Scared Straight

Congressman John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, just put the fear o’ God into some righties. Murtha–a culturally conservative hawk–just held a press conference and called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

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. …

…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.

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

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

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.

Please read the whole thing. I wanted to paste just enough to show that he actually does have a plan, and it sounds to me like a sensible plan.

Crooks and Liars, as always, has the video.

Now for the fear o’ God part–Rod Dreher posted on NRO’s The Corner:

Don’t know how many of you caught Rep. John Murtha’s very angry, very moving speech just now in which he called on the White House to institute an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. 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.

Holy shit.

I agree with Joe at AMERICAblog that this speech could mark a turning point on the Iraq War debate. I’d like to see Dems get behind this in a big way. There are details to be worked out, of course, but it seems to me this plan is just what most Americans have been wanting to hear.

Kevin Drum writes,

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.

I also think the Rove/Cheney/Bush counterattack is going to backfire. Congressional Republicans are looking for cover right now, and I don’t think they believe that a ferocious partisan attack from the White House is what they need right now. The public is looking for answers, not administration attack dogs on the evening news every day, but this particular White House doesn’t know any other way. It’s going to cost them.

This is right. Bush’s pathetic counterattack is just one more demonstration that he doesn’t know what to do. He’s all talk, no walk. By now people are hungry for direction and eager to see something like actual progress, somewhere. They are sick to death of Bushie attacks and smears and lies and bluster. They want leaders who will shut up and DO something.

Murtha just grabbed the ball. Let’s see if the Dems can run with it.

Email your representative now. And your senators, too.

14 thoughts on “Scared Straight

  1. OMG, I just took the link to Rep. Murtha’s complete statement at his website. All I could do not to burst into tears here in my slavin’ cubicle. His command of the facts, and the clarity of his arguments, will be lost on Bush Co. but not on Congress. If it gets any play in the MSM, not on the people, either.

    As a young snot I never trusted those crusty old ex-Marine types. Now I think they’re our last, best hope.

  2. joanr16, there are patriots in every generation. It’s always been our only hope as a nation.

    My father is 86, a veteran of WWII (Anzio beach and Sicily) and a lifelong Republican. His disgust with what Bush has done in Iraq is startling; those guys KNOW what it’s like to get shot at. They want the boys being shot at to have a very, very good reason for being there.

  3. When I was a kid, the ex-military politicians were guys like Curtis LeMay. Argh. Not that those types are entirely gone, but thank goodness for John Murtha, Wes Clark, even once in a great while, Chuck Hagel. And yeah, even 20 years ago I thought John Glenn was kinda cool.

    Live and learn.

  4. I hate to be a gloomy gus on this occasion, but what took Murtha so long?
    Did he stand up and be counted as evidence rolled in that the WH lied about WMD? No.
    … leaving Afganistan and the hunt for Usama bin-Forgotten to enter Iraq and the GWOT? No.
    … as Rumsfeld screw up in send the Armed Forces to Iraq in small packets? No.
    … when reports came back about ‘hill-billy’ armour and folks having to spend family savings on body armour? No.
    How did he campaign in the 2002 or the 2004 elections?

    I am glad Murtha is taking a stand now, but color me cynical.

  5. Dear Joan,
    An ex marine I deal with had a photo of George and wife on his desk several months ago, It’s gone now.The marines don’t like to see their brothers tossed into a wood chipper for nothing, and that’s what this war is.How can we say we’re bringing “Freedom” to the Iraqis when we’re loosing it at home?
    Like shrub said “we can fool some of the people all of the time, those are the ones we want to concentrate on.”

  6. bush, cheney, and rove…all pathetic. Their response is all finger pointing and name calling. Other than getting saddam, the repugs never had a plan for Iraq.

  7. “Let’s see if the Dems can run with it” …

    Well, seems like Kerry can’t. From CNN:

    BLITZER: [Democratic Rep.] John Murtha, who’s very involved in the Armed Services Committee, … says there should be an immediate withdrawal over the next six months of all U.S. troops from Iraq. Good idea?

    KERRY: I respectfully disagree with John Murtha. And I laid out a plan which is, I think, a good plan, a solid plan — that builds consistently on everything I said throughout the campaign last year — of what you need to do to be successful. And I believe my plan supports the troops in the right way…

    Kerry then gives an overview of his plan, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. To wit: IF the election is ‘successful’ (definition=?), we can bring home 20K troops around the Holidays [which only gets us back to the troops levels from before the referendum]. Then next year IF the Iraqis can take over all security for Baghdad, then IF they can take over security for another province, and then another province, and then another, and so on “in a sort of step-by-step basis” [Kerry’s words; argh] — then we can draw down the troops again.

    But for a man who should have learned some lessons from Vietnam, those are a few BIG IF-fy matzah balls to be hanging out there.


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  9. Here’s my two cents worth:
    For power brokers in both major political parties [and their corporate backers], the invading and occupying of Iraq has always been about gaining and keeping control of Iraq’s oil in order to assure future fuel for ‘the American dream’ consumerism economy. All the other ‘reasons’ given for invading and staying in Iraq are window-dressing morality masks to help the masses feel righteous about the war instead of feeling the harsh truth that we are engaged in stealing what we want from another country. I make this judgment based upon the fact of our building multiple permanent military bases in Iraq, a fact one never hears addressed by major politicians or mainstream media who are content to let the masses assume that there will someday be a withdrawal from Iraq.
    Murtha is looking at the human horrors of this Iraq mess… are most Americans. It seems Kerry and other Democrat ‘leaders’ remain politically tied into the ‘economic interests’ plan for Iraq oil. Beltway Democrats’ may be posturing to replace Rupublican control but don’t wish to alter the underlying corporate/military/economic long-range plan of having that oil.

  10. Murtha wants an ‘over-the-horizon presence’ of Marines. I’m not up on military jargon, but it seems to me that an ‘over-the-horizon presence’ is the same as an ‘absence’.

  11. Donna:
    It’s not so much oil itself as control over oil. It’s less about obtaining it for ourselves than denying it to others. (I.e. the Europeans and the Chinese).

    Check out PNAC; they laid out their plans long ago.

  12. Donna and maha: agreed; much bigger issue here and many of the other Dems are tied to flawed policy.

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