This is about the most repulsive thing to come out of the new wave of G.O.P. smear campaigning. It's exactly the same thing they pulled on Kerry during the 2004 election. If your ideology is impure -- if you even slightly call into question the wisdom of the current administration -- you are a traitor, and fair game for any sort of slander, no matter how groundless. There is, of course, already a mechanism for determining the legitimacy of a Purple Heart; it's called the United States military, and it decided over 30 years ago that Murtha deserved to be decorated.
The most sickening thing about this isn't the Stalinesque quest for ideological purity, or the willingness to shit all over anyone who gets in their way; it's the raw, stinking hypocrisy. The right just loves to claim that liberals don't support our troops, that they spit on our veterans, that they have no respect for the brave men and women who fight to defend freedom. But let one of those veterans say something that the right doesn't agree with, and quick as you blink, the attack dogs are loosed to savage those brave men and women regardless of the level of their sacrifice. They impugned Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam; they impugned John Kerry, a decorated war hero who saved the lives of his fellow fighters; and they're impugning, from the safety of their keyboards, John Murtha, who twice almost lost his life fighting communists.
What's the lesson here? The right likes to talk about how criticizing the war subverts morale in our soldiers, but what saps the will to fight more than the certain knowledge that if, at any point for the rest of your life, you criticize the power structure, you'll get nuked by the establishment's slimers, no matter how hard you fought for your country? Is the sacrifice, pain, and heroism of everyone who fought in every war to be subject to Swift-Boat-Veterans-For-Truth-style retconning if they dare speak out against the party of Karl Rove? It's one of the central pillars of backlash cultural warfare that liberals spit all over returning Vietnam veterans, shaming and degrading them for their heroic sacrifice. But now, it's shameless fucks like Ann Coulter who are spitting on Vietnam vets -- not because they killed babies, or fought in an immoral war, but because they came home and decided to think for themselves. These people don't want soldiers. They want zombies. Fuck you, soldiers; fuck you, sailors; fuck you, pilots and marines. You're useful to us only as a club with which to bash leftists; if you ever dare speak your own mind, we'll call you a traitor and disrespect you in a way that would make the most dedicated '60s anti-war activist blush.