"It's time to bring them home," said Representative John Murtha, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, choking back tears during remarks to reporters. "Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty."Crocodile tears, perhaps. How is this any different than John Kerry last year, other than the contrived waterworks?
Apparently Murtha isn't "close to" the military commanders that actually know what's going on on the ground in Iraq [h/t B4B]:
"Here on the ground, our job is not done," said Colonel James Brown, commander of the 56th Brigade Combat Team, when asked about Murtha's comments during a weekly briefing that American field commanders routinely give to Pentagon reporters.
Speaking from a U.S. logistics base at Balad, north of Baghdad, two days before his scheduled return to Texas, Brown said: "We have to finish the job that we began here. It's important for the security of this nation."
Returning to Murtha last Thursday:
"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," he said. "The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."
Am I the only one who thinks this comment is really, really lame? Of course our troops are a "prime target" of the "insurgency" - we're their enemy, for God's sake. Isn't the enemy usually the "prime target" of regular or irregular forces in time of war? Ditto they're being "united against U.S. forces." And being a "catalyst for violence." That's what war is - "killing people and breaking things," to borrow Rush Limbaugh's concise definition. The only correction I would make to this particular Murtha graph is that the primary target of the "insurgency" has become Iraqi civilians, who, unlike Coalition troops, aren't as well protected and don't have the inconvenient habit of shooting back. And that sort of violence would not dissipate, but explode, if we were to follow his cockamamie counsel.
There's no way that a Vietnam combat veteran could offer up such shallow pacifistic blather unless it was underlaid with anti-American sedition. And sure enough, the comments the EM didn't bother to highlight were drenched with it:
[Murtha] kept bringing up Abu Ghraib as if it were the most critical juncture in the Iraq War and kept insisting that it doubled the casualty rate. He repeatedly told Blitzer that the military could not beat the terrorists, a lovely message to send to the 150,000 men and women currently deployed to Iraq, as well as the Zarqawi network and their recruiters. In fact, for most of the interview Murtha could hardly complete a sentence, he became so hysterical. [emphasis added]
This is the guy with "enormous credibility" on defense issues? What did his fellow Donks offer him to turn him heel like this? Or is Mooreony universally pandemic in the minority party?
Parenthetically, that "military that can't beat the terrorists" might have finally offed "Emir" Zarqawi. If/when that is confirmed, I wonder whether these same slavering, gleeful "journalists" will track down Murtha to "revise and extend his remarks."
The answer to the previous question appears to be the latter option. Gateway Pundit has a rafter of Murtha quotes from the past three years showing him to be about as far from a "hawk" on the GWOT in general and the Iraqi theater in particular as it is possible to get. Rather, he's been the stereotypical Democrat - voted for the war amidst jingoistic bloviations far in excess of anything the President ever offered, all of it put on for show with no genuine support underneath, as evinced by his quick turn against OIF when the "insurgency" commenced. Kind of the foreign policy equivalent of "going commando." And Friday Murtha got pantsed - and not just by House Republicans, either.
Victor Davis Hanson has, as usual, a succinct and insightful take on the whole sordid episode:
[T]he honest and moral argument for the now contrite would be something like: "I know now that Saddam did not try to kill a former president, did not commit genocide, did not attack four of his neighbors, did not harbor anti-American terrorists, did not ignore U.N. and 1991 peace accords, and did not attack Americans enforcing U.N.-mandated no-fly zones — and so I regret my vote."
Or if the former supporters of the war had character, they would be more honest still: "Yes, Saddam was guilty of those other 22 writs, but none of them justified the war that I voted for, and I should not have included them in the resolution."
Or they could be more truthful still: "I didn't really want a war, and only threw in the bit about al Qaeda and Saddam. So I just voted for the authorization in case some crisis emerged and the President had to act swiftly."
I doubt any will ever say, "I voted to cover my [ass]: If the war proved swift and relatively low-cost like Bosnia or Afghanistan, I was on record for it; if it got bad like Mogadishu or Lebanon, then I wasn't the commander-in-chief who conducted it."
The next step that VDH omits is this: "I don't care how I voted before; I want the war to become another Mogadishu or Lebanon so that my country will lose, get the hell out of the Middle East, and my party can regain power like it did thirty years ago."
You know, when Jack Murtha came home from 'Nam to a hail of expletives, extended middle fingers, and loogies - the physical equivalent of what he himself dispensed to today's Jack Murthas three days ago.
UPDATE: Mark Steyn - big surprise - says it so much better (h/t Powerline):
What [do Democrats] believe, really? I know what Bush believes: He thought Saddam should go in 2002 and today he's glad he's gone, as am I. I know what, say, Michael Moore believes: He wanted to leave Saddam in power in 2002, and today he thinks the "insurgents" are the Iraqi version of America's Minutemen. But what do Rockefeller and Reid and Kerry [and Murtha] believe deep down? That voting for the war seemed the politically expedient thing to do in 2002 but that they've since done the math and figured that pandering to the moveon.org crowd is where the big bucks are? If Bush is the new Hitler, these small hollow men are the equivalent of those grubby little Nazis whose whining defense was, "I was only obeying orders. I didn't really mean all that strutting tough-guy stuff." And, before they huff, "How dare you question my patriotism?", well, yes, I am questioning your patriotism - ecause you're failing to meet the challenge of the times. Thanks to you, Iraq is a quagmire - not in the Sunni Triangle, where U.S. armed forces are confident and effective, but on the home front, where soft-spined national legislators have turned the war into one almighty Linguini Triangle. [emphasis added]
Here, here. Finally a mega-pundit has the cajones to speak the truth. "Patriotism" may not necessarily extend as far as "My country, right or wrong," but once a decision for war has been decided and implemented, that's when that debate is supposed to end. Recriminations about such things are supposed to be put aside until the conflict has been won. Ranks are supposed to be closed, a united front to the enemy presented. And active efforts to undermine the war effort and bring about the defeat of one's own country, for whatever reason, become treason, whether soft or "hard," and definitely the antithesis of patriotism.
Given the subterranean depths to which left-wing rhetoric has descended, I really see no point to persisting with rhetorical pussy-footing. The Democrats are making their stance and the motivation behind it unashamedly crystal clear. And we should bludgeon them unmercifully with the equally unambiguous denunciation of precisely what that stance and motivation is until they are driven from the public square in the disgrace they no longer possess the ability to recognize.
UPDATE 11/21: This isn't the first conflict from which Big John has urged pell-mell retreat....
UPDATE 11/21 II: Mac Owens, in so many words, concurs with my take that John Murtha is the true chickenhawk. His punchline:
[I]t is very clear that Murtha has been moved by the soldiers he has visited who have been wounded in the war and by the plight of those who have lost loved ones in Iraq. But those of us who respect his grasp of military affairs expect him, unlike members of the press, to be able to place casualties in strategic context. He dishonors the sacrifice of these men by treating them as victims rather than the heroes they are. We owe it to the American soldiers who have been killed or wounded in Iraq and the Iraqis who have fought to create a new state to see this effort through to the end, preventing a replay of the disgraceful episode three decades ago when the U.S. Congress betrayed and abandoned our South Vietnamese allies. [emphasis added]
UPDATE 11/21 III: Ya think Ralph Peters is pissed about this?
Quit. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.
Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush Administration.
Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq — and the region — if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.
Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the
Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates — knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.
Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies — that's what Americans do.
Is there any way to clone this man several dozen times and substitute him for a like number of senatorial pussies when nobody is looking? Or perhaps contract with Halliburton to use their mind-control technology, put the big cranial doohickey on Mr. Peters' noggin, and aim it at the upper chamber?
Heck, I'd settle for Peters-Frist steel cage match with the Senate Majority Leadership on the line. Anything to get that kind of testicular fortitude where none currently exists.