JustJoe Over the Road

If it AIN'T about the CONSTITUTION, it AIN'T AMERICA

MILITARY? FOOTBALL? AND CONGRESSMAN JOHN MURTHA

Posted by justjoe on January 4, 2006

Ed Schultz, from the Ed Schultz show on Sirius radio, sure caught my attention yesterday.

http://www.bigeddieradio.com/

He was attacking Congressman John Murtha, Pennsylvania’s top Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending and one of his party’s leading spokesmen on military issues, for saying “No!”

This was in response to the question in an interview taped on Friday on ABC’s “Nightline: “Would you join (the military) today?”

“And I think you’re saying the average guy out there who’s considering recruitment is justified in saying ‘I don’t want to serve’,” the interviewer continued.

“Exactly right,” said Murtha, who drew White House ire in November after becoming the first ranking Democrat to push for a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as it could be done safely.

You can listen to Ed’s segment on this at this link:

http://audio.wegoted.com/podcasting/103006Murtha.mp3

Now, I hold “Big Ed” in the highest of regard and listen to his show regularly and am grateful for his courage to bring forward the debate into the public forum, unlike most other talk show hosts.

But on this castigation of a 37 year military veteran, you’re way wrong, Ed.

As a Vietnam Veteran from ’68 to ’72 in the Navy on the USS Lexington I would like to share why I agree with John Murtha.

When I finished my service, I was left distant from any sense of “Honor” for my service but found myself confused about my relations and my community. Why did so many of us die or come back maimed or, like myself, screwed up in the head about this thing we called the Vietnam War?

Until about a year and a half ago, I had never been thanked for my service. It took another Veteran to do that, because a nation divided and insecure about such a tragic episode in our lives hardly wishes to discuss it, either publicly or privately, for it is better to just forget and move on.

Why is that? Well several reasons come up for me:

  1. We have never declared war since World War II. Thus the nation is divided due to a lack of a clear debate and understanding of an “Imminent Danger”.
  2. When the Congress did declare war, everyone went to war, either on the battlefield, in the factories and in our day-to-day lives and made sacrifices together.
  3. Unfortunately, since World War II, we have had undeclared conflicts in which a small percentage of the population put “skin” in, while the rest of the country came up with the words “I SUPPORT MY TROOPS” without actually having to. I would add, both during and, especially, after the war.
  4. When I say “SUPPORT,” I mean making sure that what we do is legally and morally right before we perform the single most bestial act that any nation can call upon its citizens to perform. Please don’t forget this isn’t a dance social. This is organized killing.
  5. The slaughter of the indigenous populations and their environment with horrible chemicals, and biological weapons. (Oh, that’s right. That is why we went after Saddam!)
  6. The lies, deceits and profiteering that grate and shame all of us.
  7. I guess the worst part of it all is that we live in some John Wayne fantasy that consigns us to respect the military but not the human beings that make up the military or the sacrifices that will be required of them and should be required of all of us.

So, the end result is that everybody spends their time trying to just forget, and with the exception of the one or two days a year of prayers and remembrance, we would just hope the reality would go away or change, so we just block it with some platitudes and then move on.

I belong to the legions of the forgotten, discarded and disregarded, Ed. All you have to do is look in the shelters and on the streets, or behind the facade of the friendly smile of your neighbor or friend, and you will find those who served your “HONORABLE” military.

Let me share a story that brings it all home for me. This is Diane Evans who served as a nurse, one of 10,000 Women who served in Vietnam.

“I remember coming home from Vietnam in August of ’69, and my dad took me into town,” says Diane Evans, who was 21 when she was stationed at the 71st Evacuation Hospital at Pleiku.

“He said, ‘Let’s get in the truck and go to town. I’m going to take you to the feed store.’ So we went to the feed store. And the lady is adding up, you know, the feed that he’s bought. And my dad says to her, who’s a lifelong friend, ‘Diane just got home from Vietnam.'”

“And she wouldn’t look at me.”

“She would not look at me, and she wouldn’t say anything. And my dad is feeling very embarrassed, and I wanted to crawl in a hole and disappear. And we get in the truck and we drive home, and I said, “Dad, don’t ever tell anybody I was in Vietnam. Just don’t talk about it.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/01/60II/main561263.shtml

How about the countless homeless people?

Although accurate numbers are impossible to come by … no one keeps national records on homeless veterans … the VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And more than half a million experience homelessness over the course of a year.

http://www.nchv.org/background.cfm

And the sick and forgotten who left their hearts and souls behind and have been changed forever. Keep in mind, Ed, that there are only three ways that your children come back to you in time of conflict:

  1. Dead
  2. Maimed for life.
  3. Mentally, spiritually and emotionally changed forever.

The degree to which that affects us all depends upon “We the People” and our elected representatives. Right now, all I see is Thuggery, Thievery, Deceit and Lies serving up (once again) a politically expedient conflict that is nationally and internationally Illegal, Immoral and completely devoid of any “HONORABLE” merits.

Sounds like the Mafia have taken over and you basically are saying to our young, “Go become hit men for your country.”

When I signed on, I took the following oath:

The Oath of Enlistment, Reenlistment

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend
The Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same”

Well, the enemy is domestic, and I am a Veteran, and through my US Senate campaign in Utah, this year, I am going to work to replace at least one of these hoodlums. And quite frankly, saying “NO” puts you and every other citizen on notice that you better get your act together or a nation that has already fallen into utter disrepair will cease to exist.

Your problem is not that we question serving in the military; but whether the citizens of this country are worthy of our service.

The answer presently, as far as I am concerned, and obviously, Rep. Murtha too, is “NO”

This is not a football game where we play for points and then all go home feeling good or bad over whether we won or lost. This is not about the feel-good conversation of championing more armor, health benefits, accountability for the reasons for the war, etc. Once we have reached that stage where we have committed to the conflict, it is just too damn late.

When the people of this nation do their job and demand accountability from those who are elected and who take the same oath that I did, when “We The People” stand up to our responsibility with “HONOR,” then I would say to our young people,” go forth and serve your country.”

But as long as the corporate interests, rather than the people’s interests, are being served in our nation’s capitol, as they also were in my era, I, too, would say “NO,” and God bless John Murtha for his courage to speak truth to power.

Currying favor to the right, trying to be politically correct and pushing aside the truth, is what got us in this mess in the first place, and it must stop!

The Military is not, in and of itself, “HONORABLE,” for “HONOR” is something we consign to the mission and actions of those who serve. The Military is that terrible, deadly and fierce force that is called upon when ALL ELSE FAILS. It is that which trains to ensure the complete and crushing subjugation of any force that might oppose it. It prepares for one thing only, and that is to fight and win our Nation’s wars.

This cavalier use of our military as a first, rather than a last, resort in our foreign policy initiatives is, at best, criminal, and I am not interested in promoting criminal behavior in our youth.

I am truly grateful to you for taking a position on this issue, for it really brought forward in my mind, and, I hope, in anyone else who had an opportunity to hear you, the importance and implications of our military and service in it.

Thanks, Ed, and God Bless.

Joe LaBonte
US Senate Candidate in Utah 2006

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2 Responses to “MILITARY? FOOTBALL? AND CONGRESSMAN JOHN MURTHA”

  1. JamBoi said

    Hello Joe. I heard you on Mike Milloy last night and want to let you know I fully agree. I too have been an appreciator of Ed Shultz and was taken aback by his comments vs. hero Rep. John Murtha.

    Best of luck on your Senate run and your party. Have you thought of connecting it with the Green Party since your platform is eseentially the same? Anyway good luck!

  2. thanks jamboi
    appreciate the support.

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