ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Someone deserving of the term "Chickenhawk"

It looks like Murtha has once again put his foot in his mouth. His call for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq dealt a political blow to the Dems, who still had a few gallons of gasoline in the tank on attacking Bush on the lack of WMDs and the "ineffectiveness" of US strategy in Iraq. Murtha's call for withdrawal changed the subject and insured that sympathetic independents would switch their support to Bush on the issue. These independents, while not getting an accurate picture of the successes in Iraq, recognize that we have to see the mission through. This opened the door for Bush to proclaim the successes thus far and point to the democratic elections in Iraq as an indication of the importance of our mission.

Well, now Murtha exacerbates the problem with this statement:

Murtha says he wouldn't join military now
Tue Jan 3, 2006 9:00 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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.

The Democrats aren't exactly seen as being big supporters of the military. And when one of their pols that they routinely use to prove that they have a fighting spirit admits that he's less confident of our military prowess than he was when we were in Vietnam, this does not bode well for the Dems. Perhaps it does in midtown Manhattan, but not on Main Street.

And since Murtha actually supported the resolution which authorized military action in Iraq, I suppose I now can accurately call Murtha a Chickenhawk - willing to send others to fight and die while admitting that he'd be unwilling to do the same.

See GatewayPundit as well --> Gateway Pundit: Rep. Murtha Urges Recruits "Not" to Join Military

Hmmm, for some reason, Steve Gilliard at The News Blog doesn't see things the same way.

*** UPDATE 1 ***
In response to one of the commenters, I will concede that I do agree with Murtha on one point. It IS time to end the occupation and move our forces home (or over the horizon). But, let's make sure we're not withdrawing them or redeploying them from some place that they're absolutetly needed. I posted several weeks ago on an email I received from one of the soldiers deployed in a foreign land. It's time to end the occupation.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (6)
IRR Soldier... said...

After some soul searching, I agree with EVERYTHING that Rep. Murtha said. Upon reflection, I don't believe that I would enlist in the Army today, given what I know concerning OPTEMPO, personnel shortages, stop-loss and the like. When I enlisted in 1995, it was a different world and a six month tour to Bosnia, where no one died, was about as "rough and tumble" a deployment as you could get. Christ, in August of 2001, while in the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain, the most "shit-hot" mission the Army had was KOSOVO!! Now, that assignment is considered a third-tier NG assignment.

Let's see, a young person enlisting today for a four year hitch can realistically expect to spend three combat tours downrange with the third involving some type of "stop-loss" extending the original commitment. Why on earth would I volunteer or encourage a loved one to volunteer for such a venture, when we have a civilian leadership that refuses to permanently increase the size of the Army or USMC by even one person?

More to the point, we are actively contemplating cutting the ARNG by 30,000 people as there appears no slow down in the need for deployable personnel.

The burden borne by the Active component will only increase, as virtually every reserve BDE sized element has reached or will reach their 24 month COTTAD cap by mid FY 2007. After that, the USAR and ARNG will be "human spackle" to fill force structure holes and will not be able to deploy organic units unless Congress changes the law - It won't, nor should it.

John Murtha has a tremendous amount of credibility on Capitol Hill and much of the Reagan era buildup is directly owed to his efforts in the House. Lest we forget that reagan BUILT UP the military with a DEMOCRATIC house and senate. More than one observer has said that on defense issues, Reagan had no better friend in Congress than Jack Murtha.

He has served our nation in combat and was twice wounded. The citizens of his blue-collar Pennsylvania district have already borne a disproportionate share of the sacrifice in this war. Why should he encourage MORE sacrifice from the families of Altoona and Johnstown that he represents, when no sacrifice is being asked of the rest of the nation. Other than a single oblique reference, the POTUS has never asked for volunteerism from the American public to enlist or share in the common defense.

I take great issue when loaded words like "treason" are thrown about by commissioned officers who fail to see that that the Army is collapsing around them. The 5,000 CPT and 3,700 LT vacancies in the USAR are growing, ROTC enrollment has fallen by 26% in a year and CPT attrition, even with stop-loss is keeping pace with the record percentage of seperations seen during 2000-01.

The fact is that we need a larger Army and instead, we have an obstinate leadership (civilian and uniformed) that refuses to acknowledge this obvious reality. The fact is that all through '99 and '00, some of today's biggest "stay the course" champions were featured every week in the Army Times lamenting the fact that 6 month Bosnia and Sinai rotations were "breaking" the force. Now, my old battalion, the 2-14 Infantry, is prepping for its THIRD deployment to OIF. This is simply too much sacrifice to ask from a handful of citizens.

The fact is that John Murtha, no matter what you say about him, speaks for a large number of serving and retired senior officers. Anyone that objectively looks at our personnel situation - particularly in the commissioned ranks - will come to the same conclusion.

If we will not grow the Army and send the same folks back three times in a single enlistment, no, I would not encourage anyone to join the Army today.

Does it hurt me to say this? Hell, Yes. Do I mean it? Damn straight!

Branedy said...

I was going to comment, but irr_soldier did a much better job than I could. I agree with Murtha, I would not join either. Why, take a look at the real chickhawk setting in the 'CiC' seat.

Enough said!

St Wendeler said...

Interesting analysis IRR Soldier. You say that we need to have an increased military, yet the blog to which you link,, actively seeks to prohibit any recruiting activity and "an end to US military expansion," so I think we get an idea of your thoughts on military service in general. The cover image of this magazine which is promoted by the site speaks volumes about your true intentions.

Let's face facts... Murtha wants us to abandon our soldiers in the field - and he had a part in putting those soldiers in the field. Not only would this be a devastating blow to all of those that have sacrificed so much to deliver this nascent democracy to the Middle East, but it would also betray freedom-loving Iraqis - some of whom were already betrayed by the US after the first Gulf war. Finally, it would be a triumphant moment for Al Qaeda, which has not had much in the way of good news (from their twisted perspective) in several years.

The transformation of the Middle East and the spread of freedom is a noble goal. As documented by our friend, Jim Hoft at the Gateway Pundit, the number of civilian deaths under Saddam does not even compare to the number of deaths since March, 2003.

I will say that I do agree with Murtha in one regard - it IS time for the US to relocate it's forces. Let's get them out of Germany and other useless locations and either bring them home or send them where they are truly needed (Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Phillippines, Indonesia, etc, etc). After all, the occupation of Germany is now in its 60th year - isn't it time that we reconsider our presence there?

IRR Soldier.... said...

St Wendeler,

You castigate John Murtha for wanting to "abandon" our troops while you lack even the most basic understanding of where our current forces are arrayed, where they have deployed to and what their missions have been.

Let's go point by point.

1) You call our forces based in Germany "useless." Are you aware that virtually every deployable unit in US Army Europe has deployed to Iraq for AT LEAST a year and that most are preparing for a second one year deployment? That's right armchair general, the 1st Armored Division, 1st Infantry Division, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Vincenza, Italy), 5th Corps, 30th Medical Brigade et al. have all been to Iraq. Your insinuation that these soldiers "are doing nothing" in Europe is the height of disinformation. Perhaps you should spend some time over at learning a thing or two about the troops you purportedly support.

2)Murtha wants to "abandon" troops in the field. Interesting. Are you aware that his Pennsylvania district has borne a disproporationate share of the killed and wounded in this conflict. ( has a great breakdown of casualties by city and state) Are you aware that he has attended EVERY funeral for a constituent killed in Iraq? He is hardly "abandoning" anyone. He is expressing a reality, privately expressed by many senior officers, in order to save the US Army, we must quickly reconsider the diminishing returns brought by sending forces back for their third, 0ne-year tour. Let me make this perfectly clear - a third year long deployment will BREAK the Army's mid-career NCO Corps. If any abandonment is happening it is by folks like you who refuse to recognize the need for a larger military.

3) Like it or not, the Army has a 24 month cap on involuntary mobilizations of USAR and ARNG personnel. I DARE you to refute my thesis that our cupboard will run bare of deployable Brigade sized reserve forces by March/April of 2007. It will. Unless you have some bold idea to make up for this loss of personnel, the active duty Army and USMC cannot maintain more than a 113,000 troop presence in Iraq and A'stan by themselves. FYI, the last fresh USMC Reserve Infantry battalion was deployed to Iraq in July of 2005. We have run out of people.

4)I link to because it is an interesting site and was intended to provoke thought ... one can't grow on a steady diet of folks that only agree with them. That is not my site and if you scroll through the archives, you will see that my comments, under the same screenname, pretty consistently explain the Army is overstrectched and that we should reconsider the draft.

That's about all I have to say to you. Your Germany comments speak volumes about your lack of understanding who comprises the US Army and what they do in our name. Again, those folks in Germany have all been to Iraq and when you get down to it, it wouldn't mean a damn thing if they deployed to Iraq or A'stan from Georgia or North Carolina instead of Schweinfurt or Kaiserslautern.

St Wendeler said...

I am very familiar of the role that the troops in Germany play for three reasons:
1 - A friend of my family died in Germany in a traffic accident after serving one tour in Iraq and prior to redeploying to Iraq for his second.

2 - My brother-in-law (featured on this blog multiple times) served in Qatar, Iraq, and Afghanistan, transporting US and coalition troops (as well as injured civilians) to medical facilities around the world, including those in Germany. He was recently awarded a distinguished service medal for his efforts.

3 - I lived in Germany (just west of Kaiserslautern) and was greeted warmly by Germans when they found out I was American.

Please don't lecture me on the role of our forces... My point is that we have forces deployed around the world and the cries to withdraw them from Iraq are idiotic given the critical nature of the mission there. However, we have yet to withdraw from Germany, Korea, Japan, or Bosnia, so I'm not sure as to why you're so eager to leave Iraq - where there is truly a need for military force.

Yes, Murtha attends funerals for soldiers from his district. I applaud him for that. Bush does not get similar credit for visiting the wounded and family members of heroes killed in the line of duty - just partisan attacks. Despite his sympathy for the fatalities, Murtha is not expressing reality when he proposes removing our forces from in country and redeploying them over the horizon (as a rapid reaction force). Once Al Qaeda strengthens its positions in Iraq, it would be impossible for us to go back in to Iraq, especially with "supporters" such as yourself.

Yes, the recruiting situation is difficult... especially given the increased recruting goals of each branch of service. However, the Army was recently able to offer increased incentives to recruits (thanks to the other branches reducing theirs) with the goal of increasing the force levels where needed.

I did not claim that was your site (re-read my comment), but it does show your unwillingness to even allow our military to recruit volunteers. Imposing a draft is the worst solution imaginable, as volunteer armies have destroyed conscripted forces throughout history.

And your final sentence proves my point:
Again, those folks in Germany have all been to Iraq and when you get down to it, it wouldn't mean a damn thing if they deployed to Iraq or A'stan from Georgia or North Carolina instead of Schweinfurt or Kaiserslautern.

Exactly... if it doesn't mean a damn thing for them to be in Germany instead of North Carolina, why not opt for the latter?

Welcome to Another Rovian Conspiracy and thanks for the comments, by the way.

Brian said...

When I enlisted in 1995, it was a different world and a six month tour to Bosnia, where no one died, was about as "rough and tumble" a deployment as you could get. Christ, in August of 2001, while in the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain, the most "shit-hot" mission the Army had was KOSOVO!! Now, that assignment is considered a third-tier NG assignment.

Let's see, a young person enlisting today for a four year hitch can realistically expect to spend three combat tours downrange with the third involving some type of "stop-loss" extending the original commitment.

So is your point, Irr soldier, that when you enlisted in the Army you didn't expect to serve in combat, and that played a role in your decision, and now that its likely a soldier will actually, you know, be in combat, you wouldn't recommend someone enlist?

Let me guess, the Army is just a "jobs program" to you isn't it?

The military exists for one thing. Combat.

ARC: Brian