Friday, January 06, 2006

Jack and Jean: Together again

Rep. Jack Murtha replied to Gen. Casey today. In case you missed it, Casey said yesterday that Murtha hurt morale when he said that, if he were eligible today, he wouldn't join the military.

Murtha came back today and basically told the general he was full of crap:
They're trying to direct attention away from their problems...

The military had no problem recruiting directly after 9/11 because everyone understood that we had been attacked. But now the military's ability to attract recruits is being hampered by the prospect of prolonged, extended and repeated deployments, inadequate equipment, shortened home stays, the lack of any connection between Iraq and the brutal attacks of 9/11, and most importantly the administration's constantly changing, undefined, open-ended military mission in Iraq.
And he's right, of course. General Douglas MacArthur said in a press conference on March 23, 1942, said tht "Men will not fight and will not die unless they know what they are fighting for and what they are dying for." What we are fighting for in Iraq gets harder and harder to define every day.

Bush once said that terrorists "hate us because of our freedom." I can only assume because of his recent actions he's decided that, without freedom, they'll probably hate us a lot less. As I've said before, his warrantless wiretapping of American citizens is both illegal and unconstitutional.

Yet the service of every American service member begins with and hinges upon an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. So you have to wonder how it affects people serving overseas to find out that they are serving under an administration which believes that a police state's fine, but, you know, just a little police state. One that arrests people without charges and wants to torture people and in which those who are supposed to uphold the laws feel they are above the laws.

Well, you have to wonder. I have a good friend in Iraq who said that members of his platoon were talking about the wiretapping bullshit and every member was pissed, pissed pissed. My buddy reported with shock that one of the outspoken Republican evangelicals in his unit actually referred to a "Bush gestapo." Are these comments representative of all soldiers? There's no way for me to tell, but clearly some soldiers are having their morale hurt by the fact this nation is turning its back on its principles.

I admit I'm an idealist, but the thought that Americans would give up their freedoms because we're scared of the big Muslim boogeyman disgusts and horrifies me. E.B. White once wrote that, "Living in a sanitary age, we are getting so we place too high a value on human life — which rightfully must always come second to human ideas." I believe that. I would give my life to defend the principles upon which this country was founded. But the very bedrock of our nation's moral authority is eroding under the steady drip, drip, drip of Bush's will to power. What will we have left if we let this continue?

If you think I'm getting carried away, let me re-introduce you to Rep. Jean Schmidt. Remember that she was the one who suggested Murtha was a "coward" who wanted to "cut and run." Schmidt, on the other hand, has chosen to "cut and run" on her own Congressional Oath "to support and defend" the Constitution.
At one point (in her recent town hall appearance Schmidt) called on an apparently sypathetic blond-haired, conservatively-dressed cornfed Ohio man who asked a question that seemed to intrigue her: "I'm troubled," he said, "By this unwarranted wiretapping program not just because of the Fourth and Second and First Amendment issues it raises but because the bad guys might get off on a technicality. That this might actually be aiding our enemies and my question is what, if any, do you believe are the limits of Presidential power in wartime and what is you duty as a member of Congress if those limits have been exceeded?"

"Wow!" she said "that's a big question...privacy rights...(she seemed to cock her head for better reception)...we're at war...suspending the Constitution is sometimes necessary...if someone is going to attack us, we shoud know that and go after them..." (Edited)
Tell me that doesn't hurt a soldier's morale. The document upon which your country was founded and to which you swore your allegiance has been "suspended."

Does that mean those oaths are null and void? Can they come home now?