Murtha and Webb return from Iraq with different views on the “surge”

 In Iraq

Recent claims that the Bush administration’s “surge” strategy is working in Iraq have bolstered some proponents of the Iraq war and created additional challenges for members of Congress working to pass legislation to end the war.  Democrats suffered a setback this week when Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), veteran and prominent war critic, returned from Iraq stating that the “surge” is working:

"I think the ‘surge’ is working," the Democrat said in a videoconference from his Johnstown office, describing the president’s decision to commit more than 20,000 additional combat troops this year. But the Iraqis "have got to take care of themselves."

Violence has dropped significantly in recent months, but Mr. Murtha said he was most encouraged by changes in the once-volatile Anbar province, where locals have started working closely with U.S. forces to isolate insurgents linked to Al Qaeda.

Many members of Congress have made this rhetorical shift—commending the work of US troops while blaming the Iraqi people for not taking advantage of the “opportunities” the US is providing for them to make political progress. We need politicians to offer a comprehensive vision and recognize the necessity of withdrawing US troops, and fulfilling our moral obligation to the Iraqi people through reconstruction and regional diplomacy.

As always, there was disagreement about the situation on the ground.  Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), former Navy Secretary and veteran, returned from Iraq questioning the impact of the “surge”:

But Webb suggested the realignment of Sunni forces had little to do with the surge of U.S. troops and was more a reaction to a growing frustration with al Qaeda terrorists.

‘`This was happening before the surge began, well before the surge began,” Webb said. “And it would have been happening if there wasn’t a surge.”

The increasing sense of security in Iraq has allowed Iraqi refugees to begin returning to the war-torn country, according to recent news reports. But Webb described the troop surge, as he did from its inception this year, as a “tactical adjustment” that “didn’t change the over-arching strategy of what we are trying to do.”

Webb, a freshman Democrat who has won outsized attention in Congress on the Iraq war because of his military background, said several positive factors on the ground in Iraq have conspired to create “a very important interval” for the United States.

With the easing of tensions in Anbar, restraint from an influential Shiite leader in Baghdad and interest by Turkey in avoiding a Kurdish guerrilla war on its border, Webb said the time is right to launch an intensive round of diplomacy.

“That’s the only way that we’re going to be able to take advantage of the quality of the work that our military people have done,” Webb said. “And we’re still waiting.”

As the Iraq war debate ebbs and flows, we must keep the pressure on so that Congress stays focused on the most important goal—withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq.

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  • Lefty Wright

    Published on
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    November 17, 2017

    Good Lord. These journalists are doing the Clintons’ dirty work for them and their machine. Hillary has often hammered away at Sanders’s supposed lack of competence and his commitment as a “real” Democrat. In fact, he caucuses with the Democratic Party in order to get better committee assignments but presents himself as an “independent socialist.” That’s an unimportant distinction, because Sanders is, for all practical purposes, a member of the Democratic Party—just rather rebellious by nature. He has a right to do his best to win.

    But the Clinton’s dominate the traditional, patronage-driven wing of the Democratic Party, for which the order of the day is to hold on to power by rewarding its pals (such as Wall Street and the big law firms) and punishing its enemies (dissident unionists and pro-Sanders activists). That’s the ironclad rule in most political parties, but Sanders has clearly not bought into the Democrats’ current wide spread corruption, nor demonstrated an intention to end the foreign lobby influences on our political system & government agencies.

    President Obama was powerless against the influences of Zionism & AIPAC. Now Donald Trump who promised to DRAIN THE SWAMP finds himself powerless. with members of the Republican Party that are loyal to the same campaign fund providers with corrupt foreign interest. Corruption & Treason continues full force. Congress and the Media are immune from any accountability or criminal prosecution.

    When will the people wake up to the fact that their protest are in vain until they protest the Media, Congress members, AIPAC, and their chapters. Demand no more duel citizenship peoples appointments, nominations, or influence with-in our government.

    No more duel citizens voting in our elections. No more absentee ballots from abroad by such duel citizenship.

    Look at the human rights violations & the discrimination conducted continually by Israel. How can we as Americans continue to give them the Trillions in support, continue to ignore the violations, then expect something different from others. Talk about hypocrisy.

    Our officials are not powerless to do something about it. BUT it is against their self interest to do so. THAT is the real problem.

    Always refer to Israel as the “Jewish State of Israel” . The Zionist State of Israel, and the Zionist organization called AIPAC are no more Jewish, then Russia & China are Christian. Regardless of any faith at all, Integrity & Ethics are a thing of the past, no matter where you go in the World of today.

    Remember when a hand shake was a giving of YOUR word ?? ALL PRIOR TO THE 1960’s, WHY?

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