Tuesday, July 11, 2006



From The Morning Call
July 9, 2006
Chicken hawk admirers target John Murtha
Paul Carpenter

Congressman John Murtha, said a letter to the editor last Sunday, is a ''traitor, disgrace and outright fool'' for questioning the glorious war in Iraq.

There's a disgrace, all right, but it's not Murtha, a Democrat from Johnstown who, demonstrably, is the opposite of everything that letter said.

Three days later, another letter ran. It was from John Halasovski of Lynn Township, who, like Murtha, is a former Marine who went to Vietnam.

''I ask that all these so-called patriots and war hawks who attack war veterans like John Murtha and John McCain please state their military experience and qualifications,'' Halasovski wrote. ''Putting a magnetic ribbon on the car that says 'Support Our Troops' does not mean anything to me. If you really want to support the troops, enlist. Then talk to me about war.''

I was so impressed by Halasovski's piquancy that I contacted him later in the week.

''People who have been in wars are very cautious about getting into wars,'' he told me. ''He [President Bush] wasn't in combat, [Vice President Dick] Cheney wasn't in combat, [Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld wasn't in combat.''

Halasovski served in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967 as a Marine radio operator, but he was lucky enough to come home without being wounded.

Murtha, a Marine officer, volunteered for duty in Vietnam and also was there in 1966 and 1967, but was twice wounded in combat and received two Purple Hearts. He also received the Bronze Star and other medals for gallantry.

A disgrace, indeed.

''People have pounded on [John] McCain and John Kerry,'' Halasovski said, referring to two other politicians viciously attacked by Bush administration supporters for criticizing Iraq policies.

Like Murtha, McCain and Kerry were willing to serve in Vietnam while the chicken hawks cowered at home.

I asked Halasovski about his position on Iraq. ''I think it's the wrong thing,'' he said. ''I think it's Vietnam all over again. When they say cut and run, I think we should have cut and run in 1966. It would have saved 55,000 lives.''

Digressing a bit, Halasovski told me we had met when he worked for the City of Allentown. He headed the union for city employees, and retired from his city job in 2001.

''You used to blast us now and then,'' he said of my comments on the union, ''so we don't always agree.'' However, Halasovski worked much of the time on the city's parks, and I have been effusive in praising the parks people.

Although retired, he still drives a school bus. ''It's like being in combat,'' he joked.

Returning to real combat, Halasovski noted that the key figures of the Bush administration never experienced it, but ''all those guys want to rush into it'' — that is, they want to rush other people into it.

He and I agreed that action in Afghanistan was justified, but the chicken hawks lied America into a war in Iraq to benefit Haliburton and the Bush family's dear pals — the corrupt and despotic royal family that runs Saudi Arabia. (Where did most 9/11 terrorists and financing come from? Why, it was Saudi Arabia, Iraq's chief economic rival.)

Now we have the Bush administration's admirers on a crusade to destroy the reputation of any critics, including a genuine patriot like Murtha.

It's an administration headed by someone who dodged service in Vietnam by pretending to serve in the National Guard, and whose veep had a politically powerful daddy wangle him a deferment. His chief adviser, Karl Rove, also got a deferment, and his chief cheerleader, Rush Limbaugh, also had a politically powerful daddy get him one — based on a big pimple on his fanny .

There is a disgrace, all right, and you can find it if you look hard enough.

No one, absolutely no one can argue with that. Well done!
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