- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 11, 2010


It takes a lot for one Marine to call another an ex-Marine. When we take off the uniform, we may be called former Marines, but we are still members of the Corps. (That’s pronounced core not corpse.) John Murtha stepped over that line when he called some of my brothers coldblooded killers before the investigation into the shootings at Haditha in Iraq was even started. I served in Haditha with the unit just before those men, and when Murtha came to visit us, we served as his personal security. He said how proud he was of us, what a great job we were doing, how we were making the Corps proud. Then barely a few months later, he was playing politics, saying the war was lost and, worst of all, accusing brave Americans of being murderers.

All but one of those men have been cleared of all charges against them. They were smeared and accused of perpetrating a massacre, and now they will bear that unfair cross the rest of their lives. Murtha owed them better than that as a congressman, an American and a fellow Marine. He betrayed them and disgraced himself. He opposed the war in Iraq and used those men to push his agenda. He said they were pushed too hard in a losing cause and simply snapped. He treated them as props for his political theater without regard for their reputations, careers or families. The only reason they haven’t sued him for slander is that as a congressman he was shielded from it.

If we had listened to Murtha and the chorus singing cut and run, we would have lost the war in Iraq. He, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi didn’t have faith in our troops to complete their mission. Murtha even famously called for them to be redeployed halfway around the globe to Okinawa as a “quick reaction force.” Fortunately, the cut-and-run crowd did not prevail. The commander in chief trusted our armed forces and gave Gen. David H. Petraeus what he needed to win.

John Murtha has been lionized in the press for all of his service to the country instead of all his service to himself and his business associates. I know that I and many Mar -ines and their families will remember him for never apologizing to the innocent warriors whose lives he destroyed by serving as judge and jury. He passed away before being held accountable for hijacking the mili- tary procurement system and denying our troops in the field the best equipment they could get. Unfortunately, much of our leadership in Washington will pick up where he left off, forsaking anything for a vote and ignoring the warriors who give them the freedom to do so.

Shawn Bryan served as a Recon Marine in Haditha, Iraq, in 2005 with the 3rd Battalion 25th Marines.

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