Saturday, November 19, 2005

Plan? We've Got a Plan... fact, we've got lots of 'em.

Finally. FINALLY. The Democrats have finally begun talking about the six hundred pound gorilla in the room, the war in Iraq. I have to admit I'm somewhat amazed at who the most forceful speaker has been, however. That would be Congressman Jack Murtha of Ohio, whose speech on Thursday (full text here)set off a firestorm even as his last syllables died. The Vice President, the President's Press Secretary, even the most junior member of the House have all exploded in vitriol of the most hateful kind in response.

And just what did this conservative, hawkish Democrat say that so upset the regime? Here's a sample:

The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion.

Well, obviously that is not going to sit well with the junta.

Still, the response was amazingly over the top. Apparently BushCo is not ready to face the fact of a failed policy leading to the deaths of nearly 2,100 America soldiers and thousands (who knows how many) of Iraqi civilians, the loss of credibility in the world community, and an economy that is staggering toward bankruptcy as a result of the invasion. I suspect what really upsets the administration is the fact that this highly respected congressman has actually proposed a way out, something that the administration isn't ready to do.

Here's a brief summary of Murtha's proposal (taken from his speech):

"My plan calls:

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."

Nowhere does the gentleman from Ohio suggest a cut-and-run move. The idea is to withdraw into garrisons in the region with a force close enough to immediately re-deploy as necessary. Since the Iraqis have made it clear that there will be no peace and no security while our forces are present, this move makes a lot of sense, especially the last point, the use of diplomacy in the region to establish the stability necessary.

For this he has been called a coward and a collaborator. There have been rumblings of an ethics committee investigation into his relationship with his brother's lobbying outfit. I half-expect calls that he return his Bronze Star and Navy Distinguished Service Medal. This time, however, the Swift Boat Smear won't stick, and not just because the Democrats have (amazingly) stood behind him. Too many Americans want this war over, and Congressman Murtha has proposed a way to do just that.

While I don't generally like cliches, there is one that seems particularly apropos: tipping point. Yes, I think Mr. Murtha has just provided us with one.


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