First the substance: John Murtha has disgraced himself by saying that the United States is the top threat to world peace.
Murtha says U.S. poses top threat to world peace
SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL
MIAMI — American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to an audience of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.
Murtha was the guest speaker at a town hall meeting organized by Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, D-Miami, at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus. Meek's mother, former Rep. Carrie Meek, D-Miami, was also on the panel.
War veterans, local mayors, university students and faculty were in the Mary Ann Wolfe Theatre to listen to the three panelists discuss the war in Iraq for an hour.
A former Marine and a prominent critic of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq, Murtha reiterated his views that the war cannot be won militarily and needs political solutions. He said the more than 100,000 troops in Iraq should be pulled out immediately, and deployed to peripheral countries like Kuwait.
"We do not want permanent bases in Iraq," Murtha told the audience. "We want as many Americans out of there as possible."
Murtha also has publicly said that the shooting of 24 Iraqis in November at Haditha, a city in the Anbar province of western Iraq that has been plagued by insurgents, was wrongfully covered up.
The killings, which sparked an investigation into the deadly encounter and another into whether they were the subject of a cover-up, could undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq more than the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib in 2004, Murtha said.
"(The United States) became the target when Abu Ghraib came along," Murtha said.
Where to begin? First off, let's note that the appropriate question with Murtha is no longer 'should he be re-elected to Congress?' Instead, it's 'is he getting the care he needs?' Because he has clearly lost it. Even on something as basic as knowing that US troops are not the primary target in Iraq - Iraqis are - Murtha demonstrates an utter failure to understand the facts on the ground. I guess we should take it as progress that he's no longer advocating a redeployment to Okinawa, but that's little comfort. The man is a buffoon, and his comments are an insult to our men and women in uniform.
As for the politics, this once again demonstrates the extraordinary ability of the Democrats to shoot themselves in the foot, arm, thigh, ear, hip, abdomen, and any other body part in easy view. Murtha is bringing back the worst images of the Democratic party from the Vietnam era. Seriously: when was the last time you heard someone in his or her right mind say that the US was the greatest threat to world peace?
Happily for Republicans, Murtha announced for 'Majority Leader' (chuckle), before launching himself into the lunatic fringe, guaranteeing widespread coverage of his comments. For wavering independent voters, this is simply one more demonstration that Democrats cannot be trusted in power.
I think it's a safe bet that the folks at the NRCC are polling to see how Murtha's Howard Beale act is going over. Murtha's district is rated +5 Democrat by analyst Charlie Cook - which makes it Democratic leaning, but by no means a safe seat. Folks who have for decades been happy to have a non-controversial conservative Democrat representing them are waking up to see their man in DC is a loon. I expect there are a lot of people open to other options.
Hat tip: Powerline.
Update: The Sun Sentinel has now retracted this claim. See also my apology to Mr. Murtha here.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006
Posted by The Editor at IP at 7:34 PM