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Long and intimate time with Jack Murtha, a 37-year Congressman and "HAWK" who is now challenging the administration.
I highly, highly recommend watching this video (online). I watched it over the weekend (it was posted at afterdowningstreet.org and thanks David Swanson!) and am working up a report with the valuable talking points as presented by Congressman Murtha. Play Video

Jack Murtha Town Hall
Hosted by Rep. Jim Moran
Arlington Virginia JAN 5, 2006
Rep. Jack Murtha and Rep. Jim Moran hold a town hall and listen to the people. It takes a little while to warm up but it was a fantastic example of Democracy in action.

Video: 80 min – Windows Media (WMV) - 209MB

When cowards can't hide they lie.

Murtha's teaching moment for the rest of us:
Don't watch the bouncing ball, read between the lyrics and think for yourselves
At this point in the struggle, there are no wasted efforts nor actions taken in vain when we keep speaking out.
Because the war-starters, war-supporters, war-manipulators are well onto the slippery slope sliding toward discrediting. Their sliding downhill faster and faster ... so fast that there is literally nothing they can do - including starting a second war somewhere else - that will rally disaffected Americans to their cause.
When the national media now publishes presidential and vice-presidential repetions of the "same old, same old," as the "same old same old," you can see that our media is waking up. You can see that the media has become emboldened and appears to moving back to it's proper role as the "4th Estate.".
You can see that Jack Murtha - who has more pre-existing political clout that Cindy Sheehan had in August - is the next to step to the plate and wave a bat at the pitcher and point at the stands in the farthest reaches of center field..
And in the stadium, dang near 70% of the crowd is chanting, "hit it out of the park."
The remainder in the stadium are not hopeful their pitcher can strike Murtha out. They're afraid that Murtha will hit one out no matter what pitch - fastball, slider, knuckleball, trick pitch - is thrown.
The srongest support we can give is to forget that Murtha is a Democrat and realize that he's an American citizen practicing on honoring his highest duty to country - as should we all. Ignoring party politics and the pretense as to who has the highest patriotic philosophy - we return to our simplest roots and support those people whose actions reveal "trustability" and whose actions take a higher profile than cheap words, name-calling and political smearing.
I don't agree with everything Jack Murtha has done as a member of Congress. But I also do not live in the past. Murtha is acting out the essence - the meat and potatoes - of what citizenship means in this country. That's what I expect him to do. That's what I expect all our elected officials to do.
Jack Murtha, I salute you.
Go Jack!
Arthur Ruger
MFSO Washington State Chapter

Congressman Murtha calls for redeployment from Iraq    

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2005             
(Washington D.C.)- Staying the course in Iraq is not an option or a policy.  I believe we must begin discussions for an immediate re-deployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.  I believe it can be accomplished in as little as six months but it must be consistent with the safety of U.S. troops.  We must insist that the Iraqis step up and seize their own destiny.

The public is way ahead of Congress and is thirsting for a new direction. 
Over 70% of the responses I have received are in favor of my re-deployment plan.  The public knows this war cannot be won with words.  Most agree the insurgency cannot be won militarily.  The Iraqis themselves must be the driving force.  Yet we have lost the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.  America wants and DESERVES real answers:  What is the clear definition of success?  Is there a plan?  How much longer and how many more lives?  In short, what is the end game?

Aside from the fact that the original plan to win the peace was flawed, two and a half years later, the indices that would determine the ultimate success of a stable Iraq have not improved.  Electricity and oil production are below pre-war levels, unemployment remains at 60% and insurgent incidents have increased from 150 to over 700 per week.   Average monthly death rates of U.S. service members have grown since the Abu Ghraib prison incidents from 1 per day to almost 4.  Despite the addition of MORE troops, MORE equipment and MORE money, Iraq and the region have become LESS stable over time.  Global terrorism has risen.  What is MORE of the same going to do for Iraq or the region?

Some claim the answer is to put even more troops on the ground, but many of our troops are already on their third deployment, our Army cannot recruit to its current target, even as they lower recruiting standards.  We cannot do this without a draft.
My plan calls for a more rapid turnover of Iraq to the Iraqi people.  General Casey said in a September 2005 hearing, “the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency.”  We have become a catalyst for violence.  A recent poll showed that 80% of the Iraqi public are “strongly opposed” to the presence of coalition troops and 45% believe attacks against Americans are justified.

The Iraqis are a smart and proud people.  They must take control of their country.  My plan motivates the Iraqis to take control, sooner rather than later.

Many callers who initially opposed my plan, after looking at the details, changed their minds, so I encourage people to review my full prepared statement  from Thursday, Nov. 17, and my resolution.

Tue Jan 3, 2006 9:00
Rep. John Murtha, a key Democratic voice who favors pulling U.S. troops from Iraq, said in remarks airing on Monday that he would not join the U.S. military today.
A decorated Vietnam combat veteran who retired as a colonel after 37 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Murtha told ABC News' 'Nightline' program that Iraq 'absolutely' was a wrong war for President George W. Bush to have launched.
'Would you join (the military) today?,' he was asked in an interview taped on Friday.
'No,' replied Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending and one of his party's leading spokesmen on military issues.
'And I think you're saying the average guy out there who's considering recruitment is justified in saying 'I don't want to serve',' the interviewer continued.
'Exactly right,' said Murtha, who drew White House ire in November after becoming the first ranking Democrat to push for a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as it could be done safely.
At the time, White House spokesman Scott McClellan equated Murtha's position with surrendering to terrorists. Since then, Bush has decried the 'defeatism' of some of his political rivals.
In an unusually direct appeal, he urged Americans on December 18 not to give in to despair over Iraq, insisting that 'we are winning' despite a tougher-than-expected fight.
Murtha did not respond directly when asked whether a lack of combat experience might have affected the decision-making of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their former top deputies.
'Let me tell you, war is a nasty business. It sears the soul,' he said, choking up. 'And it made a difference. The shadow of those killings stay with you the rest of your life.' "

Vietnam vet says the Iraq war is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion
WASHINGTON (AP) -- An influential House Democrat who voted for the Iraq war called Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, another sign of growing unease in Congress about the conflict.
"This is the immediate redeployment of American forces because they have become the target," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, one of Congress' most hawkish Democrats.
At times during his remarks to reporters, the decorated Vietnam War veteran and former Marine was choking back tears.
"It is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region," Murtha said.
Murtha, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, has earned bipartisan respect for his grasp of military issues over three decades in Congress.
He said announcing a U.S. withdrawal would provide the Iraqi government with an added incentive to have their own security forces take control of the conflict.
Murtha is a close adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California. For months, Pelosi has pushed for the Bush administration to outline an exit strategy, although she has stopped short of calling for an immediate troop pullout. Some Senate Democrats have called for immediate or phased withdrawal. Murtha's comments came just two days after the Senate voted to approve a statement that 2006 "should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty" to create the conditions for the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Murtha voted to give the president authority to use force against Saddam Hussein in 2002. In recent months, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee defense panel has grown increasingly troubled with the direction of the war and with the Bush administration's handling of it, particularly following reports of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.
"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion," Murtha said.


Murtha on Hardball (MSNBC): Generals tell him 25 years to train troops in Iraq

reposted from poster at DU

Last night I watched Rep. Murtha on Hardball; the man's sincerity and real concern, not politically correct concern, for the troops just shines through. He is a great American. What he said has not received any play in the "lib'rul media" so I thought I would post here too.

I think he told Matthews some things that he did not want to hear. One of the issues they discussed was what Bush meant when he said we would stay "until the job is done." Murtha, almost in horror, said that that was not a plan, and that according to generals he has spoken to in closed meetings that preparing the Iraqi troops for a stable Iraq may take twenty five years.

Twenty five years. Think about it. My youngest child will be 36 years old, technically old enough to have one of her children drafted. My God. What has Bush done?

Here is what he said:

MURTHA: So we've got a position where if we won't redeploy, as I'm suggesting, and let the Iraqis change their own destiny, let them handle their own destiny, we're going to be there for 100 years. I remember one time in the closed hearing, one of the top generals said, "we'll be there for 25 years." I said you saying 25 years? A lot of people think it would take that long.

Please go read this if you missed the show; it is a
very worthwhile read:

Another quote showing that he thinks the casualties we have suffered thus far may be just the tip of the iceberg:

MATTHEWS: What are the military folks you get access to saying about how long it will take if we continue on the president's course, to have an Iraqi army that can defend that government?

MURTHA: I've heard estimates up to 25 years. Now we've already spent $277 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let me give you a figure from Vietnam. Secretary McNamara said in 1963 that it would take us two years to win the war in Vietnam, two years.

In 1965, we had lost 2,100 people in Vietnam. From 1965 until 1972, we lost 55,000 Americans. What I'm saying is, we've lost 2,100 people now and we have become the enemy. Our troops are the targets for the insurgents.

"It's time to punch the clock ... the Battle for America has begun"

Click on link above for an excellent 4 minutes of getting your patriotic fire relit.