If it's election season it must be time for swiftboating. And that's exactly what happened on Friday, when Mike Fitzpatrick decided to hold a press conference and attack the military service of Patrick Murphy. Flanked by a few veterans, the swiftboating began. As usual, the guy behind the swiftboating, Mike Fitzpatrick, has never worn the uniform. When John Kerry heard about it he let Fitzpatrick have it and came out fighting for Murphy.
But I've got to ask: Where do these people get the nerve? Because it takes a lot of gall to swiftboat a veteran when you've never served yourself.
I got a press release on the action late Friday and though I wasn't surprised, I simply couldn't believe it was happening yet again. Below is a portion of the email I received on the swiftboating stunt Mike Fitzpatrick pulled on Patrick Murphy going after his service in Iraq. It's the latest thing. If a veteran criticizes the war in Iraq his service is brought into question, as is his integrity.
At Fitzpatrick's press conference this morning, he introduced and stood alongside these three veterans, and after they made their attacks on Patrick's service record, he made no comments to the contrary, nor did he denounce their false accusations:
Kevin Kelly, Philadelphia, Major U.S. Air Force, F-16 pilot, served in Iraq Jan. 06-May 06 "Patrick Murphy - I've heard Patrick speak a few times, saying that he wasn't sure what his mission was over there. That might have a little to do with that he is fundamentally mischaracterizing what his mission was over there. Giving the perception that he was out there, in the streets, every day with the troops, I don't think that's what his mission was. I understand I think that he was a lawyer...To mischaracterize it that he was out on the ground, speaking with the Iraqis every day, dodging bullets on the street, I don't believe that's a true assessment. It does a disservice to the people over there doing that."
"It just seems to me that Patrick Murphy, from what I understand, was not a front-line fighter. That is how it seems to me his service has been characterized. It's honorable, but it seems to me that you have front line guys and rear guard guys. You've got rear-guard guys and front line guys. You've got front line guys here. It just seems to me that Patrick Murphy wasn't one of them." ... ...
Patrick Murphy Campaign Press Release
We've been through this so many times but it continues to sicken me. Patrick Murphy's crime? He's a veteran who is not standing silently by why his fellow soldiers take the brunt of what has become a disastrous policy in Iraq. (Even Senator John Warner has come out giving dire warnings on the "drifting" currently happening in President Bush's Iraq policy, saying we have only a few months left.)
When Senator John Kerry heard about Fitzgerald swiftboating Murphy he minced no words.
"I won't stand for the 'swift boating' of Patrick Murphy. It disgusts me that a congressman who has never worn the uniform of our country stands there in silence as a veteran home from Iraq has his service disparaged.
No one who has ever served would tolerate this kind of slander about a fellow veteran. In 2000, George Bush stood in silence while John McCain's service was questioned. It was wrong then, it is wrong now for Mike Fitzpatrick to engage in the same double-speak. What is it these Republicans who never served have against Democrats who did?
"I have news for Mike Fitzpatrick. In war, bullets don't differentiate between lawyers and medics, enlisted men and officers.
"You know why Mike Fitzpatrick is engaged in the lowest form of smear and fear politics? Because he's afraid of actually debating Patrick Murphy about the disastrous war in Iraq. He's afraid to debate a veteran who lives and breathes the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor. He's terrified of actually leveling with the American people about the way the administration misled America into war, and admitting their stay the course slogans just guarantee more Americans die for a stand still and lose strategy. Mike Fitzpatrick should finally find the courage to debate the real issue instead of cowardly having his surrogates try to destroy anyone who speaks truth to power. It's unacceptable to do this to any leader of any party anywhere in our country."
Senator John Kerry
Disgusting is right.
Cowardly you bet.
Unacceptable for sure.
It is slander of the first order.
John Kerry is standing beside Patrick Murphy because he knows how it feels. Kerry made a pledge after it happened to him that he would never let it happen to another veteran without him standing up and fighting back hard.
Mike Fitzgerald is not only wrong he is a disgrace. Swiftboating an American soldier is the worst sort of cowardice, but it is also something else. It is un-American.
Disagree with Murphy. Debate Murphy. But swiftboating Patrick Murphy isn't going to happen on our watch again.
Patrick Murphy served his country honorably and no one has the right to impugn his service. Certainly not some punk congressman who never had the courage to wear a uniform himself.