Lt. Colonel Bill Russell (USAR ret.) ran against John Murtha in the 2008 Congressional campaign and plans to run against him again in 2010. A fifth generation soldier, Russell began his military career as an Enlisted man, attended West Point, graduated from Louisiana State University, and earned his commission through Officer Candidate’s School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Russell has been nothing but a credit to the uniform he wore, while his once and future opponent has disgraced his uniform with the fraudulent massacre charges he brought up against marines serving in Iraq and the way he has used the defense budget as his own personal pork-barrel.
Murtha found a new way to disgrace the uniform he once wore, by having one of his aides threaten to have Bill Russel returned to active duty so he can be court marshaled:
Murtha rival says aide threatened him
By: John Bresnahan
The Republican who challenged Rep. John Murtha in 2008 says a top aide to the embattled Pennsylvania Democrat threatened to have him recalled to active duty in the U.S. Army so he could be court-martialed for engaging in politics while serving in the armed forces.
Bill Russell — who challenged Murtha in 2008 and intends to do so again in 2010 — said Murtha chief of staff John Hugya made the threat during a National Rifle Association event in mid-March.
Ret. Col. Gregory Ritch, a former Army Reserve officer who served as Russell’s commanding officer, said he heard Hugya make a similar threat in January.
“[Hugya] said, ‘When the [new] secretary of the Army comes in, we’re going to call his ass back to active duty and we’re going to prosecute him under the [Uniform Code of Military Justice],’” Ritch said Hugya told him during their January conversation.
Ritch said he reported the incident to a military lawyer at that time, although he didn’t think Hugya was serious until Russell informed him of the second threat in March.
Murtha spokesman Matthew Mazonkey said the charges — first reported by the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat — were spurious, and he noted that the issue of whether Russell was improperly campaigning while still on active military duty was raised during the campaign last year.
Russell was on active duty for part of the campaign — from April 2008 to June 2008 — but then retired and was no longer in the Army Reserves during the remainder of the race.
Ethics experts said the comments attributed to Hugya — while unseemly — don’t present a clear-cut ethics violation.
“Look, there’s a certain rough-and-tumble in politics,” said Stan Brand, a former House general counsel. “I don’t know whether this crosses any ethical line that I’m aware of. The practice of politics is robust, but I know of no precedent.”
Mazonkey said that neither Hugya nor anyone else in Murtha’s office contacted the Pentagon about Russell.
Russell said Hugya approached him at an NRA event in March and said, “I got something for you. What are you going to do when we get the new secretary of the Army seated and have your ass recalled to active duty for that s—- you pulled last summer?”
Russell said that he and Hugya then engaged in a nasty exchange over comments Murtha made in 2005 about the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines. Murtha, himself a former Marine colonel, alleged that the Marines had killed the civilians “in cold blood,” a claim that infuriated current and former Marines.
Russell said he was upset by Hugya’s comments at the NRA dinner and told some of his former military colleagues, including Ritch, the following day.Ritch said that when he heard about the second episode, he believed Hugya had crossed the line for behavior by a senior aide to a sitting lawmaker.
“Then I thought it was a threat,” Ritch said of Hugya’s comments directly to Russell. “I think Mr. Hugya crossed the line.”
Murtha is such a coward, he couldn’t even make the threats himself.
I have a better Idea, lets get the Marines to call Murtha back to active duty, just to have him thrown into a Gitmo prison for endangering our heroes overseas.