Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Murtha Shows His Stuff (and How Weak It Is) on Meet The Press

Democratic Representative John Murtha is claiming that most Americans support the Iraqi pullout. This is categorically wrong, and has no factual basis. There simply aren't any legitimate polls tha could be used to defend this point.

Murtha only makes the baseless charge for more camera time in an attempt to change actual public opinion to the fictional public opinion that he boasts about. I assume Rep. Murth is a smart man --one expects inetlligence from a Congressman-- but he is utterly and completely mistaken in his opinions about Iraq.

Sunday morning on Meet The Press, I listened as Murtha talked for 20 minutes but managed to say nothing (transcript here). Instead he offered unconfirmable information and used anecdotes like they were facts. Here's how Murtha opens:
REP. MURTHA: Tim, I'm absolutely convinced that we're making no progress at all, and I've been complaining for two years that there's an overly optimistic--an illusionary process going on here. They keep trying to measure Iraqi troops by our standards. They don't need to meet our standard. And until we turn it over to the Iraqis, we're going to continue to do the fighting. Our young men and women are going to continue to suffer.

I go to the hospitals almost every week. I'm going to go out there again this week, and I see these young people doing the fighting and it's time to turn it over to Iraq. Give them the incentive to do the fighting themselves. They'll have to work this out themselves. This is their country. We've become the enemy. Eighty percent of the people in Iraq want us out of there. Forty-five percent say it's justified to attack Americans. It's time to change direction.
Contrary to what Rep. Murtha has argued, our country's top military officials feel that we are making progress, and solid progress at that. After his completey false topic sentence, Murtha goes on to offer statistics about how the Iraqis want us out of their country. Typically, he cites nothing when making this claim, and we're just supposed to take his word for it. Polls can lie, especially ones that don't exist and cannot be confirmed.

By the way, Tim Russert didn't press Murtha on this point, he simply moved on without even a second thought. And why would he? Those stats fit his agenda. So he followed up with this exchange:
TIM RUSSERT: ...Why is [the war] any different now than it was a year ago?

REP. MURTHA: I'll tell you why it's different. It's different because there's no progress at all. When I went to Iraq about two months ago, I talked to the commanders. Now, I--the commanders say what they're supposed to say, but I can tell how discouraged they are.
Again Murtha begins from the false claim that we aren't making any progress, and shows his basis for such a claim: he can just tell. The commanders in Iraq didn't say that there has been no progress, they of course said the opposite (the truth), but Murtha could "tell" they didn't think this to be the case. Right.

He went on to claim that people in the military "know it's not possible to win a military victory [in Iraq]." Really? Then why do we have good journalists like Michael Yon reporting from the field about our military's weekly successes, and noting the great confidence of the ground troops he is embedded with? But of course, "There's nothing that's happening that shows any sign of success," at least according to Murtha.

More of Murtha's bigtime charges, also foundationless:
Fifteen thousand people have been wounded, and half of them are desperately wounded, blinded, without their arms.

I mean, it breaks my heart when I go out there and see these kids. I see wives who can't look at their husbands because they've been so disfigured. I saw a young fella that was paralyzed from the neck down and his three children were standing there crying with his wife and his mother. So this is a real war, which--we have to find a solution. We--and since there's no progress, we've got to find a way to let the Iraqis take over.
Has he made any sort of case with these last remarks? He likes to think he has. But using tragic anecdotes as sound facts to describe the big picture status of the war accomplishes nothing. The point of seeing the big picture is to look at something "on the whole," and by calling upon isolated incidents, Rep. Murtha is not doing this.

Nonetheless, he goes on to predict a full removal of troops by the end of 2006, which isn't realistic by any account, and he then calls for the firing of Secretary Rumsfeld. The interview is a whirlind of accusations, unconfirmable "facts" and "statistics" and hard-left rhetoric, and is typical of the MoveOn.org, Howard Dean-loving crowd from the radical left. Murtha illustrates his defeatist politics regarding the war in Iraq, and in doing so reveals the position that many Dems have, yet do not publicly admit.