Murthquake Continues to Shake Washington

On Friday, Republicans in the House of Representatives pushed to the floor a bill they wrote but did not favor:

It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.

To no surprise, the bill failed 403-3. The yes votes came from the Democrats Cynthia McKinney, Jose Serrano and Robert Wexler.

This bill was must-see C-Span, but I've been struggling to figure out what Republicans hoped to gain with such a transparent stunt. It may please Sean Hannity and other tail-wagging right-wing housepets, but the GOP doesn't need to engineer fake victories to throw a bone to their supporters. They have the majority in Congress and can mop the floor with real Democrats every day of the week.

Liberal Democrats regularly serve up new bills that have absolutely no prayer of being enacted. If Hannity enjoys the taste of fictitious Democrat, wouldn't he love to gnaw a nice tasty leg of Dennis Kucinich?

There's a real withdrawal bill they could have opposed: Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha's call to redeploy U.S. troops outside of Iraq within a reasonable time as a "quick reaction force" with an "over-the-horizon presence of Marines."

The GOP took a huge risk with their fake bill, because they pushed the subject of withdrawal higher in the news. This became clear yesterday when 100 Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders responded Monday by demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops "on a specified timetable."

I couldn't figure out the Republicans' logic until I read Salon Managing Editor Scott Rosenberg this morning.

Republicans hope that this 400-vote victory squelches debate of Murtha's proposal, reducing the war in the eyes of the public to their heroic defeat of nobody's call for immediate withdrawal. Americans are as heartsick as Rep. Murtha about 160,000 U.S. soldiers serving as target practice for suicide bombs and IEDs while we're given no exit strategy more concrete than "as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."

They're clearly afraid of Murtha, a conservative hawk and decorated Vietnam veteran who visits weekly with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital and has strong ties inside the Pentagon. He legitimizes a perception that's growing among disenchanted supporters of the war -- the belief that our presence in Iraq hurts more than it helps:

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. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80 percent of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, and about 45 percent of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.

If only cowards cut and run, as we recently learned from newly elected Rep. Jean Schmidt, why are war supporters running as fast as they can away from this debate?

Comments

This is the same Murtha who called for an immediate withdrawal from Somalia after the Black Hawk Down incident. You might remember that Al Quaeda specifically referenced that as a rationale for hitting the US hard - leading through numerous terrorist incidents (African Embassies, USS Cole, 9/11) designed to drive the "paper tigers" out.

Yeah, that guy Murtha is really quick on the uptake. He served honorably as a Marine, but it looks to me like his grasp of causal relationships is really, really weak. He failed to learn what my wife and her best friend learned in one afternoon of role playing about a decade ago - showing weakness in the face of violence doesn't lead to good results.

showing weakness in the face of violence doesn't lead to good results. Ahem... tell that to Saddam... no wait... someone already did... and look where he ended up! Considering that Iraq was invaded by a country that had rendered it pretty much defenseless a decade prior to the second onslaught your argument is weak or doesn't apply to this scenario.
The point Murtha is making is that the US has accomplished pretty much all that it can accomplish in Iraq and throwing more bodies at the misguided cause is pointless. IIf you noticed... there hasn't been an overwhelming support base that formed inside Iraq aligning in with the US and coalition.
Iraqis are more concerned with the civil war simmering underneath the headlines and the longer the US stays there the more likely it is that we will be forced to take a side.
There have been all sorts of excuses for this but that doesn't change the fact that it is a struggle to get enough people on board with the US to make the imposition of democracy sustainable. In fact what appears to show up are those of the idea that "showing weakness in the face of violence is a bad idea" mindset. Unfortuanatly they are not in agreement with the invaders. They have rendered the rebuilding process next to useless relative to energy and money expended on the task.
Now the US is hiring Saddam's military... to help stabilize the situation. The irony of it all. Oh well I'm sure that they are better experts about the situation than any outsider will ever be.
The US is trying to correct a collosal blunder and it just isn't happening. There is civil war brewing under the headlines and the longer the US stays involved the more likely it will be that we are forced to take sides and create another situation like Vietnam. This is not standing up in the face of violence as much as it is saving face with violence.
The knee jerk response was to accuse anyone pointing this out as a "cut and run coward". The administration continues to insist that those putting up resistance in Iraq are those that would have attacked us on our own soil and it just isn't so. It is a marketing scam that becomes more transparent every day. Iraq was never a threat to the US.

James: If we're fighting this war to send some kind of message, what have we done there the last six months that could be interpreted as a sign of strength?

Honestly James.. do you really think that this isn't Vietnam in 1962?

We can 'stay the course' and tally up ~60,000 American Deaths.. and leave anyway.. or we can do what John Murtha said and scale back and force the Iraqi's to deal with it with assistance from the US .. rather than US taking the full pressure of an IED located at every street corner.

You are kidding yourself to say this isn't another Vietnam.

If you need some sort of victory march.. then you can always fall back on 'Mission Accomplished' ....

You might remember that Al Quaeda specifically referenced that as a rationale for hitting the US hard - leading through numerous terrorist incidents (African Embassies, USS Cole, 9/11) designed to drive the "paper tigers" out.

Heh. The old domino theory. That gives me the green light to get all pretentious and start quoting Hannah Arendt. From Lying in Politics: Reflections on The Pentagon Papers:

From 1965 on, the notion of a clear-cut victory receded into the background and the objective became "to convince the enemy that he could not win." Since the enemy remained unconvinced, the next goal appeared, "to avoid a humiliating defeat," as though the meaning of defeat in war were mere humiliation.

What the Pentagon Papers report is the haunting fear of the impact of defeat, not on the welfare of the nation but "on the reputation of the United States and its President." Thus shortly before, during the many debates about the advisability of using ground troops against North Vietnam, the dominant argument was not fear of defeat itself or concern with the welfare of the troops in the case of withdrawal but: "Once US troops are in, it will be difficult to withdraw them without admitting defeat." There was finally the "political" aim "to show the world the lengths to which the United States will go for a friend" and "to fulfill commitments."

All these goals existed together, almost in a helter-skelter fashion; none was permitted to cancel its predecessors. For each addressed itself to a different "audience" and for each a different "scenario" had to be produced. McNaughton's much-quoted enumeration of US aims in 1965: "70% - To avoid humiliating defeat (to our reputation as a guarantor). 20% - To keep South Vietnam (and the adjacent territory) from Chinese hands. 10% - To permit the people of South Vietnam to enjoy a better, freer way of life," is refreshing in its honesty but was probably drawn up to bring some order and clarity into the debates on the forever troublesome question of why we were conducting a war in Vietnam of all places.


She also writes, prophetically:
The crucial point here is not merely that the policy of lying was hardly ever aimed at the enemy (this is one of the reasons why the Papers don't reveal any military secrets that could fall under the Espionage Act) but chiefly if not exclusively destined for domestic consumption, for propaganda at home and especially for the purpose of deceiving Congress - the Tonkin incident where the enemy knew all the facts and the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee none is a case in point.

Domino theory, sure. I'm merely quoting the enemy, something a lot of you seem unwilling to do. Here's the thing:

1) In 1991, when we decided (because of intl strings) not to take Hussein out, we created a long term problem

2) If you believe that Hussein wasn't going to go the "plausible deniability" route with terrorists eventually, I have a bridge for you. He was paying off lots of people - including high officials in France and Russia. He was almost free of the sanctions regime that way, and was funding suicide bombers in Israel ($25k a pop).

3) He hatched a plot to kill Bush sr. during the Clinton administration. That's justification for war right there, full stop.

As to this:

"Ahem... tell that to Saddam... no wait... someone already did... and look where he ended up! Considering that Iraq was invaded by a country that had rendered it pretty much defenseless a decade prior to the second onslaught your argument is weak or doesn't apply to this scenario."

Via bluster and two weak administrations (Bush 41 and Clinton), he managed to stay in power after 1991, and managed to slaughter Shiites in the south with impunity as a result of us leaving him alone.

As to Vietnam - I could draw parallels to 1936, but I rather suspect that you wouldn't like those. Iraq is its own situation, and it doesn't map well to Vietnam, or the inter-war period.

I watch Sean Hannity with his 'to hell with accurate reporting, this is showbiz' approach to journalism, and compare it to the sober delivery of Huntley-Brinkley or Walter Cronkite.

How far American news journalism has sunk.

When John Murtha, a lawmaker since 1974, said about representative Jean Schmidt: "This is a new member, and sometimes they give her something to say that...", I wondered exactly who shepherds freshman congresspeople through the early days of their terms.

I would imagine the Republican House leadership exercises tight control over the public utterances of freshmen. I can't imagine a senior member of the House so exposing himself by making such a statement as hers.

I thought Schmidt almost literally being wrapped in the flag was a lame show stunt.

I'm merely quoting the enemy, something a lot of you seem unwilling to do.

bin Laden also says the US invaded Iraq "to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there."

You buy that as well?

Any successful businessperson can tell you that it's best to have a business plan before you start a business.

One would think the the President of the United States, his Cabinet, and his advisers by now might have congealed a coherent business plan for our adventure in Iraq.

I think this administration did have a business plan, but not for the troops.

You know, sometimes you hate to think your suspicions were correct. You really don't want the world to be as corrupt as you know it is.

But then along comes Jones, and he lays this line on you, and you listen, but you know it's swill.

The most rational response is ,"Good day, my brother, how are you?".

You know, sometimes you hate to think your suspicions were correct. You really don't want the world to be as corrupt as you know it is.

But then along comes Jones, and he lays this line on you, and you listen, but you know it's swill.

The most rational response is ,"Good day, my brother, how are you?".

Sven asks, "bin Laden also says the US invaded Iraq "to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there." You buy that as well?"

Fact: Israel is occupying Jerusalem.

Fact: The US supports Israel

Fact: US invaded to depose Saddam

Your rhetorical "questions" are an effort to avoid the facts presented to you by the poster you make your misdirecting question of. Anyone can see that the Left literally cannot face, or deny those facts since they consistently avoid doing so by bringing up inane and specious "questions," and which they have already assumed an "answer" to...

Murtha is a party hack and is indeed aiding-and-abetting the terrorist faction(s) and their hope that the US will allow them free reign in Iraq -- and then in Afghanistan...

Having been on the receiving end of such public dissaffection created by partisan politicians, he knows full well that he is acting against the moral and best interests of our troops who must face the enemy today, while Murtha plays anti-patriot for his selfish partisan interests...

He used to be a hero, but now he is a virtual traitor to our servicemen and women who are fighting and dying now, in the field he wishes to abandon...

Despicable and forsworn...for what?

"The People's Progressive Party"

Rogers confesses, "I've been struggling to figure out what Republicans hoped to gain with such a transparent stunt."

Then Rogers says, "Liberal Democrats regularly serve up new bills that have absolutely no prayer of being enacted."

Which begs the answer to the question: Are you struggling to figure out what the Democrats hope to gain with such transparent stunts?

Perhaps you can find the answer on Air America Radio, or from your idol, the "tailless" Alan Colmes? How about the tail-wagging left-wind housepet tail, Randi Rhodes? Does she enjoy the taste of the invented errors of the right-wing?

BTW, Murtha is NOT a conservative "hawk." He is an ideologue who joined the party during Vietnam and supported the twist and spin to blame the war on Republicans, and although he knew very well it was started by Democrats. He was elected and continued to support the demonstrations and riots which he knew reduced the moral of our servicemen and endangered their lives by encouraging the North Vietnamese to continue their war of aggression...

Now, here you are erecting fictitious "hawks" and "conservatives" in order to advance your own ideology. You and your ilk deny that there are plans (and which have been stated over and over) to withdraw from Iraq as they are able to control their own environment. Instead, you virtually lie and spin these facts in order to gain political advantage -- you literally support lying as somehow "good" for the US and our welfare; as well as supposedly helping our troops...

What a scummy bunch of goebbelesque propagandists your party has become. Sad, if it weren't so despicable!

Well, Schmidt just chose the wrong guy to utter the right sentiments.

First, we have Murtha the ex-Marine: "The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We can not continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region"

Now, from Army LTC Erik Kurilla, recovering from a shattered femur and other wounds incurred in Mosul on 19 Aug 2005: "Without a strong Coalition military presence in the near term, all our gains would be eroded. Worse, we'd be consigning our Iraqi allies, who have become increasingly effective fighting side by side with us, to a brutal civil war against an enemy that is savagely intent on clinging to a power they should never have possessed."

Finally, here is deceased Marine Corporal Jeffrey B. Starr (featured in an anti-war article in the New York Times, in which his final letter home was extensively quoted, except for the quote you see here): "Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."

And Murtha would retreat over the horizon. The operative word here is "retreat".

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