Contrary to what Rep. Murtha believes, for five years we have been at war with a highly motivated, innovative, persistent and lethal enemy. And we will be for a long time. Yet our preparedness to respond to another crisis now is far better than it has been in previous major conflicts. As Gen. Pace pointed out, we still have 2 million troops prepared to engage and defeat our enemies anywhere in the world. The president's planned deployment of 21,000 additional troops to Iraq -- out of a total military force of 2.5 million -- does not change Gen. Pace's assessment.
Unlike antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan and her ilk, Rep. Murtha has the burden of knowing the nature and gravity of the threat of Islamic fascism. That this war may last as long as or longer than the Cold War, and may be much deadlier, is another factor. Yet Rep. Murtha has looked past this to score short-term, domestic political advantage. I can only assume that he and his comrades hope they do not succeed, for if they did, they not only would ensure our defeat and withdrawal from Iraq, but they also would dramatically increase the threat we face at home. This, of course, would spell political disaster for the left.
It is sad indeed to see this once-great defender of our national security offering proposals that are consistent with the urgings of our enemy, the Islamic fascists. I know Jack Murtha has fought in the trenches for decades for our men and women in uniform and that he has a special bond with them. But today he reminds me of another Democratic leader during a time of war, Gen. George McClellan. He was twice the Union commander in the early years of the Civil War. He was a great leader, but he loved his troops so much that he was unable to commit them to battle, thus passing up opportunities for a swift and less bloody conflict.
Jack, if you really love our men and women in uniform as much as you say, let them fight and give them what they need to win.
Former Senator Rick Santorum is the author of It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good. He is writing a second book on the “Gathering Storm of the 21st Century” – the war against a radical, Islamic fascist enemy and its growing alliances around the world.
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