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Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Murtha v. Johnson

Boy, you can't turn on the TV these days without seeing John Murtha being fawned over my some MSM talking head. Congressman Murtha is a dream come true - a military man and perceived "hawk," blasting the President and the war and calling for the immediate withdrawal of our troops. Never mind the lack of actual thought behind such a preposterous proposal, never mind the 403-3 vote failure of just such a proposal in the house, no - with these words, a media star was born. Congressman Murtha is now everywhere - the Today Show, Larry King, NPR, all the Sunday Morning shows - he's probably lined up through the New Year.

Now Congressman Sam Johnson on the other hand, a 29 year veteran of three conflicts who spent 7 years in a Hanoi prison, well he warrants slightly less attention.

Has anyone heard his resounding rebuke of Congressman Murtha's call to withdraw the troops on the House floor? Has anyone read about him the Times? Have you seen him on the Today Show or Larry King? Gee, I wonder why. What exactly does Congressman Johnson have to say? He says "withdrawal is not an option."

Some excerpts:

"Any talk - even so much as a murmur - of leaving now- just emboldens the enemy and weakens the resolve of our of troops in the field. That's dangerous! If you don't believe me - check out Al Jazeera. This story is on the front page. We can't do that to our fellow Americans over there."

"I have to ask - What would Iraq be like if the United States pulled out -- allowing dangerous people like the head of al-Qaida, Zarqawi, to run the country? What would that mean for the region? The world?

Al Qaida rules with death, fear, terror and blood. Al Qaida takes innocent people hostage - then beheads them - and then brags about it on the internet.

Al Qaida has no respect for human life. They prey on innocent people to do their dirty work - because they know we don't target schools and hospitals and mosques - yet those are the exact places that they're using for safe cover.

Al Qaida will kidnap loved ones - especially very young children - of people trying to build democracy - like local leaders - to scare them out of helping out the new country. They're taking kids hostage - because parents want a new life and a better future for their children. Why is that such a crime?

What part of Al Qaida do you want operating here in America?

Al Qaida is a world-wide organization and world-wide threat. I don't want any part of this. Americans don't want, need or deserve al Qaida. Our troops are over in Iraq fighting not just for our freedom and protection - but freedom for the world.

We must fight the bad guys over there - not over here. WE must support our troops to the hilt so they don't go to bed at night - covered in talcum-powder thin white sand wondering - “Does America really support me."

These are just a few excerpts. Read the full text of his floor address here.

What you won't find in that text is that house Democrats called out against giving Sam Johnson a three-minute extension, but declined to stand and identify themselves.

You should actually read murtha's proposal before commenting on it. Murtha doesn't propose an immediate withdrawl or leaving the middle east. It's alot easier to play politics by redefining his position which is what the 403-3 vote was. It's quite tragic that soldiers are dying while rich congressmen, and rightwing chickenhawk bloggers play politics. I believe that if you read the transcripts of what military leaders have told the senate and congress is that the war in iraq is militarily unwinnable. If countries who are free are as peaceful as the president says then why did the world's most free country start a war? You guys really need to starting reading more history books but try skipping the american revolution section this time.

The opening line of Congressman Murtha's Iraq "plan" is "To immediately redeploy U.S. troops." Please explain to me the subtle nuance I've missed there. Thanks.

Rightwing Chickenhawk Blogger
explantion: the word redeploy is a different word than withdrawl. The point is you missed not a subtle nuance but an obvious difference.

withdrawal |wið?drôl; wi?-| noun the action of withdrawing something : the withdrawal of legal aid. • an act of taking money out of an account. • a sum of money withdrawn from an account : a $30,000 cash withdrawal. • the action of ceasing to participate in an activity : the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. • the process of ceasing to take an addictive drug. • coitus interruptus.

redeploy |?r?d??ploi| verb [ trans. ] assign (troops, employees, or resources) to a new place or task : units concentrated in Buenos Aires would be redeployed to the provinces.
Here is the military definition, which might be more useful than Webster's.

Redeployment - (DOD) The transfer of forces and materiel to support another joint force commander's operational requirements, or to return personnel, equipment, and materiel to the home and/or demobilization stations for reintegration and/or out-processing. See also deployment.

Withdrawal operation - (DOD) A planned retrograde operation in which a force in contact disengages from an enemy force and moves in a direction away from the enemy.

In this case, a redeployment would also be a withdrawal operation. You could redeploy forces in other ways that would not be a withdrawal (e.g., by moving forces out of Germany and into Baghdad). Part of the problem is that withrawal is more applicable in a tactical sense -- how forces are arrayed on a particular battlefield -- rather than a strategic term. But there is no denying that redeploying troops out of Iraq qould represent a withdrawal of American forces.

I should note that even by your own definition, it would be a withdrawal -- unless you have a more important task in mind for our military in Iraq (maybe serving as a quick strike force for diversity training, homeless assistance and cheese distribution?).

It is pointless to argue over terminology, Murtha made it very clear in the press conference that getting troops OUT of Iraq immediately is exactly what he was talking about.

In Murtha's own words, "Staying the course in Iraq is not an option or a policy. I believe we must begin discussions for an immediate re-deployment of U.S. forces from Iraq." Notwithtanding the contrary nature of "discussions for" and "immediate," Murtha said redeployment of forces FROM Iraq... not within Iraq. FROM Iraq.

If you think I am misinterpreting Murtha's views, you should also take issue with the Washington Post and urge them to correct their front page story, which was inconveniently titled: "Key Democrat Joins Call for Pullout"!

This demonstrates the problem democrats are facing -- they can't say what they mean and, when they do, they have to turn around and deny that they said it or redefine it to mean something different. The entire thrust of Murtha's argument was that we need to get American troops out of Iraq immediately. The fact that this clown insists otherwise doesn't make it so.

Seems pretty clear that Murtha's policy recommendation was to get American forces out of Iraq immediately. Curious thing to do if killing Zarqawi and Al Queda in Iraq remains a priority, but Murtha's a veteran so he must be right. Perhaps the terrorists will agree to move the fighting to another country -- France seems like a popular venue, at least historically.

If Murtha's announcement was such a political masterstroke, you have to wonder why Democrats are so skittish about embracing his policy. Of course, if that happens, we might actually win the war anyway and, in that event, Democrats won't be able to score political points off of the war. Too bad Democrats are more interested scoring high in the polls or driving Bush's poll numbers down is far more important to them than winning the war or supporting the troops.
The DOD has their own dictionary? Oh, I see, you got that from the department of defense, probably today. Now that isn't the same DOD that is paying for false news stories in iraq is it? I looked up victory in the DOD dictionary, look what i found.

victory|?vikt(?)r?| noun ( pl. -ries) an act of creating more terrorists | provide a training ground for terrorists | v. to make the U.S. less safe | provide a talking point for the radical fundementalists in the U.S. to call all those whose disagree with them - cowards.

ORIGIN Middle English : from Anglo-Norman French victorie, from Latin victoria.


Dear Clown - Is changing the subject an indication that you surrender the point to Jason? Are you a Kerry adviser?

I don't think that anyone here called you a coward, though surrendering and abandoning the Iraqi people to the terrorists is a cowardly policy. It doesn't make you personally a coward in the old fashioned sense (I'm sure you would display exceptional bravery at an anti-globalization riot, for instance).

It is true, however, that many of the SCG's would consider many people on the left to be moral cowards for having abandoned the principles of the Declaration of Independence and for demonstrating through your rhetoric that you value a few seats in Congress and the marginal increase in federal spending that would produce more than an American victory and the freedom of 25 million people that such a victory would secure.
Actually, Congressman Murtha should be commended for his honesty. How many Democrats who voted in that 403-3 vote on troop withdrawl would have voted the other way if their votes were not public record?

But you are right of course TJ, that the tactic here (as usual) was not to address the point of the post, which was the undeniable (and unrefuted by the clown) bias the media has in it's coverage of Murtha and lack thereof of Congressman Johnson.
Do you really think the majority of combatants in iraq are islamic jihadists? The last military released fiqures put it at 7%. How is leaving surrendering to terrorists? Terrorism is an overhyped threat. How many americans have died from terrorism as oppossed to say the poorly engineered levee in New Orleans.

The main problem with Iraq is that we invaded in the first place even although every history book and middle east scholar could have predicted it. I guess since god told bush it would turn out alright it seemed like the right thing to do. Terrorism and at worst case scenario a single nuclear weapon set off in any city is minor in comparison with global warming or any other natural disaster. The chinese and indian technology revolution is far more dangerous to america's future than the middle east. Fighting terrorists is a lot more interesting than learning algebra though. Well, back to the mess bush has gotten us into, contrary to you talking parrot republicans not everyone who disagrees with you thinks we should leave the middle east.

My solution is more straight forward and should take about four years. Starting January 1 the draft shall be re-enacted and everyone(boys and girls) ages 20-40 will be trained for military service. The US will announce that the next year 500,000 (picked randomly from all adults trained the previous year) troops will roll through IRAQ and provide security for the iraqis to rebuild their own country. No US or foreign contracters will be used for rebuilding. If we announced this and then aggressively pursued getting Nato, the UN, and the Arab league involved by the time our massive security force was sent in. This could transform the middle east into some form of democracy. The problem is that this won't solve the problem of terrorism. Freedom is not the answer.

To solve Terrorism we must defeat fundementalism and since our own country can't even accept evolution we have a long way to go. The real battle is faith vs reason. That battle has been going on since man learned to communcate and I really don't forsee that as something you win or lose.
A guy who names himself clown writes:

"Terrorism is an overhyped threat."

"Terrorism and at worst case scenario a single nuclear weapon set off in any city is minor in comparison with global warming..."

"Freedom is not the answer."

It's just too good, I think we're being punk'd - TIBS is that you?
Ahh, a liberal, free in an open field of conservatives. Give me the chance to bring him down with humanity and understanding, because I only want to kill him for the meat, and that meat will feed my family.
Your points Clown are all decent topics to debate, there only weakness is your understanding of life. Life, unfortunatly, is not as it has been explained to you on the Village Voice opinions page, life, allbeit unfortunate, is far more complex.
First off your supposed to capitalize the word "GOD". By not doing so you offend all religions, as all religions believe in GOD. BUSH should also be capitalized, not just because he is the President that you don't view as "you leader", but because it is a person, place, or thing being used in the my name is Jim.
Your quoted military released figures are 100% false. On your next comment please post the "blog" from which you got them. More American's, many more, have died fighting terrorism then from the levee's in Louisiana. To compare the two was idiotic.

On your global warming comment, once again, your an idiot, and lack formal education, or so it seems.

Yes, the Chinese and Indians are very competitive, but so are the results of a free, and ever spreading market.
Fighting terrorism IS much more fun then learning algebra, but both are important, and our country does both.

The draft is a bad idea, as an all volunteer force has been proven to be more effective, plus, a draft would suck liberals into the military, and everyone knows liberal=weakness.

I am conservative, a soldier, and I vote. I also agree with evolution,am against abortion, and the death penalty. A small bunch of us don't believe as I do, but we still manage to find our middle place. Don't fear us, just relax, settle deeper into your routine, and accept us as your leaders. We are not the kids that beat you up in grade school, we are the ones that broke up the fight. The guys that beat you up are long shore men, thats a rule, all bullies become long shore men.
To defeat terrorism we must first learn to spell fundamentalism not "fundementalism"

Nice job guy.
Can't you just see him at the rally with the sign that says "Freedom is not the answer."
I think we need to give clown a break on spelling, of only for my benefit.

Some small points:
1. I'm not sure why fighting wars and learning algebra are mutually exclusive.
2. I don't understand the Get out of Iraq but stay in the middle east idea. Where would we go, exactly and, once there, what exactly would the troops be doing? (Hey, I'm all for getting them out of Iraq immediately, as long as we redeploy them to Iran and Syria).
3. Why no outside contractors? That just doesn't make sense. That's like saying Jason should replace his pipes but not hire a plumber. Strengthening the Iraqi economy is important for the stability of the new Iraqi government and you can't do that without infrastructure.
4. Remind me again what those smart middle east scholars had to say about our likelihood of success in Afghanistan.
5. I don't believe the indian and chinese technology revolutions are dangerous to America's future. I believe chinese tyranny is dangerous... but technological revolutions are good things. Its about time the rest of the world stopped free riding on our technological innovations. Aside: Mark my words, the Red Chinese will be brought down by decadant American television programming. It will be the Dukes of Hazzard and Baywatch reruns that break the back of the once great Chinese culture.
6. Your solution to militarize the entire US population is, well, insane. What would all those people do in the military? Who would be left to run the economy that pays for all the cool weapons like white phosphorous and its more deadly but less well known cousin, purple phosphorous?
7. I'm also confused about your call to send 500,000 randomly picked soldiers from the new super-army to Iraq. Why train 60 million people if all you really need are 500,000? Why pick randomly when you could pick the best soldiers instead? Doesn't Murtha assert that the US Military's presence in Iraq is counterproductive -- by being there, we are causing the attacks to take place and preventing the Iraqis from standing up on their own... if that's the case, wouldn't a much larger force (3-4 times the current force) only make that problem worse? I don't think you can hold Murtha's view on the war and your view simultaneously. I think you need to pick one.
8. Why would we want the Arab league involved? Asking Arab dictators to help the Iraqis get their democracy up and running is is like asking pedophiles to help get kids to school safely. Beyond that, do you really believe that the Arab league will be behind your plan to bring 500,000 American soldiers into the middle east? You need to spend more time studying with the "middle east scholars."
9. You assert that the 500,000 soldiers would be used to transform the middle east into a democracy. Surely that wouldn't be done voluntarily -- it would require some level of massive military force. If that's the case and you believe it, you may be on to something. It seems very inconsistent with your other views, however. Essentially, your argument has become exactly Bush's policy -- depose the dictators and use US military might to help bring democracy to the middle east. You just go about it all at once, expanding the conflict to create world war III rather than containing it and taking the democracy road show to the middle eastern countries one by one. Not necessarily opposed, but you are all over the map here.

Hayek was right when he talked about how the far left and the far right are really two different roads to the same end. Not only are you advocating the most extensive militarization of a nation in history, but your goal in gathering this army is, apparently, to eliminate strong religious believers of all faiths. I'm no fundamentalist, but this seems the opposite of liberal to me. To top it offl, it is clear that you believe the real threat isn't the fundamentalist sects of Islam that are flying planes into buildings, but the ones who are voting Republican and believe in creationism (gasp)! I'm stunned.

The problem is, you are so used to hating everything George Bush does, that you can't come up with a consistent, coherent philosophy of your own. Thus, we need to be more peaceful AND more militaristic. So long as it is more (or less!) of what Bush is currently doing, then the policy must be the right one. We know Bush is wrong (~B). Therefore, anything that is not Bush's policy be must be right. Thus, we need both more and fewer troops. We need to get out of Iraq because our troops are creating terrorists and we need to get our troops into other arab countries at the same time. We support the troops and we need to stop recruitment!

Ugh. I tremble for my country.
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