Alarming News

August 30, 2006

I am not questioning his patriotism. I’m questioning his ethics.

John Murtha says he’s disappointed in Hillary Clinton for not joining his call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

Earth to Murtha: Your idea for a pullout was rejected 403-3.

But here’s the kicker: YOU WERE ONE OF THE 403 WHO VOTED AGAINST THE RESOLUTION TO IMMEDIATELY WITHDRAW FROM IRAQ, YOU TOTAL FRAUD.

Posted by Karol at 09:47 AM |
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Democrats said Republicans were pulling a trick because the resolution on the floor was not the same as Mr. Murtha’s. He had called for withdrawing in a safe and orderly manner, while the Republican resolution called for an immediate pullout.

Posted by: Charles at August 30, 2006 at 2:14 pm

Yeah, that’s right, Republicans were opposed to the ’safe and orderly’ part. You guys got us. Wow.

Posted by: Karol at August 30, 2006 at 2:20 pm

With the caveat that I am not a Murtha fan and think his proposal is bonkers (all facts from the articles to which you have linked):
In November 2005, Murtha proposed a six-month withdrawal. In response, the republican house put a vote on an immediate withdrawal to the house floor in an attempt to gain political advantage over democrats opposed to the war. Murtha and almost everyone else in the house voted no.
Nine months later, Murtha calls for an immediate withdrawal. Is this wrong-headed? I think so. But how is it unethical? Has nothing changed in the past nine months? Is he not entitled to change his opinion based on changed circumstances – both politically here and militarily abroad? Again, I just don’t see how you reasonably view this as a breach of ethics.

Posted by: Alceste at August 30, 2006 at 2:28 pm

Ok, Alceste, in that case why doesn’t he introduce the vote for immediate withdrawal now?

Posted by: Karol at August 30, 2006 at 3:14 pm

Actually, his current position isn’t all that different from the one in November — but there is a difference between an immediate pull out of everyone now (as set forth in the bill that reached the floor last year) and an immediate pull out of a large chunk of the troops in an orderly fashion over a few months (from the bill that Murtha introduced and that he apparently still supports).

Posted by: Alceste at August 30, 2006 at 3:22 pm

Oh, and as I wrote at the time, 6 months is essentially immediate. We have a lot of troops, equipment, etc. over there. It would take some time to disengage.

Posted by: Karol at August 30, 2006 at 3:23 pm

You know, that could be the Democrats slogan:
A safe and orderly surrender

Posted by: Mark at August 30, 2006 at 3:48 pm

If you change the words, you change the law. You don’t get to change the words and claim that the law voted on was the one introduced, so the introducer is a hypocrite by voting against it. Beyond the legal difference, there is a huge political difference in the language between the two bills and a supporter of the original bill would know that it is potential suicide to vote on the amended version. Which, of course, was the point.
Do you believe your own sophistry? Is the entire world really just an ongoing political campaign?

Posted by: Charles at August 30, 2006 at 5:05 pm

Is the entire world really just an ongoing political campaign?
Translation: You’re kicking my butt, Karol, puleez stop!!

Posted by: sam at August 30, 2006 at 5:17 pm

You need a better political dictionary, Sam.

Posted by: Charles at August 30, 2006 at 5:22 pm

Charles, last I checked, Murtha was still an elected official. Why doesn’t HE introduce a bill, with whatever language he’d like, calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq? If it’s as wildly popular a concept as his supporters claim, it should be politically easy. Why isn’t it? And why wouldn’t Murtha vote for the 6-month withdrawal, if that’s what’s on the table. At least they’d be coming home in the forseeable future. Right?

Posted by: Karol at August 30, 2006 at 5:26 pm

You need a better political dictionary, Sam.
And you need a sitz bath, Charles.

Posted by: sam at August 30, 2006 at 5:35 pm

Dems like Murtha keep referring to Iraq as Vietnam (and in a tone as if that were a Republican fiasco) and it will be if we cut and run like they did back then. There will be nothing safe and orderly about our withdrawal for the Iraqis after we leave.

Posted by: Dino at August 30, 2006 at 5:36 pm

Karol, Murtha did introduce a bill with the 6-month timetable. But that bill never made the house floor.
The Republican house leadership (who, as the majority, have some control over what gets a vote on the floor) instead put the “immediate” withdrawal bill (which simply called for a withdrawal without much in the way of guidelines) to a vote last November. Only the 3 crazies could support the bill — it went beyond an orderly troop reduction and instead called for the unrealistic immediate withdrawal of all troops.
This was a brilliant political move on their part, but it was still a political move. People who opposed the war were forced into opposing the bill — the bill made absolutely no sense as a practical matter and did not accomplish what even Murtha is trying to accomplish.

Posted by: Alceste at August 30, 2006 at 5:38 pm

Oh, and as far as the ethical part of Murtha’s cut and run scheme goes, if it was unethical to let millions of people in Vietnam and Cambodia get slaughterd 30 years ago, it would probably be today, in Iraq, too.

Posted by: Dino at August 30, 2006 at 5:47 pm

I mean currently, Alceste.

Posted by: Karol at August 30, 2006 at 5:54 pm

Since 403-3 makes it sound like the Dems aren’t exactly supportive of the move, why should he introduce the bill? What, exactly is the goal – inducing a national feeling of deja vu?

Posted by: Charles at August 30, 2006 at 6:03 pm

Who voted for this bill? That’s an interesting discussion. Not some political chicanery (sp).

Posted by: dan the Democrat at August 30, 2006 at 6:44 pm

We should put congressmen in Fallujah and see what that vote looks like.
Old men talking and young men dying.
I hope, by invading Iraq, we didn’t hand Iraq over to the Iranians (shia muslim fanatics) as I fear we have.
Are you guys against drilling in Alaska?? Let’s have a vote.
“Drilling in Alaska”
I. (a) Immediately drill in Alaska in a safe and environmentally friendly manner reducing by 42% our dependency on for. oil.

II. (b) sub. (c) Invade Israel and France.

Posted by: dan the Democrat at August 30, 2006 at 7:03 pm

Do you believe your own sophistry? Is the entire world really just an ongoing political campaign?
When I saw this yesterday, I would have given odds that it would induce a bout of blog-comment-tilt. You recovered nicely, though, Karol.
I’m not sure that this whole, introducing-a-bill thing is a good route in its own right. It’s setting a matter of national policy that is otherwise allocated to the Executive.
Section 3.(a).1 of H.J. Res. 114:
SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) Authorization.–The President is authorized to use the Armed
Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and
appropriate in order to–
(1) defend the national security of the United States
against the continuing threat posed by Iraq;
Pretty openended as far as allowing the President to declare what is a matter of national security. A proper bill would amend this resolution, and clarify what an acceptable level of threat neutralization is, and define exit criteria based on that level. But the think-tankers who are capable of being rational about this would be overwhelmed by the partisan noise (no bias in blame, each side is equally retarded).
Maybe I’m giving him too much credit for seeing that the whole bill route has no upside, right now.

Posted by: Anonymous at August 31, 2006 at 9:57 am

See the problem with putting a “battleplan” in a bill is that you essentially give it to the enemy and they can mold their tactics around that plan.
I strongly believe that the U.S.’s military can only be used on a MAJOR scale when the U.S. is attacked first and the Military gets a free hand to resolve the issue. Sure Noriega and even Afghanistan can be successful using small units of highly specialized troops. But to occupy a country like in Iraq, when they should have known he was a lame duck and an enemy to the U.S.’s enemies.

Posted by: dan the Democrat at August 31, 2006 at 10:59 am

No battleplan Dan. The suits in DC are not particularly qualified to tell the military how to operate, no matter their service background.
Anyways, exit criteria are strategic, not tactical. It’s left to the theatre commanders to figure out how to meet the exit criteria. That is the problem all along, we have had no clear strategic direction.
And I wildly disagree with the U.S.’s military can only be used on a MAJOR scale. The Marine’s are experts at small unit tactics, and medium sized operations like laying siege to and securing a city (cf. Fallujah, which catches a lot of flack for being ill-motivated and based on bad policy, but was militarily effective).

Posted by: David at August 31, 2006 at 11:46 am

“…can be successful using small units of highly specialized troops”
Sorry if I didn’t make that clear but I agree with you from a tactical standpoint. Units like the 1st Marines or 101st or special forces can be used with great success in any situation or even the 1st INF / 4th Inf divisions…
But to deploy army reserve units in front-line duty in an operation against a foe that posed no offensive military danger to the U.S. and not in a defensive operation but into a guerilla war….They [army reserve] weren’t meant for that.
Also if the 1st Marine division was looking for Osama, he would be found. What a mistake it was going into Iraq before Al-Qada/Osama were finished off.
There really was no post-Saddam strategy which is very dissappointing. I don’t blame Powell for quitting, the administration has made many errors of judgement.
Also why is it that the Senators with military experience are mostly anti-war. Is it me or do they just get more publicity or something.

Posted by: dan the Democrat at August 31, 2006 at 12:25 pm

Last post on this because it is off-topic…
Divisions are neither small, nor particularly specialized. The 101st, or any other infantry elements of the XVIII ABC for that matter, don’t deploy without intel, medical, radios, or vehicles. If they are ’specialized’ it’s because they have a high default readiness. In their words, they are fast.
While I am no fan of the administration, obsessing about how we got here is as poor thinking as calling for timetable based withdrawal. It is results-oriented, and neglects the strategic implications. It’s the kind of thinking that got us here in the first place.
The reservists in Iraq are principally providing mobility support, and while they get shot at, they are not usually directly engaged with the opposition. It’s dangerous to be in Iraq right now, but not much more dangerous than hanging out in the streets of Philly at night (if you are in the Army… If you are Iraqi, it’s much more dangerous).
If the Congressmen with military backgrounds are anti-war, it is probably because they object to the ill-defined mission, not the use of troops outright. If the administration could come up with a reasonably sound exit strategy, the Congress would probably line up.
Not to let the administration off the hook, but every day the military struggles to figure out how to fight the GWOT. The military thinks that it is an important fight to fight, but it is a tough problem to solve.

Posted by: David at August 31, 2006 at 1:46 pm

The entire article is worth a read if you get the chance. (I would love it if Karol would teach me how to link…..) I would argue that Reserve units have inferior equipment and training and I could quote an officer who was in the Airborne, 1st Armor as well as the reserves. Every road and military base in Iraq is the “front line” as well.
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/politics/4141932.html
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told troops during a visit to Iraq earlier this month that Guardsmen carried a bigger share of the combat load last year so that active-duty units _ like the 101st Airborne Division and 4th Infantry Division currently serving in Iraq _ had time at their home bases to undergo a top-to-bottom reorganization increasing the size of each division from three to four brigades.

Posted by: dan the Democrat at August 31, 2006 at 4:34 pm
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