Monday, March 26, 2007

Murtha And Murphy Said It All About Iraq Last Week

They may be combat Veterans from different wars but Democratic Representatives John Murtha and Patrick Murphy, both of Pennsylvania, gave the defining speeches late last week as the House of Representatives voted on further funding for the Iraq war that included a directive to George W. Bush to withdraw all combat troops within one year.

Murphy, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne in Iraq, lit the place up with his speech, in which he made clear that there's a big difference in view between a combat Vet who has seen friends killed and a bunch of Republicans who have simply rubber stamped every move Bush has made.

An excerpt:
"We had a saying in the Army 'Lead. Follow. Or get out of the way.' Well, in the past four years, the Republican-led Congress followed. They had their chance and they followed lockstep as this president led our country into an open-ended commitment refereeing a religious civil war. For the last four years, this Republican Congress followed lockstep as my fellow soldiers continued to die in Iraq, without a clear mission, without benchmarks to determine success, without a clear timeline for coming home.

"In the last four years, the Republican Congress followed this president, as thousands of brave American soldiers returned home in coffins, with our American flag. Nineteen of those coffins had soldiers I served with in Iraq -- 19 paratroopers.

"Mr. Speaker, with this bill, with this vote, we mark the end of that error.

"To those on the other side of the aisle who are opposed, I want to ask you the same questions that my gunner asked me when I was leading a convoy up and down Ambush Alley one day. He said, ‘Sir, what are we doing over here? What's our mission? When are these Iraqis going to come off the sidelines and fight for their own country?' So to my colleagues across the aisle - - - your taunts about supporting our troops ring hollow if you are still unable to answer those questions now four years later."

Here's full video of Murphy's speech:

Murtha, a highly-decorated Vietnam Veteran, gave a speech in which he detailed everything Republicans would be shortchanging if they voted against the bill -- much of which, like the need for more armored vehicles, went ignored by the GOP Congress -- and ended with a voice choking with emotion saying this:
"My great-grandmother lived to be 96 -- I was six years old when she died. She said you're on this earth to make a difference. We're gonna make a difference with this bill. We're gonna bring those troops home, we're gonna to start changing the direction of this great country."

Here's Murtha -- and be sure to watch until the end:

I don’t know how many troops serving in Iraq will ever see these speeches… But it would be difficult for them to see the strength and emotion in Murtha and Murphy and not understand which side of the Congressional aisle truly supports the military.