During the 2004 vice presidential debate, when he was asked what he could do about the "deeply divided electorate," Dick Cheney acknowledged that it was a "disappointment," and went on to say that things used to be different. "One of my strongest allies in Congress when I was secretary of defense was Jack Murtha, a Democrat who was chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee."
Office of the Vice President
November 21, 2005
Vice President's Remarks on the War on Terror
American Enterprise Institute
11:01 A.M. EST
"My remarks today concern national security, in particular the war on terror and the Iraq front in that war. Several days ago, I commented briefly on some recent statements that have been made by some members of Congress about Iraq. Within hours of my speech, a report went out on the wires under the headline, "Cheney says war critics 'dishonest,' 'reprehensible.'"
One thing I've learned in the last five years is that when you're Vice President, you're lucky if your speeches get any attention at all. But I do have a quarrel with that headline, and it's important to make this point at the outset. I do not believe it is wrong to criticize the war on terror or any aspect thereof. Disagreement, argument, and debate are the essence of democracy, and none of us should want it any other way. For my part, I've spent a career in public service, run for office eight times -- six statewide offices and twice nationally. I served in the House of Representatives for better than a decade, most of that time as a member of the leadership of the minority party. To me, energetic debate on issues facing our country is more than just a sign of a healthy political system -- it's also something I enjoy. It's one of the reasons I've stayed in this business. And I believe the feeling is probably the same for most of us in public life.
For those of us who don't mind debating, there's plenty to keep us busy these days, and it's not likely to change any time soon. On the question of national security, feelings run especially strong, and there are deeply held differences of opinion on how best to protect the United States and our friends against the dangers of our time. Recently my friend and former colleague Jack Murtha called for a complete withdrawal of American forces now serving in Iraq, with a drawdown to begin at once. I disagree with Jack and believe his proposal would not serve the best interests of this nation. But he's a good man, a Marine, a patriot -- and he's taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion.
Nor is there any problem with debating whether the United States and our allies should have liberated Iraq in the first place. Here, as well, the differing views are very passionately and forcefully stated. But nobody is saying we should not be having this discussion, or that you cannot reexamine a decision made by the President and the Congress some years ago. To the contrary, I believe it is critical that we continue to remind ourselves why this nation took action, and why Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, and why we have a duty to persevere."....
ANd now for some Murtha Comments:
White House spars with critics
Vice President Dick Cheney jumped into the fray Wednesday by assailing Democrats who contend the Bush administration manipulated intelligence on Iraq, calling their criticism “one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.”
Murtha, a Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam, angrily shot back at Cheney: “I like guys who’ve never been there that criticize us who’ve been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.”
Cheney calls war critics ‘opportunists’
The top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Murtha has earned bipartisan respect for his grasp of military issues over three decades in Congress. He planned to introduce a resolution Thursday that, if passed by both the House and the Senate, would force the president to withdraw U.S. troops....
...First elected to Congress in 1974, Murtha is known as an ally of uniformed officers in the Pentagon and on the battlefield. The perception on Capitol Hill is that when the congressman makes a statement on military issues, he’s talking for those in uniform.
Known to shun publicity, Murtha said he was standing up because he had a constitutional and moral obligation to speak for the troops.
His voice cracked and tears filled his eyes as he related several stories of visiting wounded troops, including one who was blinded and lost both his hands but had been denied a Purple Heart because friendly fire caused his injuries.
“I met with the commandant. I said, ‘If you don’t give him a Purple Heart, I’ll give him one of mine.’ And they gave him a Purple Heart,” said Murtha, who has two.
I cannot find the transcript but Murtha stated everything that the VP restated on Monday at AEI. Murtha said this is nto about partisan politics and that he is friends with Cheney. When asked about the attack by the freshman congresswoman from Ohio. Murtha said that he bore no ill will and that there where certain conservatives in the Republican camp that viewed everything as a republicna vs. a democrat issue. He felt that she was just new and corruptable and that he understood how she might have wanted to say this for the media. He was not there to address it nor was he offended. Murtha is one of those few men you meat whom you cannot help but admire as he is standard that we try to admire in elected officials. When Rebublicans tried to gerrymander his district a number of years of Republicans IN HIS DISTRICT changed thier party affiliation to a DEM jsut so Murtha would stay as their congressman.