The Murtha statement and the Republican freak-out
If you're wide awake, you'll be hearing a lot of rhetoric about Rep. John Murtha's recent call for a plan for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. In order to know exactly what is being talked about, read Murtha's actual statement.
"My plan calls:It should be noted that Murtha has made it clear that he's not calling for the troops to be withdraw recklessly or all at once, as the Republicans shamelessly suggest, but rather a measured and phased withdrawal over perhaps 6 months time. It also is not calling for leaving the middle east entirely, but rather withdrawing to perhaps Kuwait or other spots where, in the event they were needed, troops could be deployed back into Iraq within two days time.
- To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
- To create a quick reaction force in the region.
- To create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines.
- To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.
"This war needs to be personalized. As I said before, I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.
"Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our obligation, to speak out for them. That's why I am speaking out.
"Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home."
Daily Dissent.org has several video clips of the uproar in the house over Murtha's statements.
Murtha's heartfelt and truly moving comments on the floor of the house can be viewed here. If you can spare the time, it's worth hearing.
Rep. Jean Schmidt's nasty attack calling Murtha a coward can be seen here.
Ms. Schmidt: "A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bop, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."
After the mics were cut for 10 minutes, Schmidt returned to the floor to say:
"Mr. Speaker, my remarks were not directed at any member of the House and I did not intend to suggest that they applied to any member. Most especially the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania. I therefore ask for unanimous consent that my words be withdrawn.
Ms. Schmidt recently won office by narrowly defeating an Iraq war veteran.
Murtha's appearance with Chris Matthews on Hardball can be viewed here.
The shameless stunt attempted by Republicans led by Duncan Hunter forced a vote on a counterfeit resolution calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. The Republicans had the nerve to actually try to re-write and distort Murtha's proposal.
More outrageous is the Republican explanation for this stunt was that Murtha's proposal was sending the message that the U.S. would "cut and run" to our enemies and our troops. The fact is that it is the REPUBLICANS in the house who by interpreting Murtha's measure in that simplistic and erroneous way were loudly projecting EXACTLY that message to the troops, all for a cheap political stunt.
Needless to say, Democrats voted no to this sham proposal, as it bore only passing resemblance to what Murtha had proposed.
And of course, it also completely avoided forcing the Republicans to debate the issue. This is the standard Republican response to the debate on Iraq. Attack the messenger, distort and lie about the message, and pull cheap stunts.
As usual, the shameless Republican slime machine immediately set out to demonize Murtha ala the Swift Boat attacks. Again from Daily Dissent, who notes a commenter at Joshua Micah Marshall's TPM who offers this observation,
I was not the least bit surprised by the attack on Murtha (remember how they attacked Kerry). I'll bet you a dollar that the Democratic response (if there is one) will be a) unorganized (from Biden through Dean), b) incoherent (or at least internally inconsistent), c) slow, d) measured, and e) cerebral. All the wrong things to do. What they need to do is show some blood and gore, use a couple of veterans, and ask the question -- is this worth it? If it is, why are the families of Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Delay, Hastert, Rumsfeld et. al. not on the front lines? As we say in Marketing, an anecdote is worth a thousand data points.Typically, Kerry, Reid, and even Nancy Pelosi have already thrown Murtha under the bus and not stood with him.
Your thoughts on how Dems will or should respond?
If you catch this in time, Murtha is also appearing with Fat Tim on Meet the Press this morning.