Thursday, March 08, 2007

Patty Murray: "We Are Fighting A War With No Cause"

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) went to the floor of the Senate on Tuesday and said something I really admire. I respect her words because she made a statement that falls, for some incredibly dumb reason, right into that category of words we dare not speak.

"In truth, we are fighting a war with no cause," said the Washington Senator.

Those are not easy words to say in a political environment where most Republicans will use them to say you're sleeping with Osama bin Laden and that you obviously love the terrorists, but Murray is right -- as was Barack Obama (D-IL) when he "slipped" and made the true statement that the needless troop deaths in Iraq are a waste.

I'm hopeful that by the time Murray runs for reelection in 2010, those words will make her look thoughtful and prescient and not be a truth that her Republican opponent can use to smear her good name.

Murray made the speech on the Senate floor earlier this week when she addressed the subject of funding for mental-health care for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and the extent to which the White House and Republican party all sport "support the troops" ribbons on their SUVs but have done nothing but lie them into war and hang them out to dry if they make it home.

Indeed, as Murray points out, the Bush administration has seen many reports over the years highlighting bad conditions in Veterans' medical care facilities and have shown that their pro-troop rhetoric doesn't extend to actually doing anything to help them.

"With minimal amounts of sleep, our service men and women work longer days than you and I can imagine. They see things none of us should ever witness: bodies blown to pieces, mutilation, the blood of their fellow soldiers on the streets of a country we have no place being," said Murray on Tuesday. "All of this is for a war we were misled into supporting. There were no weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was never connected to al Qaeda, and nobody can say we are spreading democracy to Iraq today."

"In truth, we are fighting a war with no cause."

And Murray was clear in laying the blame right at the doorstep of George W. Bush, who not only took our country into a needless war, but has resisted every attempt by Democrats to rescue our troops from this quagmire, while his Republican attack dogs have impugned the courage and patriotism of those who have tried.

"As Americans across this country -- but especially Senators -- it is our solemn duty, as those who have not seen the horrors of battle, to care for those who have," said Murray. "Even more so, as the one who sent Americans to Iraq, it is the duty of the President. Providing mental health care for our children falls under this duty -- a duty that, sadly, this President has failed to fulfill."

The three-term Washington Senator also took the time to rebuke the other side of the aisle, taking Republicans to task for doing nothing to truly support the troops while providing massive cover for Bush on the Iraq war during the previous, do-nothing Congress.

Here's Murray:
"I came to the floor this morning to remind my colleagues -- my Republican colleagues and this President -- actions speak louder than words. Talk does not improve the quality of the living conditions, and it doesn't make adequate mental health care available. Talk is cheap. Eventually, after a lot of talk and no action, words catch up with you. That is what we are seeing today. The Bush administration says they have provided for our active-duty warriors and our Veterans, but story after story, report after report proves otherwise.

"Unfortunately, it is pretty clear to all of us now that from enlistment to retirement, this administration has failed our troops. It is time for us to take action. I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on this floor to have action and not just words. I don't want to see report after report, all this year long and a year from now, stories that continue. We have a responsibility, when we send men and women overseas to fight for us, that we are on this floor fighting for them."
Murray ended her speech by making sure that Democrats understand they too have a responsibility -- especially now holding the majority in both houses of Congress -- to speak up loudly about the situation in Iraq and to take action as the 9/11 Commission recommendations are debated this week.

"I call on all of my colleagues to step up at every step of the way as we approve bill after bill, supplemental budgets, authorization bills, to stand up and speak out for our troops and no longer ignore the reality of this war."

Kudos to Senator Murray for having the guts to speak hard words that, for whatever pathetic reason, seem to challenge the courage of people on both sides of the political aisle. Lives are being wasted and this is indeed a war with no cause whatsoever.

And although Patty Murray will undoubtedly be attacked for those words, it's refreshing to hear someone in Washington speak that reality.