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"Boot Murtha"

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The "Boot Murtha" campaign is the product of the reorganization of the Vietnam Vets for the Truth, according to an item published June 30, 2006, by ChronWatch.

According to retired Navy Captain Larry Bailey, former president of Vietnam Vets for the Truth:[1]

"'When John Murtha slandered the US Marines in Iraq the same way that John Kerry slandered Vietnam veterans, my Florida buddy, Mike Bradley, (a member of the VVT core group) and I and some other friends talked it over and decided to reprise the 2004 campaign,' Bailey said. He added, 'The new effort we named 'Vets for the Truth,' or VFTT, which is inclusive of veterans of all generations, and especially of veterans of the Iraq War. As this effort developed, it became clear that the greatest contribution we could make would be to bring Murtha’s outrageous lies to the attention of the voters of the Twelfth Congressional District of Pennsylvania in the hope that they would 'boot Murtha,' a phrase that has become the theme of our campaign.'"

Funding

According to a notice on the bottom of each web page, the "Boot Murtha Campaign" is "Paid for by Iowa Presidential Watch PAC affiliated with Vets for The Truth."

The Iowa Presidential Watch PAC (IPW) was "first created because of the 2004 election and the fact that hordes of Democrats would be invading Iowa and offering up a one sided view about how our nation should be governed," its website states. The IPW website also states that it is "happy to associate itself once again with key players in 'Vietnam Veterans for Truth,' the organization that worked closely with us in the 2004 election cycle. These veterans are now organized as 'Vets for the Truth' (VFTT) in their effort to keep John Murtha honest." (emphasis added)

A link on the IPW home page connects with the full announcement—"Announcing BootMurtha.com"—which is signed by Roger Hughes, Chairman of the Iowa Presidential Watch PAC.

Factchecking "Boot Murtha" Claims

"'Murtha is not a war hero'"

In July 2006, "Boot Murtha" posted an account by Bill Fry, Major, US Marines (Retired) in which Fry wrote:

"John Murtha spent a few years in the Marine Corps as an enlisted man and then went to college, got a Reserve commission, and joined the 34th Special Infantry Company in Johnstown. He later became the Commander Officer. I spent my first tour in Viet Nam in 1965 and 1966 and therefore missed Murtha, the war hero. However, I had a tour at Headquarters, Fleet Marine Forces Pacific, in Hawaii in 1968 and 1969, and the stories were still bouncing around about this reserve major from Johnstown who went to Viet Nam and sent his daily information to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat telling his fantastic was stories. They were labeled 'Murtha Sends'. While in FMF Pac I was the Head Systems Officer in the Computer Automated Center. I had the opportunity to design and implement a system to control and track all awards coming through FMF Pac. Having heard of this war hero from Johnstown, I took it upon myself to look in the data base and, lo and behold! There were no personal awards for Murtha. I never thought any more about it until I saw that he is now being touted as a war hero with 2 Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with Combat 'V.'"

Although this is interesting "information", Fry (if that is his real name) would seem to be a bit technologically as well as technically ahead of himself.

  1. In 1968-69, as in any military unit, documentation for awards—or any other personnel-related data files—would have been handled within the unit personnel section, on paper, and not accessible through or processed in a database.
  2. During the Vietnam War era, the relational database being used was called NIPS (National Military Command System Information Processing System): "The NIPS predecessor on the IBM 1410 was created in 1963 to satisfy the mission of a Naval Fleet Intelligence Center." [2] The NIPS system was used for intelligence analysis purposes and was not being used for personnel-related recordkeeping.
  3. Had Fry worked in a "Computer Automated Center", he would not have had access to military personnel records; military personnel-related files were not stored or input into a searchable intelligence analysis database, regardless of the Cobol programming expertise of the operator.
  4. According to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, military personnel records were prepared and stored in paper format (see sample folder). Even now, there are no electronic military personnel records available.

"Murtha plans to mug Irey"

According to "Boot Murtha"'s July 21, 2006, home page, "We always knew Rep. John Murtha was no gentleman, but now we've found out that he's also a mugger. ... That's right, a mugger. ... Murtha has hired a private investigator to dig up dirt on his District 12 Republican opponent, Diana Irey, so he can politically mug her."

Barbara S. Miller, who reported July 20, 2006, in the Washington, PA, Observer-Reporter, that Murtha "been collecting information about his opponent" Diana L. Irey, wrote: "'There's nothing sinister about checking public records on someone running for Congress, especially when that person is not well known,' Murtha said through a spokeswoman."

Must-See Video: "A Veteran Tells Off Murtha/Moran"

At the right margin of the "Boot Murtha" home page is a link to a video promoted as "Sgt. Mark Seavey confronts Democrat Reps. Jim Moran and John Murtha live on C-SPAN during a town hall meeting in Arlington, Va."

What "Boot Murtha" fails to explain is that not only is Seavey a co-founder of the pro-war in Iraq anti-Murtha organization Vets for Freedom but he is also a lobbyist and Director of the National Legislative Commission for the American Legion, which supports the war in Iraq [3][4]

On January 6, 2006, when he allegedly confronted Murtha, Seavey did not reveal his true identity, nor did he or Vets for Freedom co-founder Wade Zirkle so inform the media in subsequent references to the town hall meeting. See Seavey's profile and the Vets for Freedom article for details.

Murtha "nothing but an embarrassment"

The "Boot Murtha" home page states that, on July 9, 2006, "angry Pennsylvania constituents' letters to the editor prove (LINK) and writings by local columnists show (LINK), Rep. John Murtha is nothing but an embarrassment to his District and the nation."

The first link is to the article "Murtha taken to task" by Laura Hough of Beallsville, PA, published July 11, 2006, in the Herald Standard. The article, archived by the newspaper and only accessible by using a Premium Membership ($1.99 a day, $3.99 a week or $9.99 a month), was posted July 15, 2006, on Free Republic.

Hough's July 11 rant was over what is now known to be the misquote from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel article "that incorrectly reported that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) had claimed that the 'American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran.' The Sun-Sentinel issued a correction on June 28, stating that Murtha was actually citing a recent Pew Research Center poll of public opinion in the United States and 14 European, African, and Asian countries." [5]

For an in-depth analysis, see James Murray's Commentary: "How Congressman John Murtha was 'Framed'," The Infozone, July 1, 2006, and the Video of Murtha's Speech at the Florida International University in Miami, Florida, June 24, 2006. (20-minute Quiktime movie.)

The second link is to the July 7, 2006, "Use Somalia lessons to guide Iraq policy" by Pedro O. Vega, published in the Johnstown, PA, The Tribune Democrat.

Vega, who publishes the blogs Vivificat at Cybercatholics.com (English and Spanish) and Conemaugh Valley Times, identifies himself as Theophilus, which is both his "penname" and "chosen Benedictine Oblate name." He says that he served in the U.S. Air Force and, in Fall 2001, "was recalled to active duty and returned safely home after a one year tour" but does not say whether or not he served in Iraq.

Vega would not exactly be considered just any "local columnist", as he states on his blog profile that he is "also a regular contributor" in the Free Republic Religion Board, a web forum known to be dominated by conservatives.

In his July 7, 2006, article, Vega states "Our hasty withdrawal from Somalia in 1993 emboldened terrorists to attack the U.S. homeland," which coincidentally resonates with the phrase "embolden the terrorists" frequently employed by President George W. Bush, members of the Bush administration, and others in their support of the war in Iraq and use of fear as a political tool.

"Jihad-Jack Murtha"

On July 10, 2006, "Boot Murtha" featured the posting titled "Shall we reward Jihad-Jack Murtha?" by John Salsgiver—"An unapologetic 'America First', Christian fellow" [6]—in which Salsgiver accused Murtha of sedition and repeated the now-familiar "Jihad-Jack Murtha is emboldening our enemies."

However, this would be the same John Salsgiver who, on July 23, 2005, wrote on "Gene's Commentary Guestbook & Comment Board":

"Your analogy of relating watered down tea to the endless compromises by our weak spine leadership on the right is, in my learned opinion anyway, without fault!
"It is because of hard core RINOs such as my own Senator Specter and to a lesser but I fear growing degree our own Senator Santorum, that we could easily lose the war against the Islamofaciest. On that issue, America must quite [sic] compromising on national security and end the silly notion that we must bring the 'evil doers' to justice. President Bush must tell world that we will kill the terrorist in any nation where they reside including the those in Islamic terrorist cells in the USA!"

Note that Salsgiver has now shifted blame from "our weak spine leadership on the right" to John Murtha.

This is not the first time that Salsgiver has attacked Murtha. On April 18, 2003, in response to the April 8, 2003, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article "Murtha satisfied with game plan in Iraq" by Matthew Junker, Salsgiver accused Murtha of being a "Switch-hitter" and indecisive.

In this April 18, 2003 article, Salsgiver quoted Murtha out of context, writing "On March 19, Rep. John Murtha stated, in reference to President Bush's role on Iraq, 'To put it bluntly, it was handled badly.' Now he wants to jump onto the victory bus ('Murtha satisfied with game plan in Iraq,' April 8). That's leadership?"

Chris Buckley wrote in the March 19, 2003, The Valley Independent (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) article "Local lawmakers convinced war inevitable" that Murtha, who had "been to the region three times over the past seven months" and recently returned from a trip to Qatar and Kuwait, "was convinced that war with Iraq would begin within the next 30 days."

"Murtha said intelligence suggests many Iraqi military leaders will give up quickly when the war begins.
"The circumstances are different this time, Murtha said. In the Gulf War, many nations supported the United States-led coalition force and provided financial support.
"'To put it bluntly, it was handled badly,' Murtha said of the current situation. 'We should have had the allies lined up first before we pursued this. But our troops are there; it's hard to stop the momentum.'"

As for Murtha being "satisfied with [the] game plan in Iraq", Junker's article was published less than 30 days after the March 19, 2003 invasion of Iraq. Murtha said in April 2003 that he had "gradually come to support the war since he called on President Bush last summer to set out the reasons for a confrontation." [7]

"Unlike the 1991 Gulf War, Murtha was not willing to attempt to repeat his prescient prediction of a two-week war this time around," Junker wrote April 8, 2003. Murtha said "It was a different war in 1991. We had a different objective. This time, there's no telling how long the resistance will hold out." Murtha was right.

Domain Name

The BOOTMURTHA.COM domain name was registered June 23, 2006, to Larry Bailey of Chocowinity, North Carolina. Bailey is also the administrative and technical contact. [8]

Contact Information

Vets For The Truth
P.O. Box 291
Chocowinity, NC 27817
Website: http://www.bootmurtha.com

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles

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