Saturday, December 10, 2005

Democrats Adopt Murtha Plan for Iraq

I just finished watching John Kasich interview Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) about his plan for Iraq. The plan has been talked about quite a bit over the last few weeks and is pretty simple in theory. The plan as most of you already know is to gradually withdraw our troops to the periphery of Iraq and let the Iraqis takeover security operations for their country. We will then maintain an "over the horizon" reaction force in case the Iraqis really need help.

In the interview Murtha quotes a few poll numbers such as 80 or so percent of Iraqis want us to leave and that 45 percent think it is ok to kill Americans. I am not sure where he saw those poll numbers but I have no doubt that a lot of Iraqis are ready for us to leave. He also states that 93 percent of the insurgency are Iraqis and that Al-Zarqawi and Al-Qaeda are a small problem in comparison. I'm not sure where he gets those numbers or that thought process but for arguments sake I will leave that alone, for now. He goes on to say basically that the military defeated Iraq's Armed Forces and Saddam Hussein is no longer in power but they are not "good nation builders" so they should be withdrawn, post World War II Germany and Japan notwithstanding obviously.

Murtha implies that it is our presence that is causing the insurgency and that if we leave and let the Iraqis takeover he believes everything will be ok. I am not sure if he is clairvoyant or just optimistic but it sounds like a big risk to me. While the Iraqi security forces are getting stronger by the day, military leaders on the ground obviously do not believe they are able to take over completely. We would be doing them as well as the rest of the Iraqi population a great disservice if we left before we were sure the Iraqis can defend themselves.

The end of the interview shed some light on the overall idea, for me anyway. At the end Mr. Kasich says that he hopes that members of government listen to Rep. Murtha. He says that he hopes that they do not agree with Murtha's plan but that everyone listens and works together for the best course of action for victory. Then Murtha states that they are already listening and they are starting to talk about drawing down the number of troops, but they just are not doing it as fast as he would like.

Sounded a lot like he was trying to sneak in a bit of credit for the troop reduction talk of the last week or so. As you very well know some military leaders have been saying that there is a possibility that troop reduction can start after the December 15th election if all goes well. There you have it. When troop reduction starts the democrats are going to be the first to stand up and take credit. If the Iraqi security forces continue to perform well they will claim they were right and we should have left long ago. It was only Haliburton greed that kept us there for so long.

At any rate it seems that after some democrats rebuked DNC chairman Howard Dean for stating that the war in Iraq was unwinnable they have decided to adopt Murtha's plan as a rallying point for cohesion. Earlier today DNC chairman Howard Dean gave a speech in Florida where he pretty much echoed Murtha's plan for Iraq. He stated that Democrats were not divided and they were committed to winning the war on terror. He also believes that U.S. troops need to be in the region to deal with insurgents but not in Iraq.

Fact is they are starting to realize they are not going to be able to force a premature withdrawal with which they could blame Bush for losing the war and that Bush has been right all along. Foster an environment where Iraqis can choose their own leaders, train an Iraqi police force and military to defend themselves and then come home. That is the only logical course of action. Of course there have been some setbacks and mistakes made along the way but no plan is perfect. We have to trust the military leaders on the ground that are assessing the Iraqi troops. They will know when they are ready and we do not need politicians second guessing their judgement, much like politicians were want to do in the war Congressman Murtha fought.
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