Today, the United States House of Representatives was rich with irony. It started earlier in the week when Jack Murtha (D. – Pa.) came out with a thoughtful call for a change in direction in Iraq.
Who is this guy? His website tells us that he had a long and distinguished 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990, having risen from the enlisted ranks which he volunteered for in 1952. He is a decorated combat veteran of Viet Nam, the recipient of two purple hearts, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star with Combat “V” and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
Murtha was elected to Congress in 1974, one of only 131 people in the nation's history to have served more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is ranking member and former chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Congressman Murtha is so well-respected for his first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues that he has been a trusted adviser to presidents of both parties on military and defense issues.
As you can see in this clip, Mr. Murtha has a steely eyed, resolute look that quietly says, “No me hoda.” If you are not one to judge a book by its cover, (See, Beauty is as beauty lies.) than consider how Jack Murtha answered criticism of his position on Iraq from Dick Cheney:
I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."
Referring to Bush, Murtha added, "I resent the fact, on Veterans Day, he criticized Democrats for criticizing them."
Murtha has a realist’s view of war, and what it can accomplish. At the same time, Murtha speaks with heartfelt compassion for soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen, and their families.
Clearly, this man is the Republican’s worst nightmare. A true military hero, with a safe seat and impeccable credentials, he's a man who knows what he is talking about, and is not afraid to speak his mind.
And here's what he said:
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.
His plan calls:
W, in his characteristically lame way, responded by saying that the plan for withdrawal was "a recipe for disaster." He overlooked the fact that not withdrawing is a recipe for a greater disaster. It is hard to know which is more appalling, W's ignorance, or his hypocrisy: it was learned that he has ordered the Pentagon to draw up plans for the withdrawal of approximately half the troops now stationed in Iraq, following the December elections.
So what's a Republican controlled congress to do? Well, you might expect that they would attack him personally, and you would be right. We will see if they can trump up some ethics charge that will stick, but my money is against it. They couldn’t attack him in the well of the House because this guy is the real deal. Indeed, they praised Murtha so lavishly that he joked that people wouldn't need to attend his funeral, because they have already heard the eulogy.
Instead, they employed one of the most cynical, dispicable, disgusting and dishonest tactics imaginable. They introduced Resolution 571, "Expressing the sense of the of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States’ forces in Iraq be terminated immediately." They changed the rules so that the debate could occur on the same day the resolution was introduced, and then, debate it they did.
They continuously referred to the counterfeit resolution as if it were Representative Murtha's. Mr. Murtha had talked about a 6 month redeployment, consistent with the safety of the troops there. The object of this low Republican enterprise was to get the Democrats on record voting against withdrawal. Later, they will take the vote out of context. If they are lucky, the candidate they are smearing will say something stupid, like: "I actually voted against the resolution before I voted for it."
According to the principle that "turnabout is fair play," I offer the following suggestions for resolutions that Democrats can propose, so that we can have recorded votes from Republicans in time for the 2006 elections:
Let's demand to know what Republican's are willing to go on the record in support of. Oh, they will squeal like stuck pigs, but they started it. And as Paul said, For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap.(Galatians 6:8)
... and tell 'em Big Mitch sent ya!