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 Murtha fires the first shot in Bush’s Dien Bien Phu


Stan Goff

© Copyright 2005, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.

November 21, 2005 0900 PST (FTW): Anyone who knows me knows that I am about as evangelical as a coyote; but sometimes I find it irresistible to quote scripture. A southern thing, perhaps. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” The Bush administration has not only surrounded itself with venal whisperers to fill its ear with comforting delusions, it has embraced the most fatal of all delusions -- that of its own invincibility.

The rage of Bush and Cheney and Congressional Republicans now lashing themselves to this sinking ship no longer can create even the impression of strength. The volume of this attack is not power but panic. That rage is directed against Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha, who once and enthusiastically supported the war in Southwest Asia. Their rage is against his immunity as a Marine combat veteran. Their rage is against the breach he has created in the wall of Democratic Party cowardice on the war. Their rage is directed at the public voice he has given to the majority of Americans who now believe the US armed forces must leave Iraq, and the sooner the better. But even more basically, this rage is the rage of the pampered child who has never before not gotten his way.

Representative Duncan Hunter, who has just secured his position in history as a sycophant of the most mediocre president since Millard Fillmore, tried to build reality with his Congressional resolution to call the question that Murtha fired into our public discourse like a surprise attack from a 155mm howitzer, igniting such acrimony in Congress that they looked for a moment for all the world like they would come to blows. The Republicans offered a resolution to bring the troops home now as a stunt, and they caught the Democrats with their pants down. Only Republican Ron Paul and Democrat Cynthia McKinney have publicly said that people should have voted for it. Once again, the only people cowardly and stupid enough to be caught flat-footed by cynical Republican elected officials... were Democratic elected officials. Any Democrat or Republican who refused to vote for withdrawal should be punished. Especially Democrats! They were offered an opportunity to slap the Republicans down in an historic vote, and end an illegal and immoral war, and instead they whined about timing.

“Reprehensible!” said Cheney, still in charge at the Oval Office. “Coward!” was the call. In reply, and this is the pathetic downside of all this, Bush’s frat brother John Kerry ‘defended’ Murtha by exposing himself once again -- the dick measuring seems to be irresistible to these guys -- by saying that Murtha is a vet (“and me, John Kerry, I’m a vet, too”), and Cheney received multiple deferments.

“What we need,” said Kerry, who is obviously thinking of trying another run at the Oval Office for himself, “is more of a commander in chief and less of a campaigner in chief.” That’s just the kind of blistering critique that helped this New England hound dog snatch defeat from the jaws of victory last time, when he single handedly took the most urgent issue in the United States, the war in Iraq, off the table as a campaign issue.

With friends like these... may John Kerry rot in hell.

Murtha, on the other hand, was not engaging in these DLC antics, nor did he trot out his military 201-file to demonstrate his military masculinity. For whatever reason, he just said what needed to be said in Congress, where people are deathly allergic to saying what could be the most important words in the world for both politics and personal relationships: I fucked up. I’m sorry.

I know that there is not a single thing in Murtha’s political career that I am likely to have agreed with. I know that he was supportive of the vicious covert operations against Latin Americans, that he was a cheerleader for the 1991 aggression against Iraq, and that he has supported jingo idiocies like an anti-flag-burning amendment. So it’s extremely unlikely that my opposition to the war is based on the same criteria as Murtha’s. I don’t care. And it’s not his status as a purple heart awardee or a combat veteran that makes him credible with me, though I recognize that this is a huge contradiction for an administration who has cultivated a macho warrior image for their little prep school prick as part of a vast perception management conspiracy. I still don’t care. I am someone who has to believe in redemption. What I care about is that this member of Congress said, ‘‘The US cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It’s time to bring the troops home… They have become the enemy.”

Out now.

Poll numbers tumbling... indictments rolling in... more revelations each day about torture camps and US Iraqi allies acting more like Salvadoran death squads than anyone wants to admit... it seems someone has sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind. I can only hope that more Democrats as well as Republicans will do what they have to do to save face and join Murtha’s call for an end to this slaughter. If they can’t find their moral compasses, perhaps we can rely on plain self-preservation. Bush’s minions are trapped in their fortified valley, and Murtha’s shot was the first of many from the surrounding hills. History is leveling their lies, and a movement is entrenching its way toward their perimeter. 2006 is coming fast, and this will be a terrible place to be trapped.

And we should trap them there. I suggest here that we organize sit-ins in every local Congressional office in the country where the elected official voted against the resolution to get out or for additional money to continue the war, and that we refuse to leave until arrested or until we get a change of heart. Occupations to end the occupation! We can carry Murtha’s picture with us.

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