The Truth Behind The Murtha Talking Points

Representative Murtha continues to repeat his same talking points tonight on the House floor that he used in his surrender letter yesterday.

You would think that someone could have fact checked Representative (Hawk) Murtha’s “Surrender Speech”. After all, this was the most important “Surrender Speech” we have heard from the democrats since this war began.

Here are a few red flags that popped up from Representative Murtha’s white flag waving talk:

1.) “Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards.”

From Red Hot Cuppa Politics:

August 2005 shows military recruitment is up substantially.Figures obtained from dcmilitary.com show that total military recruiting has exceeded all set goals.

Air Force recruitment is at 104% of quota, the Air Force National Guard stands at 108%, the Air Force Reserve at 101%, Navy recruitment is at 103% and the combined Army and Marine Corps stand at 102% of goal.

Also, the military has higher standards for recruits than ever before — and those standards are being met.

From the Mudville Gazette:

In a nutshell, 58% of age-eligible youths can’t meet entry-level standards for health, education, aptitude, and other requirements – and are thus ineligible to serve….

…Army retention is high – and this impacts reserve component recruiting (as noted here previously). A “double whammy” for their efforts as they compete for the same recruits, who now more than ever know that a reserve commitment can be every bit as demanding as an active duty tour – and perhaps less predictable.

The Army does face a recruiting challenge – in no way are we claiming otherwise here. But the real solutions require real numbers, which are not quite what the media have been presenting to the public recently. This does a great disservice on a vitally important issue – if public perceptions and discourse are to have any impact on public policy, it’s crucial that said public be well informed.

The military has done this without cooperation from communities like San Francisco, where military recruiters and guns are now banned.

2.) “This is the first prolonged war we have fought with three years of tax cuts, without full mobilization of American industry and without a draft.”

This sounds like a great success! We are winning a war in Iraq without a draft and without raising taxes. No wonder the Left is unhappy!

As far as the draft goes, Murtha is the one who played politics scaring people about “rumors” of a draft before the ’04 Election:

Rep. John Murtha accused the Bush administration Friday of delaying a new military call up until after the election.

“I have learned through conversations with officials at the Pentagon that at the beginning of November, 2004, the Bush Administration plans to call up large numbers of the military Guard and Reserves, to include plans that they previously had put off to call up the Individual Ready Reserve.”

3.) “But the war continues to intensify.”

This is not true even from liberal antiwar standards. The rate of death has not significantly increased. The murder rate from New Orleans is at the same rate as what we are seeing in Iraq.

Iraqi President Al-Talebani as reported by Haider Ajinas from the Kuwaiti Arabic newspaper Alqabas :

During his visit to Vienna Austria to attend a conference about Islam in pluralistic societies the Iraqi president Jellal Al-Talebani, emphasized that matters in Iraq are improving.

During an interview Al-Talebani pointed out that Iraq’s constitution has been accepted and there will be elections in mid December. He said that they have succeeded in curtailing terrorist activities.

He also complained about the world media only covering bad news from Iraq.

He added that the number of attacks by terrorists has declined. In the past we had 12 to 14 car bombs a day. Now we are down to one or two a day.

4.) “Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels.”

Although, oil production currently at 1.6 million barrels/day is not at prewar levels, there have been significant improvements in electrical services since the war began. USAID on Electricity:

Decades of minimal repairs and sporadic maintenance left Iraq’s electrical system with limited power to light homes and power businesses.As of June 1, 2005, USAID activities in the electricity sector have added 855 megawatts (MW) of new capacity to the electrical grid.
By the end of 2005, the total capacity contributed to the grid through USAID projects will be over 1,600 MW. This total will represent a significant portion of the total capacity added by the US government.
Reconstructed the 400 KV Khor az Zubayr-Nasiriyah transmission line.
Initiated a project to rehabilitate 13 existing substations and construct 24 new substations in Baghdad to improve distribution reliability for more than two million Baghdad residents.

5.) “Unemployment remains at about 60 percent.”?

Try 18 percent. (MSNBC)

6.) “Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects has been spent.”

Significant improvements have taken place. USAID Water and Sanitation Division:

Nationwide: : Restored water treatment service to 4.0 million, and sewage treatment to 7.7 million

7.) “And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically.”

Not according to Iraq’s Al-Talebani, who happens to live in Iraq (via Ajinas):

He also complained about the world media only covering bad news from Iraq.

He added that the number of attacks by terrorists has declined. In the past we had 12 to 14 car bombs a day. Now we are down to one or two a day.

More Perspective:

Revolutionary War (1775-1783) 25,324 (3,165 deaths/year)
Mexican War (1846-1848) 13,283 (6,641 deaths/year)
Civil War (1861-1865) 562,130 (140,532 deaths/year)
World War I (1917-1918) 116,708 (58,354 deaths/year)
World War II (1941-1945) 408,306 (102,076 deaths/year)
Korean War (1950-1953) 54,246 (18,082 deaths/year)
Vietnam War (1957-1975) 58,219 (3234 deaths/year)
Operation Desert Storm (1991) 363 (363 deaths/year- took less than a year)
Iraq War (2003-2005) 2,000 (750 deaths/year)

More perspective: Iraqi Vice president: “Current violence is preferable to Saddam’s rule.”

More perspective: War is Hell.

8.) “Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence.”

Since when did bombing a mosque target our soldiers?

9.) “A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops.”

Representative Murtha used this talking point numerous times tonight.

The anonymous poll he is quoting, as reported at Iraq the Model, is highly suspect with no sources or data to back up the results. Sad.


This is one of several pictures at friend, Stefania’s Free Thoughts blog from Italy taken from a polling place in Iraq. This picture from Getty Images didn’t make the front pages for some strange reason(?).

However, back in April there was this poll that came out as reported at Powerline:

From the Iraqi newspaper Almidhar, via Haider Ajinas. The results are based on a survey of 778 Baghdad residents:

Do you support the pull out of foreign troops?
At once = 12.56%
According to a future timetable= 81.80%
Do not know = 5.64%

Has the security situation improved since the start of the new government?

Yes = 55%
No = 35%
No change = 10%

And, from Michael Yon:

“The courage of the Iraqi people that January day planted a seed of confidence. These were not timid or cowering souls. There I was: an American alone in a dangerous Iraqi city, at the very polling site that soldiers were wagering would be bombed. One after another, Iraqis came and shook my hand, showing me their children, laughing, smiling, saying over and over, Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I felt like an honored guest, and I felt a twinge of shame that I’d been less confident in the Iraqis than they were in themselves. The voice of the Iraqi people had risen above the clamor of insurgent violence.”

10.) “Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our OBLIGATION to speak out for them. That’s why I am speaking out.”

“Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME.”

Al Qaida and Al Zarqawi agree!

“The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled — nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer.”

The White House
November 18, 2005

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