“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, February 08, 2010

First Viet Nam Veteran to serve in Congress, John Murtha dies at 77

Murtha walked the walk, unlike some of the blowhards who will be taking him down.

Murtha left the Marines in 1955. He remained in the Reserves after his discharge from active duty until he volunteered for service in the Vietnam War, serving from 1966 to 1967, serving as a battalion staff officer (S-2 Intelligence Section), receiving the Bronze Star with Valor device, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Colonel in 1990, receiving the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

Haditha, Iraq killings

The Haditha incident occurred on November 19, 2005, and since then there have been differing accounts of exactly what took place.

In November 2005 Murtha announced that a military investigation into the Haditha killings concluded U.S. Marines had intentionally killed innocent civilians. Referring to the first report about Haditha that appeared in Time magazine, Murtha said:
"It's much worse than reported in Time magazine. There was no fire fight. There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. And that's what the report is going to tell."

The Marine Corps responded to Murtha's announcement by stating that "there is an ongoing investigation; therefore, any comment at this time would be inappropriate and could undermine the investigatory and possible legal process." Murtha was criticized by conservatives for presenting a version of events as simple fact before an official investigation had been concluded.

In August 2006, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich filed a lawsuit against Murtha for character defamation during an ongoing investigation into the Haditha incident. In April 2009 this suit was dismissed by a federal appeals court, while ruled that Murtha could not be sued because he was acting in his official role as a lawmaker when he made the statements.

On December 21, 2006, the US military charged Wuterich with 12 counts of unpremeditated murder against individuals and one count of the murder of six people "while engaged in an act inherently dangerous to others". Charges were subsequently dropped against seven of the eight Marines involved: Capt. Lucas McConnell, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani,[ Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, Capt. Randy Stone and 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson. Only Sergeant Frank Wuterich is still facing trial on 9 counts of involuntary manslaughter.



  1. And in his life review, which comes immediately upon death, he is sayig, jeeze...

  2. I do not celebrate his death.

    I thank him for his service.

    I am relieved he is gone.

  3. He is saying Semper Fi, with no cause for any under the breath expletives.

    Those remarks are left for them that never served. Those that left service to their Country for their betters to perform.

    Those that so fear the next part of the voyage, they become fixated upon it.

    As if any mortal opinion on the subject mattered.

  4. I'll keep my mouth shut (for once.) But, he did those Haditha Marines wrong. Bad wrong.

  5. I called him vomitous.

    In parentheses.

  6. No I won't. He was an asshole, and a Crook.

  7. I can forgive the "Crook," part.

    I can't forgive him for what he did to those Marines.

  8. Caomrad Rufus said:
    "BTW, the life expectancy of the type policy I wrote (L&H) is 1.5 years."
    Not sure exactly what that means, please explain.
    We've had the same Health Insurance Plan for over a decade.

    Betcha Ms T's Ms F has too, unless there is a difference due to Hawaii's more enlightened position wrt Health Insurance.

  9. rufus said...
    I can forgive the "Crook," part.

    I can't forgive him for what he did to those Marines.

    Fair and balanced,

  10. Like saying Kerry is some benighted saint cause he faked a few "war injuries."

    ...or I was a superpatriot when I served in the US Army.

  11. Boehnner and McConnell wrote a dynamite letter to the "Bipartisan" Flim Flam Man, BHO.

  12. Paul Ryan’s Express
    A congressman with a presidential-level agenda.

    "He’s young, charismatic, wonky, and well spoken."

    Matthew needn't add: Unlike some.

  13. For their part, many Democrats believe that they will be able to cast Republicans as obstacles to the Democratic agenda of expanding health coverage and protecting consumers from insurance companies.

    A recent national survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation found that more than seven in 10 Americans would back a healthcare bill if it included tax credits for small businesses. And at least six in 10 respondents would back legislation that expanded the Medicaid program for the poor, helped seniors on Medicare buy prescription drugs or guaranteed that all Americans could get insurance even if they were sick.

    But large segments of the public do not know that these provisions are in the House or Senate health legislation, according to the Kaiser poll.

    Potential Weapon

  14. "Charges were subsequently dropped against seven of the eight Marines involved..."

    As I recall it, I was roundly cursed and metaphorically pilloried for defending the Marine Corps and the UCMJ at the height of the controversy. I had no doubt that the Marines would be given fair treatment and not be subjected to summary execution. As usual, my patriotism and veracity were called into question.

    There is something to be said for consistency.

  15. Doug, I sold "supplemental" health policies to large groups.

  16. No, doug, no one called Murtha a "Super Patriot", nor you for that matter.

    But being a better class of man, that has little to do with patriotism.

    One has either sacrificed time, sweat, blood and tears for one's country, or one never did.

    There is no equivalent service to putting on the uniform and performing to standard.

    Indeed, being a veteran does not make someone a Super Patriot, doug, just someone that served their society, for little reward.

    His actions, as a politico, were shameless. His volunteering to go to Vietnam, almost heroic.
    Much like King David, in that regard, an honorable warrior, , corrupted by power later in life.

  17. I thought the argument was about the USMC not doing a better job of standing with the Marines in the public sphere against the outrageous slanders of Murtha, et all, Allen.
    Not about the final outcome.

    Like that poor Lt Col (Army?) having his good name destroyed, and spending years having to defend himself.

  18. I would add that the usual veteran served for little reward, there are some exceptions to that generality, of course.

  19. Exactly, doug, it was the Marine Corps Generals and staffers that briefed Mr Murtha, they were the one I fired at.

    They were the ones that broke faith.

    They were the ones providing false reports to their fellow Marine, Mr Mutha. Of course he believed and retold the Corps line on Haditha.

    Semper Fi!

  20. As was pointed out at the time, it was the Commandant of the Marine Corps who talked out of school.

    While I could pull all the arguments out of storage, suffice to say that some did not make clear distinctions between one man (the Commandant) and a glorious institution (the USMC). Moreover, the entire system of military justice came under assault, as if it could/would be corrupted by the misdeeds/agendas of a few.

    In every instance but one, the government dropped the charges, knowing that, if put to the test of court martial, it would lose. On the whole, members of the armed forces take their duties seriously. When sitting in judgment, they are unlikely to be swayed by the value of political expediency.

    I do not recall King David having been a party to the matter at hand.

  21. One has either sacrificed time, sweat, blood and tears for one's country, or one never did.

    Horse shit.

    I respect people in the Army, but you asshole, just needed a job.

    I think I was in more danger farming than your six years teaching for the Army.

    Those were good books, Allen, and the idea of life as a classroom goes deep. I've got more to say about it, but the outlook of Weiss, well, I was converted long ago.

    Now you must read Black Elk Speaks. I demand. I know you will like it.

    "I didn't have to remember my great vision, it remembered itself all these years.

  22. Supplied as commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment, these SIGINT systems will be used to support the warfighter around the globe in the most demanding of applications.

    “These DRS SIGINT systems provide intercept, DF, and secure communications capabilities in a ruggedized, lightweight, man-pack form factor that is designed to also be used in mounted applications,” notes Logen Thiran, DRS Intelligence, Communications & Avionics Solutions (ICAS) vice president and general manager. “This is our fourth significant sale of tactical SIGINT equipment to this customer.

    We are committed to providing the best SIGINT capabilities to our customers to ensure dominance on the electronic battlefield.”

    Direction Finding Systems

  23. The question I have, Allen, is if there is an Omega point, a finality, or, does the dove fly through the darkness, the darkness being the mystery of God, always receding, always leading us on, no end to it.....?

    It was interesting as well, to read about groups evolving among themselves.

    This is an idea held by some of the Native American tribes.

    I think I have had a soul mate, my aunt. And I hope to have one or two more.

    I cannot though, for the life of me, think of my good aunt as my lover, my mistress, my wife. Maybe, just maybe, my sister.

    So, I was happy to read, in the last book, that there are categories of soul mates.

    I am thinking now of taking up astrology, with a specialism in moon signs. I have become very interested in this of late.

  24. I was just another cog in the Federal Socialist Stimulus, back in the day.

    Just like Land Grants were, back in Grandpa's.

    Elevate the opinions of mortals if you wish, or judge life and death, for yourself.

    You are searching for affirmation and warm fuzzy feelings of self assurance as that final river crossing approaches.
    You're either in sync with the cosmos, or you're not. The opinions of others of life and death matter little, unless your friends sit and chant instructions and directions from the Tibetan "Book of the Dead".

    Which also describes a similar "Death Experience" and provides a guide to navigating one's way successfully through it.

    Good luck with the Vandals
    If you're lucky their lawyer is as not as good as their football team.

  25. The other thing I liked about those books was, you got to pay your own price.

    There was none of this somebody else dies for your sins, the most disgusting part of Christianity.

    You got to gird up your loins like a man, and pay yourself.

  26. That almost made some sense, Rat.

    The bardo of becoming is now, in this life, and always.

    You are learning.

  27. No, boobie, that was a lesson learned long, long ago, when I went through death's door.

    But what would you know of that adventure.

    You expound our ignorance, thinking it expands your mind.

    Tread lightly, grasshopper.

  28. Though the astral projection experiences, those are the one that best exemplify the separation of mind and body.

    Though what happens to that mental energy, when the body that provides it does really die, a dicey and icy bridge to cross.

    Especially on the River Styx.

  29. I'm with the Cherokees. They tried to "steer clear" of the Dead.

    They seemed to figure that the dead were quite likely to be "pissed."

  30. You never went through death's door.

    If you had, you would not be so cocky.

    If you had, you would be humble, and silent, and you are not, and it shows, big time.

    Nor would you make comments like "boobie" and think its neat.

    You would finally sober up.

  31. For someone that has never made the trip, you are an expert, aye, boobie.

    You know how it effects the mind of every man that has the experience, aye.

    Because someone that wrote a book had an opinion that impressed you so?

    Another of your many bibles?

  32. What i know, boob, is that I, like everyone else, will die.

    I know that all the traditions have a similar initial voyage at time of death. I have started on that trail and returned. My father had a similar experience in his youth.

    Definitively an out of body experience. Or so it seemed.

  33. But in all the cases that I am aware of, the body lived.

    So whether the "out of body" experience would continue, when the brain finally fails, an unknowable.

  34. I have never died....

    Glad I have never died...

    Hope to die old and in my sleep...

    Just after my wife smacks my hand from grabbing her ass....

    Now that's a dream...

  35. As the organic powered spirit shifts to an energy only format, one wonders how much of the organic life memory data sets are retained?

    And how?

    Such are just some of the junior league questions into the mysteries of life and death

  36. Doug: We've had the same Health Insurance Plan for over a decade. Betcha Ms T's Ms F has too, unless there is a difference due to Hawaii's more enlightened position wrt Health Insurance.

    Miss F and Miss T have been in the Group Death of Pubic Mound (Okay, Group Health of Puget Sound) Co-op for two decades. Miss F pays less for her coverage. We are looking into pulling the trigger on the "domestic partner benefits" for same sex couples, which Marriott does have, despite being owned by the CoJCofLDS. Then I'll be on her plan, and we'll save a bundle.

  37. Does Oswald get a pass too? What about Charles Whitman, wasnt he a marine? What about England?

    Any able bodied male who turned 18 prior to 1973 either got drafted or joined another branch unless he was fortunate enough to get deferred.

    Bad people dont't get passes because they served in the military. Sorry.

    This forum has been used to defile McCain, who, in my mind, is 10 times the hero Murtha ever dreamed of being.

    "Those remarks are left for them that never served. Those that left service to their Country for their betters to perform."

  38. Personally, I've expounded utmost respect for McCain the Man, disdain for some of his "policies."

    I have respect for Murtha's service, but utmost disdain for Murtha "the man."

    He misused, badly, those on the battlefield (ala: f'n john kerry,) and for that I can't forgive him.

  39. She is popping up everywhere... just look at the last 48 hours.

    This morning in Houston, fans paid $50 a head to "get motivated" with Sarah Palin and learn how to balance priorities, maintain grace under fire and become a person of influence.


    But it's Saturday night's sharp critique of Barack Obama at the first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tenn., that's drawn the most attention.


    In this crowd, it doesn't matter that she once supported the Wall Street bailout. That's ancient history now.

    Tea Partiers

  40. The situation in Europe is dire.

    After years of profligate spending, Greece is becoming overwhelmed. Barring some sort of large-scale bailout program, a Greek debt default at this point is highly likely.


    The heart of Germany’s problem is that it is insecure and indefensible given its location in the middle of the North European Plain. No natural barriers separate Germany from the neighbors to its east and west, no mountains, deserts, oceans.


    That gives Germany an entirely different sort of power from the kind it enjoyed via a potent Wehrmacht, and this was not a power that went unnoticed or unused.

    Germany's Choice

  41. As the organic powered spirit shifts to an energy only format, one wonders how much of the organic life memory data sets are retained?

    And how?

    Such are just some of the junior league questions into the mysteries of life and death

    That's actually a damned good question.

    If one turns it around a bit, and thinks of love, against all the evidence, as being the powerhouse of the universe, one can begin to feel the bginnings of an answer.

  42. heh, against all the evidence, and all the argument, it may be bob and rat are on the same page, after all