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    03 August 2006

    The double standards of Republican operatives

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    A few days ago I wrote a blog that noted some statements by Republican Senator Chuck Hagel regarding the War on Iraq, particularly the Administrations failures and blunders in Iraq as well as the wars similarity to Vietnam. Basically he was critical of the war and was pushing for a beginning to an end of our occupation of that broken state (which I don't agree with completely). This statement was quite similar to that of many Republicans and Democrats (e.g. Dem. John Murtha). However there wasn't a peep out of the local right-wing blogosphere or the broader right-wing blogosphere despite their endless bitching about Dem. John Murtha's comments. In my post linked to above, I guessed that these local bloggers would ignore this statement like good Republican operatives do. So far I've been right.

    Mimicking the Swift Boaters that smeared the valor of John Kerry in 2004, right-wing operatives are taking every opportunity to smear the voice of the military, John Murtha, for his various comments that didn't quite fit the game plan of the Republican Party. I've written about this here a few days back as well. The most recent smear is a sham of a lawsuit leveled against Congressman Murtha - and only Congressman Murtha - for defamation, referencing a comment he made regarding what looks like the vicious murder of Iraqi civilians at the hands of a few Marines and a cover-up by their superiors. Now the lawsuit is not likely to get very far, however, I understand the soldier's reasons behind the claim. The problem with the case is that it has obvious partisan motives behind it. The lawsuit claims that Murtha "defamed" the Marine with his comments about the troops killing "...innocent civilians in cold blood." But the suit is limited to only Murtha despite numerous other similar statements made by other civilians, members of Congress and the officials in the DoD; including Republicans.

    "It appears that the soldiers just lost it, their leaders weren't there to stop them, and they went on a rampage," commented CBS News Military Analyst Retired Army Col. Mitch Mitchell. "when one went, the others went and there's no way to stop something like that once it gets started." [5/30/06]
    "I was saddened, surprised and outraged that this could happen," [Rep. John] Kline [(R-Minn.)] said. He said he thought the incident would be regarded as "a horrific aberration" for the Marines. [5/25/06]
    Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican who is a retired Marine colonel, said that the allegations indicated that "this was not an accident. This was direct fire by marines at civilians." He added, "This was not an immediate response to an attack. This would be an atrocity." [5/26/06]
    Representative John Kline is a Republican from Minnesota. He said, "When you have Marines who have behaved so abominably as to allegedly shoot Iraqi civilians I'm not surprised that they would lie about it and cover it up." [5/27/06]
    On March 10, the findings were given to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, the first Marine ever to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rumsfeld told aides that the case promised to be a major problem. He called it "really, really bad -- as bad or worse than Abu Ghraib," recalled one Pentagon official.

    This is just My Lai all over again," Vaughan Taylor, a former military prosecutor and instructor in criminal law at the Army's school for military lawyers, said last week. "It's going to do us enormous damage."
    A senior defense official told the Associated Press last month that evidence points to unprovoked killings by the Marines involved. [6/5/06]

    Now conventional wisdom would assume that the right-wing would be outraged by these comments as well. So far, local bloggers who have taken up the cause of smearing Congressman Murtha such as Chip of The Chip Mathis Experience, JT of OldController, and Mike of new wars have kept their mouths shut and pretended that Murtha was a solo commenter on this disgraceful occurrence. But, as we all know Republicans and their operatives don't operate confidentially and rarely use wisdom.

    Smearing a soldier's valor and ignoring the obvious are trademarks of a coward.

    More from Glenn Greenwald.

    Posted by Geoff

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