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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Turning Point

The most important news event that occurred during my recent hiatus was Rep. John Murtha's call for a pullout from Iraq "as soon as practicable." Although we likely disagree on many things, I am 100% behind Murtha. There's an old Vulcan proverb: "Only Nixon could go to China." Similarly, only a conservative hawk like John Murtha could come out and say that it's time to leave Iraq. He's a long-time friend of the military, regardless of the administration. He's a Democrat, technically, but he's as far to the right on national defense as one can be. He voted for the Iraq war. But now, Murtha admits what the President won't: we made a mistake and it's take to get out. Further, Murtha offers a moral solution -- declare victory and leave. After all, we've accomplished the President's stated mission -- the removal of Sadaam Hussein and the assurance that WMD are not in Iraq.

There is no longer any reason for us to be in Iraq. Our troops are just providing targets for the insurgency. The insurgency only exists because of their hatred of American occupation. We are encouraging the war at this point by providing the only reason to fight. I've often made this point to friends: I hate George Bush, but if the USA were attacked and our country was occupied, I would gladly take up arms and defend my country and my President. The insurgents don't necessarily support Sadaam -- they just despise the idea of Iraqis living like captives in their own country.

An occupying force is destined to lose to the occupied. The occupied are protecting their homeland, the invaders are just doing their job. The occupied have the numerical advantage. The occupied is willing to do anything and everything possible to free their homeland, while the invaders are not. Murtha has likened the situation to the Revolutionary War. If the French remained in the USA after the war was over because we were not a "real democracy" yet, the founding fathers would have turned on the French.

Right now we are running the risk that Iraqis will associate democracy with American occupation. The people of Iraq are beginning to hate "democracy" because they believe that means occupation and foreign control of their homeland. We cannot let this happen. A year ago, I supported John Kerry and agreed that, while Bush lied to get us into Iraq, we could not leave until the job was done. A year later, thousands of troops and Iraqis have died and we are no closer to "finishing" the job. Shortly before Murtha's call for a pullout, I was already telling friends that I thought we needed to leave Iraq at once.

In 25 years when people look back at the Iraq War, Murtha's courageous stand will be seen as the turning point in the public consciousness that got us out of there. Before his call, virtually no politican called for us to leave; now a broad coalition of Democrats and some Republicans are calling for an exit. John Kerry provided the voice of the turning point in Vietnam when he bravely asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Murtha's statement is this war's turning point, but Kerry's question rings true for Iraq as well.

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