Independent Christian Voice

Friday

Making it personal: GOP vilifies war-hero congressman who takes a stand

Yesterday, Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a top Democrat who backed the war from the beginning now says it's time to bring them home. The Associated Press reported:

"Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency," Rep. John Murtha said Thursday. "They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."

As a Vietnam veteran and top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee with close ties to many military officers, the 30-year Pennsylvania lawmaker carries more credibility with his colleagues on the issue than a number of other Democrats who have opposed the war from the start.

"Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty," Murtha told reporters at news conference with a half-dozen American flags arrayed behind him.

"It's time to bring them home," he said.

You can tell that the administration felt the sting of this criticism more than that of their chronic nemeses. They immediately unleashed the hounds to begin the smear campaign. Here's a sampling:
  • "Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America," said White House press secretary Scott McClellan, with Bush in South Korea for a meeting with Asian leaders. "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," McClellan said.
  • Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, a 29-year Air Force veteran who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for nearly seven years, called Murtha's position unconscionable and irresponsible.
  • "They want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
  • Majority Leader Roy Blunt, R-Mo., told Murtha that his views "only embolden our enemies" and lamented that "Democrats undermine our troops in Iraq from the security of their Washington, D.C., offices."
  • Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, said the likes of Murtha want to take "the cowardly way out."
  • Republican Representative Kay Granger of Texas called Murtha's remarks "reprehensible and irresponsible." (Sources: AP, Chicago Tribune, StarTribune, CBC)
Surely, it can't be possible for someone to take a principled position against the Bush war effort, right? Not according to Bush disciples in Congress and right-wing media. What the above quoted partisans are saying is (essentially what Bush has said along) that you are either supportive of the war and the president or you support the terrorists. Dissent is treason, in their warped sense of reality. Republicans like to talk about getting back to the original intent of the Founding Fathers. Perhaps they should go back and read some of those Founding Fathers' writings on the value and importance of dissent (as well as checks and balances); they might be surprised. Another page right out of the Rove playbook is not to answer your opponent with respectful, reasoned debate (using things like facts, evidence and sound logic) but rather to make it personal with feckless smears and vitriolic attacks. It's sad and pathetic. And it's why the White House and Congress have such miserable job approval ratings by the American people.

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