Thursday, January 12, 2006

''Jack is Back: Murtha Takes the Fight to Bush -- and Across America''

"During a campaign-style town hall meeting in Louisville on Wednesday, President Bush continued his PR offensive on Iraq, offering up his familiar "strategy for victory" talking points (Saddam: bad; democracy: good) and an upbeat assessment of the situation there.

According to the president, "Things are good."

He also continued to make the case that Iraq is an essential part of the war on terror: "Al Qaeda has made it very clear their intentions in Iraq, which is to drive the United States out so they will have a base from which to operate to spread their ideology... In other words, al Qaeda has made Iraq a front in the war on terror.

And that's why we've developed a strategy for victory."

Luckily, Rep. Jack Murtha is still on the case, traveling around the country, speaking out, cutting through the fog of the administration's rosy rhetoric, and making it clear -- again and again -- that the ongoing bloodshed isn't, as the president put it, "an ideological struggle" in which "you defeat an ideology of darkness with an ideology of light and hope". It's the result of internal Iraqi politics.

In other words, as Murtha says, "Iraq is not about terrorism; it's about civil war". And our presence there is only fueling the fire.

"Iraq is not enhancing the war against terror," Murtha said at a lunch in New York on Wednesday (at roughly the same time Bush was making his claims in Kentucky). "In fact, just the opposite is true: Iraq is hurting our prospects for winning the fight against terror. We've become the issue over there. Abu Ghraib and Fallujah have hurt us badly. That's why we need to take ourselves out of the equation."

Reports from around the country are that wherever Murtha goes -- be it a Home Depot or a Starbucks -- applause breaks out. The well-spring of sentiment against the war that he tapped into when he first spoke out in November is still very much alive. He hit a nerve, one that strikes at the heart of the administration's signature policy initiative: the invasion of Iraq.

If Democrats are smart, they will keep Murtha front and center -- making him the face of the party for the 2006 race in the way the GOP utilized Gingrich to nationalize the 1994 elections.

As he proceeds on his barnstorming offensive, Murtha does what the Democrats should have been doing for years (are you listening, Hillary?): show how the war on Iraq has actually undermined our national security.

Expect more of this impassioned and spot-on reasoning when Murtha is profiled on "60 Minutes" this Sunday."-from Arianna Huffington, on her blog.

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