How times change
The raucous congressional debate came after White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan made the absurd charge that Murtha, a consistent hawk who supported both the first Persian Gulf war and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, was “endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party.” His call for a rapid withdrawal of US troops, McClellan said, amounted to “surrender to the terrorists.”The House debate nearly turned into a brawl when Jean Schmidt attacked former Marine Murtha's service record and courage.
McClellan's full statement is worth examining:
Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled -- nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer.So, there we have it. Setting a deadline for stepping up the Iraqi military and stepping down our involvement is "retreating from Iraq" and "surrender to the terrorists."
How times change:
President Bush vowed yesterday to turn over most of Iraq to newly trained Iraqi troops by the end of this year, setting a specific benchmark as he kicked off a fresh drive to reassure Americans alarmed by the recent burst of sectarian violence.Not surprisingly, the cult of Bush has not declared him a Michael Moore-ish surrender-monkey. A conservative radio host writes of the speech "If I have a fault with President Bush and his Iraq policy, it is that he doesn't spend enough time telling the American public what is happening there, and why. He needs to do more of this."
No, the problem isn't how we're talking about the war, but what's actually happening in Iraq. You can talk however you want, but in what authorities describe as "a continuation of the sectarian killings" that have swept Iraq for almost a month, "The gruesome civilian body count continued Tuesday with police discovering 56 dead in and around Baghdad, many of them bearing the marks of torture and execution."
Is that the "hopeful future" President Bush was describing in Iraq?