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November 19, 2005

This is Nuts

Although the House rejected a pullout from Iraq by a vote of 403 - 3, it seems obvious that many on the left want just this. As the world knows, and Al Jazeera is playing up, Congressman John Murtha said that we need to withdraw from Iraq regardless of the consequences:

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.

Murtha is a former Marine, which means that his words will be taken seriously by those who ought to know better. I honor his service. I also say that his recommendation is completely irresponsible. There is no contradiction here.

Robert Kagan & William Kristol ask the obvious questions

Rep. Jack Murtha has had a distinguished congressional career. But his outburst last Thursday was breathtakingly irresponsible. Nowhere in his angry and emotional call for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq did the Pennsylvania Democrat bother to ask, much less answer, the most serious questions his proposal raises. What would be the likely outcome in Iraq if the United States pulled out? Does Murtha actually believe the Iraqi people could fight the al Qaeda terrorists and Saddam Hussein loyalists by themselves once American forces left? He does not say. In fact, he knows perfectly well that the Iraqi people are not yet capable of defending themselves against the monsters in their midst and that, therefore, a U.S. withdrawal would likely lead to carnage on a scale that would dwarf what is now occurring in Iraq.

Murtha seems to think that his "quick reaction force" coupled with diplomacy will being stability to Iraq. If so, he's either delusional or really just doesn't care.

There are other problems with Murtha's analysis. Kagan and Kristol again:

Murtha, of course, claims that the U.S. occupation is the primary problem in Iraq and that "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." This is nonsense. For many months now, the insurgents have been shifting their attacks away from U.S. and coalition forces and directing them at Iraqis instead. Iraqis now make up the overwhelming majority of casualties resulting from insurgent attacks. This shift is evidence not only of the effectiveness of our protective measures, but also of the growing vitality of the Iraqi political process, which the insurgents, according to their own statements, fear and hate more than the U.S. military presence.

Some worried that the GOP was doing the wrong thing by demanding an up or down vote on whether to withdraw immediately from Iraq. K-Lo at NRO was concerned that the Democrats could "easily frame the whole exercise as Republicans caricaturing sensible concerns about Iraq--and more specifically a mocking of Vietnam vet Marine Jack Murtha." and pointed to an email John Kerry sent to his followers that took that position. Perhaps.

Others, such as Stephen Spruiell thought that "Pushing for a vote on troop withdrawal now is just the right counter to Murtha, that "hawkish Democrat" who has become the media's latest star performer."

As you may suspect, in this case I think Spruiell is closer to the mark.

As it was, I missed it all because once againI was at Walter Reed countering the Pinkos (a few past nights here). After they left several of us went to Monroe House(I think it was called), kind of an outpatient "hotel" on the base/hospital and delivereda variety of things to the troops there, from books/novels, to Christmas cards and candy bars. Anyway, my good deed for the week.

Anyway, it was apparently quite a circus last night:

At one point in the emotional debate, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, told of a phone call she received from a Marine colonel.

"He asked me to send Congress a message _ stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message _ that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said. Murtha is a 37-year Marine veteran and ranking Democrat on the defense appropriations subcommittee.

Democrats booed and shouted her down _ causing the House to come to a standstill.

Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., charged across the chamber's center aisle screaming that Republicans were making uncalled-for personal attacks. "You guys are pathetic! Pathetic!" yelled Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

Democrats gave Murtha a standing ovation as he entered the chamber and took his customary corner seat.

Schmidt shouldn't have read the letter. Murtha is not a personally a coward, he's just completely wrong. The Marine is right in that cutting and running would be cowardly.

By the same token for the Democrats to have given Murtha a standing ovatation shows just where they are regardless of how they voted.

How Has It Come to This?

It was one thing when Michael Moore and International ANSWER were accusing the president of lying about Iraqi WMD. When mainstream Democrats began to pick up the charge, it became clear that Byron York was right, these guys really were in hock to the far left of their party.

But now we are hearing "bring the troops home now" from people like Murtha, who is being lionized by the press, who have tended to ignore his long opposition to the war.

But again, how has it come to this? Some will say that we are at this juncture because Bush et al screwed up the invasion and occupation. No doubt many mistakes were made, especially not immediately holding elections and stopping our first attempt to take Fallujah. But the anti-war crowd's predictions and recommendations have been off-base too(thousands of casualties in the initial invasion, the much-touted "Battle of Baghdad", civil war, mass humanitarian crisis, etc). This criticism is also ahistorical. Even a quick read of the Revolution and Civil War, to say nothing of World War II, show mistake after mistake being made by the eventual victors. Just as the Democrats ran as the "end the war now" party (if you don't believe me read their party platform). They were wrong then and they're wrong now.

Back to the question.

We are at this juncture for a few reasons.

First, President Bush has failed to remake the case for Iraq. He got off track after the election and seemed to think that he didn't need to talk about it anymore. This was a huge mistake. We do have a very positive story to tell about Iraq, as this group of Marines on a media panel said. Despite what some will say, our current strategy seems to be working, slowly but surely.

Second, the president has moved too far away from his conservative base. On issues ranging from out-of-control spending, complete lack of enforcement of our immigration laws, signing of McCain-Feingold (after calling it unconstitutional), to the recent appointment of Harriet Myers, we conservatives have grown more and more upset with the president. We have stuck with him because of foreign policy and the war. It was the appointment of Meiers that brought the discord into the open.

The effects of #2 are twofold. One conservatives are less likely to fight for the president when it matters. Two, the president has no domestic agenda anymore. Reforming social security was admirable, but didn't go through. Ok, so he should have regrouped and made his move elsewhere. But he didn't, and now we are paying the price.

Third, the Democrats in this country seem to have completely lost their minds. Rather than act responsibly, they have embraced the kookiest conspiracy theories and want us to repeat the disaster of Vietnam by pulling out the troops. Oh sure, officially they voted against pullout, but only after the GOP forced their hand. And as Victor Davis Hanson says, it is "intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible" to try and claim, like Senator Jay Rockefeller did the other day, that ""If I knew then what I know now, I would never have supported the war." Where, oh where, is a Harry Truman or "Scoop" Jackson when you really need them?

As Peter Fleming says at my other blog site, Warm 'N Fuzzy Conserva-Puppies, the idea that some would press for a timetable for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq is an absolute disgrace.

We can win this thing people, but only if the president gets his act together, and if the Democrats start acting responsibly. Let's encourage them both to do so.

Posted by Tom at November 19, 2005 7:44 PM

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