As the debris continues to settle from the explosion detonated by the defeatist comments by Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., I wonder how he expected his statements to be perceived. As an infantryman whose boots are still caked with blood and dust from Iraq, I am beyond confused by the insistence by Democratic Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Louise Slaughter that he preserve his title as a combat visionary.
As rancor and hyperbole peak, we continue to be fed bastardized statistics and a complete denial that Iraq, according to al-Qaida intercepts, is indeed the front line in the war on terror.
When then-President Bill Clinton sent 15,000 troops into post-hostile Bosnia to get the job done, it was the equivalent of keeping 585,000 troops in Iraq post-invasion, when equating terrain and population. Tellingly, the silence from the left is deafening. To the leftists in America, Clinton understood war like no other: Pull out when the blood starts to flow (Somalia) and overcommit when there is no chance of loss (Kosovo and Bosnia).
I am no John Zogby, but I conclude 100 percent of Iraqis want us out -- eventually. They very much want us there while Islamo-fascists continue to blow them up as they worship and apply to serve the cause of freedom. My peers are not appreciative of the elitists, like Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, who daily attempt to uncover mistakes made by this administration while my brothers under fire bleed to death thousands of miles from home.
Iraqi veterans are without apologies for not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Former administrations ignored the danger present in this region for years, and we in the trenches now pay the price for our past inability to confront our enemies. Each day, the enemy hopes that one more 10-plus death toll inflicted against the coalition via a roadside bomb will be the last straw of the American collective will.
Make no mistake. This is a middle- to lower-class war, fought by volunteers of the greatest generation of American warriors ever born. I have written more than 47 recommendations for Bronze Star valor awards for the members of my 34-man infantry platoon. That award, alarmingly, is growing more and more common during this fight. And yet my peers cannot use their awards as a platform to defend their noble struggle, because they are still deep in the fight.
Neither Murtha, who wears his Bronze Star as his badge of authority, nor any other congressional representative has held a position in a skirmish line under fire in Iraq, yet they pontificate to the masses from "their war" experience. Not one has borne witness to the extreme close-quarter nature of this fight or commented on the tearful thanks from a deserving and proud people who need us to stay the course.
Yet Murtha has the extreme audacity to call my peers "broken." Funny how a man like Murtha, who made his career on detailing his heroism under fire, is the first to chip away at my generation's valor.
Each day, the Iraqi war veteran grows closer to the embarrassing disrespect of the Vietnam warrior. Each day, legislators like Murtha move us closer to losing a winnable war and abandoning a worthy ally. Staying the course isn't a campaign slogan; it is a life support message to my peers. Like Vietnam, the American soldier cannot be defeated on the field of battle, only by the failure of the political class to stomach the hardships of combat.