Has John Murtha (D-PA) completely lost it?

When I started seeing the “Murtha says pull out like we did in Somalia”-type headlines last night, I thought that critics of the Congressman were projecting a bit. I was wrong.

He really wants a repeat of the Somalia surrender. Seriously. Even with 13 years of hindsight, the guy says it was a good move. Beirut, too. He thinks previous policy is the way to go.

He rambled and wandered and shuffled. He went on and on about how there’s “no plan”. Is there maybe something wrong with him?

He thinks pulling the troops back to Okinawa is the right move. Yes. Okinawa. That’s where he wants to “redeploy” some of those currently in Iraq. He says we can re-deploy from Okinawa to Iraq “almost instantly”. Hahahahah.

Off his rocker. Really.

More at Althouse, Instapundit, Wizbang, Blackfive, and Expose the Left.

I’m considering donating to Murtha’s re-election campaign. Nothing will help his challenger more than Murtha making more public appearances.


  1. The poor guy’s been under so much stress lately.. I think he needs to go to sunny Florida for some R&R and to get away from all the press who are constantly hounding him…

  2. MR. RUSSERT: Cutting and running? (asking about Karl Rove’s comment) REP. MURTHA: He’s, he’s in New Hampshire. He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air conditioned office with his big, fat backside, saying, ‘Stay the course.’ That’s not a plan. I mean, this guy–I don’t know what his military experience is, but that’s a political statement. This is a policy difference between me and the White House. I disagree completely with what he’s saying. Now, let’s, let’s–give me, give you an example. When we went to Beirut, I, I said to President Reagan, ‘Get out.’ Now, the other day we were doing a debate, and they said, ‘Well, Beirut was a different situation. We cut and run.’ We didn’t cut and run. President Reagan made the decision to change direction because he knew he couldn’t win it. Even in Somalia, President Clinton made the decision.

  3. Now now – he has not lost it. He is just attempting to articulate a military policy of no interventions without ironclad assurance of victory (from at least one higher power) without losses. What is so wrong with that? Look at Costa Rica – That is their Armed Forces Doctrine.

  4. …a military policy of no interventions without ironclad assurance of victory’ With all due respect, I submit that would have precluded most any battle in the Revolutionary War (with the exception of Yorktown, possibly), the Doolittle raid, Midway, D-Day, and numerous other battles throughout history. I suppose alot of this depends on your definition of ‘intervened’. An ‘ironclad assurance of victory’ has not always been possible throughout history when faced with the challenges of war, and even today with our galactic advantage in military capability over most of the globe an ‘ironclad assurance of victory’ is not always a given. Its just the nature of the beast. You always try to plan as completely as you can, you always want to try and attack from a position of advantage with superior forces or capabilities, with attention to all the principles of war (blog post coming up on that soon), which makes this ‘redeployment’ idea even more insane. My two cents worth, anyway.

  5. Is there any possibility for victory in Iraq? Will there ever be an Iraqi government that enjoys widespread popular support and command the loyalty of the army? Could someone explain how the victory scenario plays out?

  6. I simply don’t know how to respond to that. Do you actually know ANYTHING about Iraq? We *are* winning. We haven’t won yet. But the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer every day and so far it doesn’t look like an oncoming train to me.

  7. Pinch – Sorry I was going for the irony/ sarcasim entry. Personally, I think Murtha shoved a major body part up a dark hole with that statement. I think he was trying to make the point that the intervention decision can be changed. See Reagan and Clinton did it….and he is right. That said, the fact that Reagan and CLinton changed in the face of new circumstances, in no way relates to the current circumstance. Powell had it right – you break it, you own it. Now we have to fix it. Personally, I thnk both Rumsfield and the Joint Chiefs were right on this one. Rumsfield thought we could defeat Sadam with a small force. He was right. The Joint Chiefs, thought we would need about 300K troops on the ground to win the war. The were right. May6be next time, we can get both sides to put together a working plan. PS: Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949

  8. What I know of Iraq suggests its spiraling out of control, Nicholas. Have you read the recent report by the Iraqi ambassador? I agree with the Powell principle- (as if Powell actually had any principals) that you break it, you own it. However, if you break into someone’s house, by accident or under color of authority.. I think you also have an obligation to leave when your asked. We’ve been asked. we should leave. send money. go to the neighbors and the UN and ask for help. anthing but this bitter ender philosophy. and rumsfeld also seems to think we can occupy and secure the country with a small force. he is not right. We have an obligation to the Iraqi’s to provide basic security. We havent. Thats a violation of the rules of law to which we used to subscribe. Our failure to do so is a war crime. Its also not changing- security is getting worse. And it would be nice if ‘we can get both sides to put together a working plan’ however the people in charge- bushco are responsible for doing so. They have not.

  9. Zapper, not to be argumentative or anything, but last I heard, the democratically elected Iraqi government has not, in fact, asked us to leave. They have, in fact, reiterated their position that they still feel they need our support as they attempt to get a handle on their own security issues. Have you heard otherwise? I recall that we’ve assured them we’d leave when they asked us to. (Could be I’m thinking about a different country, perhaps. Or maybe you are.) And no, a bombing of a senior citizens home somewhere in Iraq does not constitute the Iraqi people wishing we’d immediately disappear and let current conditions take their course. It does, however, constitute a wish to see a bunch of innocent civilians killed because someone felt like killing people as a PR tool.

  10. No, I haven’t read any reports from ambassadors, but I have read plenty of reports from people on the ground (soldiers and reporters) who don’t say anything like it’s ‘spiralling out of control’. Like KTLA, I don’t hear anyone asking us to leave, other than the insurgents and terrorists. 150000+ troops is a small force? To whom? And why don’t you think that’s the right number? References, please. I can give you references to documents like the Marine Corps Small Wars Manual which suggest that’s probably bout the right number. We haven’t provided basic security? Who was it who said ‘he who defends everything defends nothing?’ Newsflash – in an assymmetric war (hell, in all war) you can’t protect everything all the time. Especially when the combatants hide within the population. The security situation is slowly getting better, as the statistics show. It got a lot better right after Z-man ate a JDAM. I hope it stays that way. Security is getting worse? Who says? I’ll check the latest statistics but that doesn’t sound right to me. Who is ‘both sides’? You mean us and the terrorists? I’m confused who you expect to be making a plan.

  11. Well, according to the information at the Brookings institute, the number of bombings have gone up recently, but the number of deaths of coalition soldiers, Iraqi police/army and civilians have all gone down. So, I’m not sure how you can consider that ‘spiralling out of control’. This initiative to clear the nasties out of Baghdad is set to happen soon, I’ll be interested to see how successful that is. If it works well it could put them over the hump.

  12. OK, the main reason I’m not shocked is the stuff that’s in that document is pretty much a mirror of what’s happening in other parts of Iraq. When the terrorists and other assorted thugs realize they can’t defeat the coalition and they can’t defeat the Iraqi government they turn to intimidation of locals, revenge killings, that sort of thing. It’s a classic stage in counter-insurgency warfare. It may get bloody for a while but it’s a sign of desperation and signifies that the situation is getting a little less complex and potentially could be sorted out soon (by soon meaning within a few years). It’s a bit painful going from a tribal dictatorship to a liberal democracy but this is nothing that wouldn’t be expected based on similar situations in the past.

  13. Sorry, I meant ‘what’s happened’. In some areas the terrorists have been defeated and it looks like they’ve ended up in Baghdad. With any luck, they’ll all end up in Baghdad, and they’ll have nowhere left to go. Then the trick is stabilizing it itself. Which won’t be easy, but should be easier than dealing with a whole country… Anyway, I’m not an expert, but that’s based on some books I’ve read by people who are.

  14. Considering we already won in Iraq, Murtha is absolutely right in questioning WHY we’re still there. There is no threat of WMD in Iraq. As I recall, that was the original reason for us to to go in. Saddam Hussein has been deposed. He no longer represents a threat to the region. So Murtha is absolutely within his rights as an elected representative -actually, it’s his duty as a member of an independent branch of the government -to ask why we’re spending billions of taxpayer dollars for a conflict we already won. Not only that, Murtha is and always has been a friend of the military, no matter whether you agree with his current position or not on this subject, and if he thinks continuing to lose dozens of Americans a month for a cause that’s already been decided, then maybe, just maybe, he has a point. I was all for this way when it started. Now I think we’ve lost our way. We lost sight of why we went there, and now we’re there by inertia alone. Damn it, we won the freaking thing! Now the longer we stay, the more we lose.

  15. He really wants a repeat of the Somalia surrender.’ Come on, this is turning history on its head! It’s not hard to find Republican quotes criticizing the Clinton administration for taking too long to withdraw from Somalia. Here are a few I found just doing a quick search: ‘Can we justify more funerals of young Americans based on a policy we cannot define?’ asked Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, an ardent Republican proponent of a rapid withdrawal. ‘Aren’t we staying in Somalia six more months merely to save face?’ ‘The longer we stay the more difficult it will be to leave,’ Mr. McCain said. ‘The loss of American lives is not only tragic, it is needless.’ Look, I’m as worried about what will come after we leave, whenever that is and under what circumstances, as the next person. The question is, at what point do we all realize there are diminishing returns to us staying? Asking a question is NOT un-American, and it does NOT embolden our enemies. Giving them lots of American targets to hone their skills sure doesn’t help us in any way. Right now it’s hard to find an enemy to fight, besides for small-unit actions. I say pull out and wait on the sidelines while they turn on each other. Then when one force has solidified its position, we’ll be waiting to take them out.