By Harry Welty
Help! Murtha! Police!
New York's Rialto Theater used to answer the phone calls from people inquiring
about the evening's movies with the greeting, "Help! Murder! Police!"
It was a novel way to suggest the kind of excitement movie goers could expect at
Congressional Republicans uttered a similar cry when Pennsylvania's Democrat
Congressman, John Murtha, suggested that it was time we pulled American troops
out of harm's way in Iraq. The GOP cries of, "Help! Murtha! Police!" were,
however, more suggestive of panic than entertainment. Congress faces the voters
in less than a year's time and suddenly John Murtha seems to be in much better
tune with voters than the Republicans who charged the ex-marine with cutting and
Until recently Republicans have been able to hide behind the troops. Our
soldiers and marines genuinely want their mission to succeed if not for its own
sake then instead they want it to succeed so that their fallen comrades will not
have died in vain.
Murtha, an ex-marine with two Purple Hearts to his credit, doesn't need to hide
behind the troops for his contrary opinion of the war's management or
mismanagement. Rather, he feels a fatherly need to protect the troops from their
ethos of self sacrifice.
Unlike many other Congressmen John Murtha does not court the media. When he goes
to military hospitals to talk to wounded vets, which he does a lot now-a-days,
he goes by himself. Murtha recently choked back tears of indignation during an
interview as he recalled one battered veteran he met at a VA hospital. Badly
mangled the soldier was being denied a Purple Heart because he had been injured
by "friendly fire" rather than by the enemy. When Murtha learned this
he told the Military that if it wouldn't give the young man a Purple Heart
Murtha would give the soldier one of his.
What the soldiers think is important. Until now they've hung tough even when
body armor and other necessities were in short supply. Most voted for Bush. When
asked by Administration officials whether they want to continue they mostly go
with the party line: "stay the course."
More than ever "stay the course" is the Republican Party line.
Republicans have championed the Iraqi theater in the war-against-terror rather
like the Congressmen in 1860 who rushed out to see the Civil War's first big
battle with picnic baskets. They had to abandon their cheerful picnics when the
Union Army was routed at Bull Run. In short order Congressmen found themselves
surrounded by a jostling sea of soldiers fleeing for the safety of Washington
is not just interested in the physical safety of our military but also with
their honor. The Congressmen had kind words for Captain Fishbach who was
recently detained by Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department. Assigned to
interrogate POWs, Fishbach balked at the pressure to ignore the Geneva
While other soldiers dutifully followed the new anti-Geneva interrogation
policies on the basis of verbal orders Fishbach demanded written instructions.
As Lyndie Englund discovered superior officers are reluctant to put their name
on orders to strip prisoners naked, leash them like dogs, and beat the crap out
of them. Captain Fishbach felt these interrogation methods were not only
criminal but that they sullied the reputation of the
Its no wonder the Administration viewed the Captain as being derelict in his
Republicans can take comfort in their Party's long history of torture and abuse.
Why it was Abraham Lincoln himself, who had his anti-war critic Congressman
Clement Vallandigham arrested by General Burnside and water boarded until he
renounced his copperhead ways. After that Vallandigham was stripped naked, and
kept in solitary confinement in a Cuban detention camp for the duration of the
war. That way he could no longer threaten the Great Emancipator's work.
Oops! I think I got a lot of the facts in that last paragraph wrong. This is
what the current Administration does.
Help! Murtha! Police!
Welty is a small time politician who lets it all hang out at: www.snowbizz.com