Archive for the ‘John Murtha’ Category

Vets for Freedom sent Rep. John Murtha this letter telling him to stop smearing heroic Marines:

Dear Representative John Murtha,

In May 2006, you accused a group of United States Marines of killing “innocent civilians in cold blood”. You made these allegations during an ongoing investigation. In fact, a Marine Corps spokesman said that you made your statement a week before you had even been briefed.

You continued to accuse these eight Marines of “cold-blooded murder and war crimes”, even after the Marine Corps itself said your comments on the matter “would be inappropriate and could undermine the investigatory and possible legal process.”

As a result of the investigation, the charges were dropped against 7 of the 8 Marines and the other Marine is awaiting his day in court.

However, you have not withdrawn your statements or apologized for your defamatory remarks.

Marines implicated in the incident believe that you have committed slander and libel against them. These United States Marines, whose honor you have attacked, deserve to hear an apology from you.

We, the undersigned, implore you, Representative Murtha, as a man who serves the public in Congress, as a man who once served in the Marine Corps, to do the honorable thing.

You must apologize.

Signed,

Pete Hegseth, Vets for Freedom
Erick Erickson, Red State
Paul Mirengoff, Powerline
Marc Danziger, Winds of Change
Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit
Roger L. Simon, Pajamas Media
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air
Alex Charyna, PA Watercooler
Eric Odom, Conservablogs
Michael Illions, Conservatives with Attitude
Scott W. Graves, Red County

Reading through VFF’s letter felt like reading through my timeline post. This race is teetering on the brink. I know that because Murtha ran to MoveOn.org to fundraise. Here’s the letter he sent out:

Dear Friends,

After decades of fighting for this country and our troops, I am up against the right-wing attack machine again.

Because of my work to end the Iraq war, they have thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars behind my opponent, who lives in Virginia with his family, not in my district in Pennsylvania. Now, I am suddenly being outspent 3 to 1.

They are up to the same old tricks, “swiftboating” me again as they did two years ago. So I am asking people who have stood with me on Iraq to stand with me again to stop them in their tracks.

This is a real emergency—with just 6 days left.

People like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are calling me a traitor and worse.

Initially, I brushed it off, because calling for a responsible end to the war was the right thing to do. Now, finally the Bush administration has started negotiating a timeline to bring our troops home, something I supported for almost three years.

This year I’ve spent most of my time campaigning and raising money for other Democrats, including Barack Obama, instead of myself. It worked in 2006 and we threw the Bush Republicans out. But now my own race is tight so I am asking supporters for help. Can you chip in?

When I ask for help, it is because I really need it. It is urgent. I will not back down from this fight, but I need you with me to repel the right-wing smear machine once again.

Thank you, God protect our troops and bless America.

–John P. Murtha
October 29, 2008

In reading through this fundraising letter, I spot 4 distinct lies:

1) I am up against the right-wing attack machine again.
2) They are up to the same old tricks, “swiftboating” me again as they did two years ago.
3) Because of my work to end the Iraq war, they have thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars behind my opponent.
4) People like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are calling me a traitor and worse.

Let’s examine these one-by-one:

1) Rep. Murtha isn’t “up against the right-wing attack machine.” He’s up against his own big mouth. He first called his constituents racists, then ‘explained’ it away by saying that he didn’t mean that they were racists. Rather, he explained, his constituents were merely rednecks. Rep. Murtha should’ve obeyed the first rule of holes. He didn’t. Instead, he went off on a hate-filled diatribe.

Rep. Murtha isn’t up against the “right wing attack machine.” He’s up against himself.

2) How is VFF swiftboating him? If anything, Rep. Murtha swiftboated the Haditha Marines. As Pete Hegseth points out in their letter, Rep. Murtha accused the Haditha Marines of “killing innocent civilians in cold blood” before the investigation had finished.

Isn’t that the definition of swiftboating?

3) People haven’t “thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars behind” his opponent solely for his opposition to victory, though that’s certainly part of it. People have also “thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars” at Lt. Col. Russell becausse people don’t want an ethically-challenged person like Rep. Murtha wandering the halls of Congress any more. Finally, they’re also contributing to Russell’s campaign because they’re incensed that a guy who touts himself as pro-military swiftboated the Haditha Marines based, at least in part, by a despicable Time Magazine article.

4) To the best of my recollection, Rush Limbaugh didn’t call Rep. Murtha a traitor. Neither has Bill O’Reilly. I don’t think that Sean Hannity has either but it’s possible. Mentioning talk radio and FNC is a standard response for liberals, especially in fundraising letters. Just say those magic words and the rest of the sentence is irrelevant. The cash just pours in. FNC, Bill O’Reilly and talk radio is the 2008 equivalent of Halliburton.

I’d also add that what little was left of Rep. Murtha’s credibility disappeared when he hinted that “calling for a responsible end to the war was the right thing to do.” John Murtha didn’t propose a “responsible end to the war.” He called for losing the war, saying that we’d done all we could militarily. Later, he called for a plan to redeploy a rapid response force…in Okinawa.

That isn’t responsible. That’s plain stupid.

Finally, this must be a real emergency because Democratic leaders are donating money from their campaign and political action committees:

Rep. John P. Murtha is cashing in on his extensive network of House connections to help fend off a surging Republican challenge for his 12th District seat in Pennsylvania. The 17-term incumbent has raised more than $170,000 since Monday, a large slice of it from his Democratic colleagues.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California kicked in $7,000 from her campaign and political action committees, as did Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois and Rep. James P. Moran of Virginia, a fellow member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Murtha’s seat was considered safe until he made comments earlier this month referring to his home region as “racist.” The widely publicized statement drew attention and support to his well-funded GOP challenger, William Russell, and led the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee to jump into the race, pledging $84,000 in coordinated spending. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee responded yesterday with $2,400 to help pay for phone banks.

I don’t have trouble believing that Murtha didn’t have a phonebanking operation. Like he said, he didn’t take Lt. Col. Russell seriously. I don’t think anyone thought he’d be in a tight race, much less in a race he could easily lose.

The thing for conservatives to do now that Pelosi, et al, have donated to Mr. Corruption, is to donate to Lt. Col. Russell’s campaign. It isn’t likely Rep. Murtha will ever be this vulnerable again so let’s make the most of this opportunity.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

El Tinklenberg is telling everyone that he’s asking for their votes, that he’ll be a moderate voice for the district. What he isn’t saying is that he’s got a history of wasting money in the jobs he’s held before. As Gov. Ventura’s Transportation Commissioner, Mr. Tinklenberg wasted thousands of dollars on MnDOT’s annual 2 day transportation conference. Here’s part of an article published in the Star Tribune January 21, 2003 highlighting Mr. Tinklenberg’s wasteful spending habits:

The committees that plan the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s annual two-day conferences in Bloomington say they handpick keynote speakers to get “experts in topics relevant” to the agency.

During the past four conventions, MnDOT spent a total of $664,231 more than it recovered from vendors’ fees and other income, records show. Keynote speaker
contracts for the four years totaled $114,430.

Some examples from the 2001 conference:

  • $11,650 for a former ski champion’s motivational speech.
  • $12,950 for a team-building consultant who talked about ways managers can use fun to revitalize workers.
  • $5,000 for a speech on “Intelligent Risk taking.”

Does this information convince you that El Tinklenberg will be a vigilant watchdog of Minnesota’s taxpayers? This is utter nonsense. Let’s remember that this was when we were heading for a budget deficit of $4.2 billion, the biggest deficit in state history. It wasn’t just that he wasted that money on keynote speakers. He ‘spread the wealth around’ just like Sen. Obama intends to do:

MnDOT has increased its spending on the event by about 61 percent, from $136,173 in 1999 to $219,300 last year, according to records obtained by the Star Tribune under the Minnesota Data Practices Act.

During the past four conventions, MnDOT spent a total of $664,231 more than it recovered from vendors’ fees and other income, records show. Keynote speaker contracts for the four years totaled $114,430.

What justification can Mr. Tinklenberg offer for increasing spending on their annual conference by 61% over 4 short years? That’s a spending increase of 15% per year. These statistics prove that Mr. Tinklenberg spends other people’s money irresponsibly. Is that the type of man we want serving in Washington?

Here’s what the Strib reported in January, 2003:

When MnDOT was in a hurry to clean up a site that was to become a maintenance yard for the state’s first light-rail line, it put an engineering firm to work without having a binding contract or money in place admittedly violating state law.

That’s what corruption looks like. That’s the last type of politician we need to send to Washington.

Nonetheless, Kent Allin, an assistant administration commissioner who oversaw the department’s contract regulators, warned Fisher of possible trouble on the $3.2 million contract for preliminary design work on light rail. The Minneapolis engineering firm BRW Inc. (now owned by URS Corp. of San Francisco) had the contract; the New York firm Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas was a subcontractor.

MnDOT wanted Administration to approve two large amendments that would change the nature of the original contract with BRW and increase its cost ceiling by nearly 75 percent. Such dramatic changes generally require competitive proposals to ensure that taxpayers get the best deal.

But Fisher told his staff that he wanted to get the contract “on the ground ASAP.” Noting that Tinklenberg had personally asked him to approve the amendments, he ordered it done.

Mr. Tinklenberg obviously isn’t bashful about cutting corners. He didn’t think twice about ignoring the checks and balances that the legislature put in place. We don’t need someone as ethically challenged as Mr. Tinklenberg in DC.

We need someone that has fought to reform the earmark system. There’s only one person who fits that description. Her name is Michele Bachmann. Michele recognized the corruption that’s filled the earmark process. Michele wants to make earmarks to be awarded based on merit, not on who’ll vote for John Murtha’s or Don Young’s pet projects.

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I haven’t seen any polling but it’s apparent that Melissa Hart is turning up the heat on Rep. Jason Altmire. The NRL Pac’s endorsement should help in socially conservative western Pennsylvania. Here’s the text of NRL PAC’s endorsement letter:

“We commend you for your perfect 100 percent pro-life voting record during your six years in the House of Representatives (2001-2006).

You were the prime sponsored of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (“Lacy and Connor’s Law”), a bill to recognize as a legal victim any unborn child who is injured or killed during the commission of a federal crime. When your bill was signed into law by President Bush on April 1, 2004, it was a major pro-life milestone.

You also co-sponsored many other important pro-life bills and helped to advance them. These include the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which was signed in to law by President Bush in 2003, and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, a bill to protect the right of parents to be notified before an abortion is performed on a minor daughter, which passed the House in 2005. In addition, we take special note of, and thank you for, your votes to support the current ban on federal funding of research that requires the killing of human embryos.

We believe that your superb record of leadership on behalf of the most vulnerable members of the human family has earned you the support of every citizen who recognizes the paramount importance of defending innocent human life.”

Here’s Ms. Hart’s reply:

“I have always been a staunch protector of life. This endorsement shows that I am the candidate in this race who has the record and leadership on the important issue of defending the most vulnerable. My record is much in contrast with my opponent who has a pro-life voting rating near 25% and has voted repeatedly to fund human embryo destroying research and give tax payer money to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country.”

It isn’t difficult picturing this endorsement having a significant impact on Western Pennsylvania’s Catholic population.

In other Hart-Altmire related news, Mr. Altmire backed out of their only scheduled debate. Here’s the Hart campaign’s statement on Altmire’s backing out:

Alicia Collins, Hart campaign manager stated, “It seems as though there is a concerted effort to hide Altmire from the voters and keep him from openly discussing issues with the voters. It is unacceptable for Jason Altmire to refuse to make himself available to his constituents. He is showing a complete disregard for the importance of the many issues surrounding this election. He is showing contempt and disrespect for the voters of the 4th Congressional District.”

Collins added, “Unfortunately, this is not surprising behavior from a Congressman who went on a five week vacation when gas prices hit record highs, then when the country is on the brink of financial disaster, Congress once again adjourns so he can hit the campaign trail. Now, instead of discussing critical issues facing our country and explaining his terrible record, he chooses to go to a pep rally. He’s serious about rewriting history and hiding his record, but not tackling the tough issues.”

Candidates with a positive, appealing agenda seek opportunities to highlight their agenda. By avoiding their only scheduled debate, Mr. Altmire is signaling that he isn’t confident that his agenda appeals to his constituents.

The southeastern corner of PA-4 borders PA-12. The next indicator I’ll be watching for is to see if people notice that Mssrs. Altmire and Murtha don’t represent their values and won’t debate their opponents. If it sinks in that Mssrs. Altmire and Murtha are avoiding their opponents and aren’t addressing the important issues facing their constituents, there could be a significant backlash, which would benefit Hart’s and Russell’s campaigns.

It’s only a matter of time before people start demanding their representatives actually represent them. The Democrats don’t have a history of doing that. Instead, they’ve got a history of promising things, then breaking their campaign promises.

This is well-documented. In 1994, reporters scoffed at the Contract With America. They’d ask Mr. Gingrich what their agenda would be. Mr. Newt repeatedly told them that they’d go right down the checklist, they’d repeat their question. The concept that politicians keeping their campaign promises was a totally foreign concept.

I’m sure that Mr. Altmire promised alot during the 2006 campaign. Thankfully, the 110th Congress was dreadfully inefficient. They got little done. That’s why I nicknamed them the “No Solutions Congress.”

It’s my hope that the people of PA-4 and PA-12 notice that and replace their incumbents with solutions-oriented people like Melissa Hart and William Russell. This American would be most grateful.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Speaking for MMGers everywhere, we heartily agree with Michelle Malkin’s NRO column. It’s time that we booted Murtha for being a spinmeister, a corruption machine, an EX-Marine and for being the most dovish hawk in the House of Representatives. This paragraph is the perfect encapsulation of the choices the voters of PA-12 have:

The Democrat supports the pork-stuffed, debt-exploding government bailout for the banking industry. The Republican opposes it. The Democrat supports a raft of illegal-alien amnesty measures. The Republican opposes them. The Democrat supports race-baiting campaign rhetoric and contemptuous smears against both American troops and gun-owning, Bible-respecting citizens. The Republican opposes those divisive tactics and reckless slander.

Let’s hope that the people in PA-12 have finally realized that Rep. Murtha hasn’t helped their district that much. Yes, he’s brought home a ton of bacon but most of that money goes to a few select cronies. It certainly hasn’t helped the masses in PA-12.

I think that Rep. Murtha’s statements calling his constituents racists, then explaining that they weren’t racists, that they were rednecks instead, is proof that he’s rattled. I think Murtha’s feeling the heat from the Russell Brigade. I think that pressure is causing a number of Murtha misstatements. In turn, I think that’s exposing the true John Murtha.

While you’re thinking about Murtha’s plentiful ethical lapses, stop past Brigade HQ and contribute to Russell’s victory.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Based on this article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, it’s apparent that John Murtha’s steely grip on PA-12 has substantially loosened. Mike Wereschagin and David Brown do a great job of finding people that likely would’ve voted in virtual lockstep for Rep. Murtha. Now, many are either undecided or voting for William Russell.

Democratic Rep. John Murtha leads retired Army Lt. Col. William Russell by a little more than 4 percentage points, within the Susquehanna Poll’s 4.9-point margin of error. The poll of 400 likely voters was conducted for the Tribune-Review on Tuesday, amid uproar over Murtha’s statement that some of his constituents are racist.

Stanley Shemanski, 67, a retired meat cutter who lives in Apollo, said he’s undecided about the congressional race. He doesn’t know much about Russell, but he’s upset with Murtha’s comment that racism in the district could hurt Democrat Barack Obama’s chances.

“I didn’t like that at all. He shouldn’t have said it,” Shemanski said.

Most of all, the national economy concerns him. “I’m retired, but my daughter, she works for the bank, and I’m worried about that.”

It’s my opinion that, if this race were decided on policies and/or ethics, Murtha would’ve been defeated ages ago. He’s a walking corruption zone. Until now, people were willing to overlook the corruption because he brought home the bacon.

While it isn’t time to write Rep. Murtha off, it’s certainly time to contribute to Russell’s campaign. Think of it this way. Your contribution might buy the advertising that breaks the porkster’s back and sends him into involuntary retirement.

Murtha’s racist/rednecks comments haven’t endeared him to his constituents. It’s time to defeat him when he’s most vulnerable. That’s right now. It’s unlikely that Rep. Murtha will be more vulnerable than right now. That’s why it’s important to go for the electoral juglar. It’s time to put him out of our misery.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

John Murtha won’t stop lying about what happened in Haditha. Wednesday, he sat down with for an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. After their interview, they posted a video. Here’s a partial transcript of that interview:

Murtha: I was in Haditha in August. This incident happened in November and for months, nobody knew anything about it. Time Magazine had an article about it so I asked the Marine Corps about it and they said that nothing happened. I said you can’t do this. This hurts our troops when something like this happens. The Iraqis turn against us when this sort of thing happens. You hurt our troops. I brought the commandant in and he went out to all the FFM forces and said that you can’t do this anymore. And he tried to be as careful as he could be but he said that the rules of engagement are clear. So anyway, the rules have changed.

Later, they asked Rep. Murtha about the Haditha investigation. Here’s a partial transcript of what he said about the investigation:

Murtha: I felt like nothing was happening. I felt like I had to do something so I felt like I had to speak out…Twenty-four people were killed. Kids. People in a wheelchair. No worms were found. No nothing. And the investigation by NCIS…The commandant put a two star general in charge of the investigation and he came to the same conclusion that I came to. So it’s hard to…Listen. They’ve gone through hell. And I’ve said this at a press conference. Let me tell you what happens. I know how what happens. This kid gets blown up outside. I understand how that happens. I know the pressure on these guys. I get PTSD just going to the hospital visiting these guys. It breaks my heart seeing these kids like this.

Murtha’s saying that “nobody knew anything about” the investigation is insulting. The officers directing the firefight put together a detailed PowerPoint presentation on that day’s events. They sent it up the chain of command. It’s difficult to argue against that since then-Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore testified under oath to that at an Article 32 hearing. Capt. Dinsmore was later promoted.

Murtha still hasn’t admitted what’s part of the official record: that 8 of the ‘victims’ were identified as known insurgents. It’s long past time for Rep. Murtha to come clean on this. It’s time that Murtha admitted that he made these accusations in an attempt to become the House Majority Leader.

It’s time Rep. Murtha made things right with the Haditha Marines and their families.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

One of the things that popped into my head as I read TMLC’s statement was whether anyone was investigating the investigators or the military personnel making rulings at the various hearings. Here’s what got me started wondering about that:

The investigation of the “Haditha Marines” by over 65 Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agents is the largest investigation in that agency’s history according to the director of that agency.

It isn’t possible that that many investigators objectively examined that much information, including videotape from UAV’s that monitored the firefight and audiotape communications between the Haditha Marines and the command center, and thought that there was a basis for charges against the Haditha Marines.

Capt. Dinsmore testified via video from Iraq that they knew in advance that there was an insurgent attack planned for November 19, 2005. They knew that a white car would play an important role in the ambush.

Here’s what I posted over a year ago from John Murtha’s interview with Charlie Gibson:

GIBSON: Jonathan just mentioned, there’s no charges yet filed against any of the Marines that were in this outfit, but Jonathan mentioned a moment ago, defense lawyers are already saying, well, there’s drone video and there is actual radio traffic to higher-ups that will give a different picture than you have been talking about of this incident. What do you know about that?

Why hasn’t NCIS come under closer scrutiny? They’re responsible for this witch hunt. Why aren’t they being held accountable?

As I said earlier today, Col. Steven Folsom dismissed all charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani on the grounds that there was “unlawful command influence” involved in bringing the charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani. This is about as serious a charge as can be brought against the convening authorities. Here’s what USMilitary.org says about UCI:

UCI occurs when senior personnel, wittingly or unwittingly, have acted to influence court members, witnesses, or others participating in military justice cases. Such unlawful influence not only jeopardizes the validity of the judicial process, it undermines the morale of military members, their respect for the chain of command, and public confidence in the military.

It isn’t a stretch to think that the influence in this instance was intentional. Putting it in betting parlance, the fix was in. If this happened in criminal court, the possible range of charges might include obstruction of justice, subornation of perjury, witness tampering and/or jury tampering.

Let’s think of this from a civilian standpoint. The investigators would be part of the prosecution’s team. They’d likely be a law enforcement organization like the FBI or a police or sheriff’s department. If a judge ruled that a law enforcement organization had fixed a trial, rest assured that there’d be front page headlines in the local paper talking about the criminal activity.

The next logical question I’d ask is whether courts-martial trials were being determined by legislators. This deserves a full-scale investigation. I’d specifically want to know if John Murtha, Norm Dicks or Ike Skelton exerted pressure on NCIS investigators or on the Article 32 hearings. If they did, they should be immediately expelled from the House of representatives.

That type of behavior is unacceptable, especially when it involves true American heroes who followed the ROE.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I’ve been following John Murtha’s attempted railroading of the Haditha Marines since May, 2006. After learning the details of what happened in Haditha, I then focused on what’s been happening in the military injustice system. It’s been difficult to watch the purely political machinations within the persecutions. This morning, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) issued a statement that their appeal to the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals court will be this Friday. Here’s part of the text of their statement:

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, commented, “For the last two and a half years, Lt. Colonel Chessani, has been investigated and prosecuted for his involvement in the so-called “Haditha massacre”, a massacre the Government now knows never happened. This loyal officer who served 20 years defending our nation, including three tours of duty in Iraq, has been made a political scapegoat to appease anti-war Congressman John Murtha and the liberal press.”
Thompson continued, “The outcome of this case could have a negative impact on our national security. If the Government succeeds with this prosecution, every combat commander will know that difficult battlefield decisions can end up with a politically motivated criminal prosecution based on insurgent-driven propaganda.”

It’s time that we turned up the heat on the powers that be and force an end to this charade. That means pressuring the politicians behind this persecution.

Lt. Col. Chessani is essentially charged with covering up a military crime. As Mr. Thompson notes, the military now knows that a military crime wasn’t committed. That isn’t opinion. It’s a finding of fact evidenced by the dropping of charges against 5 of the 8 Marines. That’s evidenced by the acquittal of another of the accused Marines. The only people who haven’t been officially been cleared are Lt. Col. Chessani and SSgt. Wuterich. Again, it’s time for this charade to end.

Here’s another important portion of TMLC’s statement:

Background of LtCol Chessani’s Case
On November 19, 2005, at approximately 7:15 a.m., a Marine convoy was rolling through Haditha, Iraq, a terrorist stronghold. Suddenly, a roadside bomb went off destroying a Marine Humvee, killing one Marine, and seriously injuring two others.
The Marines immediately received fire from the ambushing insurgents, who were shooting from nearby civilian-occupied homes. A four-man fire team responded as trained; they cleared several houses occupied by the armed insurgents. In the ensuing room-by-room, house-by-house gun battle, 8 enemy insurgents were killed.

Tragically 15 civilians also died, in urban combat, where insurgents purposefully use civilians as human shields, civilian casualties are tragic, but not uncommon. In fact, sometimes the insurgents themselves kill civilians to achieve a propaganda victory by blaming the Americans.

I talked about these events in this post:

That’s one of the bullet points in Phil Brennan’s June 7, 2007 article. Here’s the full set of bullet points:

  • Intelligence gathered by Marine S2 officers in advance of the events of Nov. 19th, 2005, revealed that it was known that an insurgent ambush was planned for the day.
  • Although exact details of the planned ambush were not known, some important details were revealed, most importantly, that some 20 insurgents would take part, and a white car would play an important role in the ambush.
  • The intelligence was made available to the officers and men of Kilo Company, including Sgt. Frank Wuterich who has been charged with, among other things, murdering the occupants of a white car that came on the scene following the IED explosion that killed one Marine and seriously wounded another. The evidence will show that Wuterich acted appropriately when he shot the passengers of the vehicle.
  • Although the media continues to report that 24 innocent civilians were killed that day, the S2’s testimony shows that eight of the dead, including four of the five occupants in the white car killed by Wuterich, were known insurgents and the dead civilians therefore numbered 16, not 24.
  • The insurgents whose communications were intercepted and which revealed the planned ambush were the same two men who were the sources of the fallacious and dishonest Time magazine story, which was the source of the accusations against the Marines.
  • As previously reported by NewsMax, the battalion S2 officer made a full and complete report based on his monitoring of the day’s events and the intelligence he and others had amassed then and previous days. As we wrote at the time, the PowerPoint after-action report he sent up the command ladder proved to all the higher officers that the incident warranted no further investigation. None!

Jeffrey Dinsmore’s testimony at the Article 32 hearing shows two things: (a) that a massacre didn’t happen and (b) that the officers reported everything that happened. Since it’s now a legal finding of fact that the massacre didn’t happen and that a detailed PowerPoint presentation was put together, then sent up the chain of command, it isn’t a stretch to think that this continued charade is purely political theater.

If the military wants to convince us that the word justice means anything to them, they must immediately end this charade. At this point, I’m not convinced that justice is an important consideration for the military. If it was, Colonel Steven A. Folsom wouldn’t have issued a ruling of unlawful command influence in the case of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani. If justice was their primary goal, they wouldn’t continue this charade.

Let’s recognize that Rep. Murtha first lied about this on May 17, 2006. he then lied about where he got his information from, first saying that he was getting his information “from the commanders, it comes from people who know what they’re talking about.” It didn’t take long before that story changed:

Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is being sued by one of the accused Marines for libel. He had told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Gen. Michael Hagee had given him the information on which he based his charge that Marines killed innocent civilians.
But a spokesman for the Marine Corps said Hagee briefed Murtha on May 24 about Haditha. Murtha had made comments on the case as early as May 17.

Rep. Murtha’s version of events has changed frequently, which says he isn’t telling the truth.

It’s time that the military acted in the interest of justice towards Lt. Col. Chessani and SSgt. Wuterich. If they’re interested in justice, they should correct their mistake ASAP.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

When I read this Politico article, the first thing I thought was that I wish her husband had said this during his debate. Here’s what I’m referring to:

“The day that Sen. Obama cast a vote to not to fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body let me tell you,” Cindy McCain said in introducing the GOP ticket. “I would suggest Sen. Obama change shoes with me for just one day. I suggest he take a day and go watch our men and women deploying.”

John McCain would’ve been justified in saying this. Though FactCheck.org says that this is misleading, which is itself misleading. Here’s the time that Sen. Obama voted against funding the troops:

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress – 1st Session

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary

Question: On the Motion (Motion to Concur in House Amdt. to Senate Amdt to H.R.2206 )
Vote Number: 181 Vote Date: May 24, 2007, 08:26 PM
Required For Majority: 1/2 Vote Result: Motion Agreed to
Measure Number: H.R. 2206 (U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 )
Measure Title: Making emergency supplemental appropriations and additional supplemental appropriations for agricultural and other emergency assistance for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts:
YEAs 80
NAYs 14
Not Voting 6
NAYs —14
Boxer (D-CA), Burr (R-NC), Clinton (D-NY), Coburn (R-OK), Dodd (D-CT), Enzi (R-WY), Feingold (D-WI), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Obama (D-IL), Sanders (I-VT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR)

This U.S. News & World Report article puts that vote in perfect historical context:

Led by Rep. John P. Murtha and “supported by several well-funded anti-war groups, the coalition’s goal is to limit or sharply reduce the number of US troops available for the Iraq conflict, rather than to openly cut off funding for the war itself.” The legislative strategy “will be supplemented by a multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign designed to pressure vulnerable GOP incumbents into breaking with…Bush.” The one unknown factor on the planners’ mind as they get ready to implement their strategy: “Why many Democrats have remained timid in challenging Bush, even as public support for the president and his Iraq policies have plunged.” Perhaps, as the AP reports, “many rank-and-file” Democrats, “particularly moderate newcomers who rode to Congress on a wave of public discontent about Iraq, are wary of casting any vote that could be construed as ending funding for the mission.”

This article was written for the Feb. 14, 2007 online edition of U.S. News & World Report. Ninety-nine days later, Barack Obama voted to not fund the troops. Not surprisingly, Hillary voted against it, too. This came at a time when the anti-war fringe organizations were exerting alot of pressure on Democratic politicians to end the war.

As extensive as the pressure was on run of the mill Democratic politicians, it was 100 times more intense on presidential candidates. Sen. Obama felt that pressure. He knew that he didn’t stand a chance of getting the nomination against Hillary if he played the same triangulation game that Hillary played.

Put in this context, it’s difficult for me to agree with FactCheck’s rating Sen. McCain’s statement as misleading. It’s certainly factual that Sen. Obama voted against funding “just once.” It isn’t a stretch to think that Sen. Obama didn’t cast that vote because it was great policy. It isn’t a stretch to think that Sen. Obama cast that vote because it was imperative if he wanted to take a serious run at the Democrats’ presidential nomination.

Democratic politicians can’t argue that voting for John Murtha’s slow bleed bill was anything but a vote for American defeat in Iraq. Let’s remember that winning wasn’t Rep. Murtha’s priority. Rep. Murtha’s highest priority was for Democrats to stay on the right side of the anti-war wing of their party.

One last thing must be pointed out, too. Joe Biden said during the vice presidential debate that the vote that John McCain took was essentially the same as the vote Barack Obama took. That’s pure nonsense. John McCain voted for the only plan that could’ve stabilized Iraq. Sen. Obama voted for a bill that would’ve guaranteed instability in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

That isn’t taking the same vote. Sen. McCain’s vote was the total opposite of Sen. Obama’s vote.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Monday afternoon, I posted my notes from Monday’s candidate forum on transportation issues hosted by the Minnesota Transportation Alliance at St. Cloud’s Kelly Inn. Rob Jacobs provided the most astonishing quote of the day when he admitted that “I’m not a transportation expert so I won’t pretend to be.”

That said, I could make a powerful case that El Tinklenberg’s statement that he’d go to Washington and “work with my good friend Jim Oberstar” on earmark reform was the most astonishing quote of the day. First off, thinking that a lobbyist working with an entrenched incumbent who’s used to getting lots of earmarks will result in true earmark reform doesn’t pass the laugh test. Mr. Tinklenberg is right that we need greater transparency in earmarks. It isn’t possible to picture such a man as leading the charge against K Street.

I can’t picture him taking on John Murtha, David Obey and Jim Oberstar on earmark transparency. That group wants to airdrop a few hundred (thousand?) earmarks into a conference report without disclosing their requests. Does that trio sound like they’re interested in transparency?

It’s worth noting that Mr. Tinklenberg said that he looks forward to working with Rep. Oberstar on next year’s Transportation reauthorization bill. That’s a Republican’s worst nightmare. You’d see more pork in CD-6 than at a bacon and eggs brunch.

That’s quid pro quo you could bet on.

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