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    22 February 2007

    Blaming Murtha: A Straw Man, No Plan, and Intellectual Ignorance

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    I was turned on to a post at Chip's blog (h/t Postscripts) that went through a typical laundry list of complaints about Democrats (particularly Rep. Murtha), liberals, and -- well -- most of America nowadays.

    It starts out by claiming that Rep. Murtha wants to fail in Iraq. "[H]e makes it quite obvious that defeat is the object of his desire. In fact, in an online interview, this is what he had to say about his new "funding standards..." Chip asserts, going on to quote the Congressman from an article he found. Well this "online interview" is actually a quote in an article by conservative blowhard Robert Novak and reads like so:
    In his interview, Murtha, chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on defense, did not hide the purpose of setting standards for training, equipping and resting troops: "They won't have the equipment, they don't have the training and they won't be able to do the work."

    Well that is the power allotted to the House to check the president’s power in a time of war and when arrogance trumps advice and reality, then desperate times call for desperate measures. But context is key here as well; Murtha could well have been saying that the administration hasn't provided the proper equipment or training to do the work in Iraq. The work that, I'll remind everyone, the military wasn't and isn't supposed to be doing at this point in history or ever. That aside, we do not know because, as mentioned, the "online interview" is MIA and exists at this point as a quote in a Robert Novak column.

    Chip continues to create a liberal/Democratic straw man for him to beat around a little. You know the usual claim of a "far, far, far left" who hate America. After that fun, he admits that "...everything we've tried since Shock and Awe has been lackluster at best, and miserable failure at worst. ... We know that what we were doing was not working." He continues to advocate that we stay the new course and play in the sand potentially until we are monetarily insolvent, completely owned by China, and/or overrun by the terrorists of our own creation. All this because we need to win in Iraq...

    So here is the question, what are the means to a win here? And how will putting under-supplied and under-prepared troops in the theater with basically the same mission as we have given them in the past fix this mess; especially when they are under-supplied and under-prepared? Note that this is NOT a result of an act of Congress but by inaction by the Department of Defense, since March of 2003; and note that they are immersed in a mess NOT created by Murtha and liberals but by the incompetence of this administration, the DoD, and those who supported them. The point many are making is that we have been starving our troops of the resources that they need throughout this war and the Democratic Congress is now going to make sure that if troops are sent into Iraq or anywhere, they be properly prepared and equipped. This is a common sense notion and if they are not prepared and equipped then that is an administrative failure that is in the national interest to address prior to putting our soldiers in harms way.

    Back to the new plan, it seems that until you have an actual plan that has some chance of success (by saying this, I’m stating that I believe that if we could muster enough man power to match the recommendations of the counterinsurgency manual, then we would be looking at a statistical chance of military success; at least one worth looking into provided we reassess what the final result in Iraq will look like and lose the rose-colored glasses), advocating for the redeployment of the main if not only means this administration is willing to use to fight the WoT to the sidelines and away from someone else's civil war might be a pertinent choice. NO war has ever had the characteristic of total and complete victory or perfection; and anyone who says otherwise or hopes for this end is, well, they are "delusional". The fundamental problem is that no level of military successes will ever win this war. There has to be political progress and the likelihood of that happening is slim, even with zero or a million troops in Iraq.

    Now, what is so bad about stating the obvious, cutting our losses and continuing to fight the real WoT rather than fueling it by refereeing a civil war? Pride should not be a variable here and neither should the fear tactic that claims that if we do redeploy out of Iraq then we loose the WoT. That is childish. We can still act in Iraq w/out having 150k troops there; in fact the government there will probably be begging for it as it faces its own realities that it has been able to ignore for months now. Furthermore, once we're out of there, al Qaeda will loose a major rational for being there, along with a huge recruiting tool, and the Shi'a will loose the 'crutch' they've been using to further consolidate their power. A compromise then becomes a logical/rational avenue to address the issue, especially when the outside interests engage the problem rather than watching it from the sidelines. Could this all end up in a regional war, of course. I've been saying that this will ultimately end up as such since 2002; our presence is delaying the inevitable. But at least this course offers some hope and not the preservation of the status quo which has failed so far.

    Finally, let's be honest; the ONLY valid reason Iraq can be characterized as the center stage in the WoT is because it is in the middle of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia; the real threats to our national interest are in no way dependent on the situation in Iraq, be it good or bad; and the presence of al Qaeda and more importantly its ideology in any country worldwide is a given until you address the rational of that ideology instead of validating it.

    I'm not supporting a redeployment, withdrawal, or an escalation. I'm just wondering what the plan is here? Besides, of course, that goal of shifting blame and supporting failed policies, which Chip, et al. have done so masterfully since 2003.

    Posted by Geoff

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