Monday, November 28, 2005

Alex Cocburn: How the Dems Undercut Murtha

Thanks to Alex for highlighting the Democrats' unwillingness to stand behind Murtha despite the recognition that the great majority of the country agrees with him. Cockburn however, like every other commentator I've seen thus far, is loath to mention, much less explore, the possibility that the Dems' silence is due to the influence of the Zionists on their party because they are still clinging to the war as good for Israel, never mind what it's doing to the US, the world, and the Middle East.

Is there a better explanation for Hillary's and Schumer's silence, the silence of all the NY Congressional delegation including hi profile liberals such as Nadler, Maloney, Rangel and more on Iraq. According to Cockburn, Nancy Pelosi was about to call a press conference rallying behind Murtha, but changed her mind. Who do we think got to her? --Ronald
Weekend Edition
November 26 / 27, 2005

He Pointed the Way Out; They Chopped Off His Hand
How the Democrats Undercut John Murtha

Here we have one of the most widely derided presidents in the history of the United States and a war abhorred by a majority of all Americans and the Democrats have near zero traction as a credible party of opposition. The sequence of events after Representative Jack Murtha's speech on Capitol Hill on November 17 tells the story.

It truly was a great speech, as the Marine veteran (37 years in the US Marine Corps, then 31 years in Congress) actually delivered it with extempore additions to the prepared text handed out after his news conference.

Listen to Murtha and you are hearing how the US commanders in Iraq really see the situation. Murtha is trusted by the military and has visited Iraq often. "Many say the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on a third deployment. Recruitment is down even as the military has lowed its standards. They expect to take 20 percent category 4, which is the lowest category, which they said they'd never take. Much of our ground equipment is worn out."

On Iraq's condition: "Oil production and energy production are below prewar level. You remember they said that was going to pay for the war, and it's below prewar level. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation. Only $9 billion of $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment is 60 percentClean water is scarce and they only spent $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects.

"And, most importantly -- this is the most important point ­ incidents have increased from 150 a week to over 700 in the last year."

Then, amid his tears, came Murtha's sketches of war's consequences in today's America:

"Now, let me personalize this thing for youI have a young fellow in my district who was blinded and he lost his foot. And they did everything they could for him at Walter Reed, then they sent him home. His father was in jail; he had nobody at home -- imagine this: young kid that age -- 22, 23 years old -- goes home to nobody. V.A. did everything they could do to help him. He was reaching out, so they sent him -- to make sure that he was blind, they sent him to John Hopkins. John Hopkins started to send him bills. Then the collection agency started sending billsImagine, a young person being blinded, without a foot, and he's getting bills from a collection agency."

And finally, Murtha's call for rapid pullout of US troops from Iraq capped by one of the most amazing resumes of political reality ever administered to an audience on Capitol Hill:

"I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis. I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid-December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice: The United States will immediately redeploy -- immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free, free from a United States occupation. And I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process."

This was no wimp. This was a 73-year old Marine veteran with Purple Hearts and Bronze Star, one of the Armed Forces' most constant supporters. What more credible advocate a speedy end to an unpopular war could the Democrats ever hope for?

Barely had he stopped speaking before the halls of Congress echoed with the squeaks Democrats whimpering with panic as they skipped clear of Murtha's shadow. Emboldening the White House to savage Murtha, John Kerry hurried before the cameras of MSNBC to frag the Pennsylvania congressman and to tell Chris Mathews how he, John Kerry, had a better plan, involving something in the nature of a schedule for withdrawal possibly limping into action in 2006.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats' leader in the House abruptly retreated from a scheduled pres conference to express support for Murtha. Scenting weakness, the Republicans put up a resolution calling for withdrawal now. Democratic panic escalated into pell mell retreat, shouting back over their shoulders that they weren't going to fall for such a dirty Republican trick. Why not? What better chance will they get to go on record against the war? In the end just three Democrats (Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, Jose Serrano of New York, and Robert Wexler of Florida voted for immediate withdrawal and six voted "present"). McKinney put it starkly:

"I will not vote to give one more soldier to the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney war machine. A vote on war is the single most important vote we can make in this House. I understand the feelings of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who might be severely conflicted by the decision we have to make here tonight. But the facts of US occupation of Iraq are also very clear."

They may be clear to McKinney, and Murtha and 60 per cent of the American people, but not to the three Democratic Senators interested in the presidential nomination in 2008. Even after Murtha's lead Russell Feingold continued to mumble about the "target date" for withdrawal being 2006, as does Kerry. For her part Hillary Clinton announced at the start of Thanksgiving week that an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be "a big mistake" which "would cause more problems for us in America. It will matter to us if Iraq totally collapses into civil war, if it becomes a failed state"

The importance of Murtha's speech was that it vaulted over these laboriously prudent schedules into the reality of what is actually happening in Iraq. As his military sources in Iraq most certainly urged him to point out, the main fuel for the Sunni Arab insurgency is foreign occupation. So long as it continues the resistance is likely to go on. . The idea that the Sunni taking part in the election somehow means a shift from military action is also baloney.

Would there actually be a power vacuum if US withdrew, followed by civil war, as is widely argued in the U.S.? The Sunni can't take Baghdad. They can't penetrate the main Kurdish and Shia areas. How exactly is the US military preventing a civil war at the moment? The refusal of the Shia to retaliate is the most important factor here and this is primarily the result of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani standing firmly against it.

Now suppose Sistani calls for a withdrawal? Then the US and Britain will have little choice but to go, probably over an 18 month period. This very week, incidentally, a gathering in Cairo of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish leaders (under the auspices of the Arab League) called for a timetable for US withdrawal and also said that Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right to resistance." The Sunni are not going to stop fighting while the occupation continues. The quid pro quo for the US leaving would presumably be a ceasefire by the Sunni and an end to suicide bombing attacks.

All those Democratic Party withdrawal dates are predicated on the idea that Iraqi army security forces will be built up and can take over. This scenario is as unrealistic as calls to "internationalize" the occupying force. All the evidence is that only an agreement on the departure of the US will lead to an end to the armed resistance, just as Murtha said. The idea that the Sunni taking part in the election somehow means a shift from military action is also baloney. It is clearly an 'Armalite and ballot box' strategy.

The Evolving Postures of Prof. Juan Cole

First the professor from the University of Michigan, influential in liberal circles as an expert on Iraq, said he wanted withdrawal. Then he said that to urge withdrawal would be advocacy of genocide. Then this, on his website. Can you figure out what he wants?

Cockburn Misrepresents Cole

Alexander Cockburn says in his piece in The Nation: 'Cole says to The Nation Institute's Tom Engelhardt that for the United States to "up and leave" Iraq would be to become an accomplice to genocide. He counsels the heightened use in Iraq of "special forces and air power." In other words, assassinations and saturation bombing.'

Cockburn is referring to my interview with Tom Engelhardt.

I actually haven't called for any assassinations or saturation bombing, and Mr. Cockburn's "In other words" is just a trite way to open up a mendacious smear.

For the thousandth time, what I have in mind is that in the wake of a substantial drawdown of US troops (which I think advisable), a civil war may well break out in Iraq. It is also likely that Sunni Arab militiamen will attempt to kill the members of the current government. (I mean, they are already trying to kill them, they just aren't usually succeeding.)


Post a Comment

<< Home