My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


The Surrender Caucus Has Announced

or . . .

How Far We Have Fallen

One of Congress' most hawkish and influential Democrats called Thursday for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, sparking bitter and personal salvos from both sides in a growing Capitol Hill uproar over President Bush's war policies.

"It's time to bring them home," said Rep. John Murtha, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, choking back tears during remarks to reporters. "Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty."

Now, I realize others, most notably the Instapundit, have found the record of Rep. Murtha going this route once before. But I don't remember it getting the MSM attention that this little flight of fancy got, and I don't think it came as a response to an aggressive campaign by the White House to defend its policy, except in the context of the campaign. At any rate, there is no way around the reality that this got major play in the media tonight, which makes this the Democratic position, for now.

In other words, until Joe Lieberman, or someone like him, comes out and says that the Democratic Party is not in favor of an immediate withdrawl,this is the latest default position: surrender.

I'm so proud.

Of course, buried in that statement are two little nuggets that the good Representative needs to be questioned about further. One: does he really feel that the military has accomplished its mission? and, if so, how does he feel about those in his party who have accused the military of atrocities and failure? And two: choking back tears? Really? When did the U.S. Congress become such a haven for men getting in touch with their inner child/feminine side? First Voinivich, then the Ted Stevens meltdown, now this? It's all quite worrisome.

Which brings me to the next point--how far we have fallen.

Let's just take a look at the analogy the Democrats want to draw to Vietnam. And let's for the sake of the argument, say that the signing of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is the "official" start of the major U.S. involvement. So let's compare where we are now, roughly 30 months into Iraq, with a similar status at about February, 1967.

Troop strength: Iraq--150,000 (all volunteers)
Vietnam--over 385,000, plus some 60,000 offshore (all volunteers)

Casualties: Iraq--roughly 2,100
Vietnam--over 8,000 by the end of 1966; another 11,000 KIA in 1967

Status: Iraq--regime change; two successful elections; some domino effect around region
Vietnam--no notable victories or political progress

American response: Iraq--some small protests evident, but not regular or widespread; Democratic Party preparing for abandonment
Vietnam--small campus protests evident; major protests did not begin until 1969 when draft was reinstated; political support solid but wavering; real calls to get out of Vietnam not evident until after Tet Offensive in Jan 1968.

The point I'm trying to make with these numbers is that we are in far, far better shape right now in Iraq then we were at a similar stage during Vietnam. And yet, there are those who are already calling for us to surrender, a thing which did not happen during the Vietnam War for another couple years from this point in the conflict.

I suppose it's easy to say that our forebears were made of sterner stuff than we are today, though I'd like to think that that current weakness is mostly confind to Washington; I suppose it would be easy to say that the cut-and-run caucus has learned well the lesson of thirty-five years ago about eroding support through a relentless barrage of wrong reporting and shouting louder than the other guy.

The problem is that the enemy has learned those lessons as well, and, unfortunately, that can only mean every goofball statement by one of the Democrats give hope and encouragement to the enemy that their efforts are not going unrewarded and that they will achieve their ends if they only wait us out.

Again, I'm so proud.

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