News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Murtha: We won the war; now letís bring them home

U.S. Rep. John Murtha is no Michael Moore.

Rep. Murtha, D-Pa., is a three-decade member of Congress, a decorated Vietnam veteran and, in the words of White House press secretary Scott McClellan, "a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America."

Mr. Murtha's credentials include a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. He retired from the Marine Corps reserves as a colonel in 1990 after 37 years as a Marine. He is a friend and advocate of officers at the Pentagon and in the war zone. He travels to Iraq several times a year to assess the war on the ground. He also calls up generals to get firsthand accounts of the progress.

Mr. Murtha, who voted in 2002 to authorize the invasion, has been known as a hawk for all of his 31 years in Congress — until last week.

Usually shunning the spotlight and satisfied to get his work done behind the scenes, Mr. Murtha stepped onto center stage Thursday to call, in an emotional plea, for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

"It's time to bring them home," Mr. Murtha said, choking back tears. "Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty."

He said U.S. troops have become the primary target of the insurgency, and that our continued presence has become a catalyst for violence.

"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion," Mr. Murtha said.

Republicans responded by saying Mr. Murtha advocates a "cut and run" strategy. They said a withdrawal would "wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world" and "be an absolute mistake and a real insult to the lives that have been lost."

Ironically, the GOP position is one that implies the war has been a failure.

Mr. Murtha recognizes that Coalition troops have freed the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and placed them on the road to establishing their own government.

Apparently, Republicans do not consider that to be a victory.

Mr. Murtha also knows that our continued presence has become antagonistic and provides a breeding ground for terrorists. He acknowledges the fact that more American lives are lost each day.

According to the GOP logic, we can honor our war dead only by sacrificing more lives.

It is the same kind of twisted logic President Bush uses when he asserts that we must ensure the peace by continuing a war we had already won two years ago.

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