Monday, November 21, 2005
More on Murtha
Some miscellaneous thoughts:
I listened (briefly) to Mike Gallagher on the radio on my way to work this morning. He mentioned that Kurt Vonnegut, who is (surprise!) a decorated American WWII veteran and ex-POW, recently said:
"What George Bush and his gang did not realise was that people fight back. Peace wasn't restored in Vietnam until we got kicked out. Everything's quiet there now."That's quite a tribute to suicide bombers, isn't it? It gets worse:
There's a long pause before Vonnegut speaks again: "It is sweet and noble - sweet and honourable I guess it is - to die for what you believe in."
Vonnegut suggested suicide bombers must feel an "amazing high". He said: "You would know death is going to be painless, so the anticipation - it must be an amazing high."Perhaps he should write recruiting posters for the suicide bombers. No, wait, it seems he's doing that already.
Mike Gallagher asked if we're permitted to criticize the anti-war sentiments of aging war heroes, such as Vonnegut and Rep. Murtha.
Here's my take on this: war heroes make mistakes too, don't they? For example: how would you respond if Rep. Murtha spoke in glowing terms of his Vietnam-era M16 rifle and the 9mm bullets it uses? Or suppose Mr. Vonnegut spoke to the press about being a PoW in Dresden, from which he personally watched the horrors of Hiroshima?
(Neither of the two have said this, mind you. I'm asking a theoretical question here.)
I think we'd be perfectly justified in saying: pardon me, sir, but you're dead wrong. Dresden is nowhere near Hiroshima, and the M16 fires a 5.56mm rifle round, not a 9mm pistol round.
In other words: yes, I accord these men respect for where they've been and what they've done. But I don't consider them infallible, in matters of fact or opinion.
I will listen carefully to opinions from these men in their areas of expertise -- but if I think they are wrong, I will say so. (I will say so politely; I think that courtesy, at least, they have earned.)
In re Rep. Murtha, I think he is dead wrong... and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of his colleague Rep. Jean Schmidt (R., Ohio), who said she was "relaying a message" from a Marine Colonel serving in Iraq:
"He asked me to send Congress a message — stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message — that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."Bravo.
As Gallagher said this morning, we now have a Congressional vote, 403 to 3, overwhelmingly supporting the decision to stay the course in Iraq. Democrats, naturally, are calling this vote "a stunt"... and make it clear that they voted to defeat it (alongside Republicans) to show their contempt for it.
Actually, I couldn't care less if it's a stunt. It sends a powerful message abroad -- to our troops, who need all the encouragement we can give them, and to our enemies, who are emboldened enough without our giving them a free public forum on the floor of U.S. Congress.
The bottom line is: the United States has voted overwhelmingly to stay the course. Now that was a message well worth sending.
UPDATE: Day By Day and Cox & Forkum both have interesting takes on this: