I have used that line, the headline for this post, in speeches to veterans, students, community groups, organizations and even incoming Marine recruits for decades now, but it has never held more meaning for me than in the last few days.
One point that needs to be made before I progress: This is not about politics, this is about the heart and soul of being a United States Marine, forever, from the day the term is finally earned and applied to a new class of graduates, until the day a Marine dies; in battle, of other causes, or long, long down the road, way after the wearing of the uniform is no longer required, but the plainclothes Marine continues, down in the heart, down in the soul, always in the spirit.
This week Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani was the seventh of eight Marines who were falsely charged with murdering civilians during a day-long battle in Haditha, Iraq, in late 2005, to be cleared of those charges.
Chessani also is one of eight loyal, patriotic, front-line American military men who was falsely charged by Pennsylvania's Democratic Congressman John Murtha with the "cold blooded" killing of Iraqi civilians. Murtha made that charge on international television, before he had any evidence whatsoever to support his allegation.
Seven of eight Marines have been cleared of any wrongdoing other than fighting a war that the US Congress voted to send them into. They went into battle, standing up for our country, for our rights, our privileges and our freedoms and were falsely charged with being murderers by an organization that itself falsely claims it is a responsible news outlet, but in truth has less credibility than a typical supermarket checkout tabloid.
None of the men and women working for that libelous rag have a right to call themselves journalists.
John Murtha and the American media willfully, negligently, and with malice convicted these men with no evidence. They all should be held accountable.
Seven of the eight have been cleared. I have little doubt that the eighth will also be cleared. But their careers are over and their lives have been changed unalterably, and not for the better.
Meanwhile, John Murtha, who falsely claims he too is a United States Marine, still walks the halls of Congress, still has his position, his salary, his retirement benefits and his bombast. He, like many of his Democratic colleagues, has gone to extremes to undermine the troops who are fighting in Iraq, all for nothing other than political sound bites, in the hopes that the country will continue to elect them to the cushy positions they should have been thrown out of long ago.
Murtha is the point man for a group of liars, some of whom should be investigated for treason. His friends have helped pro-terrorist groups in this country send money and provisions to the very terrorist groups who attacked us in 2001, while our troops were locked in deadly battles against a savage enemy. Others have not hesitated for an instant to discuss strategy, tactics, weaponry and equipment in wide open news conferences that have been broadcast right into the camps of the very barbarians our troops are fighting.
They have provided aid, comfort and inside information during these world-wide broadcasts and have thumbed their noses at the US Constitution in the process. They have been aided and abetted from start to finish by the American media.
Their leader, Nancy Pelosi, was quoted in the news after a recent trip to Iraq, where it was abundantly clear to her and her accompanying minions that we are well on the way to victory, as saying that our troops really aren't winning, it's just that the leader in the terrorist headquarters across the border in Iran has decided to let them win!
But this isn't about her, or any of the other despicable, low, heinous creatures who have the audacity to inhabit the top rungs of our government structure while working to demolish the very liberties that allow such simple minded slugs to exist in this country.
This is about John Murtha having the unmitigated gall to call himself a US Marine. He is NOT. He is a liar.
There is no way he could have said what he said, and done what he did, and ever have truly been a US Marine. If the evidence had shown that our troops really committed crimes in the midst of battle, and they were so convicted, it would have been appropriate for him to comment after they had been sentenced. But not one word before.
But he didn't wait. Murtha anointed himself judge, jury, prosecutor and executioner all on his own, and took his verdict to the world media.
According to the reports I have received from people much closer to this case than I, several of these Marines were held in atrocious conditions that, if they had been replicated in Guantanamo Bay would have brought every human rights organization in the world out to denounce their treatment.
But these are not extremist muslim terrorists. They are US Marines, thus in the view of world "human rights" gas bags, and the extremists' apologists in the mainstream media, they had no rights. According to these geniuses, Marines who have a two-centuries plus history of standing up for America - and doing it successfully - have no rights compared to the scum and litter of modern society.
I have read quotes from Lt. Col. Chessani's lawyer saying his client is considering suing Murtha. I hope he does. The colonel's career has been ruined, his reputation besmirched and our country has lost the services of a man who by all accounts is among the most dedicated and capable of Marines. I hope he takes Murtha for every dime he has, his party has, his neighbors can collect, and his staff can pony up.
But before that happens I have one other suggestion.
After the Colonel body slams that windbag Congressman, I would suggest that he settle, under these conditions: the President of the United States agrees to recall Murtha to active duty for 24 hours; the Commandant of the Marine Corps agrees to hold a Special Court Martial on the spot; a panel of Chessani's peers (commanders with combat experience) hears Murtha's comments to the news media; they give him five minutes to make whatever statement he wants; they find the bastard guilty of conduct unbecoming.
Then the Commandant strips Murtha of his rank, his retirement, the phony combat medals he never deserved in the first place, and drums him out of the Corps in disgrace.
When that phase is settled the defense lawyers for the falsely charged Marines can set their sights on libel suits against the media; slander if they think the malice issue might get in the way, although I believe most American juries would convict the news media on the first ballot.
It won't change a damn thing for the Haditha Marines. But it just might send the right kind of message to propaganda outlets like the one that started all this in the first place.
We Marines are proud of our service and fond of saying "Once A Marine, Always A Marine."
But a person who claims that title when he doesn't believe in it was never a Marine in the first place, and should be prosecuted to the fullest just like any other common, non-serving poser, embellisher, wannabe or valor thief.
See also http://talon.eaglesup.us/
Friday, June 20, 2008