leaders to condemn the congressman. So far they have refused.

Rep. Murtha spent 37 years in the Marine Corps earning a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and a Navy Distinguished Service Medal. His service has earned him the respect of the military, and made him a trusted adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents and leaders of the armed forces.


No surprises there. Been there, done that, totally predictable. But this goes way beyond getting military leaders to condemn what I assume the article means only his opposition to the war. We're talking a complete smear of his his military, political and personal record, and thus his entire credibility. It's just a matter of time before we're shown pictures of him windsurfing on Lake Erie and sporting a diamond earing while chatting it up with Hanoi Jane in Provincetown, MA.

Well, it didn't take long. An outfit called Cybercast News Service (or CNS News, which I initially mistook for CBS News but which has absolutely no connection to it that I'm aware of) just put out an article smearing his war record, questioning the legitimacy of the two Purple Hearts he received while serving in Vietnam (for which he VOLUNTEERED), referring to an alleged "controversy" surrounding these medals which Murtha has supposedly been trying to play down for years, and even linking to another CNS article which discusses alleged Murtha links to the Abscam scandal of several decades ago.

Here is an excerpt:

Murtha's War Hero Status Called Into Question
By Marc Morano and Randy Hall Staff
January 13, 2006

Read Article About Murtha's Links to Abscam

( - 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.

A Cybercast News Service investigation also reveals that one of Murtha's former Democratic congressional colleagues and a fellow decorated Vietnam veteran, Don Bailey of Pennsylvania, alleges that Murtha admitted during an emotional conversation on the floor of the U.S. House in the early 1980s that he did not deserve his Purple Hearts.

"[Murtha] is putting himself forward as some combat veteran with serious wounds and he's using that and it's dishonest and it's wrong," Bailey told Cybercast News Service on Jan. 9. Murtha served in the Marines on active duty and in the reserves from 1952 until his retirement as a colonel in 1990. He volunteered for service in Vietnam and was a First Marine Regiment intelligence officer in 1966 and 1967.

Murtha and Bailey, once allies, were forced to run against each other in a Democratic congressional primary in 1982 following redistricting. Murtha won the election.

Murtha has, in the past, publicly dismissed any questions about whether he deserved his two Purple Hearts, noting during his 1994 congressional campaign that "I am proud of my service in Vietnam."

In his Friday, Jan. 13, response to the Cybercast News Service investigation, Murtha again defended his military record.

"Questions about my record are clearly an attempt to distract attention from the real issue, which is that our brave men and women in uniform are dying and being injured every day in the middle of a civil war that can be resolved only by the Iraqis themselves," Murtha wrote in an email response.

"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," Murtha added.

You get the picture. There's a lot more but it's basically more of the same.

Well, who exactly is the Cybercast News Service? Unsurprisingly, it's a faux news service a la Fox News that is owned and operated by well-known right-wing media flunkie Brent Bozell and his Media Research Center, a notoriously right wing-biased "media watchdog" that in its mission statement says that it is dedicated to bringing "balance and responsibility to the news media". Yeah--so long as that "balance and responsibility" is heavily slanted towards the right.

Just to give you an idea of who Brent Bozell and the MRC are, here are some choice quotes in praise of both:

Rush Limbaugh
"I don't think there's anybody, other than Brent Bozell, who spends more time giving examples of press bias than I do..."

"Brent Bozell and the MRC provide a most precious commodity - a quest for the truth. I can't possibly expose every example of bias and error that emanates from the national mainstream media, but Bozell and his group come as close as anyone can. MRC is a vital national interest."

Robert D. Novak, CNN Crossfire Co-Host and Nationally Syndicated Columnist
"The MRC is the indispensable counter-punch to liberal reporting, providing timely, accurate, and balanced analyses of the most egregious examples of media bias."

Brit Hume, Fox News Channel
"American conservatives have complained for years that the news media and, in particular, the broadcast TV networks, consistently labeled conservative public figures as such, but rarely do so with liberals. Now the Conservative Media Research center has run some numbers to make that case

Once again, you get the picture.

Thankfully, Murtha isn't taking this lying down. Here's his response to this attempted smear, also on the Huff Post:

Questions About My Record

This afternoon, published an article entitled "Murtha's War Hero Status Called Into Question" on its website. The article questions the validity of my purple hearts. This is my response:

"Questions about my record are clearly an attempt to distract attention from the real issue, which is that our brave men and women in uniform are dying and being injured every day in the middle of a civil war that can be resolved only by the Iraqis themselves."

"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."

This is totally predictable, but it's also outrageous and we cannot let it stand. We need to do all that we can to support John Murtha and not let Karl Rove and his gang of media thugs bring down or even slightly taint yet another honorable man whose only "crime" was to stand up to an administration that has absolutely no honor, no dignity, and no shame.

So far this smear appears to be limited to the right-wing "media", but it's just a matter of time before it makes it to the so-called "Mainstream Media", with shills like Chris Matthews, Tim Russert and Wolf Blitzer taking indirect potshots at Murtha (being the dishonest cowards that they are they would never attack him directly, but that still won't stop them from helping this smear campaign along to boost their ratings and kiss up to their Bush-loving bosses and sponsors).

If there's even the slightest sign that this story is getting traction in the "MSM" (or Traditional Media, as Kos like to call it) then we need to immediately deluge them with emails, phone calls and letters to call them on it and get them to stop it.


Originally posted to kovie on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 03:37 PM PST.


Will the Swift Boating of John Murtha Succeed in Discrediting Him With the Public?

19%33 votes
9%15 votes
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| 166 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  The most important thing (4.00)
    is to keep focus on facts.  

    This may actually be a good opportunity to point out that these chickenhawks had nothing on Kerry, that every eye-witness, document and piece of physical evidence supported Kerry.  Once the facts are displayed hands down like that, we can keep answering innuendo and distortion with the same facts.

    And then ask why Republicans are so anti-veteran; is it because so few of their politicians served?

    Next: horses appointed to the senate!

    by Bob Love on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 03:51:21 PM PST

  •  Check out their bios (none)
    Morano was a producer for Rush Limbaugh from 1992-1996. No hint of bias or poor journalistic ethics there. ;)

    - "You're Hells Angels, then? What chapter are you from?"

    by Hoya90 on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 04:04:23 PM PST

  •  Shameful (none)
    This is truly shameful.  It also won't have the desired effect.

    Murtha isn't running for a national office.  Most people only know that he was an older congressman who criticized the administration, if they know him at all.

    The only people who will care about this are wingnuts.  But do feel free to draw the parallels between this an what the same chickenhawk cowards did to Kerry.  You'll have the most impact by going after the source itself.  Fight smear with smear.

    •  Frankly... (none)
      Don Bailey (who they quote in the article) sounds like he's suffering from dementia, or some sort of post traumatic stress disorder that leads him to suffer from false memories.  Either that, or he's so blinded by Bush-loving that he's willing to say anything.
      •  What's more... (none)'s clear that Bailey is still bitter from his loss to Murtha, and is trying to get back at him by lying about his record.  Shameful for a veteran to do that, and shameful for right wingers to try to change the subject from the obvious failure that is Iraq by smearing yet another decorated Vietnam veteran.  It's clear Republicans have no respect for the military or our veterans.

        This is, by the way for the wingnuts' benefit.  For the rest of us, it's plainly obvious that Iraq is an utter failure.  Murthat did no more than note the obvious, so smearing him will just look desperate and mean.

  •  *Does anybody know* (none)
    if any of the more recognizable names at Fox have ever served in the military?
    •  Not sure (none)
      But there was a comment on the diary posted earlier today on this topic today (link above) that has an extensive list of leading figures on the right who almost all did not serve.

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W.B. Yeats

      by kovie on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 04:51:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A more complete list (4.00)
      I just saw this in a comment to Murtha's own article in the Huff Post. I didn't verify any of this so caveat emptor, but it looks ok from what I've heard about these peoples' military records.

      Military records


      • Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71
      • David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72
      • Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
      • Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan.? 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
      • Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
      • Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
      • John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts.
      • Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
      • Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
      • Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
      • Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
      • Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
      • Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
      • Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier's Medal.
      • Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
      • Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
      • Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
      • Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
      • Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
      • Chuck Robb: Vietnam
      • Howell Heflin: Silver Star
      • George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
      • Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
      • Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy. Graduate of Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.
      • Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
      • John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
      • Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII.

      • Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
      • Tom Delay: did not serve.
      • Roy Blunt: did not serve.
      • Bill Frist: did not serve.
      • Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
      • Rick Santorum: did not serve.
      • Trent Lott: did not serve.
      • Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
      • John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business. * Jeb Bush: did not serve.
      • Karl Rove: did not serve.
      • Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Cleland's patriotism.
      • Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
      • Vin Weber: did not serve.
      • Richard Perle: did not serve.
      • Douglas Feith: did not serve.
      • Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
      • Richard Shelby: did not serve.
      • Jon Kyl: did not serve.
      • Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
      • Christopher Cox: did not serve.
      • Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
      • Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight? instructor.
      • George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year Air National Guard tour of duty; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
      • Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies.
      • B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
      • Phil Gramm: did not serve.
      • John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
      • Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
      • John M. McHugh: did not serve.
      • JC Watts: did not serve.
      • Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem," although continued in NFL for 8 years.
      • Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
      • Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
      • George Pataki: did not serve.
      • Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
      • John Engler: did not serve.
      • Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
      • Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.

      Pundits & Preachers
      • Sean Hannity: did not serve.
      • Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
      • Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
      • Michael Savage: did not serve.
      • George Will: did not serve.
      • Chris Matthews: did not serve.
      • Paul Gigot: did not serve.
      • Bill Bennett: did not serve.
      • Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
      • John Wayne: did not serve.
      • Bill Kristol: did not serve.* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
      • Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
      • Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
      • Ralph Reed: did not serve.
      • Michael Medved: did not serve.
      • Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
      • Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at?things that don't shoot back.)

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W.B. Yeats

by kovie on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 05:19:11 PM PST

[ Parent ]

  •  Good (4.00)
    John Murtha will wipe the floor with these jerkoffs.  We all saw how fast he shut up "Five-Deferments" Cheney.  I can only imagine what kind of fire he'd let loose on these vermin if their pathetic smears reach the level of public notice.

    They're too late on Murtha.  His moment has come and gone.  The question he's raised is out there in public debate.  To go after him now is truly closing the barn door after the horse has run off.

    -4.50, -5.85 Lies are the new Truth.

    by Dallasdoc on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 04:52:25 PM PST

  •  According to some wingnut on HuffPo (none)
    They're supposedly going to open up the cannons in April.  If you read the comments under the Huffington Post article, you'll notice a troll called "crestedbutte" who keeps saying to wait until April for news about Murtha and that he was "denied something".  He gives no more specifics and is likely talking out of his ass, but my only recommendation would be to keep firing away and have opposition researchers and a few PIs look into what's going on behind the scenes.

    "Semper fi, motherfucker!" -The Rock in the worst movie ever made

    by Sean C on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 05:18:26 PM PST

  •  a few loose ends from wikipedia (none)
    Brit Hume was born in Washington, D.C., where he attended St. Albans School. He obtained a student deferment from the Vietnam War draft

    During the Korean War, Robert Novak served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of lieutenant.

    Mr. Murtha is no wimp. He won't roll over like others have when being slandered like this.

    "We ought never to do wrong when people are looking." Twain

    by dougymi on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 05:49:42 PM PST

  •  We know the oldest men served. Focusing on (none)
    The baby boomers. They have already yelled Clinton to death so the rest of the list is very one sided. The Novaks and Dole's of the world are not really talking.  Money talks but that's it.  

    The people that are swift boating are the younger Repubs in Bush Jrs age group. Don't hear anything from Sr?????? (I would imagine he hates this war).

    Let's focus on this because these folks on this list are running the govt. Colin Powell was kicked to the curb. The rest of them didn't serve.

  •  John Murtha is no John Kerry. (none)
    Thank God.  He's not taking this BS sitting down and wringing his hands.  It will backfire because those jerks totally misjudged Murtha and the mood of the country.
  •  Kerry vs. Murtha (none)
    Seems that the swiftboating of Kerry was to confuse the middle  while the swiftboating of Murtha is designed primarily to feed the base. There's trouble in the big tent and the cracks are developing in the base. You can't cry wolf too much and keep the center, but it works very well with the base, which has to be kept pumped up.
  •  Brent Bozell (none)
    is also the bozo who is the sokesman for the Parents Teelvision COuncil, wo would like to make all TVchannels, including cable, G rated so that parents tool azy to interact iwth their chidlren or learn to use the Parental Locks on their cable donm't have to well, parent. Thanks for drawing attention ot this--I KNEW PTC was right-wing in feeling, probably fundy Christian, but this makes it obvious./

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 09:22:39 PM PST

  • Close


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