One Veteran's Voice

18 November 2005

Rep. Murtha

I must say that I respect Representative John Murtha. Today Rep. Murtha addressed many of the issues that have been troubling Americans about Iraq, but that no moderate elected official has had the sack to say, at least in public. Personally, I think that six months might be a bit unrealistic of a timetable, but that is certainly debatable. I suppose that if the war in Iraq is truly immoral and illegitimate, six months is six months too long. How many more American soldiers will be dead in six months?

One thing that caught my eye-- the media is reporting the story as though Rep. Murtha's transformation from hawk to dove was an overnight conversion, but as reported here by instapundit, his views on the war, like everyone's, have evolved over the past few years. Let's face it, the story isn't that a senior democrat is criticizing the war, Ted Kennedy has been doing it from the beginning. The story is that Rep. Murtha is a Vietnam veteran whose defense credentials are very well respected by Democrats and moderate Republicans alike. This is not a guy that Cheney or Bush can write off as a traitor. At least not without looking completely hypocritical in light of their (lack) of service in Vietnam. Oh wait, I forgot. Bush was in the Texas Air National Guard-- sort of.

In the end, I think I know why Rep. Murtha made his declaration today. Veterans have a special duty to be vigilant as to how our nation's troops our employed. By virtue of their situation, active duty servicemembers cannot speak out against the war, their commander in chief, or refuse duty if they are asked to serve in a war zone. Veterans, being those citizens who have known war, have a special duty to ensure that no American fighting man or woman is asked to fight and die for any other reason than that which they are sworn, "To protect and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies." I am quite sure Rep. Murtha believes that he was fulfilling this moral duty as a veteran by saying what he did today. Bush/Cheney may disagree, but in Murtha's words, "I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."

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