View Full Version : Swift Boaters Are Going After Murtha

08-01-2006, 02:30 PM
Vets set sights on Murtha


The Tribune-Democrat

The “Swift Boat” veterans who grabbed national headlines in 2004 when they attacked John Kerry in his failed presidential bid now are turning their sights to Johnstown.

Their target is U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a critic of the Iraq war and a de facto spokesman on the subject for the national Democratic Party.

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.

Details of the rally will be outlined at a news conference at 11 a.m. Thursday in front of Murtha’s office at 647 Main St.

Murtha, who will not be in his district office Thursday, appears unfazed by the pending “Swift Boat’’ campaign.

He is scheduled that day to be in Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County, campaigning for Democrat Chris Carney, who’s running against incumbent Republican Don Sherwood in the 10th District.

In a statement released by his office, Murtha said, “Nobody has done more for the troops than I have.

“This is a policy difference, and everybody has the right to an opinion.”

Murtha is running for re-election against Diana Irey, a Washington County commissioner, who has been critical of Murtha’s comments about the war and what she sees as his lack of support for the troops.

The news conference will be held by Craig Minnick, an Iraq war veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, and Harry Beam, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Vietnam vet, both of Johnstown, and Parker, an Air Force veteran.

A guest at the news conference will be Larry Bailey, president of Veterans for the Truth. Bailey is a retired Navy captain and former commanding officer of the Naval Special Warfare Center. He co-authored the anti-Kerry book “Unfit for Command.”

Murtha, a retired Marine Reserve colonel, in 1974 became the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress. He’s been known for his strong support of the military and on defense issues, working quietly behind the scenes with Republicans and Democrats alike.

But that changed late last year when – with mounting American casualties – he went public and called on the Bush administration to withdraw troops from Iraq and redeploy them nearby. His comments brought an eruption of emotions, both pro and con.

Bailey, in an interview from North Carolina, said he and other vets who were active in the 2004 Swift Boat campaign didn’t get interested in Murtha’s race until he went public about a Pentagon war crimes investigation.

In May, Murtha said the investigation would show that Marines had killed more than a dozen innocent civilians “in cold blood” Nov. 19 in the town of Haditha.

Bailey said those remarks were highly prejudicial “without any due process.”

At that point, Swift Boat veterans from the 2004 campaign were approached by Parker and other area vets about Murtha, Bailey said.

“We decided to get back together and put together a new organization to hold John Murtha accountable for what he said,” Bailey said.

Minnick said he and Beam have been discussing for “months and months” Murtha’s stands.

“We’re very tired of lies and distortions from Mr. Murtha on the Iraq war, and it’s time we get the correct information out” about the war, its purposes and the troops, he said.

The main speaker at the October rally is expected to be John O’Neil, a former Navy officer who served on Kerry’s swift boat during the Vietnam War. O’Neil was an active campaigner against Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign.

08-01-2006, 04:45 PM
Someone needs to bounce these guys' head off the table 10X or something. Senior citizens or not.