Murtha’s Message: Our Troops Are Getting Blown Apart and We Have No Strategy, Mr. President


Democratic hawk John Murtha is sort of like a living version of John Wayne in Congress. He was a marine. He put his life on the line for his country in time of war. He’s a guy of few words. He doesn’t really like reporters or spinning stories. He hangs out on weekends with soldiers who have had amputations or are recovering from other war wounds at Walter Reed Hospital.
To put it simply, Murtha is one of those tough dudes — out of a Tom Clancy novel — that is patriotic to the core and yet sees this nation’s security, military forces, and economy going over a cliff. And he’s now said so.
The importance of his introduced House Resolution calling for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq is that he’s compelling Republicans and other Congressional colleagues to put their political identities on the line one way or the other. If his colleagues want to stay in Iraq, then get a strategy, a game plan, something that’s just an amorphous, never-ending fuzziness of dead troops and wasted supplemental budgets. But he’s saying that the status quo is indefensible, and he’s right.
Senator Chuck Hagel has been saying the same exact thing for months.
I just heard that the House Republicans, who feel mugged by Murtha, have just proposed this silly resolution — idiotic in its simple-mindedness — for a vote this afternoon:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.

Seems pretty transparently dumb to me. Murtha is not calling for an immediate end, but I guess Hastert and Blount think they can get most to oppose because of the perceived irresponsibility of just leaving tomorrow.
I’m just off of a plane — and there may be more to this story that I need to absorb, but just for comparison, here is Murtha’s original resolution:

Whereas Congress and the American People have not been shown clear, measurable progress toward establishment of stable and improving security in Iraq or of a stable and improving economy in Iraq, both of which are essential to “promote the emergence of a democratic government”;
Whereas additional stabilization in Iraq by U, S. military forces cannot be achieved without the deployment of hundreds of thousands of additional U S. troops, which in turn cannot be achieved without a military draft;
Whereas more than $277 billion has been appropriated by the United States Congress to prosecute U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan;
Whereas, as of the drafting of this resolution, 2,079 U.S. troops have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom;
Whereas U.S. forces have become the target of the insurgency,
Whereas, according to recent polls, over 80% of the Iraqi people want U.S. forces out of Iraq;
Whereas polls also indicate that 45% of the Iraqi people feel that the attacks on U.S. forces are justified;
Whereas, due to the foregoing, Congress finds it evident that continuing U.S. military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the people of Iraq, or the Persian Gulf Region, which were cited in Public Law 107-243 as justification for undertaking such action;
Therefore be it

1) Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in
2) Congress assembled,
3) That:
4) Section 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is
5) hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable
6) date.
7) Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines
8) shall be deployed in the region.
9) Section 3 The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq
10) through diplomacy.

I’ll have more on the question of whether to leave Iraq or stay — and on what terms — later today or tomorrow.
But until then, a John Wayne quote — that I think John Murtha is familiar with:

Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much.

I’m definitely not the John Wayne type.
More later.
— Steve Clemons