By Ben Johnson
What’s in store for America if Democrats take over congress.
On “Meet the Press” June 18th, John Murtha endorsed al-Qaeda’s foreign policy.
The upwardly mobile, cut-and-run specialist (who, by the way, is a “war hero”) told Tim Russert he still supports the foreign policy that convinced Osama bin Laden to launch the 9/11 attacks:
Now, the other day we were doing a debate, and [the Republicans] said, “Well, Beirut was a different situation. We cut and run.” We didn’t cut and run. President Reagan made the decision to change direction because he knew he couldn’t win it. Even in Somalia, President Clinton made the decision, “We have to, we have to change direction… need to change direction. We can’t win a war like this.”
Murtha revealed we must take this step days after the death of al-Zarqawi, because we’re “losing”:
And if you’re not winning, if you’re losing, and that’s what’s happening… [A]t some point you got to reassess it like Reagan did in, in Beirut, like, like Clinton did in Somalia, you just have to say, “OK, it’s time to change direction.”
Murtha’s was an unfortunate choice of historical precedent. As the Washington Post has reported, “As examples of alleged American cowardice, bin Laden frequently cites the case of the withdrawal from Lebanon after the 1983 truck bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut and the withdrawal from Somalia after the 1993 killings of U.S. servicemen in Mogadishu.”
After a little resistance, the American troops left after achieving nothing… We learned from those who fought there, that they were surprised to see the low spiritual morale of the American fighters in comparison with the experience they had with the Russian fighters… If the U.S. still thinks and brags that it still has this kind of power even after all these successive defeats in Vietnam, Beirut, Aden, and Somalia, then let them go back to those who are awaiting its return.
In 1998, bin Laden boasted to ABC’s John Miller:
America assumed the titles of world leader and master of the new world order. After a few blows, it forgot all about those titles and rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace, dragging the bodies of its soldiers.
Miller, in turn, told Osama, “You are like the Middle East version of Teddy Roosevelt.” (But there’s no media bias. And please, don’t question his patriotism.)
Indeed, the Saudi jihadist cited both Beirut and Mogadishu in his original 1996 fatwa.
Both retreats emboldened Osama bin Laden to strike the Great Satan in the belief no serious consequences would follow. More than 5,500 American deaths later, Jack Murtha still thinks this was capital statesmanship.
Nor is he alone on the Left. Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, the George Soros-funded/pro-Hillary Clinton think tank headed by former President Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, urged President Bush to emulate the “quick and decisive way Reagan dealt with the terrorist attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983.”
President Reagan told the press on October 24, 1983, that remaining in Beirut despite the bombing of the Marine barracks was “central to our credibility on a global scale,” but by the end of the following February, we had completely withdrawn our forces. Unlike Clinton’s disastrous surrender — and his malfeasance and nonfeasance following subsequent attacks on the Khobar Towers, Kenya, Tanzania, and the USS Cole — Reagan acted against the backdrop of the Cold War, where he saw Lebanon as an unnecessarily emboldening sign of U.S. weakness… to the Soviets. (At that time, both parties evaluated the rising Islamic jihad in terms of how it affected the balance-of-power between Washington and Moscow.) The modern Cold War, which was thrust upon the West by Osama and his cohorts, is between Islamic fanatics and those committed to democracy, freedom of religion, and individual liberty. Reagan would not retreat in that context; then, as now, the Left would.
In counseling this approach, Murtha candidly acknowledges he is contradicting himself and advocating a “premature” withdrawal that would leave Iraq in “disarray”:
Russert: But in 2004, you had a view that was much different than you had now, and this is what you wrote in your book: “A war initiated on faulty intelligence must not be followed by a premature withdrawal of our troops based on a political timetable. An untimely exit could rapidly devolve into a civil war, which would leave America’s foreign policy in disarray as countries question not only America’s judgment but also its perseverance.” Aren’t you now advocating that?
Murtha: Yeah, you’re absolutely right… there comes a time when you got to change direction.
His current prescription is less a contradiction than a pathology of deaftism from the ineducable Left. Murtha advocated our withdrawal from Somalia and Lebanon, too. He warned the Today show in September 1993, “Our welcome has been worn out.” A month later, he assured the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he could not “see any achievable goal or national security interest in this operation.” And Murtha boasted on “Meet the Press” Sunday, “When we went to Beirut, I said to President Reagan, ‘Get out.'”
Murtha claims we need to withdraw now, because, “It’s worse today than it was six months ago when I spoke out initially.” His evidence? Insufficient rubbish collection. “When I spoke out, the garbage wasn’t being collected, oil production below pre-war level–all those things indicated to me we weren’t winning this, and it’s the same today, if not worse. “
His sunny assessment of war-torn Iraq makes one question his grip on reality. For instance, did you know, “The first six months we went in there, not a shot was fired”? Better yet “when I first went to Iraq, you could drive any place.” This kind of thinking led to his assessment the Armed Forces should redeploy “to Okinawa… you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly.”
If the Democratic Party does as well as predicted in the November elections, he may have a new station from which to propound his wisdom. Murtha announced earlier this month that if the Democrats recapture the House, he will seek the position of Majority Leader. A few days later, a flummoxed Nancy Pelosi stated, “In the spirit of unity to achieve our goal of winning a Democratic majority in November, Congressman John Murtha has informed me that he will suspend his campaign for Majority Leader until after we win a Democratic majority of the House.” On Sunday, Murtha defended his announcement on the grounds that “in this business you have to make sure you get your foot in the door.”
Which is exactly what he did by being the front man for the Democrats’ withdrawal policy. As a “war hero,” he was, to use Ann Coulter’s term, “a human shield,” unassailable and invested with a Cindy Sheehan-like “absolute moral authority.” His decision to hide his intention to lead the Democratic Party — like Pelosi’s coerced pledge from John Conyers that in a Democratic House there would be “No Rush to Impeachment” — was intended to hide the Left’s stated legislative agenda… which is the only way Democrats have successfully sought higher office in the last 30 years. (See “Carter, Jimmy” and “Clinton, Bill.”) It is an agenda of full legal protections for terrorists and no quarter warfare for their political enemies. And they’ve proven 23 years of hindsight cannot cure the blindness their ideological mania has inflicted.
Next to Barbara Lee, John Murtha is Osama bin Laden’s most dependable voice in the House. He may soon be Majority Leader. Then he can make his nightmares our reality.