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Bill O'Reilly: Decorated War Vet Murtha "Afraid" to Come on the Factor

Reported by Marie Therese - December 4, 2005

On 12-2-05 during the O'Reilly Factor, while speaking to Time Correspondent Brian Bennett, Bill O'Reilly said: "But I am worried about Jack Murtha and I don't think he did the country a service and I'd like to speak to him. He IS afraid to come here. He's gonna be on, you know, a sympathetic program on Sunday morning and I don't think the guy should be doin' this kind of stuff. ... I think the US military is doing a great job. It is under stress, as any military would be in a war. It's not right and I think everybody should question Congressman Murtha on that."

Here is a brief excerpt from a biograhy of John Murtha: "He left Washington and Jefferson College in 1952 to join the Marines during the Korean War. There he earned the American Spirit Honor Medal. He rose through the ranks to become a drill instructor at Parris Island and was selected for Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia. He then was assigned to the Second Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In 1959, then Captain Murtha took command of the 34th Special Infantry Company, Marine Corps Reserves, in Johnstown. He remained in the Reserves after his discharge from active duty until he volunteered for service in Vietnam in 1966-67, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He remained in the Reserves until his retirement as a colonel in 1990, receiving the Navy Distinguished Service Medal."

According to the Associated Press, Decmeber 1, 2005, here's what Rep. Murtha had to say about the situation in Iraq:

Most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within a year because the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth," Rep. John Murtha told a civic group.

Two weeks ago, Murtha created a storm of comment when he called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq now. The Democratic congressman spoke to a group of community and business leaders in Latrobe on Wednesday, the same day President Bush said troops would be withdrawn when they've achieved victory, not under an artificial deadline set by politicians.

Murtha predicted most troops will be out of Iraq within a year.

I predict he'll make it look like we're staying the course," Murtha said, referring to Bush. "Staying the course is not a policy."

Murtha, 73, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, expressed pessimism about Iraq's stability and said the Iraqis know who the insurgents are, but don't always share that information with U.S. troops. He said a civil war is likely because of ongoing factionalism among Sunni Arabs, and Kurds and Shiites.

He also said he was wrong to vote to support the war.

"I admit I made a mistake when I voted for war," Murtha said. "I'm looking at the future of the United States military."

COMMENT

I've got news for Mr. Bill. Even at age 73, Jack Murtha could demolish him in a debate and, probably, in hand-to-hand combat as well! To imply that such a man is, in essence, a coward simply because he won't do an interview with O'Reilly goes way beyond the limits of decency. O'Reilly should apologize on air to the Congressman.

O'Reilly has never served in any branch of the armed forces, although he claims to have been "in combat." But, the Bloviating Billster is no stranger to misleading his audience on the subject of his own military experience.

First, there was the infamous January 18, 2005 Radio Factor broadcast where he stated:

"I've seen it. I've been close to it. And if I'm... my unit is in danger, and I've got a captured guy, and the guy knows where the enemy is, and I'm looking him in the eye, the guy better tell me. That's all I'm gonna tell you. He better tell me. If it's life or death, he's going first."

Later, O'Reilly was challenged by a caller from Portland named Roger:

O'REILLY: We've got a caller. Roger. Roger from Portland, Oregon. What say you Roger?

ROGER: Yeah, hey, Bill. First things first. You just said you've been in combat, but you've never been in the military, have you?

O'REILLY: No I have not.

ROGER: Then why do you say you've been in combat?

O'REILLY: Why do I say that, Roger? Because I was in the middle of a couple of firefights in South and Central America.

ROGER: But you were a media guy.

O'REILLY: Yeah. A media guy with a pen, not a gun. And people were shooting at me, Roger.

ROGER: People might think that you actually were in the military.

O'REILLY: Oh... We don't want to mislead anybody. But I made it quite clear... quite clear in many, many circumstances --

ROGER: [mumbles something about being, or not being, "fair and balanced"]

O'REILLY: [quietly disconnects Roger] Yeah. Hey listen, Roger. You can take your little "fair and balanced" uh... snip remark and shove it, okay? You're not getting on this air. Um... You, mister macho man, have never come close to anything I've done, down where I've been. So take a walk and... uh... 'nuff said.

Five months later on May 5, 2005 he once again implied he had combat experience when he made the following comment in an interview with Col. P. J. Crowley (USAF-Ret) and Col. Neal Puckett (USMC-Ret):

O'REILLY: Have you been in combat Colonel?

CROWLEY: Yes.

PUCKETT: Me? No, sir, I have not.

O'REILLY: How 'bout you, Colonel?

CROWLEY: Yes.

O'REILLY: So you know what we're talkin' about. "Cause I was in combat and when you are there your adrenalin is flying through your ears. And you know you've got the gun and I just couldn't understand ...

If you would like to write to Mr. O'Reilly and give him a piece of your mind and/or ask him to apologize to John Murtha, click here: oreilly@foxnews.com

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