Murtha's lips are moving, but is it the uniformed military that's really speaking?

News & Politics

There's much analysis out there about what might have motivated a hawk like John Murtha to come out against the war.

I think what we're seeing is the uniformed military saying "enough," and Murtha's the messenger.

I want to highlight a point Jim McDermott -- a Dem who's been against the war from the get-go -- made when we chatted about the war back in August.

I asked him how he saw us eventually getting out of Iraq, given the administration's stubborn refusal to face up to the facts of its failed policy. He told me:

… when you talk about how do you get out of Iraq, I think ultimately we're going to get out of Iraq by some mechanism of the military saying, 'You know something, you're going to destroy the military if you keep this up. We're having desertions, our enlistment rate is bad, you won't have a draft--you won't consider a draft to fill out the ranks--you're ruining the reserves, you're ruining the National Guard' … The military at some point is going to get to him. I don't know who it'll be, but somebody's going to come in and say, 'Mr. President, Mr. Rumsfeld does not know what he's talking about. Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney have led you down a dark alley and there's no way out except to just back out.
You ultimately either believe your professional military people or you don't, and I believe there'll be a point where they come to him and say, 'look, you're destroying it, and it's going to be a long time putting it back together'--I think that's true anyway--but I think there's going to be a point where they say, 'You just cannot continue to do this.'
Given the reports of the president's increasingly insular inner-circle, there wasn't going to be that brave officer throwing his career away to tell the emperor that he has no clothes. So they did the next best thing -- they went directly to the public through the most hawkish of highly-decorated war-hero legislators.

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