I was so horrified, so disgusted, so stunned, so totally appalled by the grandstanding pronouncements of Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha-- that the Iraq war "cannot be won militarily", that our troops have "done all they can", that "our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency" -- I resolved to write him immediately and tell him off. then I went to his website and did a closer inspection of what is pompously referred to on the home page as "Important Speech on the War in IRAQ" (italics as found), and I realised that, among other things, these are the meandering bloviations of an ill-educated and incoherent old man whose stylistic atrocities would be mocked by the elites of his party if he were not now so useful to them.
There are so many factual errors and fatuous mischaracterizations of the military reality that a careful "Fisking" would be quite lengthy-- something for a later day, if I fell there's anything left to say about it. But by far one of the most offensive statements he made in his speech on the floor was just a few sentences from the end. "Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters [sic] into battle, it is our responsibility, our OBLIGATION, to speak for them. That's why I am speaking out."
No, Congressman Murtha, you do NOT have an obligation, or any right at all, to claim to speak for the adult members of our volunteer military. Your being a decorated veteran does not give you that right, nor does it give you the "absolute moral authority" once claimed for Cindy Sheehan during her fifteen minutes of exploitation by the radical left. Such moral authority as you might have does not outweigh that of Senator John McCain, who opposes your position in every respect. (And if you had hoped to achieve his level of authority and prestige, don't waste your breath. At the very least, he can put an intelligent sentence together.)
And here, Congressman Murtha, is another Marine you do not speak for-- my kid, who has a pretty good weblog, and this is what he thinks of you and your fellow anti-war Democrats and weak-kneed Republicans:
...what I see right now is incredibly disappointing. I see Democrats using every roadside bombing as a bat to smash in the administration's face, every death as a statistic to score political points because they know the war has made the president bleed, and they like the smell of his blood. I see Republicans using every criticism of the war as a big index finger to point back at the Democrats and say, "those quibbling bastards, they're not patriotic and they don't support our troops when they ask why we don't have enough body armor and why every speech the president makes on the subject sounds exactly the same."
What I don't see is our leaders in D.C. coming together, turning to that 18-year old lance corporal who's tens of thousands of miles away from his home and scared shitless, and saying, "No matter what, kid, we got your back." Nope, that kid has become a knife our "representatives" are slipping between each other's ribs in the hopes that one really good deep thrust will hit the other guy's heart...
...I do not claim to speak for my colleagues or the Navy/Marine Corps team. I'm speaking for myself. And I'm disgusted with politics in general right now. It's one thing to listen to different newspapers and media outlets wrangle back and forth about how we should be there, how we shouldn't, how we're winning, how we're losing, how we're beating terrorism, how we're creating more of it. They're not in charge. They can afford to be whiny, judgmental, narrow-minded and hypocritical because their editors aren't the ones who say, "Kid, I'm going to send you to a foreign country where you may very well die or be crippled for life." At the end of the day, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal can act like schoolchildren; our political leaders can't.
But they're not stepping up to the plate. They're not saying, "Kid, I got your back." I can tell you right now who I think's got my back. My family; my friends; my fellow students here, who once we're all winged will become my copilots and wingmen in combat; my instructors, who I know are giving me the best training they can to increase my chances of coming home in one piece; our commanders, who have the huge responsibility of thousands of lives in their hands; and God.
All those other folks bitching back and forth in the Beltway, seeing who can scream louder, come up with the most outrageous rhetoric, and impact the poll numbers the hardest: you disgust me. You discourage me. You disgrace this country. You're so lost in clouds of your own noise that you don't hear the grunt on the Syrian border saying: "Honorable Mr/Ms/Mrs So-and-So, I gotta turn my back on you so that I can point my rifle forward to cover my squadmates and kill the enemy. Will you cover me?" None of you have an answer for him. You'd better come up with one, because right now, he's worth more to this country alive than you are.