Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha’s press secretary Matt Mazonkey may not have much to say about his boss slandering Marines who fought at Haditha, but he sure is cute, according to a political newspaper that put him on its annual 50 Most Beautiful People list.
The newspaper, The Hill, named Mazonkey a runner-up in its annual beauty contest. Until his recent honor, Mazonkey was best known for refusing to answer any questions about Rep. Murtha’s inflammatory comments that led to the prosecution of eight Marines for murder and other war crimes.
In May and June, 2007 the retired Marine colonel publicly and repeatedly accused a squad of enlisted Marines of massacring 24 Iraqi civilians and their officers of covering it up. The Pennsylvania Democrat claimed he received inside information during a briefing from Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee and not from a news magazine that initially reported the specious allegations.
It’s much worse than reported in Time magazine. There was no firefight. There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. And that’s what the report is going to tell.
“Now, you can imagine the impact this is going to have on those troops for the rest of their lives and for the United States in our war and our effort in trying to win the hearts and minds.”
Mazonkey is in charge of spinning Murtha’s press coverage.
On 2 August 2006, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, who led the squad of Marines involved in the incident at Haditha, filed a lawsuit against Murtha for character defamation.
On 4 August 2006, a Marine Corps spokesman said Murtha was not briefed until a week after his accusation of murder “in cold blood.”
On 21 December 2006, the Marine Corps charged Wuterich with 12 counts of unpremeditated murder against individuals and one count of the murder of six people “while engaged in an act inherently dangerous to others.” Seven other Marines were also charged with murder and cover up.
Seven of the Marines have subsequently been exonerated, although the Marine Corps is appealing a military judge’s decision to dismiss the case against former battalion commander Lt. Col Jeffrey Chessani. Wuterich is currently waiting court-martial on vastly reduced charges while his case sits in legal limbo.
Murtha, who is running for reelection against Republican Bill Russell in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, is Chairman of the House Sub-Committee on Defense.
In early August 2007 the congressional watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense revealed Murtha garnered 48 earmarks totaling $150.5 million, the most earmarked money in the FY2008 Defense Appropriations bill.
The undisputed King of Pork has neither apologized nor explained his remarks about Haditha, depending instead on Mazonkey to issue his usual ‘no comment’ to all inquiries regarding the matter.
Mazonkey did manage to take time out from his busy schedule avoiding the subject of Haditha to burble about his new-found fame.
Without addressing his obvious distaste for inquiries about Murthas egregious gaffs two years ago, Mazonkey revealed he doesn’t like hair and he that he wears deodorant, undoubtedly a good thing for someone who sweats bullets over what Murtha might say next.
Mazonkey told the newspaper that he gets his energy and drive from Murtha.
“He’s a Marine colonel,” Mazonkey explained.