And a nod to an American hero

Just when we think there is little to be thankful for on the national level this time around, someone steps forward and renews our faith in the system. In this case we are talking about Rep. John Murtha, the former Marine who put the White House on notice last week that the nation’s patience for Bush’s never-ending war in Iraq is wearing thin.

This is not the first time the highly decorated Vietnam vet has spoken out against the war and its apparent lack of direction or exit plan. Back in May, with the passage of the Supplemental Defense Appropriations bill, Murtha and his fellow Democrats urged the White House to start providing better information on its war plans and set a July 11 deadline for a response.

The deadline has long since come and gone. Soon after it did, Murtha held a press conference with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in which he said, “[There is] a weakening of public support not for our troops, who have done everything we’ve asked of them, but of the president and this job in Iraq. There’s a difference between supporting the troops and continuing to support a failed policy. It’s up to the president to clearly define the goals and objectives of what constitutes success in Iraq. The American people deserve this. Even more important, the troops deserve to hear what the policy is.”

And he promised to keep working to end the war and bring the troops home. Last week Murtha demanded a withdrawal and reconfiguration of the troops and had some choice words for Vice-President Dick Cheney. “I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and sent people to war and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.”

Now we wait for the White House’s Swift-boatian response to attack and try to discredit Murtha, the recipient of two purple hearts after he re-enlisted in 1967 to fight in Vietnam. This time Bush and the boys had best be careful. Going after a bona-fide war hero during a time of war could prove disastrous.

That lesson may have already taken hold. This week Bush backed down the jingoistic rhetoric and said disagreement with his war does not necessarily equate to a lack of patriotism. Indeed.