Tuesday, May 09, 2006

You Either Know War Or You Don’t

(I’ll admit that this may be a strange title for a post considering that I didn’t serve, but I at least know enough to keep my mouth shut regarding the service of other veterans, to say nothing of making a speech and misrepresenting history about it.)

This was a particularly good letter in the Courier Times that appeared yesterday in support of Patrick Murphy for the Democratic nomination to oppose Mike Fitzpatrick for the 8th district U.S. House seat.

Murphy has insight the others will never have

This is in response to Ginny Schrader’s recent Guest Opinion piece about why she supports Andy Warren over Patrick Murphy. She disparages Murphy's character and his military service, which is the same tactic Karl Rove has used successfully against other veterans, such as Max Cleland, John Kerry and John McCain. As a fellow veteran, I am sick of this type of attacks. Unfortunately, we will continue to see them until they cease to bring about the desired results, the defeat of their opponent. I'm sure the Fitzpatrick campaign will do the same.

As campaign chairman for Patrick Murphy, let me give you an example of his high moral character. When Ginny Schrader was being attacked by the Fitzpatrick campaign for supporting Hezbollah (in 2004), it was not Andy Warren condemning the attack. He was still in the Republican Party, supporting Fitzpatrick. No, it was Patrick Murphy going public and saying how deplorable that linkage was.

She goes on to say that Murphy has not learned, in her words, "the game" of politics. She's right. To Patrick Murphy, who lost 19 of his fellow soldiers in Iraq, it's a lot more serious than some game -- it's life and death.

Mimi Reimel, another Warren supporter, said in a letter to the editor that Murphy wasn't a paratrooper, another Karl Rove-type attack. I've read Patrick Murphy's military service record, which by the way, has been released to Brian Scheid, a reporter for this paper, and not only is he a paratrooper, having gone through the same training all 82nd Airborne soldiers go through, but he did it with distinction. One evaluation by a commanding officer of his, who, at the time, had served 32 years, said Patrick Murphy was the finest officer he had observed in his active military career. His evaluations go up from there.

Warren supporters would also have you believe that because Murphy was a JAG officer, he served his time in Iraq in an air-conditioned tent, far behind the lines. Again, his military service record indicates that he participated in over 70 convoys in various parts of Iraq. These were the same kind of convoys that, as of May 1, had claimed 2,406 lives of our military personnel and injured thousands of others.

Does having served in Iraq and Bosnia alone qualify Murphy to be our next congressman? No, it does not; but combined with all of his other experiences, it does. Having served in Iraq gives Murphy an insight that, at this point in time, is a perspective that we desperately need, and is something that Mike Fitzpatrick and Andy Warren will never have.

John Toth
Speaking of war and serving our country, I want to take a minute and point out that Our High Exalted Leader, President 31 Percent (last I checked) Mandate himself, gave a speech about a year ago today and disparaged the sacrifices of our country’s World War II-era leadership (to be perfectly honest, my disgust over it was one of the reasons why I started this blog).

I realize Dubya doesn’t care about even a somewhat even-handed view of history on this subject, but I’m going to give one to him anyway (aided significantly by background from this post).

Yes, at the time of Yalta in 1945, Roosevelt was a very sick man suffering from congestive heart disease. Yes, he made what amounted to a deal with the devil with Stalin to allow the Soviet dictator to annex Latvia and the Baltics. In return, however, Stalin would push eastward towards Berlin, while the Allies would push westward, trapping the Nazis. Besides, from what I read about that era, Roosevelt wanted to let the Russians catch Hitler first because they’d lost more people during the war, which Churchill objected to because he wanted Hitler himself because of the suffering of Great Britain. Did Roosevelt and the Allies suspect that this would lead to Soviet domination in the countries through which they were moving their troops? Yes, but guess what? We ALSO had to fight a war in the Pacific, which the Russians didn’t care about (at least, not to the same extent as the war in Europe), and “deal with the devil” or not, we needed all of the help we could get.

You could argue that we should have fought the Soviets immediately after defeating the Nazis to get them out of the countries they were trying to dominate, but this is all second guessing by a Monday-morning quarterback who never saw combat. The problem is that we have a bunch of right-wing chickenhawks running our government who have the same amount of military service as I do. Also, this gives Bushco a chance to take another shot at Roosevelt, something they will NEVER pass up.

For some strange reason, I tried to decipher Dubya’s ramblings at the time (don’t know what got into me), but it was filled with so much vague and contradictory invective that I gave up. He obviously could not have crafted those awful words himself, but they are definitely the product of tiny, spiteful minds and should not treated with any significance beyond that. I just thank God that we had the leadership in this country that we did around the time of World War II and not the clueless individuals we have now who have brought us the debacle in Iraq.

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