November 25, 2007

OPINION - Murtha and Obey: Committed to defeat in Iraq?

Defeatists Murtha and ObeyOnce again, we have the “Defeatist Duo” – Congressmen Jack Murtha and David Obey – demanding that any more money provided to the Pentagon to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan be tied to a timetable (albeit non-binding) for the withdrawal of American forces. They tried this earlier in the year – it didn’t work then and it should not work now. A timetable for withdrawal is merely a blueprint for surrender and defeat. Providing a date-certain to the insurgents and al-Qaida in Iraq gives them hope that if they can survive until that date, they can re-energize their efforts and achieve their goals.

For years, Murtha demanded a change in strategy – and he got it. A year ago, the President appointed General David Petraeus to lead U.S forces in Iraq with the orders to make changes. He also gave the general an additional 20,000 troops to mount the “surge.” That new strategy is beginning to pay off. Al-Qaida in Iraq is on the run, having suffered huge losses at the hands of American troops and Sunni tribes, especially in al-Anbar governorate. Thousands of Iraqis who had fled Baghdad are returning, sectarian violence is down, attacks against Iraqi and American forces are down, electric power generation is higher than before the invasion, oil revenues are up – things are taking on the appearance of success. Murtha should be pleased – he could claim some of the credit.

Unfortunately, Murtha and his colleague Obey have a problem with success and are moving to stifle it. Rather than imposing artificial timetables - and other restrictions on the employment of troops as the President and the Secretary of Defense see fit – they should be anxious to provide the funding to continue what appears to be a successful strategy and ultimately lead to the withdrawal of American forces after a victory rather than declaring defeat and guaranteeing the need to address the problems in the region later, probably at greater cost.

They were right about one thing, however. Taking the lead from Senator Carl Levin, another defeatist, they claimed that the surge was a failure because it did not lead to political reconciliation. This is accurate – the surge is working militarily, but the Democrats and the Republicans are as far apart as they ever were….

You almost have to wonder, “Whose side are these guys on?” Perhaps someone should ask Murtha and Obey just that. Add to that, “Do you want us to win the war in Iraq? Or are you committed to an American defeat to justify your past opposition to the war? Is your political future more important than American interests?”

Am I questioning their patriotism? I won’t know until I hear the answers to the above questions.