Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bush camp loses an ally

Rep. John Murtha (D., Penn.) may line up on the opposite side of the aisle, but the former -- scratch that -- ex-Marine colonel and Vietnam vet voted for the war. His c.v. includes three decades on the Hill and some noteworthy committee positions.

He now advocates immediate withdrawal from Iraq. CNN:

Murtha's call for a withdrawal may have a significant impact on the debate over the future of the Iraq war, as both Democrats and Republicans seek his advice on military and veterans' issues.

On Murtha's congressional website, you can read his prepared remarks:

The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We can not continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

Rod Dreher at NRO's Corner sounds one of the first GOP reactions:

If tough, non-effete guys like Murtha are willing to go this far, and can make the case in ways that Red America can relate to -- and listening to him talk was like listening to my dad, who's about the same age, and his hunting buddies -- then the president is in big trouble. I'm sure there's going to be an anti-Murtha pile-on in the conservative blogosphere, but from where I sit, conservatives would be fools not to take this man seriously.

UPDATE: 1300

Having finished his remarks, it is clear that Murtha is not calling for a complete disengagement from Iraq. His plan:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq


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