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However, you have not withdrawn your statements or apologized for your defamatory remarks.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


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 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

5 Responses to “Rep. Murtha, Stop The Smears”

  • J. Ewing says:

    It’s probably too late to get the definition of “swiftboating” corrected, but by all rights it should be. To use the term correctly, one must define it as “telling the truth about a political opponent, thus exposing him as a liar and fraud.”

    Democrats want to use it as the equivalent of “the Big Lie,” but that deliberately overlooks the fact that the Swift Boat Vets had a very small budget and their statements were consistently found to be supported. More than that, Kerry himself could have easily refuted these charges with the truth– his records– but wouldn’t and, we presume, couldn’t. The rule of politics ought to be, “Don’t blame me if your lie falls apart.”

  • Northern Agrarian says:

    I always thought that the definition of swiftboating was presenting factual information about a candidate in a campaign that the candidate doesn’t want known.

  • Gary Gross says:

    You’re both missing it. Swiftboating’s definition isn’t the same as what the Swiftboat Vets for Truth did. Here’s how defines swift-boating:

    Swiftboating is American political jargon that is used as a strong pejorative description of some kind of attack that the speaker considers unfair or untrue—for example, an ad hominem attack or a smear campaign.

  • Diane says:

    I’d like to sign that letter to Murtha. That rat bas**** deserves to be sent packing in November.

  • Gary Gross says:

    You’re in luck, Diane. follow this link to sign the petition.

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