Congressman Jack Murtha: Hero of the Week
Congressman Jack Murtha (D-12-Pennsylvania) finally had enough and last week and he lashed out at the Bush Administration's handling of the war in Iraq. The former decorated Vietnam War veteran said, “It’s a flawed policy, wrapped in illusion.”
Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, writing in tompaine.com describes the White House dilemma splendidly. It seems ten battalion commanders briefed various senators last week and the picture they painted is not too pretty and one that does not conform to the "official" White House spin. McGovern said:
The Army and Marine commanders reportedly were chosen for their experience on the battlefield rather than in the political arena. Battalion commanders represent the crucial link between operations and strategy and, as a group, are ideally positioned to deliver a reality check to Congress. They are at once close to their troops, responsible for implementing the strategy in Iraq, and, at the same time, somewhat insulated from the civilians in the Pentagon.
So their credentials are impeccable. They told the senators not only that they needed more troops, but that their repeated requests had been “turned down flat.” The battalion commanders indicated that, as a result, their units had to “leapfrog” around Iraq to keep insurgents from going back into towns that had been cleared by U.S. forces. They added that there are never enough explosive experts to deal with the roadside bombs responsible for the majority of U.S. casualties.So what do the Republicans do: they call Congressman Murtha unpatriotic. Can you believe it? But a tough Marine like Murtha, who served in the Marines for 37 years, won two purple hearts in Vietnam among other awards, and retired as a Colonel, won’t let snides like the ones we heard all weekend long go unchallenged.
Murtha fired back:
I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.Even Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), a firm critic of the war and how the Administration blew it from the get-go, got in on the action. He added:
I think historians will look back on this day and will say this was a turning point.