Friday, November 18, 2005
by Steven D
Thu Nov 17th, 2005 at 08:50:25 PM EDT
(Washington D.C.)- The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. . . . 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. . . .
For 2 ½ years I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. . . .
We spend more money on Intelligence than all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused.
I have been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since the beginning of the War. And what demoralizes them is going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition to peace; the devastation caused by IEDs; being deployed to Iraq when their homes have been ravaged by hurricanes; being on their second or third deployment and leaving their families behind without a network of support.
. . . Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify. Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.
. . . Last May 2005, as part of the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill, the House included the Moran Amendment, which was accepted in Conference, and which required the Secretary of Defense to submit quarterly reports to Congress in order to more accurately measure stability and security in Iraq. We have now received two reports. I am disturbed by the findings in key indicator areas. Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation. . . . And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled. An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in global terrorism.
I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won “militarily.” I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress. . . .
I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United States occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a “free” Iraq.
My plan calls:
To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.
. . . Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our OBLIGATION to speak out for them. That’s why I am speaking out.
Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME.
His was a thoughtful and impassioned statement that set forth in plain language the rationale for bringing the troops home and ending the continuing debacle that is our military occupation of Iraq. He did not lash out at the President. Far from it. Yet, he forcefully set forth the case for why the President's policies have failed. Coming from a former Marine and a veteran of both Korea and Vietnam, one would think his words should be accorded a certain weight, or at the least, a modicum of respect by those across the aisle
The response by Conservative Republicans and the Right Wing Blogs? Well, take a look:
I am saddened by the comments made today by Rep. Murtha. It is clear that as Nancy Pelosi's top lieutenant on armed services, Rep. Murtha and Democratic leaders have adopted a policy of cut and run. They would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the President is on foreign soil.
I love that tag line: . . . done while the President is on foreign soil. Of course, that was only the first paragraph. Go read the whole thing. It's frankly nauseating in its attacks on Rep. Murtha, while pretending to respect him for his past service as a Marine. And it brings up the same tired falsehoods, invoking the spectre of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden to justify what we've done to Iraq. By the way, Hastert's miltary record? Oh that's right -- he doesn't have one. He escaped the draft because of bad knees so he could go to college and wrestle instead.
Well, so much for decorum. Let's vist some right wing blogmeisters to get their take on Murtha. Hugh Hewitt apparently took umbrage not at what Murtha proposed we do in Iraq, but because he dared to criticize the Vice President:
Congressman Murtha is entitled to any opinion he wants to hold, including bone-headed ones about immediate withdrawal from Iraq. But the Congressman allowed his zeal for retreat to get the better of his common sense when, in response to a reporter's question on the president's and the vice president's speeches about the crazy charges being hurled by rewrite specialists, Murtha said:
"I like guys who have never been there to criticize us who have been there. I like that. I like guys that have got five deferments and never been there ands end people to war and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."
That's fever swamp stuff, the old "chickenhawk" charge that would be equally applicable to hundreds of Democrats in Congress as well as great war time leaders like FDR. It discredits the Congressman, not his targets.
Murtha's 37 years in the Marines make him a great American. But he's a lousy Congressman today and a cheap shot artist to boot.
I guess that chickenhawk slur really hurts conservatives, even when it's not directed at them personally. Poor democrats can't win. If they didn't serve in Vietnam they're "draft dodgers", but if they did serve in the military God forbid they ever bring it up to excoriate the remarks of any Republican who didn't.
As for what Hugh means by "fever swamp stuff," I can''t for the life of me figure that one out. It seems to be a favorite wingnut insult for liberals and Democrats based on my brief google search of the term. I'm sure someone will get around to enlightening me.
That is the substance of his speech: BushLied™ . . . It was a disingenuous BushLied™ speech coming from the ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. . . .
Jack Murtha is first and foremost a Democrat, and he has lately been something of a Democrat tool.
I like the use of "Bushlied" with the TM symbol added. What a great way to just dismiss any criticism of the President. After all, we know "Bush Lied" is just an empty slogan, and not a fact.
Or how about this one, which pretty much encapsulates the Republican view of what is and is not permissible for Democrats to say regarding the war:
Jack Murtha isn't in Charge
Jack Murtha has no right to vote authorize Bush to go to war and then turn around half way through it and say he's not happy with the way Bush is running the war.
Yep. Once you're in the minority, better to just shut up and do what you're told by your betters. Makes sense to me. How dare a respected veteran voice an opinion that dissents from the Republican script? Heresy! He's just a Democrat after all. He lost his civil rights (especially that free speech thing) the day the GOP took control of Congress and the Presidency.
Of course, let it not be said that some conservative posters there take a more measured, analytical approach to Murtha's statement. For example, how about this diary by California Yankee:
It doesn't matter if no one else seconds Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal. The damage has been done. Bin Laden and Zarqawi and their followers can only be encouraged now that some of America's so-called leaders want to call it quits. From the evil doers perspective, all they have to do is fight on a little longer, kill more Americans, and we will leave.
If that seems a little too erudite to digest easily (conservatives do have bigger brains than us liberals, you know -- and their women are prettier too!), let me paraphrase his argument for you:
Curse you, John Murfa, you Democratic Surrender Monkey! America is doomed now that you've has spoken up in opposition to the glorious occupation of Iraq. Bastard!
And on that happy note, we depart, dear reader. Anything further would be merely a redundancy.
ML Squier [a.k.a. Mad Plato]