Murtha once again stepped up to the plate today to advocate for our troops and our childrens’ economic future. He came out swinging after President Bush’s speech this morning and unlike President Bush, Murtha took questions afterward. This is no doubt due to the fact that unlike President Bush, Murtha can actually answer them.
One of the major problems we have in fighting an insurgency is the military and the way they fight. And I adhere to the way they fight. They send in massive force. They use artillery, they use air and mortars. And they kill a lot of people in order to suppress fire and protect our military. I’m for that.
But it doesn’t make you any friends. That’s part of the problem. For instance, in Fallujah, which happened about the same time — the first Fallujah happened about the same time as Abu Ghraib — we put 150,000 people outside their homes in Fallujah.
If you remember in Jordan, the bomber said that the reason she became a bomber was because two of her relatives were killed in Fallujah. We lost the hearts and minds of the people.
Hamre said: You’ve got three months to win the hearts and minds of the people, to get this under control, to get the looting and so forth under control.
We didn’t do that. There’s been poor planning from the start by the Defense Department. The Defense Department fought to keep this planning under their control. State Department had entirely different reasons for wanting it. And we even voted in the House to give it to the State Department.
And finally, in conference, we had to agree to let the president make the decision. He made the decision to give it to the Defense Department.
Now, in an insurgency and nation-building — what did President Bush say when he ran for office the first time? “We are not into nation-building. And we’re not into nation-building because of the way our military has to operate.” It’s that simple. We’ve got to go in and level the place, destroy a place. And when we destroy a place, we lose the very thing that’s absolutely essential to winning the insurgency.
I didn’t just post the picture above of my very handsome Iraq vet son, John, because I am proud of him. In relating some of his experiences in Iraq to me, John confirms what Murtha says above. State building is not in the purview of the military. [more coming]