"They came in the same old way and we defeated them the same old way." - Duke of Wellington.
Retired Marine Colonel and Representative of Distric 12 PA, John Murtha[D] in the past few days has been presented as a very hawkish liberal [ which is a contradiction in terms like military intelligence in my opinion] of impecable military credentials [He served in VietNam after all.] who had an about face on Operation Iraqi Freedom and called for the rapid withdrawl of American forces in that struggling democracy. As he spoke those words to an adoring media, he was presented as the very model of a modern major general and ignited a small firestorm.
So Republican members of the US House of Representatives decided to see if the Democrats would put their money where their mouth has been since 2003. Rep. Duncan Hunter introduced a one sentence bill that matched Rep. Murtha's call for immediate troop withdrawl.
"And as the flames climbed high into the night To light the sacrificial rite" - Don McLean
Alas Murtha's erstwhile allies let him climb out on a limb during the spirited debate of this resolution. They ceded to John Murtha all of their rebuttal time and he gamely carried forward while the rest of the Democratic Party said nothing so later they could deny ever supporting Murtha's notions of a pullout; afterall in 2006 all of them will be up for re-election.
"For this tired old man we elected king. Armchair warriors often fail." - Don Henley
Viewers on C-SPAN got to see Murtha come across as a tired, belligerent, and rambling man. He had great feelings but no true direction to his remarks. He seemed to touch all the past three years Democratic talking points from lack of armor to faulty intelligence. He even veered into complaining about the $50billion tax cut that just happened, stating never before has the US fought such a war without full mobilization[ Dear readers think on that - in a budget of trillions cutting $50 billion is wrong .. I took this as yet another sign the Democrats will oppose anything offered by the Republicans because we are talking less than a 1% cutback in the budget. As for the full mobilization canard what does he mean? Every able bodied male in uniform? That has never happened in the nation's history and it would bankrupt the country. Even his own war of VietNam was not full mobilization, Johnson had to fund his War on Poverty and Kennedy's Race for the Moon]. What was most painful was him reading from all these letters ala Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the sychopanthy was extreme as they all praised Murtha while lambasting President Bush. As for 80% of Iraqis opposing American forces, where did he get those numbers or are they made up in his mind? And finally what a grave disservice he did to one brave soldier serving in Iraq[an adult who volunteered to serve] for John Murtha used his political power to pull that soldier from Iraq to satisfy the soldier's daddy.
"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more" - Henry V
The Republicans were not put off by Rep. Murtha or his idea. Rep. Jean Schmidt R-OH fired the first broadside during the early procedural wranglings by reading a message from Marine Colonel Danny Budp in Iraq who said "Cowards cut and run, Marines never do." One Democrat, Harold E. Ford, started running across the floor but was restrained. The pandomonium was very entertaining. Rep. Schmidt later retracted the statement but it had served its purpose. It further defined what this vote and what all the talk from Democrats like John Murtha really meant.
But it was during the actual debate over the bill that the Republicans' white knight rode in. Rep. Sam Johnson, R-TX. Speaking from his experience as a veteran of Korea and VietNam, but most especially from his seven years as a POW in North VietNam. He talked about his captivity and how it would hurt him everytime he heard that Congress was about to abandon them. He argued that the American servicemembers in Iraq need our full support and he would always give it. "They need to have full faith that a few naysayers in Washington won't cut and run and leave them high and dry."
"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." - Revelations 3:16When the final tallying was done on the voting of this resolution, it was rejected. 403 members of the House of Representatives voted Nay while three voted Yea. The three calling for immediate withdrawl at least had the guts to express their feelings; to McKinney, Serrano, and Wexler you shall indeed live in interesting times for you are now the 'Cut&Run trio.' To the six Democrats who were too craven to even vote and merely voted Present thou art truly lukewarm.
When the cards were laid out for the Democrats to put their votes where their mouths have run, they chickened out. They decided to try and wrap the flag of patriotism about them as they voted with the Republicans against John Murtha's idea of a rapid withdrawl. Instead what they showed was their total lack of convinction and vacuity of ideas unless squawking the exact opposite of whatever President Bush or Republicans suggest counts as 'ideas.'
A prime example of how cowardly the Democrats were in these debates is as follows. During them when Rep. Sam Johnson requested a three minute extension, one member opposed it. When the acting Speaker requested the member to stand up, no one did. Rep. Johnson got his three extra minutes.
To John Murtha, thank you for bringing this subject up to be dealt with. Unfortunately your idea was defeated, even by you when you voted Nay. To Duncan Hunter, thank you for forcing the issue. And a big thank you to Sam Johnson for explaining exactly what is at stake, the lives of our soldiers and the future of Iraq.
I will end this, my 200th post, with one final quote, "Go for broke!" I can think of no better phrase to define our mission in the Middle East. We are striving to break the cycle of tyranny and terror with the help of many allies including the brave people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Lets not dissapoint them and ourselves by retreating before the job is done. Thank you 442d Regimental Combat Team for that inspiring phrase, may we live up to your brave actions that support those brave words.
P.S. Van Helsing, had to borrow that quote from Revelations. Thanks. :)