Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Murtha and national security...

Molly McCarroll from Family Security Matters opines:

One of the many races which will determine the future of American security is occurring in Pennsylvania, where longtime Democratic Congressman John Murtha faces a challenge from Republican County Commissioner Diana Irey. After 32 years in the House of Representatives, Murtha should be the most confident of incumbents. However, his high-profile comments about the war on terror in recent months have moved him out of the comfortable shadows of obscure incumbency and made him one of the most controversial figures in Congress. As he has become better known and more divisive, he has also apparently grown more influential and ambitious, even suggesting that he would seek a leadership position should the Democrats win control of the House in November.
Murtha has dedicated much of his life to the service of his country, both in the military and in Congress. But his actions over the course of that service have not been spotless and his record during his most recent term in office is particularly troubling. Reasonable people may disagree with the tactics through which President Bush is prosecuting the war on terror. There is room for debate over the legitimacy of American counterterrorism programs and on the strategy employed in Iraq. Walking the fine line between appeasement and antagonism, defense and needless defiance, can be difficult. But Murtha has strayed far past the bounds of reasonable behavior on numerous occasions. Seizing upon only the vaguest of unsubstantiated accusations and always willing to believe the worst about his own country, government, and armed services, he has not merely impeded the progress of policies that he believed were counterproductive, but has presented a delightful procession of pleasing propaganda to those who would see the United States defeated.
Debate and dissent do not weaken America, but in a world where half-truths quickly become accepted wisdom in the public consciousness, all citizens and particularly lawmakers have a responsibility to speak and act with responsibility and a determined adherence to the truth. Murtha has abdicated this responsibility and alienated many of those moderate Democrats who have supported him for so long. His ascent from relative obscurity to darling of the anti-war left has rendered him a frustrating figure for not only many of his constituents, but also for Americans throughout the country. In a world where identity is often the only qualification necessary to create “authoritative” status, Murtha’s pronouncements on the war and foreign policy bewilder those who seek to refute him.
Regarding Diana Irey, McCarroll states:
...Diana Irey is clearly an audacious politician, for merely having the courage to challenge an institution such as John Murtha. Many Pennsylvanians, and a growing number of other Americans, have taken note of her forthright approach and refusal to give an inch. But it is still far from clear whether an ounce of audacity can outweigh the pound of pork that 32 years in Congress can make possible and there is always the possibility that Murtha’s constituents will feel more comfortable with a representative with long experience and the political skills that only years in Washington can bring. But the rest of the country and the rest of the country’s politicians should watch closely. The days are long past when unfounded belligerence and outrageous comments will go unnoticed, even when from the most secure of incumbents and particularly when they undermine the security of the entire nation.