My opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy, has changed his plan on the war in Iraq; he’s now calling for a withdrawal by the end of 2007.No Mikey, this is a modification of Patrick’s original plan, and he explains why here (from murphy06.com)
If my plan had been implemented nine months ago, we would have had 50,000 troops home, with 50,000 slated to come home by this December, and maybe Osama Bin Laden wouldn't still be at large making videos threatening America. Instead—nine months later—we are left with nearly as many troops as there were at the beginning of the war and the situation in Iraq has become a bloody civil war.Back to Mikey...
I therefore offer a renewed call for a change of direction in Iraq.
We need to:
(1) Redeploy our National Guard: Bring our National Guard troops home from Iraq in the next six months. Then they can redeploy to protecting our homeland. In Pennsylvania they can help secure our chemical plants, our nine nuclear reactors, and our mass transit.
(2) Redeploy our regular military: Bring home most of the remaining 130,000 troops by the end of 2007. Redeploy thousands of troops to reinforce the 18,000 troops we have in Afghanistan fighting resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.
(3) Keep a strike force in theater: Maintain an over-the-horizon strategic strike force in remote Iraq or Kuwait to help train Iraqi Defense Forces and serve as a force to deter Iranian aggression.
(4) Commence Aggressive Regional Diplomacy: Convene a Dayton Accords-style summit to bring Arab nations and Iraqi factions into the peace process. Have Richard Holbrooke— who successfully brokered the Bosnia peace agreement — lead this initiative to give it bipartisan and international credibility.
(5) Fund Redevelopment with Accountability: The Iraqi government must take responsibility for rebuilding their country. But the United States must work with the international community and other major donors to provide humanitarian and economic assistance to Iraq. Any assistance must emphasize stability, security and have strict accountability to ensure that no additional taxpayer dollars are wasted.
(6) Hold our Leaders Accountable: Donald Rumsfeld must resign or be fired. Unless there is a change in our nation’s leadership little will change in how we engage and eventually defeat Al Qaeda. We need leaders who know how to take the fight to our enemy while securing our homeland. I agree with fellow veteran Governor Rendell and question Rumsfeld’s decision to cut six brigades of our National Guard and Reserves during a time of war.
His changed position is a final realization that his original strategy was not only extreme and out of touch with the people of the 8th district, but would significantly harm our national security.Well, given the fact that 60 percent of the people in this country now oppose the Iraq war, I don’t think what Patrick proposes is “extreme and out of touch” at all, especially since we have now lost more people in Iraq than we did on 9/11. If anything, Mikey, the words “extreme and out of touch” apply to you.
Murphy’s original plan echoed John Kerry’s extreme withdrawal timeline that was overwhelmingly rejected by both parties in Congress.Mikey is actually right about that – for now. However, this will be introduced again; let’s see if it’s “overwhelmingly rejected” next time.
His new plan follows recent statements by Gen. George Casey, President Bush’s top military commander in Iraq, that Iraqi troops could be prepared to defend themselves within 12-18 months. His plan also parrots my recent call for “a new strategy for success in Iraq” when I took issue with President Bush’s “stay the course” policy.("took issue with Dubya"...Mikey makes a funny - tee hee!)
So what exactly is Fitzpatrick saying? That Patrick’s plan goes along with what our commander in Iraq is saying? Why is that a problem? Also, Mikey is a liar yet again when he says that Murphy’s plan “parrots” his “recent call”…Patrick originally proposed his plan for Iraq in December of last year, so if anyone is doing “parroting” here, it’s Fitzpatrick, who, after all, doesn’t have a plan for Iraq anyway.
And where’s that stinging criticism on Rumsfeld for his remark about those opposing the war suffering from “moral and ethical confusion,” Mikey?
Although his new “plan” is a step in the right direction, it maintains one fatal flaw – he renders his “benchmarks” meaningless by making the timeline an end in itself.Does anyone know what that sentence means? And Mikey actually agrees with something Patrick proposes here? Can he enlighten us on that?
His plan gives the terrorists and the unstable president of Iran a target date for their conquest of the new Iraqi democracy and their conversion of the Iraqi nation into a giant terrorist base camp.This is revolting hyperbole even for Mikey. Anything with an IQ beyond that of a garden slug can see that Iran is emerging as the dominant force in the region because of our clumsy and illegal invasion, after which Iran and Syria sent jihadists into Iraq to create “the peace from hell” after we toppled Saddam Hussein’s statue – which, as we now know, was a media moment orchestrated by the CIA – so, for all intents and purposes, Iraq is “a terrorist base camp” now because this administration ignored the dire predictions of generals such as Eric Shinseki, who said that we didn’t send over enough troops to do the job in the first place.
Iran’s dominance is not the fault of Patrick Murphy. It is, however, the fault of George Bush, his administration, and the Republican-dominated congress, including Mikey.
Military and foreign policy experts agree that an arbitrary withdrawal of U.S. troops before the Iraqi people are prepared to defend themselves would result in civil war destabilizing the entire region and the creation of a terrorist haven under the direct influence of state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran and Syria. I believe that U.S. withdrawal must be based on short-term and easily measurable benchmarks that demand that the Iraqi forces are capable of defending themselves.Sounds like Mikey stole that from the Kerry plan.
I agree with Sen. McCain that the most important thing is not precisely when U.S. soldiers leave Iraq, but whether they leave successfully completing the mission to transition to an Iraqi security force capable of defending the country.“Bringing battalions home”? This is the first time Mikey has unveiled this. Of course, he knows he has to do something since Patrick has closed what was a 14-point gap in the polls to 5 points by showing that he has a plan to keep a regional civil war from developing and getting our people out of there.
This is why I have called for a new plan for success in Iraq that would bring individual battalions home periodically as specific, short-term benchmarks are achieved.
Whenever any Republican talks about Iraq, by the way, they absolutely refuse to attach any kind of timeline for troop withdrawal, which we should have been talking about long ago. Otherwise, the Iraq War may yet end up being similar to World War II in one respect (the Repugs always love to draw up fake analogies between the two, as we know); it will have lasted for that long or possibly longer.
This is the only acceptable “exit strategy” – to bring our troops home without jeopardizing the current security of Iraq and the future security of the United States.If Mikey thinks that the Iraq war has somehow “made us secure,” then he should read this.
And as far as “current security in Iraq,” there is none, particularly in Baghdad (“digging trenches,” huh? I take back what I said a minute ago – maybe Bushco ought to start comparing Iraq to World War I instead of World War II, with the former being a brutal and almost pointless struggle also).
We may be able to bring home one U.S. battalion for every Iraqi battalion that is prepared to operate independently and on its own.Oh yes, those Iraqi battalions; just how are they doing anyway? Well, the story from this link provides the answer (this excerpt in particular).
During a late-September 2005 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Casey acknowledged that the Pentagon estimate of three Iraqi battalions last June had shrunk to one in September. That is less than six months ago.And “independently and on its own,” huh? Are you now also Bushco’s Secretary of Redundancy Secretary, Mikey?
I thought it would be a good idea to find someone who is qualified to discuss how feasible it would be to train 99 Iraqi battalions in less than six months, as Pace now claims has occurred.
I decided that someone who was in the US Army for 26 years and who worked in eight conflict areas, starting in Vietnam and ending with Haiti, would be qualified. If he had served in two parachute infantry units, three Ranger units, two Special Forces Groups and in Delta Force that would be helpful as well. And just to make sure, if he taught tactics at the Jungle Operations Training Center in Panama and Military Science at the United States Military Academy at West Point, thus knowing a thing or two about training soldiers, that would be a bonus.
That person is Stan Goff.
"This is utter bullshit," was Goff's remark about the Pace claim of having 100 Iraqi battalions when I asked him to comment, "He must be counting the resistance among his forces."
Again, I agree with Sen. McCain that troop withdrawals must be met by conditions in-country, not arbitrarily rooted in our domestic politics.I believe it is obvious to all but the most bald faced partisan like Mikey that what Patrick proposes IS “met by conditions in country,” with those conditions being an utter abomination. And as far as John McCain’s assessment of those conditions goes, click here.
It is not strong and decisive leadership to issue “new” plans every couple of months regarding the conduct of an ongoing war.Patrick hasn’t done that and you know that, Mikey, you scumbag. That’s a typically disingenuous remark on your part; I can see how seriously you took that “honesty pledge” the Courier Times made you sign after Patrick knocked off Andy Warren – of course, not only did Patrick sign it, but everyone in his organization did as well.
My job is to vocally raise the concerns of my constituents about the growing costs of the war – both financially but more importantly in the lives of our brave men and women – with those responsible for executing our military and foreign affairs. I have asked tough questions of this administration and pointed decision makers in what I believe is the right direction.Are specifics or attribution anywhere in sight here, Mikey? You know, trivial things like names, titles, dates, places, locations, particular issues discussed? Or is this more of your “cotton candy” pseudo solutions that just disappear as soon as our attention focuses elsewhere?
I have written to and met with the Iraq Study Group – a bi-partisan panel, expert in military affairs – who are working on a new strategy for success.Oh, so this is Mikey’s idea of “vocally raising concerns” and “asking tough questions.” He goes to some think tank full of well-heeled Beltway former politicos who think they know how to fight a war degenerating beyond measure from the cushy confines of their corporate suites and tries to curry favor (and for the record, this is the group run by James “The Fixer” Baker III).
This is one of the most pathetic commentaries by a politician that I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if it’s a worse testimonial to Mikey’s totally ineffectual performance as our congressman on this issue or to the fact that Bushco’s “management” of this war has been so woeful that Mikey feels he has to go to some almost-faceless third parties to make a stink about it.
And by the way, it should be obvious based on Mikey’s slight acknowledgement of the human cost of the war that he has never served. I wonder at what point he thought that the prosecution of the war was going so badly that he felt that he had to ask The Iraq Study Group for a resolution instead of the characters who spent most of 2002 and some of 2003 scaring us with lies about Saddam Hussein? What was the body count when he felt that he had to stir fitfully to life on this issue?
I asked them hard questions and offered my suggestions for the most crucial areas in which we need change to execute a new strategy, including better equipment for our soldiers, better training for the emerging Iraq military and a greater focus on the economic reconstruction of Iraq.By “better equipment,” is Mikey talking about proper armoring of our troops and vehicles? And what does he mean by “better training for the emerging Iraq military”? Is he referring to Casey’s phantom 100 battalions? The fact that our people weren’t given the equipment and methodology to succeed in Iraq (assuming that such a methodology existed now or ever) is the fault first and foremost of Donald (“The Defense Secretary You Have”) Rumsfeld, who would have been gone long ago from a competent presidential administration.
However, I think Mikey stumbled into the truth with the line about “a greater focus on the economic restructuring of Iraq.” Rep. Louise Slaughter feels the same way.
I agree with Gen. Wesley Clark that we must increase our diplomatic efforts to compel Iraq’s neighbors and our allies in Europe and Asia to accept their stake in this war. Iraq in civil war or under the influence of Iran will destabilize the region causing repercussions around the world.It’s pointless to argue with Mikey that Iraq is and has been in a state of civil war already, but this is exactly why Patrick and John Kerry want to redeploy our troops along the borders with Syria and Iran, or to at least keep an “over the horizon” force available – to keep the conflict from spreading to other nations in the region.
Our allies must also be encouraged to honor their commitment to providing assistance for the reconstruction of Iraq.I don’t want to say that doing that would be an empty gesture, but other nations won’t do that unless they know they’re going to get something for it, which after all is only human nature. That’s why mediation in this mess needs to be turned over to the U.N. because of our lack of credibility throughout the region as a result of the war, as well as our involvement in the war between Israel and Hezbollah.
My opponent will continue to search for a politically popular “plan” on Iraq, and continue to take shots at me for taking a thoughtful position rather than chanting a slogan sized to a bumper sticker.This wouldn’t be representative of Mikey if he didn’t throw in some of his patented pissy, “holier than thou” snark, now would it?
Sound bites, buzz words and political opportunism will not ensure that we achieve success in Iraq. Thoughtful, reasoned leadership, a watchful eye, and a brave voice will.Ugh...
OK, now you’ve just endured reading what Fitzpatrick said as I have. Now I’d like to ask you a question: what is he committing to do here?
What has he assigned for himself in the way of trying to change this mess? What has he assigned for himself to try and save more lives both of our people and innocent Iraqis, as well as trying to prevent more injuries to same?
What promise has he made to the families of our service people in harm’s way that will result in holding this cabal of crooks running our government to a higher standard (or ANY standard) of accountability for their dreadful, sickening betrayal to the people of this country by virtue of their illegal war?
Here’s the answer: Nothing.
He’s just told us that he’s going to wash his hands of everything and turn it over to “The Iraq Study Group.”
Did you or I appoint or elect “The Iraq Study Group”?
No. They’re not beholden to us. They’re not even beholden to the Repug leadership in Washington.
In point of fact, The Iraq Study Group doesn’t have to do a damn thing except listen to Fitzpatrick’s “hard questions” for a little while and then pat him on the head and say “Nice congressman” before they tell him to get the hell out of their offices so they can all have a good belly laugh at his expense.
This is what our government has become under the Repugs, ladies and gentlemen. A shadowy network of players connected incestuously within and without of public life beholden to no one but themselves and their handlers. For all intents and purposes, we don’t exist to them. And someone like Mike Fitzpatrick thinks that it’s perfectly fine to go to them for some supercilious gesture of accommodation disguised as doing “the people’s business” in an attempt to put an end at what is quite possibly the most divisive and controversial war our country has ever fought.
I think this Guest Opinion reveals more than Mikey realizes about how he views his job and the way he thinks he should be doing it. And I am sickened and enraged that he thinks that this should be acceptable conduct for someone who was elected to represent us.
This is, beyond a doubt, proof positive that we need to do all we can to support Patrick Murphy and send this laughingstock back to the Bucks County Board of Commissioners from whence he should never have left.