Free Markets, Free People

The Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award Goes To …

John Murtha! Yes, “that John Murtha” … seriously:

In one of his last moves before leaving office March 13, then-Navy Secretary Donald Winter quietly awarded 19-term Democratic congressman John Murtha (Pa.) with the service’s highest civilian honor.

Citing Murtha’s “courageous leadership, vision, and loyalty to the men and women of the Department of the Navy,” Winter presented the influential chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel with the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award, an honor bestowed in “those extraordinary cases where individuals have demonstrated exceptionally outstanding service of substantial and long term benefit to the Navy, Marine Corps, or the Department of the Navy as a whole,” a Murtha release stated.

As you can imagine, this didn’t sit well with some in the military. Seems they don’t appreciate seeing elected officials who condemn their comrades in arms as “murderers” being awarded medals:

The primary reason for their ire stems from the congressman’s statements in May, 2006, that a squad of Marines who responded to an IED ambush and short firefight in Haditha, Iraq, rampaged through the village, murdering civilians “in cold blood.”

Murtha made those comments in the heat of the 2006 congressional mid-term election campaign, in a move some political analysts saw as an attempt to stoke the anti-war vote for a Democratic takeover of the House. The former Marine and distinguished Vietnam veteran continued his accusations in follow-up media appearances before an official Pentagon and Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation had been completed.

When the dust settled more than two years later, six of the eight Marines and Sailors accused of crimes in the Haditha incident had their cases dismissed, one was found not guilty and the last has been continued indefinitely.


Murtha has refused to recant his accusations or apologize to the Marines he accused of war crimes. When asked by in late 2007 whether he regretted his initial statements and owed the exonerated Marines and Sailor an apology, Murtha refused to comment, saying the cases were still being adjudicated.

Well, I can understand why he wouldn’t apologize. After all, it’s quite well known that Murtha is an officious liar, and no one should believe a word he says.

As for some actual soldier reaction, Deebow at Blackfive queries “Are You F’ing Serious?!

I was immediately a little suspicious about what kind of award Mr. Murtha could have received, knowing that he hasn’t done anything honorable lately, at least that I can remember. So I checked the Way Back Machine event tabulator I had next to my oatmeal and it says Representative Jack Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator in the ABSCAM investigation done by the FBI, blatantly called his constituents racists and backwoods red-necks and, most recently, called United States Marines engaged in combat “Cold Blooded Killers” for their actions during a firefight in Haditha, Iraq.

WOW! Now that is one honorable Congressman…

[snip part where Deebow reads about the honor bestowed upon Murtha]

REALLY??? The former SECNAV thought that Rep. Murtha was someone who had “loyalty” to the men and women of the Department of the Navy? He really believed that Rep. Murtha had rendered “exceptionally outstanding service?”

Apparently he did. But, even if Deebow wasn’t impressed, the Congressman himself sure was!

“I’m proud of the service and sacrifices our troops are making, and I’m honored to receive this distinguished award from the Navy,” commented Murtha. “We have an obligation to ensure that our cold-blooded murderers men and women in uniform have the most modern equipment, effective training, first-class medical care, and family advocacy resources.”

Erm … there may be some mistranslation in there somewhere.

More reactions:

But one influential veterans group has reacted strongly against the award, crafting a petition to lobby the Navy to rescind it.

Vets for Freedom, a group that generally supports the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, called Murtha’s award “appalling” and his accusations against the Haditha Marines “vile and despicable.”

“Congressman John Murtha should apologize for slandering the Marines of [3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment], and for undermining the efforts of those servicemen and women who fought in Iraq,” the online petition states. “If he does not, the Secretary of the Navy should rescind this award as a sign of his unwavering support for those who served in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

So far more than 35,000 supporters have signed the online petition.

If you tend to side with Deebow rather than Rep. Murtha, then you can sign too by going to this link.

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13 Responses to The Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award Goes To …

  • Murtha is a disgusting pile of trash that doesn’t deserve to be spoken of in the same breath that speaks “honor”.   What a gross travesty.

  • Mr. murtha is the ultimate poster-boy for the “other side” , think about that.

  • I have to wonder what was going through Sec. Winter’s mind when he made this decision.  It would be hard to name a more scummy member of Congress (that’s saying something!), and it would be VERY hard to name one more openly hostile to our military.  For my money, only Dick(head) Durbin comes close for his comparison of our troops at Gitmo to Stalin’s goons.

    This award is an outrage.

  • Murtha’s been demonized by a tiny sect of the right wing blogosphere because he was appalled when some US military people acted in a way not consistent with how America’s military people should act.  Clearly those in high command understand that Murtha has been a close friend of the military, and probably share his views.  The blogosphere runs on demonization and emotion; they find a quote or two, take it out of context and then try to smear.  That is irrational, and is becoming impotent.   Congrats to Murtha.

    • It could not be more obvious that you have no idea about what you’re commenting on.  The problem this time is that you’ve simply waived off Murtha’s slander as no big deal, and even tried to legitimize it.  Those soldiers did not, in fact, “act[] in a way not consistent with how America’s military people should act,”  and indeed were cleared of the charges against them.  You would have known that if you had actually followed the story.  You didn’t, but you are perfectly comfortable advancing slander against our troops.  That’s precisely what makes you the slimy, two-faced, arrogant, waste-of-breath that you are so often accused of being here in the comments.

      And save your indignation, Doc.  That’s not ad hominem.  It’s accurate labeling.

    • Scott,

      I know it makes no difference to say it again…  no matter how *appalled* was John Murtha over what he heard about Haditha, his actions were prurient political grandstanding, his statements were slanderous, his cause was to portray those serving in Iraq as walking the edge of atrocity, the precipice of barbarism, sliding into savagery.

      John Murtha, went before the American public and announced as fact that our soldiers, nothing more than poor victims of war, had been pushed over that line and were fullfilling their role as monsters, as cold blooded murderers.

      I don’t care how appalled he was…   he can not do what he did and be counted as having anything to do with honorable military service.    What he did, no matter how excused by his age and mental infirmaty, no matter how shattered his nerves at the terrible news…  he can’t do that and expect respect.

      His position in Congress had him UNIQUELY positioned to ensure that the Marines were doing everything possible to investigate and determine the truth.    If he was interested in the truth.   He was uniquely positioned to ensure that nothing was swept under rugs, that HIS service would  continue in honorable tradition.     As a former officer in the United States military, as a former Marine officer, we can expect that he understands that his words have power and his statements consequences.   Instead he took it to the American people… as if he were powerless, as if he had no station and no influence unless he used the bully pulpit of the media to stir up public sentiment.

      John Murtha proved instead that he is an EX-Marine.   Ex, not former.    In exchange for hugs from Code Pink he sold his brothers out.    Not for truth, never for truth, but for face-time on television, for old hags in pink costumes, for political gain.

      And a Secretary of the Navy has proven that he’ll lube up without shame  in order to gratify an honorless old man who holds the purse strings.

    • “Congrats to Murtha”, eh?

      A man who, without waiting to hear the evidence, without waiting for a trial, without waiting for ANY due process, rushed to a microphone and camera to villify men who had been accused of commiting a crime?

      That’s behavior that warrants “congrats” in your book?

      In your rush to be contrarian (at least, I hope that is your actual motive), you show yourself as a truly loathesome individual.  Or do you really hate Marines so much that they are automatically guilty until proved innocent in your mind?

    • Murtha’s been exposed by pretty much everyone in the non-ultra-leftist blogosphere because it’s appalling how, when some US military people acted in a way that courts have found perfectly consistent with how America’s military people should act, he made slanderous statements wholly inconsistent with how America’s elected officials should act. Clearly a lone few in the military high command ignorantly treat Murtha as if he’s a friend of the military, but at least most of the military do not share that view.

      Remember that when I say the blogosphere runs on demonization and emotion, I’m talking about myself. I find a quote or two, take it out of context and then try to smear. That’s why my arguments have always been irrational, and I have always been impotent. Congrats to me!!!

  • Think of this as an analogy, Scott.

    Even if the Haditha Marines had exercised cold-blooded vengeance… even if they had and it was all true… what Murtha said about them, he even *excused* them!, what he said about them was broad slander of anyone in uniform.

    The analogy is this…  You teach at a university, correct?   So some professor at your school is accused of raping a female student… and the president or one of the regents…  someone like that, someone *official* that represents you, personally, as an employee at the university…  that person rushes out to the local television station before any investigation is complete and gives an impassioned few words about this horrible professor who was so overwhelmed by being surrounded by nubile female students that he just *snapped* one day and raped one of them.    And this is what happens, what can we expect given the situation?

    Would you really not take that as a personal slander on *your* good name?     How do you stand it, Scott?    How do you stand being surrounded by all those girls at the absolute height of their sexual attractiveness, wombs all ready to go?

    I’m sure you’d never “demonize” someone who said stuff like that.   Never.

    • Synova – save your breath, or in this case your typewriter fingertips.  To have a rational discussion on this topic discuss this realistically, you have to be speaking to someone who understand the concept of honor.  Erb does not understand this concept.  To him it is just another word that exists only in a dictionary but has no real world application.

  • I knew when I read this story Erb was going to be on the message thread defending Murtha.  I also knew reading Synova this is going to be one of those times he disappears after being b!tch slapped.  Murtha is a despicable man and is another walkng personification of the need for term limits.

  • Murtha = Semper One!

  • Murtha, Reid , Pelosi, My holy trinity of stupidity in congress…I dont usually like to attack people personally in politics, i truly don’t. I think at this point even Obama with his socialist agenda seems like an ok person, but these three are just horrible people in general. I dont think i would accept an award from them or shake their hands.