John Murtha Calls for Iraq Pullout

Congressman John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat on the defense appropriatios subcommittee, has called for the immediate pullout of troops from Iraq. Since Congressman say stupid things on a regular basis, I ignored the story even after several e-mailed press releases. Still, given his prominence, this is a noteworthy story.

Hawkish Democrat Calls for Iraq Pullout (AP)

An influential House Democrat who voted for the Iraq war called Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops, another sign of growing unease in Congress about the conflict. “It is time for a change in direction,” said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., one of Congress’ most hawkish Democrats. “Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region.”

House Republicans assailed Murtha’s position as one of abandonment and surrender, and accused Democrats of playing politics with the war. “They want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world,” Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said.

Murtha estimated that all U.S. troops could be pulled out within six months. A Vietnam veteran, he choked back tears during his remarks to reporters. Murtha’s comments came just two days after the Senate voted to approve a statement that 2006 “should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty” to create the conditions for the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces.

In recent days, President Bush and other top administration officials have lashed out at critics of the war and have accused Democrats of advocating a “cut and run” strategy that will only embolden the insurgency. Vice President Dick Cheney jumped into the fray Wednesday by assailing Democrats who contend the Bush administration manipulated intelligence on Iraq, calling their criticism “one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.”

Murtha, a Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam, angrily shot back at Cheney: “I like guys who’ve never been there that criticize us who’ve been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.” Referring to Bush, Murtha added: “I resent the fact, on Veterans Day, he criticized Democrats for criticizing them.”

The top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Murtha has earned bipartisan respect for his work on military issues over three decades in Congress. He planned to introduce a resolution Thursday that, if passed by both the House and the Senate, would force the president to withdraw U.S. troops.

Murtha is indeed a Marine Corps veteran who served on active duty during two wars. (active 1952-55, 1966-67; USMCR, 1955-66, 1967-90). Still, the tired “chickenhawk” argument is beneath him. I’ve written repeated posts on that subject (my most recent has links to the previous ones) so won’t belabor it again here.

That said, Hastert’s nonsense, “They want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world,” is also contemptible. There’s no doubt there are those in that camp; Murtha ain’t one of them. Ad hominen is just a lousy way to advance an argument in a civilized society. I disagree with Murtha’s views here but his position should be debated on substantive, not personal, grounds.

Murtha’s press release:

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.

That’s a lot of unsupported assertions in one paragraph.

General Casey said in a September 2005 Hearing, “the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency.” General Abizaid said on the same date, “Reducing the size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is a part of our counterinsurgency strategy.”

True. Our existing strategy.

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. A few days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait – the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction – but the US forces said they were prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.

These are non sequiturs. We thought the same thing in Gulf War I. When the war started, the troops on the ground donned MOPP suits. Surely, someone who spent that many years in the Marines would expect our troops to go in prepared for the worst case.

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 don’t really see the relevance. Our economy dwarfs that of almost any other country and our expenditures are, likewise, massive. The failures on Iraq intelligence were global, though, and virtually uniform. But what has that to do with bringing the troops home immediately?

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.

Wounded soldiers are a tragedy and there’s no doubt that the military life is difficult. But asking tired, wounded soldiers about their morale really doesn’t tell us much about grand national strategy.

The threat posed by terrorism is real, but we have other threats that cannot be ignored. We must be prepared to face all threats. The future of our military is at risk. Our military and their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards. Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We can not allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care, to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared. The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls at our bases in the U.S.

This is another rapid-fire set of assertions, mostly emotional, that seem only tangentially related to the issue. Either the Iraq mission is worthwhile or it isn’t. If it isn’t, then we shouldn’t be spending money on it regardless of our other costs. If it is, then we can surely find the money.

Much of our ground equipment is worn out and in need of either serious overhaul or replacement. George Washington said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” We must rebuild our Army. Our deficit is growing out of control. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office recently admitted to being “terrified” about the budget deficit in the coming decades. This is the first prolonged war we have fought with three years of tax cuts, without full mobilization of American industry and without a draft. The burden of this war has not been shared equally; the military and their families are shouldering this burden.

Again, irrelevant. If equipment needs replacing, replace it. If we need a draft, start one. But of course military volunteers will bear the burden of a war. That’s what they do for a living. Firefighters and their families bear the burden of forest fires, too. Does Murtha suggest we therefore quit fighting them?

Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. 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.

This is absurd. In what sense has the military “accomplished its mission”? Indeed, the remainder of the paragraph would seem a refutation of that.

I just recently visited Anbar Province Iraq in order to assess the conditions on the ground. 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. Only $9 billion of the $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment remains at about 60 percent. Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects has been spent. 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.

So, the answer is to stop the war? The one in which “Our military has accomplished its mission”?

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.

No one, certainly not the Bush administration, has ever said it could be won solely through the force of arms. That does not mean arms are unnecessary.

Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, and about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.
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.

This is debatable. Certainly, having American troops in Iraq was a catalyst for the stream of jihadists coming into Iraq to fight. It has been months, though, since our troops have been “the primary target,” with the terrorists seeming to prefer softer targets. And does Murtha really think Iraq will be more free if America abandons them in the middle of this?

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

That’s not a plan; it’s a wish. Further, it’s a contradictory one. If we take the troops out, we almost surely will not be able to manage the political will to reinsurt them in “quick reaction” using “over-the-horizon” Marines.

And does Murtha think we’re not using diplomacy now? If diplomacy without armaments is like music without instruments, does he think the diplomats will be more effective after the withdrawal? Really?

This war needs to be personalized. As I said before I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

Which wars have we prosecuted successfully by personalizing each loss?

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. That̢۪s 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.

But you haven’t demonstrated anything of the sort.

Elsewhere:

Dan Spencer contends,

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.

Well, no. It’s rather clear the administration is not persuaded by Murtha’s arguments and, although the public has misgivings on the war, there’s no indication pullout is imminent. Regardless, we’ve got to be able to debate matters of war and peace.

Kevin Drum, though, disagrees:

I don’t know if this is a Walter Cronkite moment or anything, but […]

My prediction: we’ve already started to see this, but I think Republicans are about to crumble. Pressure on the White House to use the December elections as an excuse to declare victory and go home is going to mount, fueled by equal parts disgust with Dick Cheney’s lobbying for the right to torture; unease even among Republicans that the president wasn’t honest during the marketing of the war; lack of progress on the ground in Iraq; Congress reasserting its independence of the executive; a genuine belief that the American presence has become counterproductive; and raw electoral fear, what with midterm elections looming in less than a year.

Both Drum and Spencer point to Rod Dreher‘s post at The Corner:

CNN didn’t air the entire thing, but as I listened to it, I could feel the ground shift. Murtha, as you know, is not a Pelosi-style Chardonnay Democrat; he’s a crusty retired career Marine who reminds me of the kinds of beer-slugging Democrats we used to have before the cultural left took over the party. Murtha, a conservative Dem who voted for the war, talked in detail about the sacrifices being borne by our soldiers and their families, and about his visits out to Walter Reed to look after the maimed, and how we’ve had enough, it’s time to come home. He was hell on the president too.

If tough, non-effete guys like Murtha are willing to go this far, and can make the case in ways that Red America can relate to — and listening to him talk was like listening to my dad, who’s about the same age, and his hunting buddies — then the president is in big trouble. I’m sure there’s going to be an anti-Murtha pile-on in the conservative blogosphere, but from where I sit, conservatives would be fools not to take this man seriously.

Jeff Goldstein, though, retorts:

It’s quite possible to take someone like Murtha seriously (perhaps he truly is passionate in his convictions, irrelevant though that may be) and to find him absolutely and unabashedly wrong at the same time.  At which point, our taking him seriously on the strength of his emotional appeals has very little whatever to do with how we should regard the war in Iraq, which, from a truly dispassionate standpoint, we simply cannot afford to lose.

Dreher suggests that he is simply warning conservatives that once they lose people like Murtha, the war effort is in trouble.  But the fact of the matter is, the war effort is only in trouble if people like Dreher—writing for the National Review—continue to make a big deal out of losing every Democrat like Murtha, who has clearly allowed emotionalism to cloud his better judgment.

Or, perhaps he’s applying judgment and cloaking it in emotional terms. But it’ll take more than an emotional, non-sensical speech by someone few Americans have heard of to turn the tide. Murtha’s not exactly Cronkite in terms of public suasion.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Steven Plunk says:

    Why do our elected leaders continue throwing this all out in the open so our enemies can take strength from it? If he feels that withdrawal is important why not work behind the scenes? Certainly many other items of business in Washington are worked on behind the scenes.

    The chickenhawk argument is just plain low. According to his logic we should hand over all military control to only ex-soldiers and the rest of us keep our mouths shut. He should be ashamed and sit down.

    Those tears he shed represent his immaturity and lack of leadership as an elected representative. Can he make us look more weak? They just don’t get it.

    I respectfully disagree with Mr. Joyner, it is not noteworthy only worthy of pity and disdain.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Sad to see the apparent hatred of the democratic process displayed by Steven. Murtha should “sit down”?? jeeze I guess the terrorists have already won.

    Of course it is possible that “Steven” is just a parody out to piss people off with this nonsense…

  3. RiverRat says:

    So what exactly do you think Murtha’s position is?

    From the press reports it sounds as if Murtha is saying “We’re surrounded…that simplifies our problem” but he sure as hell doesn’t sound like Chesty.

    Sounds to me like a retreat near the peak of Surabachi.

    I can tell you this: most active duty and retired Marines are ready to rip of his head and **** down his neck. I can also say that he looks like the bourbon-soaked cowardly political hack he seems to have become.

  4. ken says:

    James, the truth of the matter is that Bush lied us into this war. That is the essential underlying fact one has to keep in mind regardless of where one stands politically.

    Since the whole basis for the war was a lie the outcome is determined by forces way beyond the control of anyone in Washington. The Bush war on Iraq was lost the day it was launched. It was lost because a free people will not indefinitely fight, sacrifice, and die for a lie.

    WE WILL NOT FIGHT AND DIE FOR A LIE!!

    By the way this is one of the reasons practically everyone in the military loathes Bush with a burning passion. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some military pressure put on the Congress to have him removed from office. Their only other option is unthinkable.

  5. James, I didn’t mean to imply that how the war is, or is not, conducted should not be debated. It has to be. I was trying to convey that Murtha’s speech will encourage the enemy.

  6. john says:

    Dan et al,

    Perhaps you missed the point of what Murtha was saying. It is simply our presence there that aids and encourages the enemy. When 80% of the people don’t want us there and 40% think it’s ok to attack and kill us, who are we really fighting? These aren’t terrorists, they’re locals with nothing better to do and 1000’s of years of Islam to justify their actions.

    Bottom line, someone stood up, let’s get the hell out of there!

  7. Grisha says:

    Plunk Writes:

    “Why do our elected leaders continue throwing this all out in the open so our enemies can take strength from it? … According to his logic we should hand over all military control to only ex-soldiers and the rest of us keep our mouths shut.”

    Steven… I am not necessarily agreeing with Murtha, but don’t you think your logic is a bit circular here? First you tell Murtha to shut up (and suggest that he is giving comfort to the enemy)… then you complain he is trying to shut non-veterans up??!!! You can’t have it both ways.

    I don’t care for the chickenhawk argument, but I despise those who would impugn the patriotism of critics and veterans such as Murtha (or others in the above post who claim he is a drunk and a coward). I know it is easy to get carried away on the internet, but such talk only shames the conservative cause.

    Furthermore, if you think Murtha is the only hawk questioning the whole shebang, you are kidding yourself. We are in a very tough situation in Iraq. I believe strongly that we should not withdraw, but I am very troubled by the way things are progressing in Iraq. I see nothing particularly patriotic about blindly supporting the war. I am very much afraid that we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I suspect Murtha feels that way, and would prefer to by damned if we do pull out, than damned if we don’t, or like Vietnan damned if we do in another 8 years. Certainly pulling out would provide a lift for the islamic side at least temporarily… but perhaps we can think creatively on ways to pivot this to our advantage rather than simply “staying the course” right or wrong. What if staying the course means failure in 8 years (and thousands of lives and untold billions) rather than failure today for a short while, but freeing up America to fight in other ways? Certainly fighting a protracted war in Iraq limits our possibilities for action and our resources for the broader fight. Iran in particular feels much safer to pursue WMD now that we are tied down in Iraq (though pulling out would hardly help this).

    Lowering the level of debate to comic book arguments does no service to our veterans… it took a heck of a lot of guts to do what Murtha did… I just don’t agree with his point. I do however wonder what he saw over there that changed his mind.

    I think a lot of people who once supported Bush, saw this administration in action with Katrina, and began to wonder if it is not the same over there in Iraq? It is hard to say. The news coverage is lousy. It is lousy not just because it is all negative, but because it gives us very little idea of what it actually happening over there. I do not trust this administration to tell the truth… that does not make me liberal… just cynical. The military is harder to read. I have had one family member and a few students come back from Iraq, but their experiences seemed mixed, and depended heavily on when and where they were stationed.

    My point…. this is wrenching stuff. Very difficult… so put some thought into your comments and you will do our servicemen and women and proud. Quit impugning the character of obviously honorable men who truly want the best for the military and our country

  8. Grisha says:

    JJ writes: “No one, certainly not the Bush administration, has ever said it could be won solely through the force of arms”.

    While technically true, I suppose, it is very clear and has been well-documented that the administration entered the war with the belief that our troops would basically be done in a matter of several weeks after the fighting war over.

    Furthermore, even if you argue that they always thought it would take diplomacy/nation-building etc., then why did they put the Pentagon in charge of Iraq after the initial invasion? Why has the role of the State Department been discounted from the start? Conservatives used to argue that the military wasn’t designed for state-building!!! Do you really believe Foggy Bottom is full of a bunch of namby pamby liberals? The excessive emphasis on the military from the start can be explained by:

    A) The administration basically saw it as a military operation from the start and continued to feel this way for several months.

    B) The State Department was too cautious for the taste of the neo-cons… when was the last time you heard the president criticize opponents for being “reality based”? His point at the time was that we had the power to make reality… many experts (particularly in the State Department) disagreed. They were right.

    In your hearts how many of your honestly believed the invading Iraq was a major screw-up?

    As a conservative, I call it like I see it… that does not mean I want to pull out… but I do think we need to consider it seriously (and most likely reject it).

  9. Bob Davis says:

    This is so calculated. Murtha has been one of the biggest pork-pullers in Congress, bringing millions into his district from defense contractors for years (there’s a maritime research center in landlocked south central Pennsylvania-explain that one). Recently, he has been investigated in a series of articles by the LA Times, so to divert the attention of the left wing Times, he jumps on the ant-war movement. It is laughable.

  10. Grisha says:

    Bob…

    Again. Is there anyone here who will really address this on the merits rather than simple ad hominem? Surely Murtha may be wrong, but I do not think we can so easily dismiss his sincerity.

    I am troubled that partisanship is blinding us to a very serious issue worth discussing… an issue a heck of a lot bigger than Murtha. I am not going to follow Murtha’s lead… nor am I going to blindly pretend that everything is honky dory over in Iraq.

  11. Herb says:

    Well, the chickenhawk, cut and run, yellow stripe boys have struck again. The minute I saw the title of this post, I knew that the two chief yellow stripers would pleasure us with their usual solid evedense based facts that “Bush Lied”. Every here on OTB knows precisely who I am talking about because they have shown their “Solid Evidense” that Bush lied and these guys are out to convince everyone that everyone is wrong and they are right.

    Their problem is, They,

    1. Have no evidense that they will share with OTB readers.

    2 They are both “Cut and Run” charter members.

    3 They both have shown that they both have a wide yellow stripe down their backs.

    4 Neither on of them knows what the hell he is talking about.

    I did get a hoot out of one ststement ” WE WILL NOT FIGHT AND DIE FOR A LIE”. That guy would not fight for anything, even to preserve his own freedom or life from those that would take it from him. He would rather let someone else do his fighting for him to preserve his “Leach” way of life.

    The other guy is and has always demonstrated that he is negative on every subject and always tosses his negative sarcastic comments around as fact.

    For John Murtha; Just another Democrat who caved in to the political ambitions of the Ultra Left Extremist element of the party.

  12. Grisha says:

    Truly I ask you in all sincerity… with 20/20 hindsight, was Iraq a collosal blunder? Can you defend the Iraq war? Does anyone really believe that it is going well?

    I mean it is very easy to say stay the course. I am not one to cut and run. But I think we need to be realistic here… let’s take off the partisan goggles and consider seriously what we need to do… Is there a way to turn the situation in Iraq to our advantage?

  13. Herb says:

    Grisha:

    May I suggest that you stop listening to the left oriented MSM and start some research on the good things that are actually happening in Iraq. You will find many, many good articles and blogs that will truthfully inform you of whats really happening and what good is actually happening.

    I understand your confusion and desire to know the facts and it’s very difficult to comprehend what is really going on with all the bias driven media out there, but Grisha, there is a tremendous amount of good things going on in Iraq,

    Just do a little research away from the MSM and find out for yourself.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    “I can also say that he looks like the bourbon-soaked cowardly political hack he seems to have become.”

    My goodness, you just described George Bush!

  15. Ralph says:

    Standing in snow at Valley Forge, after the rout at Bull Run, before the wheat field at Belleau Wood, on Christmas Eve in Bastogne:

    The “troops have done all they can… it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering.”

    Let’s skedaddle.

    Lincoln — Nov. 19, 1863: “It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

    Murtha — Nov. 17, 2005: “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.”

    Lincoln or Murtha, whom should we and our posterity revere?

  16. An Interested Party says:

    Let us take that one step further…

    Lincoln or Bush…whom will posterity revere?

  17. pat says:

    We often hear the argument that the US presence in Iraq is creating terrorists; presumably, if the US retreated from Iraq, there would be fewer Muslims, inflamed by our efforts there, turning to terrorism. A little thought and a little review of Bin Ladin’s history will show this argument to be wrong and incredibly dangerous.

    How did Bin Ladin make his name in radical Muslim circles? By claiming the credit for driving the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. According to Bin Ladin, his rag tag army of faithful mujahadin drove the Soviet Union out and defeated a super-power. In 1996, he issued his Fatwa declaring war on the US. In the same period, he merged with the Egyptian based terrorist group that had carried out the first WTC attack. In 2001, he attacked the US again, rather successully. The US reacted by invading Afghanistan and then by driving a dagger into the heart of the Middle East, by invading Iraq and taking down Saddam and his loathsome regime.

    Now, imagine how it will look if the US takes Murtha’s suggest and bails out of Iraq. Bin Ladin will be able to claim that he had now defeated the remaining superpower. He’d be right.

    And the Muslim masses, that sat on the fence, will now see which is the “stronger horse”. Every disaffected Muslim youth, in the Middle east and Europe, will revere him. Hundreds of thousands will flock to his banner. Why not? He delivers.

  18. Steve Plunk says:

    It’s interesting reading the comments after my post. Some ask if I am a parody and some see circular logic. Let me explain in more detail what is wrong with what Murtha did.

    As a member of congress he should know the press would pick this this up immediately, which it did. Inflammatory remarks such as his are broadcast around the world within hours,again, which he knows or should know. He also knows that his speech is not part of a debate of a matter up for vote. It’s grandstanding, pure and simple.

    This is not circular logic. With power of being a U.S. Congressman comes great responsibility. That responsibility includes taking careful measure of what you say in public. He simply has shown poor judgement and should be ashamed of his lack of understanding of how his words can endanger U.S. servicemen. A debate can take place but it should be at the appropriate time and in the appropriate place. Anyone who has ever attended a public meeting knows this.

    I don’t know any more about this man than what happened today. If he is a drunken sod it is immaterial. If he served in the military it is immaterial. What is material is what words were spoken on the floor of the house today.

    The issue of whether or not the war is a mistake is not the here as much as the proper way to debate the matter.

  19. ken says:

    Steve, it is not up to you to determine how and where a free American can state his or her opinion. If you do not understand that you do not understand what it means to be an American.

    As as for the power that elected polititians words have to influence events, what about the lies that Bush and his entire administration told to the American people to convince them to support his war on Iraq?

  20. john ryan says:

    The domino theory……. if Vietnam falls the Chinese will march south to Singapore. ummm.Noooo maybe not. The fact is that muslims would rather kill each other than to kill us. One billion muslims on a jihad against christendom !!! Look governments cab collect taxes most easily in one of two ways; either by promising services like roads and schools or by protecting us from bad things communists !!! muslims !!! bogeymen !! The only unifying force the insurgency has in Iraq is the occupation. al Zaqawri is hated by most Iraqis. After we leave the Iraqis will take care of him.

  21. anjin-san says:

    Let us remember that GW Bush “made a deal with the military” to get out of his sevice obligation 6 months early, during wartime, while brave men were fighting and dying in Vietnam. This is not subject to debate, he has actually bragged about it on national TV. What deal did he make? “Let me out early and I won’t sic my daddy on you?”

    Guess GWB is the original “cut & run” boy. He cut out and others had to fight & die.

    Oh, BTW, I voted for Reagan, who I contend to this day was a great man and a great president twice. Also voted for GHW Bush once. Guess that proves what a brain- washed ultra-liberal lefty I am.

  22. odograph says:

    I think Murtha’s actual speech was more right than wrong. It hangs together in a logical way. Here is an ex-soldier (intelligence officer?) saying that the cause-and-effect in Iraq isn’t working for us right now.

    Responses from the peanut gallery (as Grisha has noticed) do not challenge the logic, they only hunker down in an emotional way.

    None of that surprises me, but I am appalled that the best the Whitehouse can do is play to that emotional theme. They sound like Herb, and that is truly disturbing:

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Murtha is “a respected veteran,” and termed it “baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party.”

    Sorry to single you out Herb, but if this keeps up, guys like you are going to be the only Republicans a year from now.

  23. Bob Davis says:

    I am one of Murtha’s constituents. I know first hand how he strong arms defense contractors to invest in his district. That well is drying up. One, because his tactics are coming to light and two, his power has been diminished with the Republican’s ascension both in the House and the White House. He is taking advantage of the polls since he probably can’t bring in more pork to win votes. It’s all about the next election, not about right or wrong. I am neither a R or a D, but I know this district is still a shithole. Where has all the money gone? He’s made some of his cronies, including his brother, very rich.

    Read about him in Forbes:

    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2004/0906/106_print.html

  24. Herb says:

    Odo:

    In your dreams. You can wish for Reps to sway towards the Dem side, but that wish only exists in your wildest immination.

    The one thing you don’t seem to understand is our history of “cut and run” politics. If you have the capacity to remember, we did that in Vietnam after losing many thousand of lives. We let the politicans run that war and it failed. Now we have the military fighting a war on terror and guys like you fighting to cut and run. You seem to not have the mental capacity to understand that that policy only hands victory to the terrorists. Is that what you want?

    So Odo, what if we do cut and run, Them what? what policy do you offer to protect the US from the terrorists. What guarantees do you offer that another WTC will not happen? What policy do you offer that terrorism will not spread to our shores? You know Odo, you can have the yellow stripe cut and run attitude, but for me, I will support the policy that offers the maximum protection from those that would kill or enslave you, your family, your friends and every US citizen. Is’s sad that you, and guys like you don’t have the necessary part of the anatomy to stand up and fight for your freedom as well as for others freedom. The old saying ” when the going gets tough, the tough get going” does not apply to you but “when the going gets tough, you run like hell” does apply to you and guys like you. It’s commonly called “being a coward”

    You remind me of Ken who has now dsfined “what an American is”. What a joke, Ken is the King of cowards on top of being an outright liar. Tell me Odo, is there any French blood in you? Is sure looks like there may be as your “Throw your hands in the air” attitude fits you.

    Odo, you need to concentrate more on supporting our troops and the fight against terror more rather that supporting those who would destroy our country.

  25. odograph says:

    Herb, is it true that the President wants to start pulling troops out next year?

  26. McGehee says:

    it is very clear and has been well-documented that the administration entered the war with the belief that our troops would basically be done in a matter of several weeks after the fighting war over.

    I get so sick and tired of reading this crap just asserted without anything to back it up. “Documented?” Link it or STFU.

  27. odograph says:

    I think this article, written back on April 1st 2003, might be where he’s starting from:

    http://www.usatoday.com/educate/war28-article.htm

    I don’t think it directly addresses the expectations of the occupation, beyond the old “flowers in the streets” quotes …

    The most foresightful paragraph is this one:

    If the war has more problems, the perception that the administration wasn’t candid in discussing its likely costs could provide a ready justification for those who supported it to change their minds. “As you turn against the war, you say, ‘I was deceived,’ as opposed to ‘I was wrong,’ ” says John Mueller, an Ohio State University political scientist who has studied wars and public opinion.

  28. ken says:

    Well it seems that even more lies and hot air from Bush and Cheney are not having their desired effect. Bush once claimed that you could fool some of the people all the time and those were the people was trying to get to vote. But the election is over and now Bush and Cheney must now face the wrath of the American people who now see that they were decieved.

    Some people, like Herb, however, refuse to admit their error. So while they once my have been fooled by Bush, they are now being fooled by no one but themselves.

  29. LJD says:

    Odo, the article you reference makes an apples to oranges comparison. It is clear that all of the statements about the length of the war were referering to the initial invasion, not the establishment of a Democracy, or even permanent stabilization. If you think it does, I’d like to see the entire quote that backs it up. Further, I seem to recall the administration being very cautious before the war exactly on this type of statement. The Wapo article is cherry-picked and out of context.
    It also mentions some polls about how public opinion surrounds this issue. It’s no wonder PO has changed with this type of “news” article continually jammed down people’s throats. Maybe the insurgency ought to be providing awards to journalists for their assistance in the war effort.

  30. odograph says:

    As I said “I don’t think it directly addresses the expectations of the occupation, beyond the old ‘flowers in the streets’ quotes …”

  31. Ralph says:

    Lies, facts, and even a miracle for you. Bipartisan. Some emphasis added, but not too much emotion, I trust. About 200 words, and ad hominem free!

    “It’s a lie to say that the president lied to the American people.” — Senator John McCain (R – AZ) on Meet the Press, 13 Nov 05

    “[The political leaders of Iraq] have begun to negotiate like real political leaders in a democracy. It is not always pretty. What we do here is not always most attractive. That is democracy. Most important of all, eight million Iraqis came out in the face of terrorist threats in January to vote… Almost ten million came out to vote on a constitution, which is a pretty good document, a historically good document in the context of the Arab world.

    “What happened when the Sunnis felt they were not getting enough of what they wanted in a referendum? They didn’t go to the street, most of them, with arms to start a civil war. They registered to vote. That is a miraculous achievement…” — Senator Joe Lieberman (D – CT) in the Senate, 15 Nov 05

  32. odograph says:

    Murtha said in his speech that 80% of the Iraqi people want us out. That means that many of those people who voted in those elections are also ready to see us leave.

    So, why do we trust their elecion of officials, but not their belief that we should go?

    Murtha also said 45% currently support attacks on coalition soldiers, which says how ugly this is turning. If they want us out, and we stay anyway, that truly becomes an “occupation.”

    (Some may remember that I posted similar numbers and was told one poll doesn’t mean anything … well, here’s a second.)

  33. LJD says:

    Um… Murtha is a politician. They do things like quote numbers that support their position. Duh.
    The President has stated that we will leave when asked. So far, no one has asked.
    I am not an expert on forming a democratic government, but I can guess that policy decisions are not made with poll results.
    Again, polls are designed to make a statement. They are not unbiased or purposeless. Unless you;re going for relection, they don’t really amount to much.

  34. odograph says:

    And guys in web forums like to ignore polls that do not support their positions. Duh.

  35. odograph says:

    More on polls of Iraqis, for those who wish to create a “reality based” position:

    http://www.wpherald.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20051023-103741-3787r

  36. anjin-san says:

    From USA TODAY, April 1, 2003

    * Feb. 7, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy: “It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”

    * March 4, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a breakfast with reporters: “What you’d like to do is have it be a short, short conflict. . . . Iraq is much weaker than they were back in the ’90s,” when its forces were routed from Kuwait.

    * March 11, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars: “The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator.”

    * March 16, Vice President Cheney, on NBC’s Meet the Press: “I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months.”

  37. LJD says:

    …and polls are a great way to make an argument totally unfounded in reality, and to avoid things that don’t support one’s position, like hard facts and statistics.

    Keep avoiding my comment that polls don’t make policy, and that the administration has committed to leaving when asked by the Iraqi government.

    In other words, even if the numbers are truly representative, what Iraqis thought on October 26th doesn’t really have any bearing on our action in Iraq now. Did anybody ask the Iraqis if they thought their security would improve if we left?

  38. LJD says:

    Perfect timing….
    Uh, Anjin, you’re not reading the above posts, you’re just cutting and pasting from the hate America web site….

  39. odograph says:

    That’s what I meant by “truly an occupation”

    If you ignore the desires of the Iraqi people, and put your will upon them by force or arms, do you expect them to grow to love you? A nationwide Stockholm Syndrome perhaps?

    This is what I meant by Murtha’s logic “hanging together.” It makes more sense that they will become increasingly furstrated with our occupation, just as we would were our positions reversed. This is human nature.

  40. odograph says:

    BTW ” less than one percent think the occupation is improving security. “

  41. anjin-san says:

    LJD,

    K dude I did not know USA Today was really “Hate America” but here is a link:

    http://www.usatoday.com/educate/war28-article.htm

  42. anjin-san says:

    Herb why are you ducking the issue of Bush cutting & running while brave men were fighting in Nam?

  43. Bob Davis says:

    It’s amazing. The situation in Iraq is basically unchanged (bad but unchanged), but the Dems are screaming to get out now solely based on Bush’s low poll numbers. They are taking adavantage pure and simple and they don’t give a bloody hell about our troops or the Iraqi people.

  44. Bob Davis says:

    Payback time. Bush recently cut a Murtha pet project:

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/050509/9ndic.htm

  45. odograph says:
  46. Herb says:

    Hey Anjin:

    I finally figured out your name.

    (A) another (N) negative (J) Jerk (I) in (N) Need.

    And: UP YOURS

  47. Herb says:

    Ken:
    Odo:
    Anjin:

    Well, you now have what you wanted, an answer to your rantings and ravings.

    Right now, on the floor of the House of Represenatives is a bill that simply states,

    “SHALL WE END ALL ACTION IN IRAQ AND ORDER THE TROOPS HOME”

    Lets see how the vote turns out. I strongly suspect that your Democrat Buddies will vote to keep the troops in Iraq.

    What will you do, What will you do?

    when the bill is defeated by your lefry buddies.

    Answer that one Extremists friends of Terrorsts, Ken, Odo, and Anjin.

    PS: The Dems are trying to defeat this bill.

  48. Bithead says:

    If you’ve never heard of KSA consulting, I suggest you follow the breadcrumbs.

    You’ll see how this ties in to Murtha, very quickly.

  49. odograph says:

    Geez Herb, anybody who has watching the news knows that one-liner is a Republican motion, which is supposed to trick us into thinking it is the same as Murtha’s (it is not).

    That motion is all about making this an emotional, and not a rational, argument. Right up your alley, and as I say … the Republican party is heading right your way.

  50. Herb says:

    ODO””
    EAT YOUR HEART OUT.

    You seem to have tamed your rehtoric dowm a bit.

  51. odograph says:

    That’s because I’ve stepped back and noticed that Democrats and Republicans are both talking about getting out in 2006. If that’s true, what’s to aruge? Who gets credit? That’s too childish.

    And even if Bush really proves too stubborn to do what’s right, that just means that congress will shift to fewer hawks (be they Repub or Demo) in 2006, and balance will be restored.

    With the current trajectory, I think the rational path (no foreign adventures) wins either way.

  52. grandpa stole bets says:

    Program on the emergence of civilization.

    “14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
    13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
    None from the sub-Saharan African continent. ”
    Favor.
    And disfavor.

    They point out Africans’ failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it’s applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

    The roots of racism are not of this earth.

    Austrailia, aboriginals:::No domesticable animals.

    The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.

    AIDS in Africa.

    Organizational Heirarchy
    Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:

    1. MUCK – perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as “god”
    2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management
    3. Evil/disfavored aliens – runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere

    Terrestrial management:

    4. Chinese/egyptians – this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds
    5. Romans – they answer to the egyptians
    6. Mafia – the real-world 20th century interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality
    7. Jews, corporation, women, politician – Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.

    Movies foreshadowing catastrophy
    1985 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake.

    They can affect the weather and Hurricane Katrina was accomplished for many reasons and involves many interests, as anything this historical is::
    1. Take heat off Sheenhan/Iraq, protecting profitable war machine/private war contracts
    2. Gentrification. New Orleans median home price of $84k is among the lowest in major American cities, certainly among desirable cities.

    Our society gives clues to the system in place. We all have heard the saying “He has more money than god.” There is also an episode of the Simpsons where god meets Homer and says “I’m too old and rich for this.”

    This is the system on earth because this is the system everywhere.

    I don’t want to suggest the upper eschelons are evil and good is the fringe.

    But they have made it abundantly clear that doing business with evil (disfavored) won’t help people. They say only good would have the ear, since evil is struggling for survival, and therefore only the favored could help.

    The clues are there which companies are favored and which are disfavored, but they conceal it very hard because it is so crucial.

    I offer an example of historical proportions:::

    People point to Walmart and cry “anti-union”.
    Unions enable disfavored people to live satisfactorly without addressing their disfavor. This way their family’s problems are never resolved. Without the union they would have to accept the heirarchy, their own inferiority.
    Unions serve to empower.
    Walmart is anti-union because they are good. They try to help people address and resolve their problems by creating an enviornment where there are fewer hurdles.

    Media ridicule and lawsuits are creations to reinforce people’s belief that Walmart is evil in a subsegment of the indistry dominated by the middle and lower classes.
    Low-cost disfavored Chinese labor is utilized by corporate america to maximize margins. They all do it. Only WalMart gets fingered because they are the ones who help, and those who seek to create confusion in the marketplace want to eliminate the vast middle class who have a real chance and instead stick with lower classes who may not work otherwise. So they dirty him up while allowing the others to appear clean.

    The middle class is being deceived. They are being misled into the unfavored, and subsequently will have no assistance from their purchases with corporate america.

    I believe the coining of the term “Uncle Sam” was a clue alluding to just this::Sam Walton and WalMart is one of few saviors of the peasant class.

    Amercia is a country of castoffs, rejects. Italy sent its criminals. Malcontents.
    Between the thrones, the klans and kindred, they “decided” who they didn’t want and acted, creating discontent and/or starvation.
    The u.s. is full of disfavored rejects. It is the reason for the myriad of problems not found in European countries. As far as the Rockafellers and other industrialists of the 19th century go, I suspect these aren’t their real names. I suspect they were chosen to go and head this new empire.

    Royalty is the right way to organize a society. Dictatorships and monarchies are a reflection of the antient’s hierarchical organization.
    Positions go to those who have favor with the rulers, as opposed to being elected.
    Elections bring a false sense of how the world is. Democracy misleads people.
    Which is why the disfavored rejects were sent to the shores of America::To keep them on the wrong path.

    Jesus Christ is a religious figure of evil. These seperatist churches formed so they could still capture the rest of the white people, keeping them worshipping the wrong god.
    And now they do it to people of color, Latinos and Asians, after centuries of preying upon them.

    Simpson’s foreshadowing::Helloween IV special, Flanders is Satan. “Last one you ever suspect.”
    “You’ll see lots of nuns where you’re going:::hell!!!” St. Wigham, Helloween VI, missionary work, destroying cultures.
    Over and over, the Simpsons was a source of education and enlightenment, a target of ridicule by the system which wishes to conceal its secrets.

    Since Buddism doesn’t recongnize a god, the calls are never heard, and Chinese representation is instead selected by the thrones.
    Budda was the Asian’s Jesus Christ::: bad for the people. “They came up at the same time for a reason.”

    Jews maim the body formed in the image of “god”, and inflicted circumsision upon all other white people, as well as the evil that is Jesus Christ.
    I think about how Jews (were used to) created homosexuality among Slavics, retribution for the Holocaust.
    Then I think of the Catholic Church and its troubles.
    What connection is here between Jews and the Catholic church???
    If it is their sinister motives that’s behind the evil that is Jesus Christ are they being used at all?
    Perhaps it is them who are pulling strings.
    Their bondage in Egypt proves their disfavor. The Jew leaders decided to prey on the up-and-coming Europeans to try to fix their problems with the ruling elite, a recurring aspect of their methodology.

    I believe Islam is the one true religion, and those misled christians who attack “god”‘s most favored people will pay dearly one day.

  53. Bryan M. Chesmer says:

    I have a question for everyone.

    What more can be accomplished with the continued presence in Iraq at the current troop levels?

    Also, what’s your view of when the Iraqis will be able to handle things on their own?

    Note: To left & right extremists – I would like some civilized discussion on this, not the same old rhetoric from either side 😉

    Thanks in advance to all who respond!

  54. Bill Hendry says:

    With nearly 6 million hits on this site, I can see that this email will be read in about 5 years.
    Nevertheless:
    Lt. Shane Childers, USMC, the first soldier killed in the ongoing Iraqi war, was a friend of my family and served with my two son’s Ed and Bill in Desert Storm, along with Shane, who was a young, PFC fighting marine.

    To call a retreat in this War (It is a War) besmirches his honor and sacrifice and is an affront to every dead and wounded soldier that shares his honor.

    To dishonor the marine corp in this public manner from a Senator who was also a marine is tantamount to treason. Senator you should be tied to the mast and lashed then keelhauled.

    My President is the man I trust, for his purpose and goals are necessary and honorable and help protect my 8 year old grandson from having to fight the sons-of-bitches again after you, Senator are dead and buried along with your outrageous principles.

    But let us be fair: let me see your white paper on your plan and its probable cause and effect and you can run it by John Kerry for editing. Don’t forget to send a copy to Hillary.

    You need to stand up and be counted among the soldiers whom you have turned your back on for political expediency and bravado; you need to come to your senses, sir.

  55. Bob Davis says:

    Quote from Time:

    Murtha does not seem to believe that the war against Islamist terrorism is the highest national priority. He said Iraq threatened to drain resources from “procurement programs that ensure our military dominance.” On the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, he wondered if China were the real threat “down the road” and expressed dismay that “we only bought four or five ships this year.”

    It’s all about the PORK. Murtha wants more money that DoD can spend with his brother and other cronies.