MilBloggers on NPR's "This American Life"
Is Zarqawi Dead?

Murtha not Swiftboated, just wrong

Uncle Jimbo sends:

Let's be clear about Rep. Murtha, the latest darling of the antiwar crowd and it's media allies, he has been against the war since 2002, prior to it's beginning. He is not a recent convert because of the horrors he has heard visiting troops in the hospital. He declared this war unwinnable more than a year ago. He has not been personally attacked as far too many on the left are howling, the only slur was from a silly congresswoman and she was reading a letter from a Marine Colonel, who reminded Murtha that run away is not in the USMC playbook.

Now we hear from F John Kerry and others that Murtha is being swiftboated, a word the press has accepted as an unfair attack on someone's military service. First of all I would alter the definition to mean the exposure of a poseur by the vast majority of those who served with him. Kerry's Vietnam service was a straightforward attempt to punch his ticket on his JFK II tour to the White House. 20 of the officers who served with Kerry question almost all of his heroic actions and the scrapes he gathered Purple Hearts and a ticket home in four months from. One supports him, along with some of the enlisted folks who reported to him. He has yet to release his actual military records, although he has done some stunts to pretend he did. He promised to do so several years ago, I wonder why he hasn't? Kerry swiftboated himself.

Rep. Murtha doesn't need to embellish his military service, he served long and honorably. He is not being attacked personally and certainly not swiftboated, he is being opposed because he is wrong. He made a poorly reasoned suggestion that we abandon a fight in Iraq that we have won and are in the process of finishing properly. Even worse was his statement that it was the suffering of our troops in the hospital that touched his heart. The problem is that Bin Laden and the jihadis consistently point to our lack of will when confronted by casualties as a sign of our weakness and inability to finish a fight. Sadly they are correct. We left Lebanon after 240+ Marines were killed in a bombing, we bailed from Somalia after a horrible fight that cost several dozen of our finest troops, and we failed to finish the job in Desert Storm. All of these are trumpeted in the jihadi statements as proof of our lack of will for casualties. The worst thing we could do is to take this win and allow the press and the anti-war left to declare victory for the jihadis in their zeal to hang a defeat on the President.

Nobody but the bad guys win if we cut and run, well I guess anti-war democrats and the media aren't technically the bad guys and they would win also. The media have kept up a relentless drumbeat of death and destruction wholly out of whack with the actual situation in Iraq. The only news worthy of coverage is negative and the success of this propaganda effort is obvious in the lessened support for a conflict where all actual signs are positive. Not only are we training, blooding and turning loose more and more Iraqi security forces, the only folks supporting the insurgency, the Sunnis, are joining the political process in droves. The realization that mostly Muslims are being killed by the insurgency and the jihadis has lead to a pushback of sentiment across most Muslim countries and in Iraq more and more people provide intel on the bad guys.

Murtha's opinion deserves a hearing due to his support for military programs over the years, but his service does nothing to make a foolish policy any less foolish. Far too many war opponents want to force a withdrawal and declare this W's Vietnam, a failed quagmire where our troops died in vain, in a conflict that was founded on lies. I feel for those holding this view because it requires a complete detachment from reality. The mental gymnastics required to simultaneously believe that W lied but Clinton and several hundred other Dems didn't, based on the same info, are staggering. The same folks can look at a largely pacified country with pockets of resistance, that has held an election, a constitutional referendum, has attracted large numbers of former opponents to the political process, and is poised to hold a parliamentary election next month and see failure.

Standing where we do now, there is no advantage for the country or our military to force a victorious force to surrender due to pressure from people who never supported the cause in the first place. The fact is that after the elections next month we will be in a much better position to begin bringing troops home next year. The training and deployment of Iraqi forces that can handle their business is working well and more areas are turned over to them every day. Calls to run away from those who never had or have lost the stomach for US casualties in a good cause, should get as vigorous a response as the pushback against claims the pre-war intel was "fixed". 2006 should be the last year of major deployment of troops in Iraq, and I wonder how those hollering for immediate withdrawal will enjoy the welcome home parades during the elections next year.