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Five Liberal Leaders Who Made a Difference in 2005

Leaders Inspired by Principles, Passion and Morality


At the end of 2005, as 16 of the most unnecessarily intrusive provisions of the Patriot Act were expiring, Senator Feingold marshaled enough bipartisan Senate support to defeat the Bush Administration push to extend for four years unfettered federal monitoring of the library reading habits, personal phone calls and email, medical records, credit card purchases and other invasions of the privacy of millions of Americans.

Fervently urging others to action, Senator Feingold wrote in December 2005 at leading liberal community blog DailyKos, "I am proud to work with a bipartisan group of six Senators who have made clear that the conference report needs to make significant, substantive improvements to the so-called "library records" provision, to National Security Letters, and to the provision authorizing secret 'sneak and peek' search warrants. If it doesn't, I will do everything I can to fight it, including a filibuster....

I am asking you to do the same and now is the time. Whether it's contacting your elected official, writing a letter to the editor in your local paper, or simply talking to your neighbors and coworkers, everyone needs to know that the time has come to let your voice be heard. We are in the final days of this uphill battle. The American people have been calling for a new look at the Patriot Act for four long years. It's time to get the job done right."

Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania

On November 17, 2005 Rep. Murtha (D-PA), a moderate Democrat and long-time war hawk who has dedicated his life to serving our country both in the military and in the halls of Congress, stunned the nation when he called for an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Rep. Murtha had a long and distinguished 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990; and he has been in Congress representing the 12th district of Pennsylvania since 1974, one of only 131 people in US history to have served more than 30 years in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Murtha's public service record is exemplary and above-reproach, and has been dedicated to the servicemen and women of the US armed forces....which is why his reasoned demand that US troops leave Iraq soil shocked Republican leadership, who took it quite seriously.

Almost immediately after his impassioned and powerful speech, Rep. Murtha was humiliated and and his reputation tarnished for his differing viewpoint by several members of the Bush Administration, who branded him unpatriotic. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) blamed Rep. Murtha's statement on the normal sentimental vagaries of a old man.

Rep. John Murtha is an extremely close confidant to top brass in the US armed forces, who are unable to freely speak their minds on Bush Administration war strategy. Many in public life assumed that Murtha was speaking for top generals, and all acknowledge that Rep. Murtha would never speak out without their private permissions.

Because of his extraordinary courage to speak out about his change of heart on the War in Iraq, Rep. John Murtha singlehandedly changed the national conversation regarding the need for an exit plan for US troops from Iraq.

On November 17,2005, Rep. Murtha changed the course of both federal policy and national history when he bravely beseeched, "The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering.

The future of our country is at risk. We can not continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region."

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