Swiftboating John Murtha
Attacks on Democratic Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) commenced immediately after his November 17, 2005, statement to the press in which he called for the immediate redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq, (H.J. Res. 73)  saying, "The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home." Because several individuals involved in the attacks on Murtha were also part of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004, the attacks have been called the "swiftboating" of John Murtha.
- 1 Murtha and President George W. Bush
- 2 Murtha Resolution: Two Versions
- 3 Open Letter: "Gunny Kurt G."
- 4 It's Official: Swiftboaters to "swiftboat" Murtha
- 5 The "Boot Murtha" Campaign
- 6 Swiftboat Candidate: Diana L. Irey
- 7 Swiftboat by Jason Mattera
- 8 Murtha: Pro-Defense
- 9 Resources and articles
Murtha and President George W. Bush
"Underscoring the rising emotions of the war debate," the Seattle Times reported November 18, 2005, was the fact that Murtha had "rebuked" President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney "for their aggressive new campaign to denounce war critics."
- "'I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there,' Murtha said. 'I like that. I like guys who got five deferments [Cheney] and [have] never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done. I resent the fact, on Veterans Day, he [Bush] criticized Democrats for criticizing them.'" 
The Bush White House had attacked immediately following Murtha's call "for repositioning U.S. troops outside Iraq." 
CNN reported November 17, 2005, that Bush administration spokesman Scott McClellan said "it is 'baffling that [Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha] is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party'."
"McClellan called Murtha, a retired Marine colonel who earned a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam, 'a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting America.'
"But McClellan added, 'The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists.'"
"On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., accused Murtha and other House Democrats of adopting a 'cut and run' policy and said Murtha had delivered 'the highest insult' to the men and women serving overseas," the Seattle Times wrote.
"Murtha and others 'would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans,' Hastert said. 'To add insult to injury, this is done while the president is on foreign soil.'" President Bush was then in Busan, South Korea.
Murtha Resolution: Two Versions
On November 18, 2005, while the debate on John Murtha's resolution on redeployment of US troops in Iraq was broadcast live on C-SPAN, the Daily Kos posted online the two versions—the first being that proposed by John Murtha (H.J. Res. 73) and the second characterized as the GOP "rewrite":
- "Whereas Congress and the American People have not been shown clear, measurable progress toward establishment of stable and improving security in Iraq or of a stable and improving economy in Iraq, both of which are essential to 'promote the emergence of a democratic government';
- "Whereas additional stabilization in Iraq by U.S. military forces cannot be achieved without the deployment of hundreds of thousands of additional U S. troops, which in turn cannot be achieved without a military draft;
- "Whereas more than $277 billion has been appropriated by the United States Congress to prosecute U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan;
- "Whereas, as of the drafting of this resolution, 2,079 U.S. troops have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom;
- "Whereas U.S. forces have become the target of the insurgency,
- "Whereas, according to recent polls, over 80% of the Iraqi people want U.S. forces out of Iraq;
- "Whereas polls also indicate that 45% of the Iraqi people feel that the attacks on U.S. forces are justified;
- "Whereas, due to the foregoing, Congress finds it evident that continuing U.S. military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the people of Iraq, or the Persian Gulf Region, which were cited in Public Law 107-243 as justification for undertaking such action;
- "Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That:
- "Section 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.
- "Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines shall be deployed in the region.
- "Section 3 The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.
- "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.
- "Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."
Open Letter: "Gunny Kurt G."
Following Murtha's remarks on the reported massacre of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines at Haditha, in an open letter posted June 24, 2006, on his Blog Right Equals Might—and which has been reposted around the internet (including on Free Republic)—"Kurt G. Gunnery Sergeant, USMC, Retired" accused Murtha of "badly damaging our military's effectiveness with your irresponsible and completely false rantings."
Instead of providing any real proof to make his point, "Kurt G." attacked Murtha, stating that "People see you now as 'Osama's Congressman,' and as someone putting forth 'insane strategy'." The "People" to whom "Kurt G." refers are not without bias, with both phrases taken from well-known conservative writers posting in well-known conservative publications.
The first phrase, "Osama's Congressmen", comes from the June 20, 2006, FrontPageMag.com article of the same name written by Ben Johnson, the Magazine's managing editor and author of the book "57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving." The second, "insane strategy", comes from the June 24, 2006, Toledo Blade article by former Republican National Committee deputy press secretary and nationally syndicated columnist Jack Kelly.
On July 7, 2006, Gunnery Sergeant Kurt Grinstead appeared in a follow-up to his letter on Fox News' Your Money with Stuart Varney (sitting in for program host Neil Cavuto) "and literally ripped Murtha over his public statements about our Marines being cold blooded killers while the investigation is still going."  See Fox News video "Is Murtha Anti-Marine?".
According to The Marine Page, Retired Gunnery Sergeant Kurt Grinstead owns Chesty's restaurant/nightclub in Fresno, California.
It's Official: Swiftboaters to "swiftboat" Murtha
John McCaslin posted "Murtha missionaries" in the June 28, 2006, Washington Times' "Inside the Beltway":
- "Just in time for the 2006 midterm elections, we learn that supporters of the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Sen. John Kerry are starting "Murtha Lied"—with a Web site 'and all the accouterments of a hotshot political campaign,' says the guiding force, retired Navy SEAL Capt. Larry W. Bailey of North Carolina.
- "Capt. Bailey informs fellow veterans in a memo we obtained that he's just opened a bank account in the name of 'Vets for Truth,' as 'we're going to need enough money to send our Operation Street Corner 'missionaries' into Rep. John Murtha's home district in Pennsylvania.'
- "Mr. Murtha, a veteran of the Marine Corps who has served more than 35 years in the House, has been the most outspoken member in Congress against U.S. war policy in Iraq. Keep an eye out for the veteran group's launch at www.murthalied.com."
Note: July 5, 2006: The MurthaLied.com website is no longer active. Amanda P. Doss registered the domain name MURTHALIED.COM on June 15, 2006. Doss was also listed as the administrative and technical contacts. The mail contact address is a post office box in care of Network Solutions. 
Note (1) Linda Eddy, "the webmaster and political cartoonist" for Larry Bailey made a correction June 29, 2006, in the comments section of the Free Republic repost of McCaslin's article in which she said "the group's name is NOT Vets for Truth... it's Vets For The Truth (VFTT)." (2) Bailey is president of Vietnam Veterans for the Truth, which was established "on the heels of the more well-known" Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.  It is therefore likely that the bank account to which he refers is for VFTT and not SBVT. (3) Operation Street Corner is the product of Amanda Doss.
The "Boot Murtha" Campaign
Boot Murtha Rally!
Scheduled for October 1, 2006, at 2:00 PM, at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Murtha's hometown of Johnstown, PA, the Boot Murtha Rally is sponsored by "Boot Murtha" founders Vets For The Truth. Full details can be read on the GOPUSA forum.
Swiftboat Candidate: Diana L. Irey
Diana L. Irey, a Washington County, Pennsylvania, Commissioner elected to office in 1996 , is a Republican running against Murtha, the Democrat incumbent Representative for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District in the 2006 midtern election.
Donations for Irey's campaign are through DonationReport.com, which belongs to eDonation.com, a member of The Donatelli Group, a fundraising company that has raised campaign funds for the Republican National Committee, Republican National Convention, Bush-Cheney '04 Inc., John McCain, the NRA , and an exhaustive list of Republican members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as other political organizations,  including most recently the pro-war in Iraq group Vets for Freedom.
The Donatelli Group not only produced the RNC website  but also created the Swift Boat Vets' .org and .com websites. Connell Donatelli Inc., another member of The Donatelli Group, is listed as Registrant, Administrator, and the Tech Organization for the SBVT websites. 
Irey's campaign "Dream Team" includes web designer New Media Communications, Inc., another Donatelli Group affiliate; Jason Davidek, a former staffer for U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania); and media analyst John Brabender, who has been connected either directly or indirectly  to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Congressman Tom DeLay.
Swiftboat by Jason Mattera
Jason Mattera, of the Young America's Foundation, confronted Rep. Murtha in this YouTube video for accusing the Haditha Marines of murder "in cold blood." While some charges have been dropped against the marines involved, it doesn't change the fact that they did kill the civilians, through admission of the marines themselves. The squad leader of the marines involved in the event, SGT Wuterich, admits it in a CBS interview. Other marines involved have gotten deals by testifying against each other, or admitted to lying and trying to cover up the incident. One marine even admitted to urinating on one of the civilians killed. While Murtha's comments can be seen as crude and off base, they are technically correct. Despite the evidence provided by the Marines themselves, many self described supporters will falsify the accounts, such as saying Islamic Terrorists killed those civilians, in hopes of persuading others into believing a lie. Other supporters admit the Marines did it, but try to justify their violation of the Rules of Engagement (ROE), by saying things like "Walk in their shoes", which Murtha, a Vietnam veteran, certainly has.
"Murtha in particular is, by any benchmark, untouchable when it comes to matters of military and national defense," Andy Ostroy wrote June 20, 2006, in The Ostroy Report Blogspot. "Up until the Fall of '05, when he introduced his controversial troop draw-down resolution, he was perhaps the most highly respected defense expert in Congress. A hawkish Democrat war hero with a highly decorated 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He volunteered for Vietnam in '66-'67 and received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with Combat 'V'. Retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990. Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal by the Marine Corps Commandant when he retired. Well-respected by both parties for his first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues, of which he has dutifully served and advised both Republican and Democratic presidents. One of the most effective advocates for a strong national defense. A ranking member and former chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. He was an early key Bush ally on the Iraq war, serves as a de facto spokesman for the Pentagon, and has very close relationships with many top generals."
Resources and articles
- BlogsforBush (http://www.blogsforbush.com) search for "Murtha" finds articles dated from November 17, 2005.
- BootMurtha (http://bootmurtha.com/)
- CensureMurtha (http://censuremurtha.com) (owned by Jason Montoya, Atlanta Web Design)
- MurthaLied (http://www.murthalied.com/) (inactive)
- MurthaMustGo! (http://www.murthamustgo.com/) redirects to MurthaMustGo! Blogspot (http://murthamustgo.blogspot.com/)
- OldWarDogs (http://www.oldwardogs.us/mad_jack_murtha/index.html) and mirror site SmallTownVeteran (http://www.smalltownveteran.net/) by Bill Faith
- Republican National Committee's "John Murtha's Cut-And-Run Tour".
- Vets for Freedom (http://www.vetsforfreedom.org/)
- Vets for Freedom Troop Blog (http://www.vetsforfreedom.org/blog/)
- Vets4Irey (http://Vets4Irey.com)
- Citizen Against Lies Blogspot.
- Mike Lyon (sponsor), "Swift-Boat Response" Petition, The Petition Site.com. Target: Republican National Committee.
- "Smear of John Murtha," Patriot Project, 2006. Narrative and interactive chart showing interconnections of the "swiftboating" of John Murtha.
- "Jack's Stance on Iraq." Rep. John Murtha's Official U.S. House of Representatives website.
By John Murtha
- Press Release: "Murtha Supports Iraq Resolution with Reservations," Official U.S. House of Representatives website, October 9, 2002.
- "The War in Iraq is Not Going as Advertised. Iraq Must Be Freed from the US Occupation," CounterPunch, November 17, 2005.
- "Murtha Speech," Crooks and Liars, November 17, 2005. WMP and QT video links.
- "Murtha in Full," The Stakeholder, November 17, 2005. Transcript of speech.
- "Iraq Cannot Be Won," AlterNet, November 19, 2005.
- "Questions About My Record," The Huffington Post, January 13, 2006.
- "Despite Another $67 Billion, Our Army is Broke and Badly Depleted," The Huffington Post, March 9, 2006.
- Press Release: "Murtha press conference transcript on Iraq" and Press Release: "Murtha Statement on Haditha Incident," Official U.S. House of Representatives website, May 18, 2006.
- Opinion: "Enough is enough," USA TODAY, June 15, 2006.
- "Fighting Back," The Huffington Post, June 27, 2006.
- Chris Buckley, "Local lawmakers convinced war inevitable" The Valley Independent (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review), March 19, 2003.
- Matthew Junker, "Murtha satisfied with game plan in Iraq," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 8, 2003.
- John Salsgiver, "Switch-hitter," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 18, 2003.
- David Firestone, "Democratic Hawk Urges Firing of Bush Iraq Aides," New York Times (Common Dreams), September 17, 2003.
- Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Political Memo; Partisan Ire At Rumsfeld Over Abuse," New York Times (JustOneMinute Blog), May 7, 2004. Read to the end to read the Times May 22, 2004, retraction.
- "Koppel’s Topic Thursday Night: 'Is Iraq an Unwinnable War?'" CyberAlert, May 7, 2004: "John Murtha: 'We can not prevail in this war at the policy that’s going today.'"
- Ted Barrett, "'Unwinnable' comment draws GOP fire. Democratic lawmaker says changes needed for victory," CNN, May 10, 2004. Murtha "said the problems in Iraq are due to a 'lack of planning' by Pentagon chiefs and 'the direction has got be changed or it is unwinnable.' ... Republicans seized on that word, ignoring Murtha's overall point: that more troops and equipment should be sent to Iraq."