WASHINGTON (AP) - Raising the temperature in Congress over U.S. policy in Iraq, a pro-military Democrat who once voted to back the war now says it is time to bring the troops home.This was covered all last night in the MSM and provided tons of glee, though it was hard to watch some of the Dems try to disagree gracefully. That includes John Kerry, who once again failed to clarify his position. He said he "respectfully" disagreed with Murtha's position. I assume he meant the part about immediate withdrawal, but this has become another tar pit that the Bushies love to catch the opposition with. Other generals, who were quickly hushed and retired, have said the same thing that Murtha said, that there is no military solution, that the soldiers have done what they came to do, that political and social and economic policies and effort are the required avenues of response now. Keeping our troops in Iraq merely provides the insurgents with targets of opportunity and breeds more contempt among the civilian population.
'Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency,' Rep. John Murtha said Thursday. 'They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion.'
With a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, Murtha retired from the Marine Corps reserves as a colonel in 1990 after 37 years as a Marine, only a few years longer than he's been in Congress. Elected in 1974, Murtha has become known as an authority on national security whose advice was sought out by Republican and Democratic administrations alike.
Murtha's shift from an early war backer to a critic advocating withdrawal reflects plummeting public support for a war that has cost more than $200 billion and led to the deaths of more than 2,000 U.S. troops.
Now that the advertised reasons for the invasion are being proven false, more and more of the people here and there are beginning to suspect (or confirm) that the real reasons for the war were to win control over valuable resources and to establish a permanent base of operations in the heart of the Middle East. These may seem like reasonable motives to the neo-Cons, but they represent the ambitions of an aggressive and beligerent power bordering on the imperial (think Germany taking Poland in the 1930's). No wonder most of "old" Europe reacted with abhorrence and even fearful concern.
Morally, we have no business being in Iraq. When the military leaders proclaim victory or defeat, it's over. Either way, it's time to get out. We should have/could have done so last year and looked like the liberators we pretended to be, saving thousands of lives and pre-empting the growth of the insurgency in the process. No one has come up with a strategy of success in Iraq as it stands today, so Murtha makes the point that we should just leave now. Why prolong the agony and give the insurgency more opportunity? Will it save any face to leave later after declaring a "victory" that nobody will believe anyway?
It was interesting to watch both sides try to spin this one. The Dems couldn't decide whether to jump on or dive for the gutters. The Reps know what they want to say, but it's not easy after they've been on record praising Murtha for his contributions in the past. He's got cred when it comes to all things military. Attacking him now only makes them look even more like the lying sacks of manure they are. Watch for the swift boat militia to be let loose on the poor Murtha as soon as the ads can be shot and distributed.