A few days before the most recent wave of Swiftboating by the Conservative press, Congressman Murtha wrote this at the Huffingtonpost. Here's the text:
According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition, the definition of a civil war is a "war between political factions or regions within the same country." That is exactly what is going on in Iraq, not a global war on terrorism, as the President continues to portray it.Then there's this letter he sent out to his colleagues in December. I won't repost it all, but here are some telling quotations. After having reading them it should be no surprise to any of is in the "Reality-Based Community" that Murtha would be smeared. I am surprised that it took this long. Murtha writes:
93 percent of those fighting in Iraq are Iraqis. A very small percentage of the fighting is being done by foreign fighters. Our troops are caught in between the fighting. 80 percent of Iraqis want us out of there and 45 percent think it is justified to kill American troops.
Iraqis went to the polls in droves on December 15th and rejected the secular, pro-democracy candidates and those who the Administration in Washington propped up. Preliminary vote results indicate that Iyad Allawi, the pro-American Prime Minister, received about 8 percent of the vote and Ahmad Chalabi, Iraq's current Oil Minister and close associate of the U.S. Iraq war planners, received less than 1 percent. According to General Vines, the top operational commander in Iraq, "the vote is reported to be primarily along sectarian lines, which is not particularly heartening." The new government he said "must be a government by and for Iraqis, not sects."
The ethnic and religious strife in Iraq has been going on, not for decades or centuries, but for millennia. These particular explosive hatreds and tensions will be there if our troops leave in six months, six years or six decades. It is time to re-deploy our troops and to re-focus our attention on the real threats posed by global terrorism.
It is next to impossible to say America’s war goals for Iraq are achievable because they shift and change so often. I believe this is one of the main reasons why the American people are turning against this war. They have not been given a clear and convincing set of reasons as to why the continued sacrifice of brave young Americans is vital to our national security interest.And so on. After briefly discussing the December 15 elections, Murtha writes:
The administration is currently on its sixth different explanation as to why this war is necessary. The rationale for conducting the war began with emphatic and unequivocal claims that Saddam Hussein and his regime constituted an imminent threat to America. Over time the rationale morphed to the assertion that the war was necessary to remove a vile dictator and free the Iraqi people. It changed again to “if we don’t fight them in the streets and back alleys of Baghdad and Tikrit, they’ll be here in America wreaking havoc and destruction.” It then shifted to the need to spread democracy in the Middle East, followed by the need to prevent a civil war. We are now told that Iraq is the central front of the war on terror and we can’t depart until Iraqi forces are fully and completely trained to take over our mission and not until “complete victory” is achieved.
At the time of our invasion, it was portrayed that Saddam Hussein was a clear and present danger and an “imminent threat” to America and must be removed before a “mushroom cloud” appeared over American soil. It was also implied that Hussein was somehow linked to Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Of course, as we now know, Saddam had no nuclear weapons and there was no proven link to al-Qaeda.
However this unfolding milestone must be kept in perspective. Holding a free election is not equivalent to having a functioning democracy. Without the robust institutions of a free press, an effective police force, a fair judicial system, and an impartial system of laws and regulations that guarantee equal rights and privileges for all, a nation can’t truly function as a vibrant democracy.So it is hardly surprising that Murtha would find himself a target of the rightwing media's attack dogs. He's laying it all out for everyone to see - the failure and outright duplicity of this administration's foreign policy. For all the strength of the above attack, I would say that there's one sentence that settled his fate with the criminals in the White House. When he wrote that:
Unfortunately, this administration has been seen as inconsistent when it comes to setting a good example for the establishment of these democratic institutions, which has set back our objective immensely. We are widely seen around the world as hypocritical, pursuing a policy in Iraq of “do as I say, not as I do.” The disaster at Abu Ghraib, sending incoherent messages from the very top of the American Government regarding the use of torture, paying for favorable Iraqi news stories, running secret prisons, instituting inconsistent practices on giving prisoners due process rights, and running what many people are beginning to see as a circus trial of Saddam Hussein all hurt US credibility around the world, making it more difficult to achieve this worthy goal. [emphasis in original]
It is time for a vigorous and engaged debate on the administration’s Iraq policy based on substance and facts, not political hyperbole.It pretty much settled things with the Mayberry Machiavellis currently occupying the White House. The last thing these guys want is a "vigorous and engaged debate." Unless of course the outcome of the debate is already decided.