Herger vows to fight on in Iraq

SUPPORTING THE TROOPS <br>Rep. Wally Herger, R-Chico, on a visit to Iraq shortly after the fall of Baghdad.

Rep. Wally Herger, R-Chico, on a visit to Iraq shortly after the fall of Baghdad.

Photo By Wally Herger

If there were any doubts as to Rep. Wally Herger’s stomach for a long, bloody and protracted war, they were dismissed this week with a press release from his Washington office noting that on Nov. 18 Congress “overwhelmingly rejected calls to immediately withdraw” soldiers from Iraq.

The “calls” for withdrawal, at least the one that sparked the emergency vote for a resolution opposing such action, was the one made earlier in the week by decorated Vietnam vet and current Rep. John Murtha. That call was met with criticism by the White House and Congressional hawks who equated Murtha’s call with “surrender.”

Earlier, the Republicans had defeated a Democratic call for at least a Whitehouse timetable to pull out troops.

Murtha, an unlikely critic of the war, at least until this year, has referred to Vice President Richard Cheney’s lack of military service, calling him “Five-deferment Dick.” Murtha’s two Purple Hearts make it difficult for the war advocates to come after him, though it didn’t stop them from shredding Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry last year.

Herger, R-Chico, who escaped service during the Vietnam War with a couple deferments of his own, said in the release, “I strongly opposed this resolution, because our nation must continue to firmly support our men and women in uniform and their critical mission in Iraq.”

Critics of Murtha’s call for deployment, say it is tantamount to surrender and works to undermine the morale of the troops in Iraq. The conservative group RightMarch sent an email to the media before the emergency response vote that warned: “This will be a vote on what message Congress wants to send to our American troops: that we believe in their mission of fighting terrorists and we must not retreat, or that we’ll cry ‘Uncle’ and leave in defeat just as we’re winning—just like in Vietnam.”

Herger’s press release echoed those sentiments.

“Now is not the time to embolden the enemy,” he said. “Instead, now is the time for the American government and people to reaffirm their strong support for the American troops and their noble efforts in Iraq. Defeat of this resolution made clear that terminating this mission would be a terrible mistake and devastating to the morale of the brave men and women who are working and sacrificing to make America more secure.”