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VP Vetter Caroline Honored John Murtha

Granted she doesn’t “work for” Mr. Obama. And he dismisses her position as merely “tangential.”

But it should be noted that Ms. Caroline Kennedy, the third person of the triumvirate appointed to vet Mr. Obama’s vice president, has honored John Murtha with an award for “courage.”

From the fall 2006 newsletter of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation:

Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward M. Kennedy presented former U.S. Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora and U.S. Representative John P. Murtha (D-PA) with the 2006 Profile in Courage Award at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts May 22, 2006.

Foundation Honors Mora and Murtha with JFK Profile in Courage Award

In what marked the 50th anniversary celebration of the publication of John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Profiles in Courage, Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward M. Kennedy presented former U.S. Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora and U.S. Representative John P. Murtha (D-PA) with the 2006 Profile in Courage Award.

During the annual ceremony held in the Stephen Smith Center at the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Mr. Mora was recognized for the moral and political courage he demonstrated in waging a 3–year behind-the-scenes battle with military and civilian leaders over U.S. military policy regarding the treatment of detainees held by the United States as part of the war on terror. Congressman Murtha was recognized for the difficult and courageous decision of conscience he made in November, 2005, when he reversed his support for the Iraq war and called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the conflict.

“Alberto Mora and Congressman Murtha’s extraordinary acts of conscience will be remembered by Americans for generations to come,” said Caroline Kennedy, President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “These two courageous individuals exemplify my father’s belief that each of us has the power to make a difference in our world. We are all inspired by their acts, and for standing up for what they believe despite the consequences. The United States is fortunate to have public servants with such integrity.”

In December 2002, Alberto J. Mora, then general counsel of the United States Navy, was alerted by Navy investigators to reports that detainees held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay were being subjected to cruel and unlawful interrogation practices. Mora, whose civilian position accorded him a rank equal to that of a four-star general, soon came to learn that the cruel and abusive practices of United States military interrogators at Guantanamo were the result of significant policy shifts at the highest levels of the U.S. government. Over the next three years, Mora waged a campaign inside the Bush Administration to prevent military and civilian leaders from codifying any policy that might implicitly or explicitly sanction the mistreatment of Guantanamo detainees as part of the war on terror. For his moral courage and his commitment to upholding American values, Alberto Mora was honored with the 2006 Profile in Courage Award.

In November 2005, Congressman John P. Murtha, a Vietnam War veteran and the ranking Democrat and former chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, galvanized debate about the war in Iraq by calling for the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from the conflict. Murtha, who had voted in favor of the Iraq war, argued that American soldiers had become targets and “a catalyst for violence” in Iraq. His unexpected and dramatic reversal of support for the war put him at odds with military leaders, the Bush Administration, and many members of his own party. For his political courage and his dedication to principled public service, John P. Murtha was honored with the 2006 Profile in Courage Award

The following is an excerpt from the Profile in Courage Award acceptance speech of Alberto J. Mora:

… In the summer of 2002… at Guantanamo and elsewhere, U.S. authorities held in detention individuals thought to have information on other impending attacks against the United States. Unless this information was obtained, it was believed, more Americans – perhaps many more – would die. In this context, our government issued legal and policy documents providing, in effect, that for some detainees labeled as “unlawful combatants,” interrogation methods constituting cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment could be applied under the President’s constitutional commander-in-chief authorities. Although there is continuing debate as to the details of how, when, and why, we know such cruel treatment was applied at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and other locations. We know the treatment may have reached the level of torture in some instances. And there are still questions as to whether these policies were related, if at all, to the deaths of several dozen detainees in custody. It is astonishing to me, still, that I should be here today addressing the issue of American cruelty – or that anyone would ever have to.

The following is an excerpt from the Profile in Courage Award acceptance speech of John Murtha:

When I made the decision to speak out publicly against the policy in Iraq, I said my biggest regret was that I did not speak out sooner. While the Administration continued to pitch progress and victory, logic dictated that progress was not forthcoming and that victory was but an illusion.

When I spoke out against the war policies of this Administration I did so predominantly with two things in mind: the lives of our brave men and women in uniform and the future of our great military.

Today, my words of November 17, 2005, and the many that followed, reflect not only my own gut consciousness but that of many in our military and the majority of this country. I am proud to be the messenger of those who at one time had no voice.

Profile in Courage Award Committee

Michael Beschloss: Author and Historian

David Burke: Former President, CBS News

Thad Cochran: U.S. Senator (R-Mississippi)

Marian Wright Edelman: President, Children’s Defense Fund

Antonia Hernandez: President and CEO, California Community Foundation

Al Hunt: Washington Managing Editor, Bloomberg News

Elaine Jones: Former Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

Caroline Kennedy: President, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

Edward M. Kennedy: U.S. Senator (D-Massachusetts)

Paul G. Kirk, Jr.: Chair, Board of Directors, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

John L. Seigenthaler: Founder, Freedom Forum First Amendment Center

Olympia Snowe: U.S. Senator (R-Maine)

Patricia M. Wald: Former Judge, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

What kind of judgment has Ms. Kennedy ever displayed?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, June 12th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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