A Message to my fellow voters (Nov. 7th)
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) is the ranking member on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.
Democrats recognize that we're headed for a far greater disaster in Iraq if we don't change course -- and soon. This is not defeatism. This is realism.
Our troops who are putting their lives on the line deserve a plan that matches our military prowess with diplomatic and political skill. They deserve a clear and achievable mission and they deserve to know precisely what it will take to accomplish it. They deserve answers, not spin.
. . . .We Democrats are determined to restore our nation's military strength, refocus on the real terrorist threat, bolster security safeguards at home and reestablish the credible standing we once had in the world. That is not defeatist. It is a call to formulate and execute a winning game plan for the War on Terror
. . . . The administration's "stay-the-course" strategy is not a plan for victory. It's not even a plan. All we have is a new military blueprint to keep 140,000 troops in Iraq through 2010.
The United States is about to begin its fifth year of occupation and fighting in Iraq. That makes this war longer than U.S. participation in World Wars I and II, and longer than the Korean War and our own Civil War. With every year of occupation, our efforts to fight global terrorism and our military's readiness to fight future wars have further deteriorated, along with our standing in the world. Meanwhile, the radical Islamic cause wins more and more recruits.
. . . but can anyone living in the real world deny that these statistics are heading in the wrong direction? Yet despite this bleak record of performance, the president continues to stand by his team of failed architects, preferring to prop them up instead of demanding accountability.
. . . . We are seeing an astonishing and unprecedented parade of retired U.S. generals calling for a new direction in Iraq. These are voices of bravery, experience, conscience and loyalty. These are men who have been taught to look coldly and objectively at the facts of bloodshed. Can they all be wrong? How about the 15 intelligence agencies that recently offered the opinion that this war has not made us safer? Are they all defeatists? Are they to be ignored?
. . . . Democrats are fighting a war on two fronts: One is combating the spin and intimidation that defines this administration. The other is fighting to change course, to do things better, to substitute smart, disciplined strategy for dogma and denial in Iraq.
That's not defeatism. That's our duty.