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 â€œfreeâ€ 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. Thatâ€™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.
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.
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.
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.