Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Murtha says he wouldn't join military now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rep. John Murtha, a key Democratic voice who favors pulling U.S. troops from Iraq, said in remarks airing on Monday that he would not join the U.S. military today.

Would you join (the military) today?," he was asked in an interview taped on Friday.

"No," replied Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending and one of his party's leading spokesmen on military issues.

"And I think you're saying the average guy out there who's considering recruitment is justified in saying 'I don't want to serve'," the interviewer continued.

"Exactly right," said Murtha, who drew White House ire in November after becoming the first ranking Democrat to push for a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as it could be done safely.

No one on either side of the Iraq debate picked up on Murtha's comments today, which is surprising, since the Reuters article was posted on Drudge early this morning. It's hard to believe that a Congressmen on a defense subcommittee would opine so negatively about serving in the armed forces of the United States of America. John Murtha may not agree with the Administration's Iraq policy, but one can infer from this interview that he believes the value of serving within the military has been tarnished because of the war. I beg to differ.

We must never allow the debate over this war, or the next one, to be framed in such a way that it degrades the value American society places upon those who volunteer to serve within our Armed forces. It is inexcusable that a member of Congress, the body tasked within our constitution with raising and
supporting Armies and Navies, would speak poorly of the value of military service, especially when our nation is at war.

And whether or not someone believes the war in Iraq is justified, the crucial role our military plays in securing American interests around the globe, and here at home, cannot be refuted. For example, the U.S. military's rapid response to the Tsunami last year no doubt saved thousands of lives, eased the suffering of thousands more, and contributed greatly to reconstruction efforts in places affected by the cataclysmic event. Does Congressman Murtha want to contribute to a mindset that diminishes America's ability to respond to events like this in the future? And who would pick up the slack if the U.S. no longer could field naval and ground forces?

The nation requires a highly effective military to deal with the threats and challenges we face today, and the unseen problems of tomorrow. Those who volunteer to serve in uniform are the key and essential factor to whatever capabilities our military will or will not have. Human capital, more than firepower or technology, is what makes the American military so effective and lethal. A member of congress who states there is no justification for the best and brightest to serve in the military today does his constituents, and his country, a great disservice.

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