Don't Honor John Murtha

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On March 5, 2009 Congressman John Murtha was awarded the Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award by the Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter. From the press release: It is the highest form of public service recognition bestowed by the Department of the Navy for a non-employee. According to the Department, nominations for this award will be limited to those extraordinary cases where individuals have demonstrated exceptionally outstanding service of substantial and long term benefit to the Navy, Marine Corps, or as Department of the Navy as a whole.

The Citation reads:
Congressman Murtha's selfless devotion to the Nation's Sailors and Marines ensured they were provided the resources necessary to effectively conduct the Global War on Terrorism. His courageous leadership, vision, and loyalty to the men and women of the Department of the Navy greatly contributed to their quality of life and helped create the most modern and highly trained fighting force in history. As Chairman of Subcommittee on Defense of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Murtha's tireless advocacy helped maintain the Navy and Marine Corps team at the highest levels of combat readiness to meet the challenges of the 21st century. With grateful appreciation for his outstanding contributions to the Nation and the Navy and Marine Corps, Congressman Murtha is awarded the Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award.

John Murtha deserves no such award. He has routinely and deliberately undermined the United States military, slandered servicemen serving in combat, and caused irreparable damage to our international reputation. While serving as a Representative from Pennsylvania, Murtha called Marines from 3d Battalion, 1st Marines "cold blooded killers" who "murdered innocent civilians." Before an investigation into the Haditha incident was even conducted, Murtha went on numerous television news programs and announced that the Marines "went into houses and killed women and children." He said, "There's no question in my mind about what happened here. There was no gunfire, they killed four people in a taxi...24 people were killed." When asked specifically if he claimed that innocent civilians were intentionally executed by Marines, he said, "That's exactly what happened." Not content to slander those Marines directly involved, he went on to claim that if these Marines were not punished, "other Marines would say well I'll do the same thing." Murtha then continued to use this incident to lobby for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, citing it as evidence that our military was incapable of winning the war.

Eight Marines were originally charged. As of March 17th, 2009 all charges were dropped against six Marines, one was found not guilty on all counts in courts martial. The prosecution has delayed the court martial of the final defendant indefinitely. The original allegations of a massacre and the statements of Congressman Murtha have been thoroughly discredited. Despite the facts, John Murtha refuses to apologize to those he slandered.

We the undersigned are appalled that the Secretary of the Navy would bestow the Department's highest award for a non-employee to John Murtha after his vile and despicable attacks against U.S. servicemen. This petition is a vehicle to express our bitter disappointment at this betrayal of our combat veterans. Congressman John Murtha should apologize for slandering the Marines of 3/1, and for undermining the efforts of those servicemen and women who fought in Iraq. If he does not, the Secretary of the Navy should rescind this award as a sign of his unwavering support for those who served in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom.