November 19, 2005

Republicans on Iraq: Empty Rhetoric

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 12:42 am

The Republicans’ rhetoric in reaction to Congressman John Murtha’s bold truth-telling conceals an utter lack of logic. They are trying to play on Americans’ emotions, while acting as through we have no brains. It’s, um, how can I put it, dishonest and reprehensible.

Here are the arguments I heard tonight during the House debate on the Hunter Resolution from the Republicans, and why they are empty:

We must support the troops. Apparently, our military personnel are very fragile, and if we debate U.S. policy regarding the Iraq war, we will hurt their feelings.

Now I have the utmost respect for the men and women in our armed forces. In fact, I have so much respect for them that I believe they understand and accept that the U.S. is a democracy with a loyal opposition. I respect their intellect, and their ability to understand that Americans are questioning our policy, but aren’t questioning our soldiers. This “don’t hurt the troops’ feelings” argument is condescending. They deserve more respect than that. What they really deserve is to be taken out of harm’s way.

Don’t let their deaths be in vain. I would love to play poker with the Republicans using this argument. I gather they would never fold a hand, because then all of their prior bets would have been in vain.

I understand that the families of the soldiers who have died in Iraq want to believe that their deaths have meaning. But I’m afraid this decision isn’t about them. It’s about those soldiers who have not yet died, but will if we remain in Iraq. There is nothing we can do about those who have already fallen. We need to make sure that any future lives lost in Iraq are for good reason. How many more American lives are we going to sacrifice in this quest to find “meaning” in the loss of life already suffered?

We must finish the job. John Murtha has come to understand that the presence of U.S. troops is inciting the insurgency, and that our continued presence will not improve the situation:

I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won “militarily.” I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.

Murtha believes that our military has finished its job. By asking the military to pacify the insurgency, we are asking them to do something that can only be achieved politically. I applaud their committment to their mission, but it is not fair to our troops to demand of them an impossible task.

We are fighting the war on terror. Iraq was not involved in 9/11, and wasn’t part of the war on terror until we made it so. Iraq is the central recruiting ground for Al Qaeda. We are not fighting the war on terror, we are creating terrorists. Again, John Murtha:

Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists.

Every dollar spent in Iraq is a dollar not available to spend on homeland security. If we are serious about the fight against terror, we will pour our tax dollars and attention into the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense. We are allowing the Iraq War to distract us from fighting a new kind of conflict with non-state networks of terrorists.

I am saddened that this opportunity for a discussion of the real issues was squandered by empty rhetoric and political gamesmanship. Is our presence in Iraq truly doing more harm than good? Are we diverting funds from homeland security and domestic concerns for a war that is fueling terrorist recruiting? Have we reached the point at which military force must give way to political diplomacy? It’s time to ditch the rhetoric and start using our brains.


  1. I honestly don’t think anyone could have said it better, Bob. You took my thoughts on this and gave them an eloquence I don’t think I could have. Excellent post!

    Comment by Angel — November 19, 2005 @ 6:12 am

  2. Iraq…wasn’t part of the war on terror until we made it so.

    Click here and then here.

    Comment by The Chairman — November 20, 2005 @ 2:42 pm

  3. It appears ABC News was engaging in a little “empty rhetoric,” along with many prominent Democrats, huh, “The Chairman?” 😉

    Comment by Jacke — November 20, 2005 @ 5:32 pm

  4. “Apparently, our military personnel are very fragile, and if we debate U.S. policy regarding the Iraq war, we will hurt their feelings.”


    Comment by wildwest — November 21, 2005 @ 5:38 am

  5. There are many who claim to be speaking for the troops in Iraq as if this were a football game and the players want us to cheer them on. And congressmen waive emails from the troops claiming the average soldier is desperate for victory… the winning touchdown is just 20 yards away.

    I was drafted in 1968 during the Viet Nam war. I think there are some parallels to what is happening today. In Viet Nam one didn’t think about winning, one thought about surviving. Tours of duty were set and everyone began counting the days until they would leave from the day they arrived. A wound was actually welcomed because it meant you got to go home early. For many like myself, the fear of having to kill someone was just as great as the fear of being shot. I was one of the lucky ones, I was made a Battery Clerk and spent my time in an office and didn’t have to shoot anybody or be shot at. War is not a game… it is insanity. In order to survive you have to embrace a certain degree of insanity yourself. And those who have not seen it don’t get it!

    If anyone understands this and has a right to speak out it is John Murtha. And for our draft dodger VP and privileged Pres. (or anyone else who has not experienced war) to question Murtha’s patriotism or courage… this is the great irony of our times. And very tragic times they are.

    Comment by Tony — November 21, 2005 @ 10:13 am

  6. Both the President and Vice President have praised Murtha as a war hero. Try to keep up, Tony.

    I appreciate your service in Viet Nam and thank you for it, but this is still America and everyone has a right to speak.

    Comment by Jacke — November 21, 2005 @ 12:21 pm

  7. In the interests of “keeping up,” here is the story:

    “The administration and Republican lawmakers reacted initially with fury, accusing the highly decorated Marine combat veteran of “cutting and running” and giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    “After a raucous debate in the House of Representatives over these attacks on Nov. 18, however, party leaders appeared to realise that taking on someone with Murtha’s record and stature was a fool’s errand, as an unnamed Republican aide told the Wall Street Journal. “If the House of Representatives want to make Jack Murtha the face of the Democratic Party,” he said, “then Republicans will really be trounced next year.”

    “That appeared to be the assessment by the White House as well. By Sunday, Bush himself was calling Murtha a “fine man, a good man” and insisted that the pros and cons of withdrawal constituted a legitimate subject of debate.

    “In his AEI address, Cheney followed the same line. Murtha, he said, was “a good man, a Marine, a patriot, and he’s taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion”. ”

    Full story here:

    Comment by wildwest — November 22, 2005 @ 12:47 pm

  8. Jack Murtha has a history of this sort of misguided policy. He also pushed for the pullout from Somalia, a suggestion President Clinton took, which Osama bin Laden himself cited as an inspiration for launching terrorist attacks on the United States.

    Respecting his service is one thing, respecting his opinions on policy are another.

    Comment by The Chairman — November 22, 2005 @ 9:30 pm

  9. And calling him a coward is another thing altogether.

    Comment by wildwest — November 23, 2005 @ 9:58 am

  10. Looks like this Murtha thing is now bombing out – a lot of the prominent Democrats are trying to distance themselves from his comments – like Reid, Hillary, and even Kerry.

    Comment by The Chairman — November 23, 2005 @ 7:08 pm

  11. That’s too bad.

    Comment by wildwest — November 24, 2005 @ 9:09 am

  12. Dear brother/sister in Christ:

    A revolution is beginning among young Christians. Ariel Sharon and his son Gilead are the two beasts of Revelation who will persecute Christians for believing we will inherit the holy land. Both names are mentioned in the Bible several times. We need to flee our nations and go to prepare in the high desert wilderness of Kurdistan, the site of ancient Nineveh, where God will protect us during a coming cataclysm. A meteor shower from Arcturus will soon bombard the earth and wipe out Israel, rotating the earth, raising sea levels, shaking the earth. The U.S. will become a hot desert. We will go to Jerusalem, but others will not be able to. Then Jesus will return in the flesh to Jerusalem for at least 40 days. We will have a feast in Jerusalem. We will see his 144,000 resurrected martyrs. A new Christian nation will be formed in the holy land, and last for a thousand years. Jesus will be the king over it, ruling from heaven. I’m sending you a link my new book which is offered free online. It is a scholarly publication 500 pages long but easy to read. It is not from any particular religious persuasion, and urges all Christians to unite and prepare for Jesus. Please send this to your Christian friends, and link to this site from your web site:

    Paul M. Kingery, PhD, MPH

    Comment by Paul Kingery — January 30, 2006 @ 4:32 pm

  13. […] 20 Nov 2005 Republicans on Iraq: Empty Rhetoric Posted by LiteraryTech under Politics , Iraq War   I am a Christian Too >> Republicanson Iraq: Empty Rhetoric: “The Republicans’ rhetoric in reaction to Congressman John Murtha’s bold truth-telling conceals an utter lack of logic. They are trying to play on Americans’ emotions, while acting as through we have no brains. It’s, um, how can I put it, dishonest and reprehensible. […]

    Pingback by Existential Ramble » Republicans on Iraq: Empty Rhetoric — May 8, 2006 @ 5:32 pm

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