In an effort to combat the administration and pro-war factions insistence on listening to the commanders in the field while simultaneously trying not to appear anti-war to the point of being detrimental and derogatory towards the military (after polls showed that stupid comments from Dick Durbin, Kerry, et al regarding the military were damaging their support), the Democrat party has trotted out their newest members of congress, recent veterans of the Iraq war, to put a military face on their demand for retreat. All in hopes of looking like it has a strategic purpose and support from the military and isn't just as it is: a retreat.
It was the summer of 2002, when he was still a three-star admiral commanding the USS George Washington battle group, and his aircraft carrier was sent steaming toward Iraq without the armada from other nations that had aided it during the war in Afghanistan.
``When we took a left turn into the Persian Gulf, all the Australians and British, everyone stayed behind,'' said Sestak.
Sestak, 55, is one of five freshmen House Democrats with military experience who have emerged as party leaders in the congressional debate over President George W. Bush's Iraq strategy -- appearing with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), speaking up in caucus meetings and advising more senior colleagues.
``Other members are looking upon Tim Walz (news, bio, voting record), Joe Sestak, Chris Carney, Phil Hare (news, bio, voting record) and me to play a leadership role,'' said Representative Patrick Murphy (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, who served in Iraq as a captain in the 82nd Airborne Division.
The Democrats are learning fast on their feet. They know that they cannot get the support of the American people by aligning themselves with the "looney left" of their party, at least not in public, however much that far left wing might have brought them to power as the "base". They want to "have their cake and eat it too" by satisfying their anti-war base with the final outcome while simultaneously maintaining the appearance of having a strategic plan based on American security.
In the upcoming presidential elections, being strong on defense is still going to be a key to getting elected. Being anti-war and strong on defense is a paradox by most reasoning and it saw the defeat of the Democrats in the last presidential election. They are hoping to circumvent that by putting a "military" face on their objection to and demand to withdraw from, the Iraq front in the war on terror.
It's a new spin of the old efforts. But, this time, instead of just having some veterans throw their medals over the fence, they worked hard to put anti-war veterans into congress to give the Democrat party "face". They are also hoping to get some respect back, riding on the coat tails of the respect and trust that Americans have for their military (rated above politicians and the media).
Even the representatives are using their "connections" as a "representation" of what the "soldiers in the field" think (something they learned from the Republicans).
Of the group, Murphy, 33, is the only one to have combat experience in Iraq, where he served from 2003 to 2004 in a brigade of 3,500 troops that sustained 19 casualties. Murphy returned to Iraq last month to visit soldiers from his unit. While having lunch with the paratroopers he once commanded, he said, they encouraged him to continue his advocacy in Congress.
`One of Our Own'
A sergeant in his former unit, Juan Santiago, ``said, `Sir, keep fighting,''' Murphy recalled. ```All the guys know that one of our own made it to Washington.''
The question regarding young Santiago may be whether he made that comment in regards to "bring us home" or as simply a pat on the back for having "one of our own" make it to congress.
Of course, Murphy doesn't quote anyone else in his unit. That will be up to the Republicans to do.
The Republicans, on the other hand, are relying heavily on the success of Gen. Petraeus to make their point. Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans were too busy focusing on maintaining their seats and not busy enough supporting "pro-war" veterans for vacating Republican or Democrat seats. The Republicans continue to flounder behind the new and improved "anti-war/pro-military" Democrat party and their new/old weapon: Veterans Against the War.
This time they are smart enough to keep the radicalized, conspiracy theorists out of the main light and leave it to "respectable" anti-war vets.
If the Republican party is relying on the success of Gen. Petraeus's plan to keep the Iraq war front open, they have effectively gone to the "hail Mary" pass. Not an effective strategy at all.
Cross referenced at the Castle