With apologies to the Brady Bunch for the headline, here’s a link dump about pro-retreat Congressman John Murtha (D-IsForDefeat) and his plans to control (read undermine) our military efforts in Iraq. Oh yeah, there’s a little thrown in along the way about Nancy Pelosi and the bulk of the Congressional Democrats.
REP. JOHN MURTHA (D-Pa.) has a message for anyone who spent the week following the House of Representatives’ marathon debate on Iraq: You’ve been distracted by a sideshow. “We have to be careful that people don’t think this is the vote,” the 74-year-old congressman said of the House’s 246-182 decision in favor of a resolution disapproving of President Bush’s troop surge. “The real vote will come on the legislation we’re putting together.” That would be Mr. Murtha’s plan to “stop the surge” and “force a redeployment” of U.S. forces from Iraq while ducking the responsibility that should come with such a radical step.
Mr. Murtha has a different idea. He would stop the surge by crudely hamstringing the ability of military commanders to deploy troops. In an interview carried Thursday by the Web site MoveCongress.org, Mr. Murtha said he would attach language to a war funding bill that would prohibit the redeployment of units that have been at home for less than a year, stop the extension of tours beyond 12 months, and prohibit units from shipping out if they do not train with all of their equipment. His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to “stop the surge.” So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of the appropriations bill — an action Congress is clearly empowered to take — rather than try to micromanage the Army in a way that may be unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations that he is trying to do what he is trying to do. “What we are saying will be very hard to find fault with,” he said.
Mr. Murtha’s cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about conditions in Iraq.
The party of John Murtha shamelessly seeks to defund and defeat U.S. troops on the battlefield and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The Congress the terrorists wanted is doing their bidding.
There’s a reason the founders of this country designated a single commander in chief and placed the responsibility to wage war in the hands of the president. We saw recently the futility of having 100 commanders in chief when the Senate tried to pass a resolution of disapproval of the war in Iraq and couldn’t agree on the terms of our surrender.
Now it’s the House of Representatives’ turn, led by Rep. John Murtha, who believes the fine young men and women we send to defeat terror and our sworn enemies are cold-blooded killers. While the House works on its own nonbinding resolution, Murtha has bigger plans and considers such a resolution only a prelude to the real battle in March over appropriations for the war.
As we’ve noted on several occasions, Democratic talk of “redeployment” has encouraged terrorist groups around the world.
Jihad Jaara, a senior member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, said before the 2006 vote: “Americans should vote Democratic,” adding that “it is time the American people support those who want to take them out of the Iraqi mud.” The statement could have come from Murtha, Kerry, Hillary or any number of Democrats.
We find it scary that the Democratic and terrorist game plans are indistinguishable.
My pondering is as follows: is Murtha’s legislation regarding training, rotations and equipment going to apply to the Afghan theater? You know, the campaign the Dems supposedly support. I don’t see how he’d be able to separate the two without setting himself up for a constitutionally-backed debacle. He may be able to affect funding policy, but it’s highly unlikely that he could do so only in a particular theater without blatantly overstepping the established role of the president as commander in chief.
But wait, there’s much, much more.
There is a straightforward way for Congress to end a war: Cut off its entire funding. Congress has the power of the purse, the most important lever of legislative influence in the Anglo-American tradition. But House Democrats donâ€™t want to wield this power because theyâ€™re afraid it will expose them to charges of defunding the troops. So they are resorting to an unconstitutional expedient instead.
Murtha repeatedly says in the webcast that his proposals are meant to â€œprotectâ€ the troops. But he is frank about the not-so-ulterior motive of keeping more troops from heading to Iraq, explaining that â€œthey wonâ€™t be able to do the work.â€ Because his provisions can be sold as guaranteeing the readiness and quality-of-life of the troops, Murtha believes that they â€œwill be very hard to find fault with.â€
Only if one ignores our constitutional scheme. The president, not Congress, is the commander in chief. Congress was never meant to, nor is it suited to, direct tactical military decisions, as Murtha seeks to do with his restrictions.
Arguably, his maneuver will be the most blatant congressional intrusion on the presidentâ€™s war-making powers in the nationâ€™s history. Congress choked off the Vietnam War in the 1970s, but only after U.S. ground troops were mostly already out of the country and chiefly as a matter of cutting off aid to South Vietnam.
Just as disturbing is Murthaâ€™s cynical reliance on failure in Iraq as a political strategy.
Hat tip to Blackfive, who calls it a must-read. I agree, if only for the disheartening notion later on in the column about what political fallout may result from this constitutional end-around.
After 16 undistinguished terms in Congress, Rep. John P. Murtha at long last felt his moment had arrived. He could not keep quiet the secret Democratic strategy that he had forged for the promised “second step” against President Bush’s Iraq policy (after the “first step” of a nonbinding resolution of disapproval). In an interview last Thursday with the antiwar Web site MoveCongress.org, he revealed plans to put conditions on funding of U.S. troops. His message: I am running this show.
Indeed he is. Murtha and his ally House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were humiliated last Nov. 16 when the Democratic caucus overwhelmingly voted against Murtha as majority leader. Three months later, Murtha has shaped party policy that would cripple Bush’s Iraq troop surge by placing conditions on funding. That represents the most daring congressional attempt to micromanage ongoing armed hostilities since the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War challenged President Abraham Lincoln.
PROVIDING aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime is treason. It’s not “just politics.” It’s treason.
And signaling our enemies that Congress wants them to win isn’t “supporting our troops.”
The “nonbinding resolution” telling the world that we intend to surrender to terrorism and abandon Iraq may be the most disgraceful congressional action since the Democratic Party united to defend slavery.
The vote was a huge morale booster for al Qaeda, for Iraq’s Sunni insurgents, and for the worst of the Shia militias.
The message Congress just sent to them all was, “Hold on, we’ll stop the surge, we’re going to leave – and you can slaughter the innocent with our blessing.”
We’ve reached a low point in the history of our government when a substantial number of legislators would welcome an American defeat in Iraq for domestic political advantage.
And a word about those troops: It’s going to come as a shock to the massive egos in Congress, but this resolution won’t hurt morale – for the simple reason that our men and women in uniform have such low expectations of our politicians that they’ll shrug this off as business as usual.
This resolution has teeth, though: It’s going to bite our combat commanders. By undermining their credibility and shaking the trust of their Iraqi counterparts, it makes it far tougher to build the alliances that might give Iraq a chance.
If you were an Iraqi, would you be willing to trust Americans and risk your life after the United States Congress voted to abandon you?
Emphasis in original. Ralph Peters is perhaps my favorite columnist and, as I’ve repeatedly said, I’m always happy to link to his incisive efforts.
The Middle East is a crazy place and a tough nut to crack, but the myth of the unbeatable Islamist insurgent is merely a lazy and more neurotic update of the myth of the unbeatable communist guerrilla, which delusion led to so much pre-emptive surrender in the ’70s. Nevertheless, in the capital city of the most powerful nation on the planet, the political class spent last week trying to craft a bipartisan defeat strategy, and they might yet pull it off. Consider this extraordinary report from the Washington Post:
“Democratic leaders have rallied around a strategy that would fully fund the president’s $100 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but would limit his ability to use the money. . . . The plan is aimed at tamping down calls from the Democrats’ liberal wing for Congress to simply end funding for the war.
“The Murtha plan, based on existing military guidelines, includes a stipulation that Army troops who have already served in Iraq must be granted two years at home before an additional deployment. . . . The idea is to slowly choke off the war by stopping the deployment of troops from units that have been badly degraded by four years of combat.”
So “the Murtha plan” is to deny the president the possibility of victory while making sure Democrats don’t have to share the blame for the defeat. But of course he’s a great American! He’s a patriot! He supports the troops! He doesn’t support them in the mission, but he’d like them to continue failing at it for a couple more years. As John Kerry wondered during Vietnam, how do you ask a soldier to be the last man to die for a mistake? By nominally “fully funding” a war you don’t believe in but “limiting his ability to use the money.” Or as the endearingly honest anti-war group MoveCongress.org put it, in an e-mail preview of an exclusive interview with the wise old Murtha:
“Chairman Murtha will describe his strategy for not only limiting the deployment of troops to Iraq but undermining other aspects of the president’s foreign and national security policy.”
“Undermining”? Why not? To the Slow-Bleed Democrats, it’s the Republicans’ war. To an increasing number of what my radio pal Hugh Hewitt calls the White-Flag Republicans, it’s Bush’s war. To everyone else on the planet, it’s America’s war. And it will be America’s defeat.
Whew! When these columns and editorials are taken as a whole, that’s an awful lot of sudden double-takes by the media at the efforts of Murtha. Well, maybe not so sudden for Peters and Steyn at least.
It’s also a lot of words that should inspire a great deal of anger in the reader. Hey, why not relax a bit from the news and opinions with a look at the comics section. Flopping Aces brings the related editorial cartoons. Yeah, they don’t look too highly on Murtha and the Dems either. Hat tip to Hyscience.