Monday, November 21, 2005

Congressman Murtha

I spent some time thinking about Congressman Murtha over the weekend. Who couldn't? Personally, I had never heard of this guy and suddenly there he was on my as a "former Iraq Supporter" announcing that we should withdraw our troops within six months.

Wow. A retired marine. Decorated veteran of service not only disagreeing with the President, but announcing a policy of more or less, immediate withdrawal. Heavy stuff.

I'll admit my first inclination was to mock him. I certainly never heard of this guy, he looks a bit like your average handout, rubber chicken banquet attending Congressman, and of course, my first inclination is to mock anyone who annoys me. It's part of the magic that is me.

Oh don't give me that high minded, Republican attack response bs that Andy Sullivan has used to put himself in near rapture today we've heard it all before. It's called politics as usual, and the Democrats have their attack dogs too. I won't mention Sid "Vicious" Blumenthal, if you promise not to bring another obscure boob named Schmidt. See we can all play this game.

I, of course wouldn't do such a thing. Nope, I'm pretty impressed with Congressman Murtha. If you want to read all the details of this man's service and philanthropy (some of it with our tax dollars, but then again that is part of his job), those details are out there, and they are impressive. He visits the service people at Walter Reed, once a week.

So he's a good guy and a patriot, by virtually everyone's account. Which makes this all the more puzzling. Why, dare tell me, would a decorated veteran declare his support for a six month pull out? I could understand a lot of things, but this? It doesn't make sense.

Say, for example, Murtha announced that he thought we needed to double our troops in Iraq. Or maybe that we should start bombing Syria. Or say that he thought we should try have some peace discussions with Zarqawi. All of these things, I would probably disagree with - although the Syrian option does seem intriguing - but I would understand that he was looking for a way to improve our position in Iraq.

Yet Murtha announces, somewhat out of the blue, that he wants full withdrawal in six months. Make no mistake, this is the one option that by just announcing support for it, is most likely to put our troops in greater danger, and a former war hero, a guy with McCainesque credentials announces that this, more than anything else is what he wants for our Iraq policy.

Think about it. Here we are closing in on the end of 2005, a historic year for Iraq and the US when we have had enormous success in pulling that country together. We began the year with the purple fingers of enthusiastic first time voters, defied the critics in June with another successful vote, and will now close the year with an overwhelmingly successful vote that will ratify the new constitution. Our number one enemy in country, Zarqawi, has just committed the most critical error of his campaign of terror, and has actually gotten his family and mosque and country to denounce him.

Suddenly here comes Congressman Murtha, a decorated war hero, announcing his support for a policy that looks damn close to surrender, and Zarqawi must be unable to believe his good fortune. "A tipping point!" has got to be his first thought, and to the extent he is capable, he must be thinking that now is the moment to go for broke. Send out the bombers and unleash as much death and mayhem as humanly possible to push the enemy's political structure over the top. Yes, there can be little doubt Murtha's announcement has hurt our position against the enemy.

I do not mean to suggest he did this intentionally, but I am willing to submit that he did it without much thought. There can be no doubt that Mutha thinks either our policy is wrong, or our execution of that policy is wrong. However, if he is a credible of a Congressman as the media would have us believe, then he is being irresponsible. Surely he knows that the "Mutha Option" is a non-starter, and he must be aware that to make such a suggestion just one month prior to the most important election in this effort will encourage our enemies and cause our Iraqi supporters to wonder about our commitment.

Congressman Murtha's timing on this matter is indeed highly questionable. It not only comes with curious timing vis a vis developments both past and future in Iraq, but it also comes in the middle of a Democratic Party campaign to build support for troop withdrawal in Iraq. Could this all be part of an orchestrated effort by the Democrats to finally get out in front of developments in this war?

Up until now the Democratic Party has been largely wrong about every development in the war. You can argue with me on this, but my point is that the Democrats politically have played their hand very poorly and found themselves on the wrong side of virtually every development so far. We do know with a high degree of confidence, that the coming election will most likely come off without a hitch. We also know with certainty that General Casey has submitted a plan to begin partial withdrawal next year upon the ratification of the constitution in Iraq.

Is it possible that the Democrats are so cynical that they now want to get out in front of this issue so that when troops start coming home following a successful election, that they can portray this success as failure. Further, not only will they portray our success as failure, but they will then take credit for forcing the President to admit failure and bring the men and women home.

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