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    Friday, January 06, 2006

    No, but...
    I read the Al Jazeera story and I'm glad Greta brought it to my attention. This is the reason I enjoy debating issues in the blogosphere. I like to think I keep an open mind and I want to educate myself on imporant issues - so thanks Greta. As far as the analogy about former Presidents goes, I see her point and it's a good one.

    Regarding the story Greta cites on Al Jazeera, the troop reduction that Al Zawahiri refers to (as I understand it) is part of the normal troop rotation planned for after the elections. They were temporarily elevated in order to bolster security during the elections so it was inevitable that troop levels would decrease. The fact that Al-Quaid spins this as a victory is laughable and only demonstrates their tendency to twist the facts in their favor. So does this mean the Secretary of Defense (as referred to in the article) should not have reduced troop levels? Does this mean we should stay in Iraq indefinitely? Of course not. The fact is Al-Quaida's leadership will claim victory regardless of our actions or words. I didn't see Al Jazeera specifically cite Murtha in this particular story, so if the point is that his anti-war rhetoric fuels the enemy it would appear that Donald Rumsfeld's words are just as damaging (at least in this instance).

    As for the Murtha issue...I went back and forth with Amy about this in an earlier post. She then posted an article on her blog entitled "How John Murtha Disses the Troops." Though she makes a compelling argument, I respecfully disagree. As a graduate of the United States Military Academy, a commissioned officer for six years and the wife of a career soldier currently deployed to Iraq, I don't believe Murtha is "dissing" the troops. Amy cites Murtha's claims of "slow progress" and calling the troops "occupiers" as evidence that he is criticizing our soldiers. Yet, when the President addressed the nation on December 18th, he also referred to slow progress. "The work in Iraq has been especially difficult - more difficult than we expected. Reconstruction efforts and the training of Iraqi security forces started more lsowly than we hoped." Murtha's claim that we are now viewed as ocupiers comes from a statement taken somewhat out of context by Generals Abizaid and Casey when they testified before a Senate panel in September. "They had stated they did not want a large increase of U.S. forces in Iraq, in part because that would fuel the insurgency by reinforcing the perception among Iraqis of the Americans as occupiers."

    Bottom line, you can disagree with what Murtha says, but falsely attributing the meaning behind those words as criticism of our troops oversimplifies the issue and takes away from the real debate. I belive his position on the war stems from genuine concern for our soldiers (misguided though it may be). Having said that, though, I disagree with his position and I strongly condemn what he said about not joining the military.

    Shared by Silke @ 9:12 PM

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