In fairness to U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a great many things he said during his recent press conference were on point. The administration has made mistakes in the planning and conduct of the war in Iraq, and its errors should not be immune from criticism.
However, it is not criticism of the war that so many find objectionable. Constructive criticism is vital, even necessary for victory. What offends is the relativism, the defeatism and the failure to embrace American goodness that seems to motivate so much of the Democratic critique of the war.
This sentence of Murtha's stuck out like a sore thumb: "Bin Laden said he attacked the United States because of the troops in Saudi Arabia. That's terrorism. Terrorism was in London. Terrorism was in Spain. Terrorism was, obviously, in the United States … . That's completely separate from what's going on in Iraq. Iraq is an insurgency."
The following day, a suicide bomber in Baghdad strolled onto a bus filled with students, women and children and blew himself to smithereens. No doubt, it is of great comfort to the more than 70 people who were killed or injured that they were the victims of an insurgent and not a terrorist.
Listening to Murtha and the other odd utterances made recently by Democratic leaders, it is clear why Americans do not want the Democratic Party to lead this nation at the beginning of the 21st century.
Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, Democratic senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry offered this queer thought: "And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the … the historical customs, religious customs… . Iraqis should be doing that."
Question: Once Iraqis begin terrorizing women and children, will that make them insurgents or terrorists? Was this simply a poor choice of words, or does Sen. Kerry actually believe that American soldiers hunting for men intent on spreading murder and mayhem are criminals?
During a recent radio interview, Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean offered this gem: "The idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong." Dean went on call for the withdrawal all U.S. forces within two years. The keystone of this proposal is something Dean called strategic redeployment, or what is known in some circles as "running away."
Americans are many things. We are compassionate, industrious and brave. Americans are kind, we are good, we are also winners.
I am reminded of the words of General George Patton: "Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American."
Truer words were never spoken. Americans may disagree on the wisdom of this war, and the manner in which it is being waged. But the idea of losing is hateful to us. The only thing more hateful is the idea of leadership that is uninterested in winning and thinks us incapable or undeserving of victory.
Joseph C. Phillips is an actor/writer based in Los Angeles.