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How to Criticize John Murtha

I have two thoughts regarding the Rep. John Murtha’s press conference yesterday, in which he called for an Iraq pullout.

1. It is not wise to so harshly criticize a man who has built up a lifetime worth of credibility as a patriot. John Murtha has had a distinguished career, including two Purple Hearts. It seems to me that attacking Rep. Murtha for being a "coward" is like attacking Carl Lewis for being slow. Not wise. Anyone who goes overboard in attacking Rep. Murtha will likely end up looking like those Al Gore supporters who threw mud on Bob Kerry. Memo to my friends: Future criticisms should be respectfully directed at Rep. Murtha’s unfortunate positions – not his distinguished character.

2. On the other hand, I believe it is disingenuous to say only veterans can have an opinion about the war. We all have the right to respectfully disagree – even with a war hero. Last time I checked, the First Amendment wasn’t reserved for only war heroes. Besides, we could also make the argument that only people young enough to serve should be allowed to talk about the war. That, too, would be ridiculous.

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Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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