Most of us remember our mother saying "If you have nothing good to say about someone then say nothing." This past week, Congressman John Murtha (M-PA) has been roundly criticized for suggesting we should surrender in the war in Iraq and abandon the country to the Saddam loyalists. I didn't have much to say about Murtha for a couple reasons mainly his past service to our country, his advanced age and the fact that so many others were already jumping on him. This morning I read an article which included a snippet about Murtha helping a wounded soldier
. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jamie Dana was critically injured in Iraq and thought her military dog she had trained with for years had died. While recovering she found out the dog, although burned, had survived the blast. She wanted to adopt the dog and found out she can not because of the way the law is written.
Under Title 10, U.S. Code 2583, the Air Force says it cannot allow the wounded airman to take her combat dog home until the animal is too old to be useful. Rex, 80 pounds and brown and black with gold markings, is just 5 years old, not nearly the retirement age of 10 to 14.
It will take an act of Congress to pave the way for Rex to stay with Dana, 26. For the time being, he is with her on leave and will return with her this week to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, where Dana is stationed. Walking with a cane because of nerve damage in her legs and feet, Dana expects to take a desk job while military medical boards consider whether she should retire.
"He's my best friend," she said. "I thought he was dead, and I was almost dead, and that made the feeling to be with him a lot stronger."
In Congress, several lawmakers have taken up her cause, including Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), who is working to attach to a Defense appropriations bill a provision that would allow Rex's adoption. The measure is expected to emerge from a conference committee by the middle of next month and must face votes in both houses.
"This young lady came as close to death as you can come and still be alive," said Rep. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.), who lobbied on her behalf. "She was extremely seriously wounded . . . and I think a person who came that close to death deserves to have the dog who went through it with them. . . . I think that's the least we can do for her."
Constituent services is what congressmen should be best known for not speeches on foreign policy disagreements. I understand that we need rules about giving out military property because without the rules there would be rampant abuse. Having said that, it shouldn't take congressional action to make an exception to the rules. Hopefully we can see some rare bi-partisan support to make an exception to reunite this wounded warrior with her partner.UPDATE:
Not everyone is looking for Murtha's good side. Sweetness & Light
reminds us that Murtha was one of the crooked congressmen caught in the FBI's ABSCAM sting in the late 70's. I assumed that voters would have had the decency to toss out all those dirtbags a long time ago. The voters in Pennsylvania failed this test.