FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Farewell to the Architect of the ‘Slow Bleed’ Strategy
An Ex-Marine Departs This World Long After Having Departed the Corps
Here are my few brief, and probably socially unacceptable, words about a Congressman and Ex-Marine who passed away yesterday: John Murtha. In the interest of time, space, and not prolonging nausea, I won’t delve into this corrupt late Congressman’s role in ABSCAM, nor will I spend time lamenting, on behalf of the people of his district, the loss of the Pork King of Congress as their benefactor and representative.
I won’t even go too far into the Haditha Incident, in which Murtha (a military veteran who had long since cast his lot with those who believe that murder, atrocity, and shame are the rule of the military, not the exception) went onto national television, armed with nothing but a deep-seated hatred of America and her military (in place of, you know, facts), and accused several United States Marines of the cold-blooded murder of Iraqi civilians.
I want to use the little digital ink I’ll give the undeserving Murtha on a far worse issue.
Let’s journey back to February 2007. At this time, the U.S. was approaching its 4th anniversary in Iraq, the military death toll had passed 3,000, and Iraqi civilians were caught in the middle of a furious sectarian battle that had been kicked into overdrive by the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra.
General David Petraeus had just been tapped to take over Multinational Force-Iraq, and was ramping up a “surge” in troops there in preparation for the implementation of his counterinsurgency doctrine in the theater — a comprehensive overhaul of Iraq war strategy that would ultimately prove to be incredibly successful. Democrats in the House had just passed a non-binding resolution condemning the “surge” in troops (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called this a “symbolic victory in the fight over the Iraq War,” despite the fact that the Senate version of the resolution fell 4 votes short of cloture. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said “It’s pretty clear that a resolution that in effect says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn’t have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries”).
This was the setting for perhaps the most insidious move of Jack Murtha’s career, if not his life: the design and introduction of what he called a “Slow Bleed Strategy” designed to deprive soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in Iraq of the supplies — bullets, armor, etc. — they needed not only to push forward in Iraq, but to keep themselves alive while there. The rationale behind Murtha’s aptly — if appallingly — named Slow Bleed Strategy was that, if the supply chain to our troops in combat could be forced to dry up, enough of America’s warfighters would be killed in action that President Bush would have no choice but to “redeploy” our military men and women out of Iraq and back to America.
That’s right: Murtha became one of the only leaders in the history of warfare to advocate, rather than fight to the death to prevent, the drying up of his own military’s lanes of resupply. Not even Benedict Arnold attempted an act so insidious that it was more worthy of an enemy sleeper agent than a sitting Member of Congress.
Murtha announced this Slow Bleed Strategy in mid-February of ’07, announcing at a press conference that House Democratic leaders had joined forces with several leftist “anti-war” groups (such as the “Win without war coalition,” “Americans against the escalation of the war in Iraq,” and others) in a combined legislative- and multimillion-dollar advertising campaign whose purpose would be to undermine the President’s authority as Commander in Chief of the nation’s fighting forces by “limiting the administration’s options” through the passage of legislation and the inclusion of several stipulations for receipt of funding in appropriations bills.
In other words, as mentioned above, Murtha’s plan was to force the President to withdraw our troops from Iraq, either immediately or after thousands more had been killed due to a termination of resupply efforts.
Jack Murtha used the fractured home front to push his agenda of ending a war he disagreed with at any cost — both human and political. As a leader within the party in control of the legislative branch of government, he sought to “slowly bleed” the war effort until it was dry of funds with which to purchase bullets, body armor, and other supplies, while also seeking to whip the American public into such an “anti-war,” anti-military frenzy that the dwindling number of surviving Iraq war veterans would be even more reviled than his fellow Vietnam veterans were in their day.
That, more than AbScam, billions in Pork, or even the reckless and irresponsible (if not treasonous) Haditha accusation, is what Jack Murtha should be remembered for, and it is why I personally, along with many, many others, will not lose one moment of sleep, nor waste one breath in false condolence or respect, over the loss of such a “man.”