And he has seen enough.
"I feel very passionate about this," Murtha said in an emotional interview hours after his remarks. "I see a kid blown apart, and it breaks my heart."
The media-shy congressman rarely speaks from the House chamber or gives interviews. But he still holds court regularly.
"People line up to seek his counsel," said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., who says no one dares sit in the last seat in the last row in the House chamber area known as "the Pennsylvania corner." That seat belongs to Murtha.
Murtha's military credentials, including two Purple Hearts for wounds in Vietnam, mean that "when he says something in regards to defense, people listen," Doyle said. "Unlike some of the people on the Republican side, he's seen bullets."
The response of the Bush Backers was predictable.
he was called a coward.
A man who has put his life on the line for his nation, a man who has decades of history of supporting the troops is called a coward.
Of course it is predictable who did this (aside from being members of the Zombies for Bush brigade).
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) accused Murtha of delivering "the highest insult" to the troops. "We must not cower," Hastert lectured the old soldier.
Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) informed Murtha that his views "only embolden our enemies"
Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.), who like Hastert and Blunt does not have military service on his rsum, alerted the 73-year-old Murtha that "the American people are made of sterner stuff." And Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.) said the likes of Murtha want to take "the cowardly way out and say, 'We're going to surrender.' "
Murtha, whose brand of hawkishness has never been qualified by the word "chicken," was expecting the attacks. "I like guys who've never been there to criticize us who've been there. I like that," the burly old Marine said, hands in pocket. Referring to Vice President Cheney, he continued: "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."
It appears, that when it doesn't involve the risk of physical harm, the Chicken Hawks do have the courage to get into the fight.
Iraq Murtha Antiwar