Monday, January 16, 2006

John Murtha on 60 Minutes

Congressman John Murtha was on 60 Minutes last night and had some pretty damn sensible comments during an interview with Mike Wallace...

Murtha not only thinks that most U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year, but he also believes, if nothing else, George W. Bush will do it to save what's left of his presidency.

"I think the political people who give him advice will say to him, 'You don’t want a Democratic congress,'" Murtha said. "You want to keep the Republican majority. And the only way you’re gonna keep it, is by reducing substantially the troops in Iraq.”

The Congressman who has served his Pennsylvania district for 32 years, also shot down the Bush administration's misleading language on Iraq being the central front in the war on terror and the extent to which the insurgency is fueled by forces from outside of Iraq.

"Ninety-three percent of the insurgents are Iraqis. A very small percentage are foreign fighters," said Murtha. "The Iraqis know who they are. Once we’re out of there, they’ll eliminate ‘em,”

John Murtha (D-PA) on '60 Minutes'

Murtha also really went after Bush when discussing the president's tough-guy language when talking about the war and his oversimplified way of painting Iraq as the one-dimensional home of all terrorists.

"He’s trying to fight this war with rhetoric," said Murtha. "Iraq is not where the center of terrorism is. So when he says we’re fighting terrorism over there, we’re inciting terrorism over there. We’re encouraging terror. We’re destabilizing the area by being over there because we’re the targets. He said before there’s weapons of mass destruction. He said there’s an al Qaeda connection. There’s many things he said turned out not to be true. So why would I believe him when he says the things he just – made that statement."

The heavily-decorated former Marine also made it clear that he believes the approach taken by Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld would look considerably different if any of them (or their Chickenhawk Brigade) had ever actually served in the military themselves.

"War’s a nasty business. It sears the soul. The shadow of friends killed, the shadow of killing people lives with you the rest of your life. So there’s no experience like being in combat," said Murtha.

Murtha also addressed the ridiculous claims from the Bush administration (and some in the Defense Department) that people like Murtha telling the truth about the Iraq war damages morale and hurts military recruitment efforts.

"Here’s what hurts recruitment. They’re rotated four and five times. They have no clear mission. It’s not what I say that hurts morale. This is long before I said anything that their recruiting had a problem."

Near the end of the segment, Murtha reinforced his point by reading a letter he received from a soldier in Iraq.

“I’m a soldier currently stationed in Talafar. It’s frustrating to me and many other soldiers to be fighting a war with no goal for victory, with no end in sight. Iraq is a country that’s never going to stand on its own until we leave and give them a chance to do so. Our presence is no longer beneficial to anyone,” Murtha read from the letter.

I hope they don't find out which soldier sent that correspondence to Murtha – they'll be questioning his or her patriotism as well.