Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Murtha Crosses The Line--Again

RealClearPolitics has a series of links regarding Rep. John Murtha's (D-PA) latest comments that he would not join the military today and would discourage others from doing so because he disagrees with the Iraq War. But per the RCP post, the people who are actually in the military have an overwhelmingly different opinion.

Murtha's military service record is indeed admirable, but it now stands apart from this series of events. He began this string of increasingly outrageous comments in November as part of the Democrats' efforts to block the President's PR offensive on Iraq and the war on terror. It is one thing to disagree with the Iraq war, to question it, to be fairly critical of its execution, and to hold the Administration to account for errors. But it is unethical and yes, unpatriotic to say the kind of things that are designed to discourage people serving overseas and people who might join up, thus hampering an ongoing military effort--if that is Murtha's intention.

Calling for an immediate pullout of our forces in Iraq, as he did in November (his call for a complete abandonment of the Iraqi people and absence in that country within 6 months of November would mean that the pullout would have had to have begun by November or earlier) was irresponsible and reflected a less than informed opinion on Iraq and the war on terror in general. Then he proceeded to say that our military was "worn out". Now this. The totality of it all leaves the impression that Murtha wants us to fail.

Above, I made mention of this behavior as "unpatriotic". I just want to make it clear that I wasn't dropping a charge carelessly. And I am not saying that he is anti-American. But he has allowed uninformed emotion and partisan confusion to cloud his judgment. And he has certainly opened himself to the accusation (fair or not) that he is unpatriotic.

It would be one thing if Michael Moore was right, or, against all reasonable intelligence estimates, Bush invaded Iraq. But even then, it would only be proper to hammer the Administration (which the Democrats are doing anyway), all the while applauding our troops for their loyal service. We'll pull them out and then deal with the unethical politician appropriately.

But given that none of those factors are true, this remains little more than a policy debate and an entirely fair difference of opinion regarding the war on terror which ought to be continually discussed.

So what is Murtha's problem? As I said above, I don't believe that he is anti-American or unpatriotic, but I also don't believe that he understands the gravity of the things he is advocating and how their seriouness is magnified by the power of the office he holds. If he does, of course, that is a very different matter. And if one uses an attack on the American military's morale as a policy tool to cause them to be unsuccessful against an enemy in time of war in order to score a partisan victory, that person is indeed unpatriotic.

But from the evidence I have, I believe he wants what is best, but does not have facts sufficient to support his conclusion. Further, I don't think that he is open to hearing the realities because, based upon the fairly emotional presence he has made on this issue, he has his mind made up in true Denothir fashion that failure is imminent. And any further comments from him on this issue need to be viewed in that light.

It's probably just a function of the company he keeps in the House Democratic cloakroom.


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