June 18, 2006

Murtha bumbling through "Meet the Press."

Did you watch Congressman John Murtha on "Meet the Press" today? (If not, you can watch it here.) Or read the transcript. Murtha is -- in Tim Russert's words -- "the most outspoken Democratic critic of the president’s handling of the war." I admit to feeling a certain amount of resistance to outspoken critics of the war effort, so take that into account. But I thought Murtha's performance was embarrassing. I've never seen a "Meet the Press" guest take the first question and spew everything he could think of in one giant, jumbled dump:
MR. RUSSERT: The president says, “stay the course,” that within the next six months, Iraq will be secure under the direction of the new prime minister, and to do anything less now would be irresponsible.

REP. MURTHA: Well, “stay the course” is “stay and pay.” This is the thing that has worried me right along. We’re spending $8 billion dollars a month, $300 million dollars a day. And to give you some perspective of what that means, Gates said, “I’m going to quit the corporation, or I’m going to—less time with the corporation.” Well, you weigh $30 billion dollars. That’s four months of the cost of this war. This port security, if you want to spend more money, it’d would take 47 years the way we’re spending it. Education, the No Child Left Behind, a couple months of the war would pay for that.

[234 words cut.]

It’s getting worse. That’s why I feel so strongly. All of us know how important it is internationally to win this war. We know how important. We import 20 million barrels of oil a day—we use 20 million barrels of oil. We know how important, international community. But we’re doing it all ourself, and there’s no plan that makes sense. We need to have more international cooperation. We need to redeploy our troops, the periphery. What happened with Zarqawi could have been done from the out—it was done from the outside. Our planes went in from the outside. So there’s no reason in the world that they can’t redeploy the troops. They’ve become the targets, they’re caught in the civil war, and I feel very strongly about it.
He gets rolling and jumps from point to point -- mostly freeform financial analysis -- with no end in sight until he suddenly, apparently, thinks of an exit strategy: "I feel very strongly about it."

Russert bases the interview on a clips from a speech Karl Rove gave in New Hampshire last Monday, and Murtha should have been well prepared to answer this. Rove's remarks are clear: the Democrats want to "cut and run." "They may be with you at the first shots, but they are not going to be there for the last tough battles." Murtha's response is nothing but babble about how Rove isn't personally fighting the war:
He’s, he’s in New Hampshire. He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air conditioned office with his big, fat backside, saying, “Stay the course.”
You know, most Americans are fat. Including Murtha. This kind of personal invective may be hilarious among fellow Rove-haters, but it's frustrating to listen to an answer like that when Rove has articulated exactly the issue Democrats need to address. It's always been the case that the leaders are back home in physical comfort -- though it's an unusually bad week to dredge up that hackneyed observation, since Bush just went to Iraq.

Murtha continues:
That’s not a plan. I mean, this guy—I don’t know what his military experience is, but that’s a political statement. This is a policy difference between me and the White House. I disagree completely with what he’s saying.
Thanks for the big, fat nonanswer. We know you disagree with him. Murtha goes on for another 210 words, and Russert finally finds a way to break in and tries to remind him that the Democrats need to keep Rove from pinning that disastrous label "cut and run" on them. Russert:
Is it appropriate for the president’s principal political adviser to accuse the Democrats of cutting and running?
Does Murtha pick up the cue and do the one thing he most needs to do, which is to portray the Democrats as more responsible on national security?
I think it’s, it’s, it’s a, a name—they just use that. I say “stay and pay.” And what I mean by stay and pay, and I’m talking about the hardship on the families, the hardship on the troops. And there’s no plan, that’s the thing. It’s easy to say that. That’s, that’s an easy—the public is way ahead of this. The public is two-to-one against what we’re doing, and they want a change in direction. That’s the thing I see the most.
Notice all the stumbling? "It’s, it’s, it’s a, a name... there’s no plan, that’s the thing. It’s easy to say that. That’s, that’s an easy—the public is way ahead of this." Remember the polls? Americans already disagree with Rove. So why should I -- the most outspoken war critic the Democrats have -- bother to put two coherent sentences together?

Did somebody misprogram him? It sounds as though he was repeating a pep talk someone gave him before the show. It's easy! No, it's not. The polls! You're going into the campaign season, when people are going to start paying attention to the arguments. Are you just going to tell us that we already agree with you?

I'm sure Rove enjoyed that pathetic performance.

191 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

I saw the interview and thought the same thing. Though I don't agree with Murtha, I was embarrassed for him. Twas a sad interview. I was also very disappointed with Russert, who I do like. Tim tossed softball questions, let Murtha run on, didn't seem well prepared himself and didn't have any counterpoint guest. All in all not up to the usual standard.

Brent said...

I'm sure that Rove did enjoy it . . as did I.

Also probably enjoying . . .
President and Mrs. Bush,
Vice President and Mrs. Cheney,
Secretary Rumsfeld,
Secretary Rice, et al.

Mr. Russert is usually a little more pointed, even though he does tend to lean a little left.

I believe that he probably felt sorry for Congressman Murtha, a man who served his country in the military and politics, but is now uncomfortably not-ready-for-prime time. Shame on the Democrats for using someone painfully and poorly spoken to stand in front for them, as though their argument now has weight because they found one military man to speak out.

As if they even knew what the argument actually is . . .

Ann Althouse said...

"not-ready-for-prime time"

That phrase ran through my head too. I don't think he's ever going to be ready either. The Democrats should not push him forward. They're relying on his resume to convey authority, but he simply lacks the ability to speak. This is a mistake they seem to love to make, since they did it with the presidential nomination last time.

Wade_Garrett said...

The Republicans elected a President who was/is not ready for prime time. I guess that's a mistake "they love to make."

Mary said...

Terry! I was thinking of perspective too.

"... with no end in sight until he suddenly, apparently, thinks of an exit strategy"

David said...

I note that Murtha made no mention of the special ops guys who went through Zarqawi's pockets. Bombing from a distance would not have provided the intel these guys on the ground were able to obtain. In fact, the guys on the ground probably lit up the compound for the incoming bombs to track in on.

The Dems are constantly searching for a pacifist warrior to adopt as their knight in shining armor. Kerry was a failure as is Murtha. They lack the key ingredient required in war: LEADERSHIP!

Failing in Leadership, the Dems display their fundamental weakness in prosecuting any war. It takes commitment and articulation.

These core values are missing in the Demcratic party and is why they are failures in Foreign Policy.

As for Rove, he is clever and devious enough to give the enemy pause to reflect on America's resolve and capabilities. He is also respected by the military because he thinks like the enemy.

Mr. Magoo said...

Terry: Don't confuse things with facts, especially ones that criticze Republicans.

Ann's got a one-track mind on this topic.

Plus, she won't endear herself to the rabid right wingers by saying anything like that!

Silly you!!

Joe said...

It's an incoherent position, that's the problem. There is no way to reconcile cutting and running - on the cusp of success - with victory. Doesn't matter who is saying it.

quietnorth said...

Murtha's point, poorly stated: Should anyone use the "cut and run" phrase, who hasn't actually volunteered for military service? In other words, should anyone accuse someone else of cowardice, as the Republicans are doing by implication, if they haven't put themselves on the line?

Mary said...

And after the 5:50 pm comment, about what "they" should do, the lyrics of that Pink Floyd song -- Us and Them -- is running through my head.

(slow song, applicable lyrics, check it out yourself, too long to reprint here...)

Say, after his brief visit to Iraq and that press conference, didn't we hear President Bush talk this week about a massive troop withdrawal? Something about the Iraqis needing to stop the killings themselves in their own country and the US role ending?

Mary said...

"They lack the key ingredient required in war: LEADERSHIP!"

And many people believe our president is failing miserably on this point.

"These core values are missing in the Demcratic party and is why they are failures in Foreign Policy."

Why are the Republicans failing in foreign policy right now across the globe?

Mary said...

Finally, "Did somebody misprogram him?"

I suspect Mr. Murtha, with his political and military experience, was speaking with passion.

I can understand, though, when you are used to the politicos of late adhering to a one-theme "script", where you might suspect all of them of being so easily "programamable."

Henry said...

If you're going to talk money, equating Iraq and port security has some logic to it (though the Democrats' happiness to accept a defensive posture is disturbing). However, equating Iraq and education spending is incoherent.

You can't claim to believe in fighting terrorism while talking about peace dividends.

That's not to say there's not a honest, actuarial argument that we could accept the costs of terrorism in exchange for the benefit of spending the money elsewhere, but that's not what Murtha is saying.

Ricardo said...

"Why are the Republicans failing in foreign policy right now across the globe?"

Because foreign policy (and even the war on terrorism) is not a high priority for them. The number one priority for the Republicans is the amassing of wealth. And in this, they are being phenomenally more successful than any other group of individuals in the history of mankind. So by the terms of "their" playbook, they are absolutely winning. Everything else is just planned distraction for the masses.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Mary,

Responding to the assertion that Murtha sputtered inchoherently, what do you do? Sputter incoherently. Discipline, dear, discipline. Take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts. Then write.

Ricardo,

Just for fun: If the number one priority for Republicans is the amassing of wealth, what's the number one priority for Democrats? Don't be a weasal and say "They're just as bad." Show some balls. Say what you really think. Don't mind the laughter.

Off topic: If Vietnam was an evil war, how is Murtha a hero? At best, he's a victim, right? Or was it like the Clone Wars, with "heroes on both sides"?

Dave said...

I think that something's physically wrong with Murtha.

He looks and acts sober, but the incoherent arguments makes him sound drunk. Reading the transcript reinforces the impression of an angry guy in a bar who the bartender has just cut off.

Watching Murtha makes me cringe in embarrassment for him because he seems beyond feeling embarrassment himself.

quietnorth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie (Colorado) said...

suspect Mr. Murtha, with his political and military experience, was speaking with passion.

Mary, honey, did you see him? he wasn't speaking with passion, he was speaking something about one astep of word salad.

Seriously, has he seen a physician lately? I suspect a couple of small strokes, or some other cranial accident.

Ann Althouse said...

If you think you need to serve in the military to have a worthwhile opinion about completing the mission, you are pretty much disqualifying all women. You're disqualifying all homosexuals and the disabled. It's flat out discriminatory. You are also disqualifying everyone like Bill Clinton who avoided fighting in a war they thought was wrong.You're also privileging the opinions of a lot of people who happened to serve because they were drafted. It's just not a sensible way to do policy. I don't even believe that you actually think like this. I think it's just an expedient rhetorical move that suits what you want now.

Charlie (Colorado) said...

Argh. "One step from word salad."

Mary said...

"Take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts. Then write."

Sorry, my earlier post was deleted so I wasn't sure if any would stay up. Perhaps you could use your superior reading skills to look past my ineloquence into the gist of my argument:

When you don't have too many successes to point to yourself, and there are major issues around the globe that need to be dealt with, attack your political opponent and blame your failure on them.

Again, it might win elections, but such divisiveness does not win wars. United we stand...

(and I confess, I'm a bit more passionate on this subject than say, who won American Idol or whatever's currently on the tube)

quietnorth said...

Ann,

I agree with everything you said-people without military experience have as much right to make policy statements as people with military experience. And I am concerned myself about timetables for withdrawing from Iraq, but I wouldn't go around calling someone a coward for thinking we should set a timetable, because I am not likely to have to fight. (They aren't taking 51 year old epileptics at this point). I give my viewpoints on policy, but would feel some shame at using the word "coward".

Boghie said...

The only chance for the Democratic Party to remain relevent is to:

Win the Peace...

They have to accept that we will win the conflict. We have to. There will be winners and losers. No ties. They have to gut that one out, and start supporting the conflict - to end it quicker. It is a loser for them.

Concurrently, they can start presenting viable ideas for the 'lasting peace that follows'. New international structures. Modern implementations of a United Nations - like the UN was an improvement over the League of Nations.

If they abdicate on 'winning the peace' they will be in the doghouse for another thirty/forty years - note the Republican isolationists of the 1930's and where that policy got them...

These schlumps can't just go out there and tell the American public to quit in a conflict we must win. They are fighting the last war.

There will be a winner.

There will be a loser.

Mary said...

"He looks and acts sober, but the incoherent arguments makes him sound drunk. Reading the transcript reinforces the impression of an angry guy in a bar who the bartender has just cut off."

Funny, this came up in a recent Volokh.com discussion regarding Slate's "bushisms." The general agreement was that it's easy to make someone appear stupid when you read their conversational words on a transcript (not fininshing sentences before connecting to a new point, etc.) I don't think anyone alleged that Bush was drinking again though... (nice try to link all the Dems to Kennedy though)

For the record Ann,
most of those in the current administration with no military background are neither disabled nor homosexual. I agree that military service is not a prerequisite for the presidency, but after 3 years in and more storm clouds on the horizon, I think it's fair game to question whether the current administration is deferring to the knowledge of the men with actual know-how to get the job done.

Starting with Colin Powell, I think there's a long list of those men who have been disrespected by this administration who believed they knew better how things play out in wartime. Karl Rove can win elections; can he help us win the war(s)?

The Drill SGT said...

I'm surprised that nobody has commented yet on two amazing parts of the Murtha rant.

1. REP. MURTHA: Well, it—you know, they—when I say Okinawa, I, I’m saying troops in Okinawa. When I say a timely response, you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly. And—and—when they don’t know we’re coming. So we move our 130k troops to Okinawa and just bomb terrorists out of houses from 20k feet as we hunt them down with predators?

2. like, like Clinton did in Somalia, you just have to say, “OK, it’s time to change direction.” Again amazing. Clinton with bad advice from Albright, sent a tiny force into Somalia, refused to give it armored vehicles or gun ships because that would be too "destabilizing" and then after our dead are dragged through the street by the natives, we cut and run, without even the false claim that we accomplished anything. We couldn't even get the bodies back without having to borrow the use of APC's from the Paki's.

Come to think of it, that has been the hallmark of Democrat foreign policy and use of the military since Johnson. Bombs from 20k feet (cruise missiles)

Joe said...

Quietnorth, you are the only one who has used the word coward. Cutting and running, or however you want to phrase it, has nothing to do with cowardice. Murtha is not in physical danger from the Iraq war, and despite his present idiotic foreign policy positions, he did serve.
Cutting and running is just shorthand for the Democrats' continuation of playing politics with this war on terror, as the worst of them have almost from the start. They oppose it because Bush is the leader. They have nothing more than that to offer.

Mary said...

And Charlie,
Don't me honey, sugarcheeks. That reeks of disrespecting someone's opinion because of their gender.

If your argument is strong enough to stand alone (which I doubt), why do you need to cheapen it with such tactics?

Mary said...

"They oppose it because Bush is the leader."

Did it ever cross your God-loving mind that people object to the way this thing is playing itself out?

MIke K said...

Murtha is an old appropriator. Somebody who knew the generals but has no concept of what to do with that military he is happy to fund. If you've ever read "Once An Eagle" you will recognize the type. I have yet to read a reasonable discussion of the alternatives Bush faced after 9/11. Paul Wolfowitz, in the much maligned interview with Sam Tannenhaus explained the problems with the sanctions. If 9/11 had not happened, Saddam would still be in power. Murtha has no sense of strategy and his Democratic colleagues are no better. The more they appear on TV, the better they show how little is really there.

Mary said...

Say, how about the Republican's foreign policy approach to North Korea? Iran?

Anybody concerned with that, or are we waiting for Mr. Rove to convince us that our approach is working, polls say stay the course?

Boghie said...

Using the quotes noted by Drill Sgt. to recognize some of Murtha's incoherent brilliance:

1. REP. MURTHA: Well, it—you know, they—when I say Okinawa, I, I’m saying troops in Okinawa. When I say a timely response, you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly. And—and—when they don’t know we’re coming.

Paraphrasing from Black Five Congressman Murtha just recommended a 12 hour sortie to blindly bomb a Terror Turd that moves domiciles every 12 hours. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Also, how many times do your bombers have to refuel. Will China and Iran complain about crossing their airspace? Real tough questions. Murtha must be a real military genius!!!

2. like, like Clinton did in Somalia, you just have to say, “OK, it’s time to change direction.”

Did Murtha read Osama bin Laden's after action report on our 'direction change' in Somalia? I don't remember it as being flattering - or as being a deterrent to 9/11. Something about weak horses and paper tigers. Could be wrong. Let me do the research - oh, there it is!!!

Every time I see this schlep I sing 'Brave Sir Murtha' to the tune of Monty Pythons 'Brave Sir Richard'. I can just hear the valiant squire on the coconuts. Was he this incompetent militarily when he was leading Marines?

quietnorth said...

"Cutting and running, or however you want to phrase it, has nothing to do with cowardice. "

Lets try the experiment: Ask people what personality trait they most associate with cutting and running.

Tim said...

All the evidence to date strongly indicates that not only do the Democrats have no possible idea as to how to win the war, it suggests the Democrats aren't even interested in fighting the war. Murtha might be naturally inarticulate, but really now, has any Democrat anywhere made an even slightly more articulate, reasoned case for how changing the policy toward terrorists helps America win this war? Any Democrats anywhere? No.

They've an endless list of carps, caterwauling and complaints, with not one remotely comprehensible idea as to how to better fight the war and defeat the terrorists. Their complaints are, at best, disingenuous.

And, in light of the self-evident fact that both Democrats and terrorists agree that the US should cut and run from Iraq, their complaints about folks like me doubting their patriotism are equally disingeneous.

Syl said...

mary, sweetums, there are retired military who oppose the war. There are retired military who don't oppose the war. And the military who are actually fighting it don't oppose it either.

So there ya go.

The administration supports the war so it should come as no surprise that they don't agree with those who oppose it.

It has nothing to do with being disrespectful and there's certainly no more legitimacy to be given to retired military who oppose the war than to those who don't.

That's just wishful thinking, my dear.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann,

Though you're right about voting and veterans, I'll offer up a couple of thoughts.

1. It's really terrible that the nation's best colleges and universities are so anti-military by reflex. The country would be far better off if there was ROTC at all schools and some encouragement or at least not universal condemnation for those who join. Our elites, lawyers, doctors, journalists, have far too little exposure to the military overall. Up until the 60's or so, 3/4 of the Congress were veterans. 3/4!! now it's likely 1/4 and dropping. I'd love for there to be a requirement for Congress that mandated national service of some kind.

2. On that topic, one of my favorite little books is a piece of science fiction, "Starship Troopers". A much better book and a very bad movie. Skipping all the plot, one of the interesting side plots was the fact that suffrage was extended only to veterans of national service. All volunteer. The national service was not only military, but also things like testing ebola vaccines, emptying bed pans, testing vacuum suits on the moon etc. You signed up, took a battery of tests, were assigned a job, and you could quit at any time, but never were allowed back. The moral rationale for veterans suffrage was not that they were smarter than anybody else, but rather that "they had demonstrated that they were willing to subordinate personal interest in favor of the common good. Not a bad idea for voters or for that matter Congresspersons. Won't ever happen, but makes a nice thought project.

Al Maviva said...

Should anyone use the "cut and run" phrase, who hasn't actually volunteered for military service? In other words, should anyone accuse someone else of cowardice, as the Republicans are doing by implication, if they haven't put themselves on the line?

QuietNorth, that's an exceptionally lame argument. I'm not sure that "cut & run" is cowardice, per se. I am sure that it is stupid, since cut & run is the policy that emboldened Al Qaida to attack the U.S. repeatedly in the first place; and it's what encouraged Saddam Hussein to fight international sanctions for over a decade. It comes back to basic human nature, which people on your side of the aisle are positive is infinitely malleable. In generaly, if you back down in a fight, you have been punked, and when you are dealing with mean, opportunistic predators, if you have been punked once, you will continue to get punked over and over again.

In short, Iraq in 2001 probably had little to do with Al Qaida. The U.S. led coalition's failure to wipe out Hussein's regime in 1991 had everything to do Al Qaida. Most of us in the West live in Kant's world, and imagine the rest of the world to be exactly the same, or at worst, as Rousseau posited the natural man. In reality, it's Hobbesian out there, and acting all christian socialist amongst Hobbesian rabble will only get you mugged.

jill said...

Mohammed of iraqthemodel.blogspot.com wrote on June 14th in his post "FOWARD TOGETHER": "It seems that President Bush's visit to Baghdad has given more credibility for the operation; that at least was what I heard from peole around me or read in Baghdad's papers today; the visit difinitely left a positive impression that America is dead serious this time about finding solutions for Iraq especially when it comes to security and critical parts of reconstruciton like electricity."


Murtha et al are dead serious about denying the Iraqi's the assistence they need at this time in their history.

Boghie said...

Tim,

Not only are Democrats (Liberals) not presenting workable solutions to the war,

They arn't even providing concepts and ideas to build a lasting peace.

They are going to abdicate the peace process to BusHitler and the NeoCons... Then they will do their minority party thang for a couple/three decades.

Levsha said...

It's hard to get enthusiastic about a pile-on here, even with such a tempting target. It seems that the years have not been kind to Rep. Murtha. What he may have been like fifty years ago, I can't say, but now he seems to be nothing but a very confused old man. The Democrats parade him around as their captive "war hero", establishing a new nadir in the moral decay and decline of my old party.

Mary said...

"That's just wishful thinking, my dear."

Wow syl, with all that military expertise on board, plus the presidency, control of both Congress and the House, and unlimited funding (when it can be accounted for), you Republicans sure have been having back luck, huh?

Ah, wishful thinking. Something some of you are verrrrrry well acquainted with, I see. Just around the corner, my friends...

Jacques Cuze said...

I admit to feeling a certain amount of resistance to outspoken critics of the war effort, so take that into account. But I thought Murtha's performance was embarrassing. I've never seen a "Meet the Press" guest take the first question and spew everything he could think of in one giant, jumbled dump:

This is what comes from watching too much Simon Cowell.

What would Frank Lloyd Wright who said "form follows function" say about your worship of style and performance above content?

No is saying that you have to have served in order to debate, discuss, argue war. But people correctly say that if your background includes repeatedly running away from your opportunity and duty to serve at a time when the country was at war, that you have disqualified yourself from calling people unpatriotic, and smearing vets yourself. And that your own background indicates that you are not qualified to LEAD or DIRECT the military. Argue, discuss, debate. But not lead or direct.

And people also correctly say that if you are young enough and fit enough to serve, and if our country is engaged in a difficult fight, and if our country's armed forces could use more hands, than you should not be asking what your country can do for you by telling other people to go to war on your behalf, but that you should be asking yourself what you can do for your country, by
volunteering in that fight.

Happy to have clarified that for you Ann. You are correct to observe that your commenters are much smarter than you and have a great deal to offer you.

Joe said...

"Did it ever cross your God-loving mind that people object to the way this thing is playing itself out?"
If it played out the way you seem to think it should, Saddam and his sons would still be murdering and raping, al qaeda would still have a safe haven, and no doubt the Taliban would still be in power. So your objections, absent any further elucidation from you, are pretty feeble. Though I notice, Mary, you never have any constructive comments, you just like to take snarky shots at those you disagree with. Sweetie.

quietnorth said...

" It comes back to basic human nature, which people on your side of the aisle are positive is infinitely malleable."


Al Maviva;

You don't know what my side of the isle is. I wasn't arguing for a team here, or even for whether we should have a timetable for getting out of Iraq or not. (I am not sure. I don't think any of us know for sure what would do more good or harm. Knowing being different than believing) I am concerned about the tactic of implying that people are cowards as a campaign strategy or substitute for rational argument.

Jacques Cuze said...

If you think you need to serve in the military to have a worthwhile opinion about completing the mission, you are pretty much disqualifying ... homosexuals

Professor, you are either an idiot or drinking too heavily tonight.

Ann Althouse said...

Mary: You comment on making judgments from the transcript, however, I watched it live, and I linked to video. The transcript is provided for convenience. I think he seemed more incoherent live. The transcript was relatively forgiving by comparison.

And it's not like Bushisms, which are taken out of context. You've got the entire context here. My assumption was that Murtha just isn't very bright.

My post is mostly about how he isn't the man who should be thrust forward by the Democrats and how the Democrats need to seriously engage with the real problem, which is that they seem irresponsible about national security.

If I'm just a supporter for the other side, why am I offering them advice? Do you think I'm just trying to mislead them?? Fine. Let them continue on their merry way, with Murtha as the spokesman. They will be murtha'd in the election.

Mary said...

Joe,

Only one thing I can guarantee you:

keep up this attitude that one-half of this country is the enemy and you need to attack and defeat them, and we will lose this war.

Jeff said...

Well, personally I appreciate Jacques Cuze clarifing this for us. So we should do away with this civilian leadership crap of our military. Thanks Jacques! No chance of a Roosevelt or Clinton (either one) in charge of the military. OTOH, both Bush's qualify under those standards.
I also like the way Jacques argues policy rather than just personal insults.
"You are correct to observe that your commenters are much smarter than you and have a great deal to offer you."
"Professor, you are either an idiot or drinking too heavily tonight."
Oh wait. Maybe not.
Hey Jacques, I disagree with you. Therefor you are both a idiot and drinking too heavily. Yeah, I like that.

Boghie said...

Mary and Jacques:

If American Military Veterans had voted for Senator Kerry you would have a new President.

They didn’t.

By a margin of 70% Bush to 30% Kerry.

They have no confidence in Clinton, Kerry, or Murtha.

Don’t put words in their mouths or call them stupid either. They know who they are voting for. They even have a better understanding of the current conflict than the all sensing Congressman Murtha.

By the way, my signature line for emails during the Clinton Presidency was:

‘I survived the Clinton legacy!!!’

Mary said...

Sorry Ann, I have reasons to doubt you.

Fine, let "us" be murtha'd in the election. That will provide more opportunity for "them" to demonstrate their successes, and just how bright "they" are, eh?

Mary said...

"Don’t put words in their mouths or call them stupid either."

Don't put words in my mouth calling veterans stupid. That's a cheap tactic that might win elections, but won't win wars.

Dave said...

Mary, stop. I wrote what I meant and nothing more. I think Murtha is the one with the medical problem--not Democrats who oppose the Iraq war or Republicans who support it. And where did you get the idea that I thought anyone was actually drunk or that my comments were some kind of device to get everyone to think of someone else? I say drunk and you say Kennedy? Jeesh.

You're right that casual comments can always seem stupid, but it was the length of Murtha's answers and the non sequiturs piled one after another that made him incoherent. After all, he is hardly the man in the street surprised to be asked to give an opinion to a roving reporter about the events of the day. He's an experienced politician who wants to be majority leader so that he can frame policy debates with the Republicans in the House of Representatives. I think he should be able at least to match the degree of coherence of almost all other politicians--Democrats and Republicans--who appear on the Sunday political talk shows. That is a task that he failed to accomplish today.

Mary said...

I should spell it out though, before I go...

"...Divided We Fall."

paul said...

Russert: "You excoriated a republican senator for not having been at Normandy, Vietnam, and Iraq. Did you ever serve in Haditha?"

Tim said...

Boghie, not only is it exceedingly clear Mary and others like her are far more invested in their argument that Bush (and those who voted for him) and his administration is illegitimate/stupid/corrupt/evil/all of the above than they are in winning the war, it exceedingly clear they want our enemies to win so they can be proved right. Else they'd offer up something more useful than a list of complaints reminiscent of student-takeover of college administration buildings in the '60's. I'm old enough to remember when Democrats were patriots - but those days are long gone.

The Drill SGT said...

Boghie,

beyond veterans, active duty military appear to support the war in Iraq, as evidenced by both polls and amazingly high reup rates.

Jacques Cuze said...

If I'm just a supporter for the other side, why am I offering them advice?

Ann, you are a concern troll. Everything about your blog, the targets of your posts, who you criticize and who you do not, who links to you and who does not. Everything, right down to your blogroll and your own admission that you wanted to be the Conservative Blog Diva says that you are not a progressive Democrat.

So yeah, when you tell Democrats how to behave it rings as phony as it does when it comes from Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, David Brooks, and David Broder.

Ann Althouse: Concern Troll.

Boghie said...

Mary,

Why did Active Duty, Reserve, and Retired Military vote overwhelmingly for President Bush?

Why do you think they voted 70% to reelect Bush?

Why?

Just asking...

Tim said...

Mary complains about "divided we fall," yet her requisites for "unity" are to surrender to our enemies.

No thanks. Like Lincoln holding the Union together against the best efforts of the Confederacy and the Copperhead, the rest of us are strong enough to win this war and keep the domestic fifth column at minority status.

The Drill SGT said...

Tim,

There are a few Democrat patriots. Lieberman for one, my wife, a serving NG Colonel for another.

And of course our hostess, though Quxxo, will dispute that I'm sure.

Mark said...

While I agree that Murtha is not the most articulate critic of the war, I believe that he comes across as a) strong on national security; b) genuine, and c) the one with whom many blue-collars may relate. That's why, I believe, Democrats put him forward as the spokesman.

The criticism of Rove is completely justified: nobody is saying that you have to have served to have an opinion on the war; however, it is worthwile to note that all the jingoistic ridiculous comments about Democrats wanting to "cut and run" are made by people who personally "cut and run" when they had a choice.

Ricardo said...

"If the number one priority for Republicans is the amassing of wealth, what's the number one priority for Democrats?"

Johnny,

IMHO the number one priority for the Democrats is merely to someday return to power, so they can use the trappings of power for their own purposes. But it's a too simplistic, and unfocused message to appeal to enough voters. As of right now, the Democrats are amateurs, while the Republicans have proven themselves to be professionals, in the gaining and use of power for their priorities.

You should be (as am I) in awe of how focused and successful the Republicans are in accomplishing their number one priority. They are really, really, amazing. There has never been such a wholesale transfer of wealth in the history of the world. Unfortunately, it's not meant to benefit you or me. But yes, ultimately, it's all about money, and not about the million other things that occupy the chattering masses. The Republicans have successfully figured out that if you keep everyone at each other's throats, and throw a few small bones to enough dogs, the coffers of the world will open to you. It's a very good strategy, and it works.

Ann Althouse said...

Mary: "Mary said...Sorry Ann, I have reasons to doubt you. Fine, let "us" be murtha'd in the election. That will provide more opportunity for "them" to demonstrate their successes, and just how bright "they" are, eh?"

If that's an argument based on choice of pronouns, I challenge you to find anyplace where I've ever said "we" or "us" to refer to Republicans.

I don't identify with either party, but I am registered as a Democrat and have been since 1972. I can count the Republicans I've voted for -- for any office -- on one hand -- in over 3 decades of voting. If I fail to say "we" referring to Democrats, it's because they have excluded people like me.

Mark said...

A challenge to all Bush supporters: can you define what "winning the war" means?
And, relatedly, is there any point at all at which you would concede that "victory" is unachievable?
If there's such a point, where does it lie?

Chris said...

Murtha speaks to a Democratic Party that would rather not fight the war. No, not the Iraq conflict, the entire War on Terror. There have been several polls of Democrats about where they put terrorism as a priority. It's down there with the Bureau of Weights and Measures. Theirs is a party whose activist base was traumatized by 9/11, and then went into immediate denial as to the scope and nature of the war.

For me, the most important political event of 2004, next to the reelection of Bush, was the release of Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11. Moore's film was one of the more wildly successful propaganda films of modern times, eclipsing anything that's come out since Triumph of the Will, imho.

People misunderstood what Moore was doing. Moore wasn't trying to convince everyone that the war was a lie, he was trying to convince Democrats that the war was a lie. The entire war, not just the Iraq campaign. By using Chimpy as his foil, he succeeded brilliantly, in ways the Leni Riefenstahl could not, because Riefenstahl's film has no Emmanuel Goldstein on the screen as a hate figure to focus the anger of the viewer. Moore has his Goldstein, and it's not bin Laden. It's Bush.

Moore understood that liberals dislike Bush much more than they can bring themselves to dislike Bin Laden, simply because the latter is an abstraction to Liberals, while the former is someone very real who arouses their anger. Moore gave them a reason to turn that dislike into active hatred, through rather skillful editing. He knew his audience, and he understood that the people who see his films and buy his DVD's only need a little shove to really, really hate George Bush.

Why do I speak of Moore, so? Moore's success was a symptom of a larger disease within the Democratic Party that snake oil salesmen like Peter Beinart are trying to pretend does not exist. Think of the modern Democrats as the America Firsters of 1940, following Charles Lindbergh over the cliff towards the path of isolation and appeasement. Beinart argues that the Democrats are the natural home of a muscular, Trumanesque internationalism.

Beinart has no answer for a Democratic Party that has long rejected Harry Truman, and embraced Michael Moore. It is not a party that believes us to be at war to the marrow of its bones. Rather, it is something else-something that Truman might recongize, and not be comfortable with.

The voters will not fail to pick that up.

Boghie said...

Mark:

Here is my definition of winning the war... Suprisingly, it is in a post called 'Winning the War on Terror...'.

Surf the references as well...

Does it mean we have won the war on terror. Nope, that is why I used the word 'winning'.

Mark: How would you win the War on Terror? With stern looks from a continent away...

quietnorth said...

Ann,

I am sorry if I contributed to sending the discussion away from your point. I am just bugged by the "cut and run" phrase. So, let me ask this question:

Which person of any party do you think would best be able to articulate a timetable for withdrawal position? (Republicans may have some pro-timetable people soon enough)

Mark said...

Chris,

Pardon my French, but this is one of the most ridiculous posts here. And believe me, there are many of them here.

1) Osama is an asbtraction for Democrats? Can you back it up?

2) Democrats are not willing to fight the War on Terror?
Can you back it up (excluding Iraq which is completely separate from the War on Terror, but it's besides my point. You said that Democrats are against not only the war in Iraq but larger war. So, please back it up.)

3) Please back up the claims that Democrats are a party of appeasement. Especially in the light of the fact that the country that sponsors the most radical branch of Islam, wahhabism, is Saudi Arabia and this Republican administration does virtually nothing to force Saudi Arabia to crack down on mejlises that teach the most virulent anti-western and anti-semitic propaganda? So, who exactly is the appeaser?

Tim said...

Mark said "...A challenge to all Bush supporters: can you define what "winning the war" means?
And, relatedly, is there any point at all at which you would concede that "victory" is unachievable?
If there's such a point, where does it lie?

Easy. It means our enemies are defeated, unable to wage war against us. Victory is unachievable once our enemies defeat us.

I suppose these pass as "insightful questions" amongst the Left. Pathetic.

To "the Drill Sgt." yes, of course, some Democrats are patriots, including my wife. That said, when the security candidate in the Democratic primary cannot poll above 2 percent in a field of eleven and is the first (or second) to bow out, patriotic Democrats are as endangered as dodo birds...

Mark said...

Boghie:

The term "war on terror" is a misnomer in the first place, as even many neocons agree. Terror is a tactic, not an enemy.

Second, the way I'd win the war with radical Islamic fanatics does not involve invading secular dictatorships. It involves cracking down, surprise, on radical Islamic fanatics. I would devote resources to Afghanistan, to change of regime in Iran, to supporting reformers throughout the Middle East.

With respect to Iraq, I would argue that the presence of our troops feeds the insurgency and the sooner we withdraw, the better are the chances that some form of democratic Iraq would persist (although the chances are pretty small in any case due to disastrous foreign policy by Bush)

Tim said...

Mark,

Iraq is a large part of the war on terror, so your question is in error.

That said, Democrats and Terrorist agree that the US should leave Iraq.

artbyruth said...

Oh how I hope and pray Murtha runs for President in 2008!!!

Just to see the RNC use this Meet the Press video in their campaign ads would make it worth contributing to the RNC!!

Mary, you have spewed out criticisms, but no solutions.

What is your solution to the Iraq "problem"? What should the U.S. do now?

Mark said...

Tim said:

"Easy. It means our enemies are defeated, unable to wage war against us. Victory is unachievable once our enemies defeat us."

If this passes for reasonable answers from Bush supporters, no wonder this administration is so woefully incompetent in basically everything. These are not answers, these are empty slogans. "Victory is when enemies are defeated" DUH. Truly pathetic.
And how do you know that "enemies are defeated"? Is it when victory is achieved? ;)

Tim said...

I guess it depends what the meaning of "unable to wage war against us" means.

Moron.

Mark said...

Tim said:

Mark,

Iraq is a large part of the war on terror, so your question is in error.

That said, Democrats and Terrorist agree that the US should leave Iraq.

Tim, before you respond to others comments, please try to make sure you understand what the comments were talking about. My post was not about Iraq being a part of the war on terror; it was about asking to prove the statement that Democrats are not willing to fight the war on terror in general.

Second, your logic, rather the absence thereof, is amazing. I can say with equal profoundness that both Tim and Terrorists agree that Iraq is a battleground in the war on terror.

Mark said...

Tim,

If "moron" is the best you can come up with when asked to provide anything more than empty slogans, I feel truly sorry for you.

Ann, is calling your opponent names OK on your blog? When I used to post more frequently, I thought the blog was above name calling.

The Drill SGT said...

Mark,

I'll give you a couple of examples:

1. By his own admission, he (Bush) is ten times the terrorist that Osama ever was - Sheehan on Michael Moore's www site

http://michaelmoore.com/mustread/index.php?id=578

2. The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the head of Fatah. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy. Clinton's most invited guest was Arafat. Now we learn from the State Department that Arafat directly order the execution of US Embassy officials in 1973. So much for being tough on Terror.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/nixon/e6/67234.htm

3. REP. MURTHA: Well, it—you know, they—when I say Okinawa, I, I’m saying troops in Okinawa. When I say a timely response, you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly. And—and—when they don’t know we’re coming. Drive by bombings of Iraq. That will certainly make them love us.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Mark said: "A challenge to all Bush supporters: can you define what "winning the war" means?
And, relatedly, is there any point at all at which you would concede that "victory" is unachievable?
If there's such a point, where does it lie?"

I'll take the challenge!

The answer to your first question is: When a strategic attack by an assymetrical enemy is no longer a threat.

The answer to two and three is: When New York, Washington, and Los Angeles are in ruins.

Mary said...

"Mary complains about "divided we fall," yet her requisites for "unity" are to surrender to our enemies."

Words in my mouth again...

Tim said...

Iraq is currently the biggest part of the war on terror, notwithstanding your erroneous assertion "excluding Iraq which is completely separate from the War on Terror;" Democrats are unwilling to fight the war on terror in Iraq (and in fact are more than happy to surrender Iraq to the terrorists); the Democrats have no ideas or plans as how to fight the war on terror in Iraq or anywhere else.

Tim said...

Democrats sure run fast to mommie's skirts! He called me a bad name! boo hoo.

Boghie said...

Mark, you asked a question on defining a win in the War on Terror

1. You obviously did not read the post I provided…
2. You did not address anything in my post…
3. You seem fixed around the intelligence…

Here are a couple of thoughts.

We could not attack Iran for even better reasons than you give for not attacking Iraq. They had not even blown off UN resolutions or treaties at that point. Additionally, Iran is on the periphery of the problem. Controlling Iran has no effect on Saudi Arabia and Syria.

We could not attack Syria. While Syria, like Iran, is a state sponsor of terror they had yet to break agreements and had not invaded another sovereign nation for thirty years or so. Additionally, Syria is on the periphery of the problem. Controlling Syria has no effect on Saudi Arabia and Iran.

We could not attack Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia did not violate UN sanctions. Saudi Arabia did not rant and rave every day about killing Americans. Saudi Arabia did not send a hit squad to kill a former President. Additionally, Saudi Arabia is on the periphery of the problem. Controlling Saudi Arabia has no effect on Iran and Syria.

So, Iraq developed WMD, used WMD, attacked neighboring countries, blew off UN resolutions, bribed away sanctions, and tried to have a former President assassinated. And, as an additional bonus, they sit astride Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Whoopie, a day trip takes us anywhere in the Terror Turd world!!!

On cracking down on radical Islamic fanatics I will defer to the previous administration. The previous administration had eight years on which to crack down on Islamic fanatics without controlling any territory. Show me the successes.

How much can you send to a land-locked Afghanistan. I had a Liberal Marine friend of mine tell me he would have parachuted 40,000 special forces into Afghanistan. I asked him how he would do such a thing. Kind of hard. We don’t have 40,000 jump certified soldiers in our military. We don’t have that kind of airlift capability. And, we could not supply those soldiers once we dump them in. Again, Afghanistan is land locked. And, what if Osama traipses off into Iran, Iraq, or Sudan. Then we get into that abstraction thing again… Maybe send in a crack team of suicide Seal Team guys to assassinate him. Heard that brilliant idea before…

So we have a blocking force dead center in the Crescent of Terror. We can move left, we can move right, and we can move to the south. Guess what, when we coerce the UN into sanctioning Iran over their nuclear duplicity the sanctions will hold. There won’t be any oil going through borders defended by Marines and soldiers whose leadership remembers the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Just turn that tanker around buddy – I remember you from way back…

Mark said...

Johny:

So, if the USA loses 1,000 soldiers a day in Iraq (just for the sake of the argument) with no end in sight and all of Iraqis wanting us to leave, you'd still want us to stay in Iraq? According to your logic, the answer should be yes, but please correct me if I am wrong.
With respect to your answer to my first question, that means "never" since the assymetric attack will always be possible. Always.

DrillSgt:

Yes, Moore goes over the line frequently and I often disagree with him. But he hardly represents all or even most of the Democrats with the war in Afghanistan and places other than Iraq.

With respect to Arafat, Clinton is not the only one who had a lot of hopes for him. So were Republicans (Bush Sr.) and Israelis. In fact, it was Israel who brought Arafat back to Israel after obscurity in Tunisia.

Boghie said...

Mary,

Good to see you active again...

Think about my question...

Why do active duty and retired military vote Republican by huge margins if they want Democratic strategies and priorities?

By a 70% - 75% margin.

That is not rounding error or statistical noise.

Why?

Menlo Bob said...

Geez, give Murtha a break. It's just what you'd expect from the owner of the Johnstown Car Wash -- soap suds and hot wax.

Boghie said...

Mark,

We lost an average of 300 military personnel a day in World War II.

Your 1000 kia's per day is a staw man - even though you caveated it.

So, let us use the WWII number (even though we know the Germans had better tactics and weapons in WWII than our current adversaries). We would then instigate Total War. It may come to that anyway. Hope not. That is one solid reason for strong action early in the heart of the Crescent of Terror.

These bubbas are after us, we didn't chase them down. To get to 300 per day there would have to be a lot of civilian involvement. Like German and Japanese munitions and armaments manufacturing. Thus carpet bombing cities would be acceptable - eh...

Sitting around, wailing about the Hitler breaking League of Nation and armistice agreements in the 1930s’ did not save a single life. Had France stopped the aggression on the Rhine we may not have had to fight a total war with Germany or ally with the Soviet Union.

Dithering for a few years limited our options.

We then had exactly one option...

Mark said...

Boghie,

I never said that we should have attacked Iran or Syria, or Saudi Arabia. Military solutions are the last resort, as even this administration so frequently says. There are many ways to work for a change of regime in Iran and Syria. Overall, the Iraq debacle strengthened Islamic radicals in all neighboring countries, primarily Iran.

With respect to Afghanistan, we should have provided way more troops and money to keep Taliban from resurging (as it seems to be now). If all the troops we have now in Iraq had been in Afghanistan, and all the money directed to Iraq reconstruction were going to Afghanistan, we would not be in a quagmire we're in right now.
And it does not mean that Saddam would have been in power; had the Bush administration competently worked with the rest of the world, Saddam would have been faced with the truly global coalition and would have been forced to comply with the sanctions and/or pushed out of power.

Mary said...

"If I fail to say "we" referring to Democrats, it's because they have excluded people like me."

Excluded? Seems there's a lot of that going around lately, though the Dems are not the party that first comes to mind... (Next thing you'll tell us you're being harassed just because you're a woman.)

Now if I was of a different ilk, I might just accuse you of a bit of flip-flopping here. It's not the lack of the use "we". It's the continual partisan pandering here and inability to place any responsibility with the administration currently in power. You're just not credible as a non-partisan.

"This is a mistake they seem to love to make, since they did it with the presidential nomination last time."

Mary said...

"Why do active duty and retired military vote Republican by huge margins if they want Democratic strategies and priorities?"

Words in my mouth again...
I said nothing about how anyone votes. (Though to answer your question, follow the money.)

I said there were legitimate criticisms and advice from active military leaders that were ignored by the administration, who believed they "knew better." In retrospect, much of this criticism about logistics and strategy might have proved helpful had these true military leaders been listened to.

(You are still talking about winning elections, not wars, btw)

Boghie said...

1. Eight long years went into the international pressure routine. I don't remember any victories. I do remember many terror strikes.

Please prove the statement:

“Overall, the Iraq debacle strengthened Islamic radicals in all neighboring countries, primarily Iran.”

Especially regarding Iran. If anything, Iran is moving a bit slower on the terror front than before. Maybe we have a few Farsi speaking spies - with a border sharing nation available for recruitment. Now, we can send assets into Iran using the full border. I'm certain Iran's Mullahs are thouroughly enjoying our presence and our radio and television signals.

2. Again, how many troops would you air drop into Afghanistan in October 2001? We probably shot our wad – to use an impolite French term. There simply are not that many jump certified Marines and soldiers available. Plus, those jumpers are not heavily armed. Not a good plan. Rumsfeld’s plan was the best available. And, we ran the Taliban out of power. Now, they have to run and hide. And, they take awesome losses when they meet us in dark alleys.

3. The UN sanctions against Iraq were about to be lifted in 2003. They were no longer supported by France, Russia, China, or Germany. Once the sanctions were lifted oil wealth would flow into Saddam’s coffers. What was he going to do with it – build baby milk factories. The coalition was done. It was bribed. And oil is thicker than blood for the French.

And, without UN sanctions we would not be able to enforce the No-Fly zones...

Boghie said...

Mary,

I was just asking why millions of people with military experience voted for George Bush - and tend to vote strongly Republican. You trot out tens of people who made their names in the anti-war crowd or the Carter Administration or the Clinton Administration. Those folks are deviations from the norm. That really makes most of your Murtha arguments straw men. There aren't many Murtha's out there. He is a deviant from the norm.

By the way, follow what money. How is the guy who served his four years in the Army but now works at Dell Computers gaining by voting Republican - obviously supporting the Military Industrial Complex or something...

Finally,

Can we just be allowed to win in the theaters of conflict known as Iraq and Afghanistan before we study everybodies criticisms and advice.

Then we can all jump on the poor sod that had to make decisions with partial information, in a time of war, and with short time horizons.

By the way, everybody 'knows' better. And the chow hall food sucks. And it sucks to have duty. And the admin pukes screwed up my pay again. And...

PatCA said...

I think Murtha is positioning himself as a peacemaker or dealmaker in November, when he expects Bush to draw down the troops anyways for election purposes. He hopes that it will look like his 'passionate" diatribe made the big meanie president do it. I think he's a little unbalanced, to say the least. Change direction like in Somalia and Beirut? You mean turn around and run away?

Rove will eat him for breakfast.

Synova said...

"They oppose it because Bush is the leader."

Mary: "Did it ever cross your God-loving mind that people object to the way this thing is playing itself out?"

In a word? No. Because they were objecting before it ever had a chance to play out. Those in opposition have been in opposition almost from day one. (If not sooner.)

Boghie said...

Back to Murtha.

He is a fool...
And a fool is forever...

I cannot find any respectable person knowledgeable in military logistics or tactics that:

1. Prefers striking a target from thousands of miles away. Talking ten hours of travel. Tens of times refueling. Against a target that moves every 12 hours. I absolutely guarantee that anyone wearing a uniform would rather call in a quick strike by a plane supplied a few miles away. With boots on the ground lighting up the correct house – not forcing the pilot to guess at the proper target. Murtha’s flat earth society logistics and tactics would make the Iranian Hostage Rescue attempt seem the epitome of brilliance in comparison.
2. Prefers giving up hard earned grown, local intelligence, and nearby assets. Maybe Murtha is remembering the wondrous days of taking a hill and giving it back. Great strategy. Maybe Bush should get some Whiz Kids at the White House to set up the logistics, tactics, and targets. Maybe even the UN!!!

Sorry to say this, but…

Murtha sounds like a fool because he is a fool.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Ricardo said: "Unfortunately, it's not meant to benefit you or me. But yes, ultimately, it's all about money, and not about the million other things that occupy the chattering masses. The Republicans have successfully figured out that if you keep everyone at each other's throats, and throw a few small bones to enough dogs, the coffers of the world will open to you. It's a very good strategy, and it works."

Republicans sound like SPECTRE!

Mary said...

" You trot out tens of people who made their names in the anti-war crowd or the Carter Administration or the Clinton Administration. "

Words in my mouth...
In fact, I didn't name any names.
It's not just hippies, cowards and Dems who refused to blindly cheerlead though and were ignored:
Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni
Sec. of State Colin Powell
Hell, even Tom Clancy(!) back in 2004; maybe you'll feel better hearing it from him, as he's an eloquent writer and all:

---------
Zinni has openly attacked the war, but Clancy reluctantly acknowledged his own concerns. He declined repeatedly to comment on the war, before saying that it lacked a “casus belli,” or suitable provocation.

“It troubles me greatly to say that, because I’ve met President Bush,” Clancy said. “He’s a good guy. ... I think he’s well-grounded, both morally and philosophically. But good men make mistakes.”

While the 57-year-old Clancy is tall and thin, with bony arms and round, sunken eyes, the 60-year-old Zinni has the short, stocky build of an ex-Marine. He served as commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000 and as a special Middle East envoy from 2001-2003.

But even as an envoy, Zinni spoke out against invading Iraq, regarding it as disastrous for Middle East peace and a distraction from the war against terrorism. On Monday, he said getting rid of Saddam Hussein was not worth the price.

“He’s a bad guy. He’s a terrible guy and he should go,” Zinni said. “But I don’t think it’s worth 800 troops dead, 4,500 wounded — some of them terribly — $200 billion of our treasury and counting, and our reputation and our image in the world, particularly in that region, shattered.”

In discussing the Iraq war, both Clancy and Zinni singled out the Department of Defense for criticism. Clancy recalled a prewar encounter in Washington during which he “almost came to blows” with Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser at the time and a longtime advocate of the invasion.

“He was saying how (Secretary of State) Colin Powell was being a wuss because he was overly concerned with the lives of the troops,” Clancy said. “And I said, ‘Look ..., he’s supposed to think that way!’ And Perle didn’t agree with me on that. People like that worry me.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5053682

Boghie said...

I'm a stoopid NeoCon.

Back in the 80's and 90's I voted pretty much Democratic. Actually, voted for Jesse Jackson in 88...

But the Democratic Party thinks I am a right wing wingnut. They must not have studied the definition of NeoCon. If they did than they would realize they have a chance with me. But, I am slowly edging rightward on the dial as the world doesn't end, the poor don't die on my doorstep, my retirement isn't appropriated by the government, and that I can now save money for purchases that used to go into taxes for well intentioned governemnt run programs. Please, help me!!!

Here is an idea for Mary and Mark.

Stop arguing about decisions made years ago. Start thinking about defining and building the structures for a lasting peace in the Middle East. Soon even the Palestinians will be on board. So the time will soon be ripe for a 'Secretary of Peace' or something.

Do you want to give Bush and the Republicans that feather too.

kcom said...

With respect to Afghanistan, we should have provided way more troops and money to keep Taliban from resurging (as it seems to be now). If all the troops we have now in Iraq had been in Afghanistan, and all the money directed to Iraq reconstruction were going to Afghanistan, we would not be in a quagmire we're in right now.

And if we had done that, where do you think all those fighters rushing into Iraq might be rushing instead? And where would all the Islamist money be going? I'm afraid you're going to need a bit more sophistication in your analysis to convince me that al Qaeda and its sympathizers would have overlooked the fact that there were 100,000+ U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan. After all, didn't the mujahedeen types have plenty of experience already in fighting a large foreign army there? One of the reasons we used a smaller force was to avoid making the same mistakes the Soviets made.

Your argument also makes the classic mistake of assuming that if we change our plans or tactics our enemies will simply continue doing whatever they were doing before that. Your last sentence should really read: "If all the troops we have now in Iraq had been in Afghanistan, and all the money directed to Iraq reconstruction were going to Afghanistan, and al Qaeda and every other Islamist in the world had decided to completely ignore that fact, we would not be in a quagmire we're in right now.

And speaking of quagmires, how do you feel about the quagmire in Korea? Our troops have been there more than 50 years. There's not even a peace treaty. I don't know about you but I feel pretty good about the fact that we've kept 48,000,000 people out from under the thumb of North Korea for the past 50 years. But I guess a "cut and run" strategy would have worked, too.

Synova said...

Mary: "In retrospect, much of this criticism about logistics and strategy might have proved helpful had these true military leaders been listened to."

This is beautiful.

Don't you even see it?

What a clever way to arrange to ignore any military opinion that you don't like.

WhatsAPundit said...

Timetables for withdrawal could have their uses as motivators, but whatever benefit they might bestow on our side would be dwarfed by the benefits reaped by our enemies.

"Hold out for one year then we unleash hell!"

With a hard deadline, the Sunni "insurgents" could hoard their weapons, take terror training sabaticals in Syria (or Iran, depending on the flavor of the jihadi), concentrate on operational efficiencies, and when the United States leaves turn to some wholesale slaughter.

(And for those of you who think it's wholesale now, I suggest you read up on Cambodia, or on the Cultural Revolution, to see how it's done. Or just cast your eyes to the Horn of Africa where it's happening now.)

Now I do believe in a milestones approach; the Iraqi elections were important milestones, events, and statistics that are concrete measures of success (otherwise known as "winning".) Iraq (finally) forming a coalition government is another.

(And of course there are milestones, events, and statistics that are concrete measures of failure. Every IED detonation, every kidnapping, the stagnation in infrastructural repairs fall into the category of "losing".)

But the big frickin' milestone of losing would be leaving Iraq while all the events and statistics that indicate failure are significant (say, above the levels found in the Brownsville area of Brooklyn) and stable or increasing. That would be an unequivicol loss to my way of thinking.

It is also, pretty explicitly, something Murtha and his defenders would be perfectly comfortable with, or possibly even prefer.

"Of course we don't want the United States to lose, but American Imperialism is the greatest danger to world peace!"

Let's get real here. If in your heart-of-hearts you believe the United States should not attempt to build nations in the mold of Western Liberalism (i.e. the post-WW2 model), having Iraq become as stable as Turkey or Greece would be a disaster. On the other hand, watching Iraq replay the tragedy of Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos would be powerful validation for an isolationist, reactionary model of dealing with external threats. (Kos' "nuke'em if they look at us funny" approach -- although in truth I think over time what constitutes a funny look would become progressively more frightening, until we actually lost a city or two.)

Boghie said...

Mary,

Are you actually stating anything...

Anything at all...

You challenge posts, but then claim you said nothing when challenged...

Misread you...

Sorry.

I'll go on the record though!!!

Who cares about Clancy's opinion?

Powell's opinion has weight.

I thought Zinni was a goober when he was CENTCOM. Lots of generals were promoted during the Clinton era that I really didn't respect all that much. Don't know what Zinni ever really did. He ran around the Middle East setting up Peace Accords that failed miserably. Clinking soda glasses with Arafat is a memory...

You can bring up the other seven generals in your next post.

Mary, there are hundreds of active duty generals and admirals in the armed forces. There are in excess of 7,000 retired generals and admirals. Find me 1% who will go on the record like Zinni. You can find eight – all you need is seventy more! But, (whispering) if they speak truth to power maybe their pensions will be transferred to Halliburton, eh…

37383938393839383938383 said...

You know, most Americans are fat.

Mike Huckabee in 2008.

Synova said...

kcom: "One of the reasons we used a smaller force was to avoid making the same mistakes the Soviets made."

Among many reasons.

What people (willfully?) miss in large force/small force conversation is that the question of a larger force with it's advantages and disadvantages, vs. a smaller force with it's advantages and disadvantages is a question for war college students to spend several decades hashing out.

Not that we ordinary sods can't have valid and informed opinions or fun discussions about it... I'm not claiming that no one not professionally studying war can have a valid opinion, only that the issue is one that really is that involved and that complicated.

Which means that anyone who claims that some other plan is *obviously* better than the plans implemented has revealed themselves to be an idiot and a tool.

There's nothing obvious about it. Either plan has and always had known strengths and weaknesses. And there was no perfect world to implement them in even if there had been a plan that was correct in all respects. Add this to the military truism that no plan survives contact with the enemy (they get a vote too) and no one with half a clue expects perfection.

Saying "hey, look at this... this would have never happened had Bush listened to the *true* military leaders" just because one plan's strengths are the other plan's weaknesses... well, duh. It works the *other* way around *too*.

Mary said...

Krugman's timely, once again. This morning's lede:

"In case you haven't noticed, modern American politics is marked by vicious partisanship, with the great bulk of the viciousness coming from the right. It's clear that the Republican plan for the 2006 election is, once again, to question Democrats' patriotism."
----
boghie:
Is this a pissing match for you? Feel free to "win". Celebrate even.

"Here is an idea for Mary and Mark.
Stop arguing about decisions made years ago. Start thinking about defining and building the structures for a lasting peace in the Middle East."

Point is, I don't think it's America's job to "define and build". It might be our job to "assist" allies in building their own societies, and definitely "rebuild" infrastructure, but the people in those countries have to do the defining, and the heavy lifting, themselves.

Here's some advice for you, now:
Stop trying to smear everyone who isn't in lockstep. Realize that "your side" needs to work for unity for the good of the country, which includes listening to honest critiques of your performance. Convince us that you have a plan, and then demonstrate to us that everything is working according to plan. And in the future, please look before you leap.

Mr. Snitch said...

"There is no way to reconcile cutting and running - on the cusp of success - with victory"

Joe makes a fine point. We're constantly hearing from the left that the president has no plan. All right, Murtha. Offer us a plan and tell us why it will work.

They won't, of course, because if they did it would immediately come under attack. It's much harder to formulate a 'plan' and defend it than to rail against someone else's plan (or lack of same).

The assumption on the left is that the public is stupid enough not to know this. But everyone has encountered situations like this in office, church, or family politics.The strategically safest thing for Joe Public to do, in most cases, is to acknowledge the doubts of the loudmouth. And that's what we see in Bush's lousy polls.

But – surprise! – at the same time, the majority does not REALLY want to put the loudmouth in charge. And usually, they don't. This, of course, is perplexing as hell to the loudmouth, who rationalizes by considering this majority a bunch of idiots. As you might expect, said attitude doesn't help his chances, either.

michael a litscher said...

I just watched Murtha's opening salvo on MTP, and if the Democrats are expecting this stream-of-babble to bring them out of the political wilderness, they best prepare themselves for disappointment.

michael a litscher said...

Oh, and one more thing, in High-Def, you can actually see the drool run down his chin.

Son Of The Godfather said...

I don't mean to sound unsympathetic or crass, but Murtha's... "replies" seemed very disjointed and non-sequitor... Is there a possibility that he is experiencing the first signs of senility?

Rowena Hullfire said...

If "cut and run" is an offensive phrase implying cowardice, substitute "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory."

Murtha's sorties from a distance takes the butter out of the guns and butter strategy. Very un-Democratic to oppose the building of schools and hospitals, providing medical service, establishing infrastructure, etc. He wants to carpet bomb the people a la WW2 and not win their hearts and minds. Now that we have the technology, it is not morally acceptable to carpet bomb innocent civilians.

I'm a Democrat and I'm very disappointed with my party, and keep electing the Other Guys to national office because my guys don't have a clue!

knoxgirl said...

just watched it... shoo, that was painful.

boinky said...

Murtha was always respected in Pennsylvania, but after hearing a couple long clips of his continuous rambling on Drudge's radio program, it makes me wonder.
Was he merely nervous, or was he hypomanic?

TM Lutas said...

I think that Murtha's incoherence is tactical cover for how bad the substance was.
Murtha:
1. There’s not one project been done in Anbar Province. (google anbar province reconstruction for refutation)
2. They have no water at all. (Laughable hyperbole or they'd be dead by now)
3. The first six months we went in there, no—there—not a shot was fired. (Just not true, more hyperbole)
4. We know how important, international community. But we’re doing it all ourself... (Flat out insulting to both the legitimate, indigenous, Iraqi government and our coalition partners)
5. What happened with Zarqawi could have been done from the out—it was done from the outside. (The intelligence exploitation that netted so many follow on raids could not have been done from outside and the number of false strikes would have ballooned)
6. They’ve become the targets, they’re caught in the civil war, and I feel very strongly about it.(Manifestly, the Iraqi government forces and civilians have become the targets as our forces kill too many on the other side to have a sustained campaign against).

This is just a quick analysis of Murtha's substantive weaknesses in argument limited a priori to those from his first answer. It's an embarrassment of riches. The bad presentation covers a worse argument. I respect Murtha's service but have little respect for his current conduct. It has the effect of objectively endangering our national interest and the men and women currently in uniform. Murtha's prior heroism (and he was one) properly merits politeness while we say how badly he's failing in his current role as Congressman.

Mary said...

**Raise your hand if you're being paid to shill for this administration and are using this blog as a tool.**

Pogo said...

I realize that Democrats deride claims of being a former Democrat, but maybe someone can clarify for me (voted for Clinton & Gore) one thing:

Other than being against the current administrations war effort, do they actually believe Murtha's advice on fighting terror? Is Somalia the Democrats blueprint for success in the Middle East?

Pogo said...

Is Mary a Rovian plant, meant to discredit Democrats? Is Murtha?

Seneca the Younger said...

Don't me honey, sugarcheeks. That reeks of disrespecting someone's opinion because of their gender.

No, dear, I'm expressing disrespect of your opinion because it's childish and silly. Being a cryptosoutherner, I tend to call all children "honey".

Seneca the Younger said...

Wow syl, with all that military expertise on board, plus the presidency, control of both Congress and the House, and unlimited funding (when it can be accounted for), you Republicans sure have been having back luck, huh?

Mary, honestly, the problem with this whole argument is that you keep asserting, as if axiomatic, that Iraq and Afghanistan have been failures. They haven't. 2500 fatailities and just short of 2000 KIA in the Iraqi campaign is a nearly incomparable military success, and will be in military histories with Zama. We're a year or more ahead of the original turnover to the Japanese government, as we didn't write their constitution for them; Iraq's level of violence is high, but less than South Africa, which is just thuggery, not an active insurgency. Similarly in Afghanistan: we did in weeks with a few thousand special forces what the USSR couldn't do with millions over ten years. (Why? because we were actually doing something the Afghans wanted.)

If you're going to have any traction at all in this, youre going to need to start with a little more well-informed and nuanced position than "everythign is failing."

Seneca the Younger said...

Sorry Ann, I have reasons to doubt you.

Mary, hon, that's called an "assertion". Ann offered "evidence" --- she linked to the video and offered you the chance to look for yourself.

Seneca the Younger said...

**Raise your hand if you're being paid to shill for this administration and are using this blog as a tool.**

No, sweetie, that one isn't going to work either.

BB said...

Bottom line: the Democratic Party has openly and intentionally staked their political gambit for success on the failure of their own country in a war zone. That is unforgiveable and about as disgusting as it gets. I don't give a rat's ass if Murtha and Kerry served--in fact, because they did, it tells me they know better than what they are saying yet say it anyway...and that makes them even more twisted.

Go ahead, Democrats, keep it up. I used to be one, voted twice for CLinton and my last Dem vote was for Mark Warner as Va. governor. But I'll never vote for another Democrat for as long as I live because of what they've done the past couple years. Never.

BB said...

Bottom line: the Democratic Party has openly and intentionally staked their political gambit for success on the failure of their own country in a war zone. That is unforgiveable and about as disgusting as it gets. I don't give a rat's ass if Murtha and Kerry served--in fact, because they did, it tells me they know better than what they are saying yet say it anyway...and that makes them even more twisted.

Go ahead, Democrats, keep it up. I used to be one, voted twice for CLinton and my last Dem vote was for Mark Warner as Va. governor. But I'll never vote for another Democrat for as long as I live because of what they've done the past couple years. Never.

Joe said...

Mary, again:
"Stop trying to smear everyone who isn't in lockstep. Realize that "your side" needs to work for unity for the good of the country, which includes listening to honest critiques of your performance. Convince us that you have a plan, and then demonstrate to us that everything is working according to plan."
Maybe you should take your own advice here. The smears mainly come from the left - "Bushitler" etc. Unity is lacking from the left - Congress approved this war 3 years ago. It was at that point that the "loyal" opposition was then bound to support the war and show some unity. Politics used to stop at the water's edge.
I have yet to hear an "honest" critique of the war from your side of the aisle (assuming honest encompasses some kind of rational critique based on fact).
If you don't see a plan you haven't been paying attention. Post 9-11, we warned governments that we would not tolerate their becoming a haven for terrorists and that if they did not deal with it we would solve the problem for them. That is being done. When Iraq's new government can handle the insurgents on their own we will withdraw.

Sloanasaurus said...

Ordinary soldiers fighting in a war have no more knowledge of the larger picture of a conflict than those not fighting. Yes, they may see the horrors of war close-up, but so what, that does not make them experts in global policy, nor does it make them experts in strategic military planning. Ike never saw combat in his life, yet he became a 5 star general.

Besides, "combat experience" does not necessarily lead to effective political leadership. Take President Daldier of France, a veteran of 4 years in the trenches, he became the great polticial appeaser to Hitler another experienced combat veteran.

Murtha's problem is that he cares too much for the average soldier. So much so that he doesn't want the soldiers to fight - he cares more about the soldiers than actually winning. At some point this gets ridiculous. The soldiers are there to fight for the people and the governemnt, the people and the government are not there to make sure the soldiers get good health care.

Political bravery and combat bravery are two different things. As I noted with Daldier above, one does not equal the other.

George Washington's greatest impact on history was not his bravery in combat during the French and Indian War, it was is political character in stepping down from power after the revolutionary wasr was over.

PatCA said...

"But I'll never vote for another Democrat for as long as I live because of what they've done the past couple years. Never."

I feel the same way, and wrote the party and told them why. Doesn't matter. With earmarks and gerrymandered districts, their lives are okay. Why be saddled with actually governing?

(Murtha may be in trouble now, though. Irey for Congress )

Craig A. Mason said...

"like, like Clinton did in Somalia, you just have to say, “OK, it’s time to change direction.”

And remember, Osama pointed to this as evidence he could attack the US and we would not respond. He pointed to this as evidence we have no guts for a fight.

I can hear Rove now "the Dems view of a "successful" policy was the very thing Osama viewed as evidence we were weak and vulnerable. And we should put THEM in charge??"

Of course, the Dems will blast back that this is unfair, but if the shoe fits....

Joel said...

The meme that the Bush Administration is full of "chicken hawks" who try to portray others as cutting and running, calling Murth et. al. cowards in essence is the height of spin.

Democrats new found reliance on prior military service, curiously lacking during the Clinton Administration, is irrelevant once the President actually takes office, because for better or worse the President is serving as Commander in chief.

Democrats have repeatedly shown that they will accept no accountability for events during this Administration because they are not in power. Bush, Rove, all Republicans are putting themselves on the line by pursuing this policy in Iraq, the temptation to seek an honorable exit must be all consumming for some of them, yet the President remains firm with his plan, adjusting it only in attempts to correct mistakes or make it more efficient.

It is cowards like John Murtha, Kennedy, and Kerry who would piss away all we have sacrificed, so near to victory, in feeble grasps for power, for power's sake.

Korla said...

I know the Democrats must think of Somalia as a great success story, since before the Iraq invasion, they said they wished for "a million Mogadishus," which, when you actually extrapolate the numbers, would have been very rough on the Iraqis.

Bruce Hayden said...

What is somewhere between interesting and disconcerting is that the Administration has repeatedly said exactly what its plan is, and has pursued it fairly consistently. And yet, we have most of the MSM, a lot of the Democratic party, and a large number of the American People asking what the plan is. The answer to that is to just listen to the President, et al.

1. Install a representative government in Iraq.
2. Recruit and train up the Iraqi security forces and give them responsibility for their own security.
3. As #2 progresses, move American assets first to (a) a backup position, and then (b) withdraw them as #2 allows.

#1 is relatively complete. #2 has made significant strides, and #3 is moving along, with 3(a) showing significant progress, and 3(b) just starting.

It was really not a coincidence that Iraqi security forces arrived on the scene of Zarqawi's "safe house" first after it was bombed. They are much more on the front lines these days than our troops are.

But recruting and training up a quarter million+ Iraqi security forces did not, and could not, happen over night. It takes years, and that is what we have spent doing it - years. It is not complete, by any means, but the light at the end of the tunnel is visible now. There are now significant numbers of Iraqi units that now operate with minimal American backup, and a lot of the country is now under both de jure and de facto Iraqi government control.

That is what they want and that is what we want. The Iraqis know what it will take to get the Americans to leave. We have made it clear to them, if not the MSM, Murtha, etc., and that is that they can take care of their own security. That is a good part of why, IMHO, after terrorists bomb a recruiting line, the line will be just as long the next day. That is a big part of why they are willing to join the police and the military, despite repeated threats by terrorists.

Bruce Hayden said...

One question I have had with so many Democrats now advocating some form of cut and run is whether this is mostly opportunistic posturing, given that the Administration is actually starting to do just that - not from a position of weakness though, but rather, from a position of strength, doing so because enough of their mission has been accomplished, that slightly fewer troops are necessary, and this is likely to accelerate a lot over the next year.

So, is the reason for all this renewed call to cut and run, really a preemptive strike against the Administration being vindicated about their Iraqi policy? And an attempt to portray the expected drawdown of forces through success, as a result of the actions of those advocating cutting and running?

Korla said...

Why aren't the mainstream media and the Democrats more visibly embarrassed when their talking points match those of the enemy? The enemy states in its own interoffice messages that America's presence is hurting the terrorists' efforts and recruiting, and their number one tactic is to get Reuters, NY Times and Newsweek to push stories of American "atrocities" and the failing war of GW Bush.

I'm still waiting for the upcoming video of Zwahiri lamenting the "culture of corruption" in the GOP.

You people are pathetic. You've already lost this one. You might as well move on to the next battle, which will probably be with Iran and North Korea, simultaneosly, with a two-day excursion to Syria and Somalia.

Elizabeth said...

It's despicable to see those arguing with Mary engage in the sexist namecalling for fun. Ann, you despise that attitude on leftist blogs. Do you think it's fine here?

Korla said...

>**Raise your hand if you're being paid to shill for this administration and are using this blog as a tool.**

Raise your hand if you're being paid by George Soros to shill against this administration and this country and are using this blog as a tool.

On second thought, don't bother. You're probably doing it pro bono.

marty said...

Mary is a troll, but a fairly soft-spoken one, and therefore not easily recognized. She's right about the sexist references, they are insulting. But, otherwise, stop feeding the troll.

Sloanasaurus said...

Seneca, I think comparing the Iraq war to Zama is a little much.... Zama made Rome a world power. We are already a world power.

The best historical comparison for Iraq is the war that we should have fought in the 1930s, but didn't.

Al Maviva said...

Jacques Off said What would Frank Lloyd Wright who said "form follows function" say about your worship of style and performance above content?

I try to not listen to such advice when it comes from a man who specialized in building un-live-able houses, and un-sit-able chairs. Not to mention too-short ceilings and cabinets. I suppose if the function was "architect's ego gratification" the form followed, but otherwise, Wright's form has to be taken with a grain of salt; beautiful, but not exactly utilitarian.

Mary said "In case you haven't noticed, modern American politics is marked by vicious partisanship, with the great bulk of the viciousness coming from the right.

Wow. Pardon me while I suffocate under a tidal wave of irony for a second.

Joel Said Democrats new found reliance on prior military service, curiously lacking during the Clinton Administration, is irrelevant once the President actually takes office, because for better or worse the President is serving as Commander in chief.

Ahh, the Coulter meme. The reason Coulter is hated for saying this, is she’s right. Don’t question Mother Sheehan, Colonel Murtha, or the New Jersey Girls. They have double secret moral authority. (By that standard, I have triple secret moral authority, having been in 3 combat zones, including GWI. Respect mah autori-tay!)

Mike said...

I watched the interview with interest to see if I could find out what the Democrats new mantra "redeploy" really means. What I discovered is that it's not a well thought out plan. Murtha: There are plenty of countries in the region that would take our troops." Kuwait, Bahrain, Okinawa. Has Murtha, or Pelosi, or anyone else pushing this "plan" talked to Kuwait or Bahrain?

There's no plan here. It is cut and run. If you doubt this, look at Murtha's historical analogies to his proposal: Reagan in Beruit and Clinton in Somalia.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Drill SGT said...

Bruce,

I suspect we'll be under 100k in troop strength in country by 1 Oct. A Fiscal year date aligned with the election cycle.

I think we'll be at 40k (Division plus supports) by say 1 July 07.

I hope we have 10k of troops in Kuwait for the forseeable future after we pull out of Iraq, which I suspect will be in 2008.

However, since Donald hasn't made me a USD, my opinions don't constitute a timeline or plans for troop reductions. :)

MadisonMan said...

It is cowards like John Murtha, Kennedy, and Kerry

Both Murtha and Kerry are decorated combat veterans. It takes some bit of courage (and good luck) to achieve that. I don't think they can be classified as cowards.

Korla said...

> Both Murtha and Kerry are decorated combat veterans.

And Benedict Arnold was a Revolutionary War Hero. A real one. But he was still a traitor.

Joel said...

There is this concept refered to as the time continuum. It explains how events follow one another and build a cogent reality.

It also explains why Benedict Arnold is remembered as a traitor and not a war hero.

Why Lee Harvey Oswald is remembered as an assassin and not a United States Marine.

Why John Murtha and John Kerry are cowards or at best political opportunists who would trade thousands of US Troop's lives for a few years in office.

MadisonMan said...

I merely point out they are not cowards. Publicity hounds, perhaps. Political opportunitsts, maybe (what politician isn't?).

You disagree with their point(s) of view. That's fine. Calling them cowards does nothing to bolster your claim(s).

Sloanasaurus said...

benedict Arnold was also the chief reason for our victory at the battle of Saratoga. Kerry and Murtha don't even belong on the same planet.

However, Murtha and Kerry are not traitors in the same way Arnold was. Kerry may be a leftist and Murtha may be a fool, but niether are traitors.

kcom said...

It's got nothing to do with cowardice and everything to do with stupidity.

In other words, should anyone accuse someone else of cowardice, as the Republicans are doing by implication, if they haven't put themselves on the line?

I don't see that as the implication. The implication I see is one of supreme lack of judgment. As someone pointed out, the argument is a political argument. It's at a grand strategic level. It's got nothing to do with the personal courage of combat itself. It has to do with how best to get a good result from the current situation. A very strong argument can be made that abandoning the field to the enemy is a poor way to win any conflict.

It's not as if either/or are the only options. As I noted above, Korea wasn't a clear win but it was a far sight better than an unequivocal loss. And millions of people, in Korea and all over the world, are the beneficiaries of the political courage of our predecessors to stay the course.

Mediocre but Unexciting said...

Personally, my favorite Murtha bit is the Clinton-like almost acceptance of a bribe in an FBI sting.

Unindicted co-conspirator; video of FBI sting shows Murtha saying "I'm not interested in taking [the classic Abscam bribe] at this time."

The ethics committee voted no action, and the lead counsel resigned in protest.

The new Republic - http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20060626&s=crowley062606

Or look at the paper copy - it just gets better.

Korla said...

I haven't called them cowards, and frankly I don't care about their own personal moral failings. I do care that they are traitors who would sooner see Americans murdered by the thousand than to see George W. Bush's policies bear fruit.

It's not that they are cowards. It's that they have no principles. They are cynical, hypocritical narcissists. They defend terrorists with the same level of seriousness as defending a bike lane. On every issue, they only see the Potemkin facade of a potential bumper sticker.

And yes, they do hate this country. They will immediately scream "how dare you question my patriotism," but they bad-mouth America and its history at every opportunity.

However, just to answer your assertion, having been in the military does not in any way prove, one way or another, that you are not a coward.

Great American said...

My assumption was that Murtha just isn't very bright.

Well that's nice of you.

John Murtha has addressed the nation many times over, in prepared remarks and in interviews, to articulate his views on the Iraq War. He has presented his critique of our effort to date and our lack of a coherent long-term strategy. He has also presented his own plan for the future of our military efforts in Iraq.

Ann, the closest that I can find to a plan of your own is here, from April 2004:

Do I need to have my own plan for how to wind down the conflict in Iraq?...

I never said Bush had a more substantive plan for Iraq in the sense of a verbal expression of a plan. What Bush is doing, I can see in the news...

Strange Doctrines still thinks I'm being unfair to Kerry because I'm only asking for a "future" plan for Kerry and not for Bush. Only Kerry's presidency is in the future. I just want to know what he'll do if and when he's President.

John Murtha has made his case. What is yours? Do you have any sort of constructive, coherent suggestion about "how to wind down the conflict in Iraq?" Can you point to a plan that anyone else has crafted that you support?

If you are willing to basically call John Murtha stupid, then you should be willing to critique more than his public speaking skills.

What Iraq plan do you support, Ann?

reader_iam said...

Interesting, the complaint about sexism over the sarcastic, condescending use of "endearment" words.

Never, ever done that yourself, eh, Mary?

Think carefully before answering ... .

MadisonMan said...

I think the statement that they hate this country goes too far. Maybe they disagree with the current direction of things (Who doesn't about some things? Are you happy with the growth of the size of government and the explosion in debt under the current administration? I'm not) -- but I don't see hatred coming into it at all. You apparently do, however.

Both Murtha and Kerry did a little more than just be in the military. IMO, decorate war veterans, a group that includes these two, were and are courageous. I don't believe you lose courage once you have it.

Sloanasaurus said...

What is all this about Bush not having a plan for Iraq. He does have a plan. The plan is to build up the government of Iraq and its armed forces so that it can succeed in defeating the insurgency and become a stable democracy. This is the strategic plan that Bush has outlined over and over again, and then people like Murtha cry that there is no plan or like Reid and Pelosi, they repeat Bush's plan and then say Bush has no plan.

If you look at April, 2003 when Sadadm was toppled, to today. There has been an over all progression to achieving the goal of this strategic plan.

Under Bush's plan, troop withdrawl is a byproduct of success of the plan. If you decide on troop withdrawl as the plan, then whether Iraq becomes a stable democracy is meaningless as long as the troops are withdrawn.

Sloanasaurus said...

Madisonman, I think you can be courageous on the bettlefield, but a political coward. Kerry is a typical political coward, which is evident by his consistent changing of positions.

Hillary, on the other hand, has recently shown some guts in standing up to the money people on the left. (she would still be a disaster for the country, however).

Great American said...

OK... so Sloanasaurus is on board with the Bush "plan" for Iraq.

Ann, how about you?

Bruce Hayden said...

It appears that his idea to redeploy to Okinawa is really not all that viable. For one, we are currently working with the Japanese govt. to redeploy assets from Okinawa to Guam.

Just as importantly though, it is approximately 4900 air miles from there to Iraq, much of it over countries such as China and Iran which may not be happy with us flying over them. It is approximately 6600 miles if we don't fly over those two countries, but limit ourselves to flying over "allies" such as India and Thailand. But it is only 5500 miles from Baghdad to Maine (US), and that only requires a couple of minutes over Syria, with the rest over NATO countries and water.

I guess we probably should figure out how many miles from Guam to Baghdad, as that is more reasonable, given the situation with Japan, than Okinowa, but it already is shorter to just bring the troops home.

tcd said...

Hey YG Brown,
Last time I checked the professor does not hold elective office & isn't running for elective office. Why does Ann need a plan for Iraq? She just needs to vote for the person who has a plan she agrees with. In this case, I believe the professor voted for President Bush as did I.

Great American said...

tcd, as Ann is willing to publicly call John Murtha a moron (or, more delicately, not "very bright") because of how he presents his views on Iraq, it seems pretty reasonable to ask her for her own opinions on the subject.

I really don't understand the point of your post. Do you think that she is incapable of answering the question herself? Do you find it somehow offensive that I am asking her for her opinion?

Korla said...

Yes, nobody is allowed to vote unless they have come up, independently, with their own plan for stabilizing Iraq.

My, how disingenuous.

So, sunshine, what's your clever plan we've all been waiting for while Bush has created TWO new democratic nations out of two of the worst dictatorships in the world?

I'm sure it will work. Now that the job is pretty much finished.

reader_iam said...

Seems to me there's a huge difference between "not very bright" and "moron."

tcd said...

YG Brown,
I'm sure the professor is more than capable to answer any questions posed by the likes of you. I think it's offensive that you come to her blog & make demands of her. Have you no manners?

Great American said...

Wow... this is getting even stranger.

I am simply asking Ann whether she (1) has a plan of her own for how to successfully "wind down" the conflict in Iraq or (2) can point to a plan crafted by someone else that she supports. I never said nor implied that Ann is running for office, nor that she shouldn't be allowed to vote, nor even that she must have independently developed any sort of plan at all.

How in the world is my question "disingenuous"? Ann has written hundreds of posts about Iraq. Even asking Ann for her own recommendations on a subject that is clearly close to her heart is a rude, offensive "demand"? Isn't is acceptable to ask her about her own views on the subject? I guess "the likes of me" have set our standards too high for what constitutes debate. I thought it was an exchange of ideas.

Korla said...

Disingenuous? Moi?

Craig Ranapia said...

Ann wrote:
I'm sure Rove enjoyed that pathetic performance.

I believe the phrase is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. :) I don't think it takes a strategic Brainiac to figure out that just chanting 'Republicans are mean doody heads who will rape your kitten' won't take back control of Congress. I know this is going to angry up some of the left-wing commentators, but Professor Althouse isn't standing for Congress and presenting a platform to the electorate. The Democrats are - and good luck finding a plank that isn't changing faster than a nympho's knickers at Spring Break.

Ann Althouse said...

1. I don't think it's helpful to call various politicos "cowards." Frankly, I think it takes a lot of nerve to go around saying things that encourage the enemy.

2. I think it's ridiculous that anyone is interested in my ideas of how to win the war. I haven't studied military strategy. I don't have any ideas of my own about how to do brain surgery either. I have to defer to experts.

3. I didn't put the point about Murtha's intelligence in the the original post, and I don't like to have to say it. I brought it up in the comments when I was pushed. I think it's a real shame that the Democrats have decided to push this man forward. Watching that interview, I thought it was quite obvious that he could not carry the weight that they've put on him. It was not a pretty sight. I feel sorry for him, but I think he's a pawn, being used because of his military service and the tiresome notion that he is beyond criticism because of it.

Patrick H. said...

Interesting:.....

I've read all the way to the end and have come to several conclusions.

1) Certain parties seem more concerned with what they think is sexist remarks than the topic (and just how sexist is "honey", and "sweety"....I mean really, get a grip: or at least a little thicker hide)

2)Face facts: on both the vidio and the text, Murtha comes off as a little off center, to be kind. As a registered Inde, this is NOT what the Democratic party needs to trot out if they want my vote.

3)Bush is following the plan he has laid out over and over, which has been ignored or twisted by the left. As Bruce Hayden so neatly put it earlier:
1. Install a representative government in Iraq.
2. Recruit and train up the Iraqi security forces and give them responsibility for their own security.
3. As #2 progresses, move American assets first to (a) a backup position, and then (b) withdraw them as #2 allows.

4)And lastly, regarding timetables for withdrawl:....IS ANYBODY THAT STUPID AS TO INFORM THE ENEMY?!?!?
I mean really, as an ex Air Force enlisted man, and a part time student of history and tactics, you NEVER send your opponent your plans...its a really good way to get people killed and lose wars.

....unless thats what you really want to see happen?

MadisonMan said...

Craig, I don't think the Democrats have to run for anything. They can run against the status quo in Washington. A nice series of images...George Bush reading My Little Goat, Mission Accomplished, Bring 'em on, You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie, the explosion of the National Debt, the gross expansion in Federal power and the bloating size of the Federal Government, DeLay indicted, Scooter indicted, what's-his-name from San Diego convicted, $320+ billion spent in Iraq -- compared to pre-War laughably bad guesstimates....

And then the words Had Enough? I think it would be very effective.

Jim said...

The Iraq War war points Murtha scatter shot are serious, life and death matters not to be evaluated like an evaluation of a debating society. So you didn't care for his manner or his organizational skills - you were witnessing a Profile in Courage.

Jim said...

To respond to Patrick H.- Apparently the Bush DHS is stupid enough to inform the terrorists. Didn't they devise a color-coded system which let the terrorists know when we were really, really worried and had our full staffs working ?

If I were the one pulling troops out, I would see no problem leaving out a particular timetable.

David said...

ANN;

Nicely put!

That's a rap!

Great American said...

I think it's ridiculous that anyone is interested in my ideas of how to win the war. I haven't studied military strategy. I don't have any ideas of my own about how to do brain surgery either. I have to defer to experts.

Ann, I think that is a copout on multiple levels. If you truly thought it "ridiculous" that anyone would be interested in your ideas about Iraq, you wouldn't post about it as often as you do. If you hadn't wanted to insult John Murtha's intelligence you wouldn't have done so. And my original question asked you for either your own plan or if there were any plans from others that you have embraced. You say that you must "defer to experts" on Iraq. To which experts do you defer?

Ann Althouse said...

The "ideas about Iraq" that I have are certainly not a military plan. They are things like this:

1. We need to win.

2. Bush is currently President and charged with the responsibility to handle the situation.

3. He is making decisions relying on expert advisors.

4. Supporting what we are doing in Iraq under Bush's leadership helps the effort.

5. Encouraging the enemy to think we'll give up is very harmful.

6. People who are running for office and looking for traction ought to be viewed with great skepticism.

Abraham said...

And then the words Had Enough? I think it would be very effective.

What you think is irrelevant because you will vote for the Democrats regardless.

Speaking of someone who voted for Clinton and Bush, that proposed ad gives me absolutely no reason to vote for Democrats. I start with the assunmption, based on life observations, that politicians are about equally corrupt, venal, and incompetent on both sides, and no multimedia presentation is going to change my mind on that. Since that works out to be a null factor, I have to give the edge to whoever has the better vision, and I just don't think the Democrats have any vision whatsoever, other than themselves in power.

The Drill SGT said...

I voted for Bush as the lesser of 2 evils. I for one would be willing to vote for a Democrat I trusted on National Security. However, the only one I trust, won't either be a Democrat or elected fairly soon (Lieberman). Until Democrats convince me and many others like me that they have a spine, are willing to take actions based on principle and conviction, then stick to it in the face of adversity, they won't win elections.

We're in a war, GWOT, and if you are a Democrat, you seem to be saying we're in a different war in Iraq that doesn't impact our fight against terror except negatively.

Being against Bush and the GOP will get you points in polls, but in the absence of a plan on both that doesn't result in the collapse in our credibility around the world, you won't win elections. Murtha was out of his league and hurt the Democrats as their spokesman on Iraq. If he continues in that role, I expect the GOP will pick up net seats in 06. He'll be shreaded by GOP surrogates like McCain. McCain will do it without calling him a coward, but will lay out the gutlessness of the position for soccer moms to see.

McCain said it well as the war started, which he didn't favor ATT. "We're in it, we've got to win it!"

Craig Ranapia said...

Madison Man wrote:
Craig, I don't think the Democrats have to run for anything. They can run against the status quo in Washington.

With all due respect, if the Democrats really think they're going to take back Congress without standing FOR something they're doomed. All the attitudnal polling I've seen strongly suggests that a good chunk of the electorate don't see the Democrats as "against" the status quo, but a huge part of the problem of politics as usual. As I heard one pollster put it on the PBS News Hour recently, the Democrats only solid advantage is they're marginally less distrusted than the GOP! Again, it's easy in politics to say what you're against. The challenge for the Democrats is going to be presenting a coherent, consistent and principled statement of what the party stands for.

PatCA said...

MadisonMan,
The Dems have lost consistently on that platform! The only dem to win in the last 20 years was the guy who ran on fixing the economy after Bush the Elder reneged on his no new taxes pledge.

The Drill SGT said...

Building on what Craig said, there are a lot of alternatives to the status quo. Most of the alternatives in any scenario are worse that what the GOP is doing now. The Dems have to have the courage of their convictions to pick alternatives on various topics and explain to the people why what they propose is better than status quo. That will win them votes. However, the chance of them doing that with their rapid left biting at ankles is slim at best.

Sloanasaurus said...

You don't have to be an expert to understand the grand strategy in Iraq. The details may be complex but the grand strategy is simple - establish a legitimate government and a capable Iraqi police force and army and stay in Iraq until this mission is complete.

Unlike Vietnam, there is no capable enemy posing any strategic threat. There is no superpower on the other side that can do us real harm or seriously set back this goal. Thus, all we need is time. The major difficulty in Iraq is not the insurgency or Al Qaeda, it is American public opinion, which ultimately translates into Congressional support. If we pull out to early, the war will be lost and we will get Hitler and another war. If we stay long enough to make sure the Iraqi government can stand up (as we did with Germany and Japan) we are victorious.

Bush still has this majority, and will have it for the next few years despite the loony left. However, we cannot be sure that the next President will have the same political courage as Bush. We need to win this war by 2009.

The current war is being fought today because the settlement to the 1991 war was a failure. Lets make sure we win now so we dont have to fight gulf war III.

Tim said...

Madison Man, I really, really, really hope the Democrat leadership in Washington is really entranced by your idea, and runs with it. I hope they dump every single last dollar they raise into that ad campaign; I hope they buy as much airtime as they can afford in Red and Blue states alike; I hope they run on that until two year olds utter it as their first words.

Then those of us who want to win the war will crush the ever-so-pathetic Democrats in November and, once we've relegated the seditious Copperheads to extreme minority status, we can get on with winning the war without the terrorist-supporting carping at which your side is so competent.

andrew said...

Ann,

If you are registered to vote in Wisconsin, you do not register with any party affiliation. How can you be a registered Democrat since 1972?

We have semi-open primaries, that allow us to vote on one ticket or another, but we do not register as Rep. or Dem.

Bob Waters said...

Ann, you seem to have a moonbat problem on this blog. Too many commenters confuse perjoratives with arguments.

Which President Bush's opponents have done for six years.

Which is why they keep losing.

Few of the anti-Bush commenters on this blog are any more able to articulate a case against the war or the President's leadership than Murtha is.

Why am I not surprised?

Ann Althouse said...

Andrew: I registered in Wisconsin 1984 and believe I registered to a party at that time, but I could be wrong. I've registered over the years in three other states, originally in New Jersey in 1972. I could be wrong about whether I had to provide a party identification in each of those states. In any event, there is no question that I would have chosen Democrat.

kcom said...

y.g.: 'OK... so Sloanasaurus is on board with the Bush "plan" for Iraq.'

It's cute how you put the word plan in quotes. Can you show me how to do that? If I could do it, I'm sure people would take my arguments much more seriuosly.

MadisonMan said...

The only people the democrats have to convince that they offer a change -- without actually offering one -- are the independent voters who feel queasy about the goings-on in DC. Repeat ad nauseum Had Enough?

That probably won't sway some writers here at althouse who think things in DC are going just swimmingly right now, thank you very much.

One thing every democrat should also say: "If I am elected, I will work with President Bush to balance the budget so your children do not have suffer for our lack of fiscal restraint". How could a republican counter that? By pointing to the (cough) wonderful fiscal stewardship under the current administration?

Great American said...

Ann, your seem to be inconsistent when it comes to your ability to assess plans for Iraq. When it comes to Bush, you defer to him and claim that you are too ignorant of military planning to assess the soundness of any particular strategy in Iraq. When Kerry was running, you exoriated him for not presenting a plan for you to assess. Specifically you wrote:

Strange Doctrines criticizes me for asking for substance while being insufficiently substantive myself, but I'm not the one running for President. I keep asking for a substantive plan for what Kerry would do in the future in Iraq (here and here and here and here and I'll stop there, but that's just April). Without that, I cannot begin to think about him as a replacement for the person who is currently seriously trying to deal with the situation, however imperfectly. Do I need to have my own plan for how to wind down the conflict in Iraq? Kerry is robotically repeating fragments of stump speeches, almost incoherently, as quoted here. How can you understand what he's blabbering about (e.g., re neocons) unless you remember the point from before?

Why would you possibly want to know Kerry's future plan if you are unable to assess it?

Your last comment seems to leave no room to question Bush because he is the President. He is to be supported, because to do otherwise will lead the enemy to believe we are going to "give up."

Is there anyone who has written any plan or strategy on the subject of Iraq that you find convincing? Is there any poltician who has challenged Bush's strategy in Iraq who you would not classify as "looking for traction"?

Sloanasaurus said...

Y.g. your totally wrong. Bush's plan has always been the same; i.e. that we will stay there until the Iraqi government is able to fend for itself. Althouse is arguing that she supports this plan (at lease at the current cost structure) and will leave it up to the experts (Bush and the Pentagon) as to when this plan is complete so we can pull out of Iraq.

In contrast, Kerry's position was all over the place. You never really knew what to expect because he would not really commit to anything. Today, the Democrats do not want to leave when-to-pull-out to the experts, instead the Democrats want to tell the experts when to pull out. Instead of General Casey, we have General Murtha and General Levin and General Kerry, and General Pelosi, etc.... These are not experts, they are politicians who read polls.

PatCA said...

I'd also like to note in passing that Russert's Meet the Press deserves an Emmy for the most pompously martial theme music of all time.

MadisonMan said...

leave it up to the experts (Bush and the Pentagon) as to when this plan is complete so we can pull out of Iraq.


Hasn't Bush also stated that he thinks a subsequent President will control the withdrawal from Iraq? As in we'll be there at least 2+ more years?

Sloanasaurus said...

"......Hasn't Bush also stated that he thinks a subsequent President will control the withdrawal from Iraq? As in we'll be there at least 2+ more years?..."

I think that is right. It is possible that the next President may decide these things. I would support a small presence in Iraq for the next 50 years, if that is possible. However, I would hope that the fighting will end in the next few years. The next President will decide this future.

Abraham said...

One thing every democrat should also say: "If I am elected, I will work with President Bush to balance the budget so your children do not have suffer for our lack of fiscal restraint".How could a republican counter that?

By pointing out that for Democrats, "balancing the budget" always means "raising taxes," and never "cutting spending," unless of course it's military spending.

(Note this response also nicely - from a rhetorical point of view - poisons the well for rebuttals about the war being too expensive.)

Please. Give me a hard one.

MadisonMan said...

Bush's first six years of reckless spending guarantees that a tax raise is inevitable. How I long for the prudent fiscal policies of Clinton.

But I could be wrong -- I thought Doyle would have to raise taxes too, to clean up after the reckless spending of Thompson and McCallum, fueled by bloating the size of the government, and that didn't happen.

I guess I'm just naturally pessimistic when it comes to fiscal policy.

PatCA said...

MadisonMan,
You can't always count on the economy being bad enough long enough to help a Democrat. Tax cuts and jillions of new (illegal) consumers seem to reducing the Bush deficit earlier than expected.

deficit reduction progress

michael a litscher said...

MadisonMan: Bush's first six years of reckless spending guarantees that a tax raise is inevitable.

You might want to do a bit more research on the subject before you write your "Worst Economy Since Hoover!!!" Democratic Party talking points.

Bush May Meet Vow To Halve The Deficit Three Years Early

michael a litscher said...

You might want to do a bit more research on the subject...

On second thought, don't. It's just so much more fun that way.

For instance, before the 2004 election an aquaintence of mine tried to convince me that if Bush was re-elected, there would be a draft (he's of draft age).

Now, whenever I run into him, I profess surprise that he's here and not in Canada, dodging the draft.

kcom said...

For instance, before the 2004 election an aquaintence of mine tried to convince me that if Bush was re-elected, there would be a draft (he's of draft age).

One of my first forays into blog commenting was after John Howard of Australia won re-election in 2004 about a month before Bush did. I was shocked and amazed as I was reading an Australian blog where the commenters were seriously discussing the possibility that they (being the mostly left-leaning types who inhabited that site) were on the verge of being shipped off to concentration camps now that Howard had won. It scares me to think they actually have a vote when they are that far into the paranoia.