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Thursday, February 22, 2007

OIF Vet Misrepresents Iraq on House Floor

Democrat Patrick Murphy is a newly elected Congressman, representing the 8th District of Pennsylvania. He is also an Operation Iraqi Freedom vet and served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq from 2003-04.

My husband served with CPT Murphy in Iraq. He's a nice man and my husband and he were good acquaintances. He lent John (my husband) his cell phone frequently for calls home. When the 82nd redeployed to Fort Bragg, I was at Green Ramp with the kids to greet them. I told CPT Murphy of the times I’d seen him on CNN handing out payments to Iraqis for war damage as the 82nd JAG Corps attorney.

Before the vote last week on the non-binding resolution in the House "disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq", Murphy gave this disappointing speech on the floor. (transcript)

I take the floor today not as a Democrat or Republican, but as an Iraq war
veteran who was a Captain with the 82nd Airborne Division in Baghdad.

I speak with a heavy heart for my fellow paratrooper Specialist Chad
Keith, Specialist James Lambert and 17 other brave men who I served with who
never made it home.

I served in Baghdad from June of 2003 to January of 2004. Walking in my
own combat boots, I saw first hand this Administration’s failed policy in Iraq.

I led convoys up and down “Ambush Alley” in a Humvee without doors – convoys that Americans still run today because too many Iraqis are still sitting on the sidelines.

Mr. Speaker, the time for more troops was four years ago. But this
President ignored military experts like General Shinseki & General Zinni,
who in 2003, called for several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq.

Now Mr. Speaker, our President again is ignoring military leaders.
Patriots like General Colin Powell, like General Abizaid, and members of the
bi-partisan Iraq Study Group who oppose this escalation.

Mr. Speaker, I ask you - how many more street-corner memorials are we
going to have for this war?

This is what the President’s proposal does – it sends more of our best
and bravest to die refereeing a civil war.

That’s why Mr. Speaker, sending more troops into civil war is the wrong
strategy. We need to win the War on Terror and reasonable people may disagree on
what to do, but most will agree that it is immoral to send young Americans to
fight and die in a conflict without a real strategy for success.

The President’s current course is not resolute, it is reckless.

That is why I will vote to send a message to our President that staying
the course is no longer an option.

If troop casualties are a reason for avoiding war, we should all prepare ourselves to be overrun by the bullies and egomaniacs of the world like Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, Kim Jung Il and Mahmoud Ajhmadinejad. Bill Clinton signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which supports the policy we have in Iraq today. Democrats were for the Iraq policy then, but now that we have a Republican President who has the moral authority to do more than the U.N. or Clinton, Dems are suddenly opposed. Hypocrites or ignorant, take your pick.

Murphy's suggestion that doorless Humvees in 2003 prove a failed policy in Iraq is asinine. The 82nd is a rapid response unit, deployable within 48 hours. THEIR HUMVEES HAVE NO DOORS. They aren't supposed to. It is SOP (standard operating procedure) for the 82nd ABN DIV to leave doors off of tactical vehicles to facilitate rapid dismount of ground troops. The mission of the 82nd is to conduct forced entry operation by parachute assault, not ride around in tanks and Humvees. When IEDs became the primary threat, the 82nd contracted to have iron doors bolted onto the Humvees.

This isn't the first time Patrick Murphy made misleading remarks about Humvee doors. In a May 28, 2006 Stars and Stripes article Murphy said,

“We were absolutely shorthanded,” said Murphy, a former West Point professor. “My Humvee didn’t have doors. And I knew in the back of my mind what was going on. We weren’t given enough to do the job, and there weren’t enough boots on the ground.”
The "my Humvee didn't have doors" mantra seems to be Murphy's ace in the hole..... except that most didn't have doors anyway. Although, anti-war buddy Van Taylor seems to have a door on his Hummer (photo right, Stars & Stripes)

Democrats affinity for blaming Iraqis is as sickening now as blaming them for their situation under Saddam. The United States owes Iraqis the time they need to become self-sufficient, and thank God for soldiers who volunteer to assist in the process. Instead of saving them, we should support their choice to serve.

Hindsight is 20/20, but citing GEN Shinseki as a source for incompetence is ridiculous. Shinseki is the brain behind the beret change of the Army that everyone hates and promotes recruiting openly gay folk into the military. These are his accomplishments. If anything is a failed policy, it's Shinseki.

GEN Abizaid is NOT opposed to the troop surge. He said months ago he thought the troop level was sufficient and advocated "stay the course" which Murphy ridiculed, and now Abizaid is in full support of a temporary troop surge. It's called reinforcements and only people who want us to lose are against it.

As for Colin Powell, we might remember this is the same gentleman who knew Richard Armitage was Robert Novak's source for "outing" non-covert CIA agent Valerie Plame and said nothing. Powell could have stopped the lie but allowed others to take the fall for Armitage's mistake. Murphy might want to reassess his characterization of Powell.

There is an authority a soldier has if he has been on the ground, and CPT Murphy served his country very well with 2nd Brigade, 82nd ABN DIV in Baghdad, but with that authority comes responsibility. Wouldn't it be a nice change if Democrats knew the difference.

Cross-posted @: Bottom Line Up Front