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    02 August 2006

    The not-so-nifty Swifters [UPDATED]

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    It's almost election time again, and with that comes the lowest form of politics, the character assassination. On the right, this role is led by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In the '04 Presidential campaign, their endless ranting about the credibility of the honorable military service of candidate John Kerry set the tone of the debate for several weeks of the election. Like all good Republicans, if someone should question Mr. Bush and his policies then immediately attack that persons record, not the issue at hand. True to form, the same group (now referred to as the Veterans for the Truth) is after another war hero, Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania. Also operating against Murtha is a website called murthalied.com and many others. So much for Mr. Bush’s “responsible discourse.”
    Armed as a new group – Veterans for the Truth – they’re bringing their campaign to “Redeploy John Murtha From Congress” to his backyard.

    They plan to hold a national rally in Johnstown in October “to show their outrage at John Murtha over what he is saying about our troops,” state chairman and former Johnstowner Mark Parker said in a release. [link]

    Aided by local blogs like OldController, new wars, and Chip's [sorry, fixed. Chip isn't really part of this either] (Chip thinks Murtha is "dishonest" and thinks he is working through the media not congress to make the military look bad. Only Chip.), as well as many other right-wing operatives in SC and across the US, these people hope to shame Murtha out of Congress by smearing his record as a soldier rather than by issues, ideas, and reasonable logic. The problem is this won’t work well at a local level. It worked against Kerry because it got national media attention during a national election. Murtha’s constituents know who he is and the browbeating from wackos in SC probably won’t matter much in PA. I won’t even mention the public support for a change of direction in Iraq, especially in regions controlled by Democrats.

    So, when you come across one of these cowards, it is very easy to shut them up. All you have to do is ask him or her if they like tainting each and every service member’s medals. When they look at you like a dimwit, complete the thought for them and point out that by suggesting that the medals in question might be fraudulently awarded then their childish actions denigrate every award ever issued. The USMC doesn’t just give these things out like candy. It isn’t a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Now if the target is in the service or a veteran, ask them if they are suggesting that the military is incompetent by awarding ribbons to people that don't deserve them.

    This will really make them mad. But in the end, you are right and they will know it. You can say, “hey guys, you go on believing whatever it is you like, I’ll stick with the Marine Corps.”

    Hopefully they will realize that their actions are cowardly, shameful, and, most importantly unpatriotic.

    Now on to Murtha, this is a man who left college to volunteer to serve in the Korean War and served there as a Marine captain. He was discharged after the war only to reenlist (at the age of 34) for Vietnam. There he was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

    Murtha is obviously a credible critic to Bush and his allies. His proximity to - and his function as a mouthpiece for - the military have led to some baseless claims of ethics violations and childish snipes from the White House and others. Now we have shameless attacks on a man’s bravery, and all for political gain.

    When you reflect on this, notice how odd it is that many Democrats have military records they must now defend from Republican smear. They have to do this because they actually went to war, they didn’t spend it in Texas protecting Houston from the Viet Cong or the North Koreans. And all that still isn’t exactly clear is it?

    Posted by Geoff

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