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12/07/2005 Archived Entry: "Murtha's press conference"
The Wonkette does this...sit and render impressions of breaking events and press conferences...so here goes:
As I sit here, John Murtha is on TV giving a press conference regarding Bush's earlier and optimistic statements about progress in Iraq. He wisely opens by establishing his real-world knowledge of the ground-situation in Iraq by referring to his August tour of the country and military there. Upon returning, he informed Bush and others of the crying need of the military for basic equipment like body armor. He also takes the military spokesmen to task for painting "a rosy picture" for the American people which does not reflect the truth. He is being very effective. In contrast to Bush, he provides a great many specifics, direct quotes from personal conversations, and a hard line. His bottom line is that the war cannot be won militarily. BTW...his approach is also wise on another point; he is coming out on the side of the military guy in the field and patroling Iraqi streets. I do not believe this is a pose on his part; I believe this is how he feels and the sincerity comes across.
Murtha is now doing the one thing that Bush cannot or will not do -- a void for which Bush is being justly pilloried: he is defining progress and, perhaps, success in Iraq. He is defining them in concrete terms that are expressed in charts that even a fool of a White House can see. He is now pointing to a chart on oil production in Iraq which are below pre-war levels -- a chart that he has on hand to distribute to the journalists. Water production is also down, the water system being essential to winning the hearts and souls of the Iraqi people. (Damn! needed to let the dog out and missed what he said about electricity.) Incidents have increased 5-fold in the last year. These concrete and measureable factors are how he is assessing progress...
He lambasts the Bush administration's statement that "70% of Iraqis are satisfied." He quotes a British newspaper poll claiming 80% of Iraqis polled want the Americans out. On and on, he contradicts the 70% figure. He states outright that the Iraqis have turned against the American presence and individual troops stationed there. He recommends redeploying American troops to the periphery of the situation (e.g. Kuwait) because they are currently in the middle of a civil war that they cannot win.
Interesting distinction he draws: he distinguishes between terrorism and insurgency, claiming that the latter is the true problem facing the American military and that it is a problem creating largely by the very presence of the military.