Decorated Veteran Murtha Versus GOP Chickenhawks
And it was the same theme we have become so unaccustomed to: A Democratic war veteran asking for moderation and a cautious course when risking the lives of our military men and women while conservative chickenhawks, who have never served a day in uniform in their lives, talk tough and accuse our side of backing down.
"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised," said Murtha, 73, in calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq. "It's a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."
"The American public is way ahead of the members of Congress. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq. But it's time for a change in direction,” Murtha said. “Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot 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 regime."
Despite being one of the most hawkish Democrats on Capitol Hill – and, incidentally, a decorated Vietnam veteran – Murtha was immediately attacked as soft on terrorists by Republicans.
"They want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world," Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) said in a statement.
Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) said that Murtha's actions were "reprehensible and irresponsible."
"It shows the Democratic Party has chosen a policy of retreat and defeatism which will only encourage the terrorists and threaten the stability of Iraq. Today's comments should send an enormous red flag to the American public,” Granger said.
But for all their tough rhetoric, both Granger and Hastert failed to serve in the military when it was their time to stand up and “fight for our freedom.” Granger has no military record and Hastert avoided the Vietnam war because of bad knees – yet those knees were somehow strong enough to make him quite the college wrestler, even earning him a spot in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, according to Hastert’s House web site.
Meanwhile, Murtha – you know, the soft-on-terrorism guy – was fighting in Southeast Asia and was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts while there.
So now let’s hear from another weak-in-the-knees Republican, in the form of the senior chickenhawk himself, Dick Cheney. Commenting on Democrats like Murtha, who believe our time in Iraq has run its course, Cheney growled "The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone."
Murtha, who was emotional and choking back tears during his announcement on the Iraq war today, fired back at 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."
It’s a world gone mad isn't it, Congressman Murtha?