… and, adds Riverbend below, so are the Iraqi people …

“The U.S. Army is “broken, worn out” and “living hand-to-mouth” from fighting in Iraq and may not be able to meet future military threats to this country’s security, U.S. Rep. John Murtha said Wednesday. “They’re barely getting by,” said Murtha, a ranking member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Defense.

“They’re drawing back on equipment buys down the road,” said the Democrat, who was in Latrobe, Westmoreland County, yesterday to address an invited group of community and business leaders. “We are not able to buy the equipment because of the cost of the war.” Murtha, of Johnstown, Cambria County, said the Pennsylvania National Guard is “stretched so thin” that it won’t be able to deploy fully equipped units to Iraq until next year because of equipment shortages and a lack of training for soldiers. They can deploy individuals. They can’t deploy units. The equipment is worn out,” he said.

Murtha said it will cost $50 billion to upgrade military equipment because of the war, but the government has begun reducing future equipment purchases to save money.


“I predict he’ll make it look like we’re staying the course,” Murtha said of President Bush. “Staying the course is not a policy.” On Nov. 17, Murtha, a Korean and Vietnam war veteran, publicly called for an immediate troop withdrawal, touching off a political firestorm in Congress that hasn’t abated. “We have to change direction. That’s going to happen. … It’s just a matter of time,” he said yesterday. “If I had my way, they’d be out sooner.”

Murtha also is pessimistic about the stability of Iraq and the lack of trust between American and Iraqi forces. He said the Iraqis know who the insurgents are but don’t always share their knowledge with the United States. He also believes a civil war is likely because of internecine strife between the Kurds, who control northern Iraq, and Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Murtha said he was wrong when he voted to allow the president to invade Iraq and believes Bush should admit that he made mistakes.

“I admit I made a mistake when I voted for war. I’m looking at the future of the United States military. For some reason, they don’t want to admit their mistakes,” he said.

Iraqis are fed up with the American occupation because of the personal toll it is taking on their lives, the congressman said. When the U.S. military took back Fallujah from insurgents, American bombings and attacks left 150,000 people homeless.

“A military victory is unattainable if you don’t win the hearts and minds of the citizens,” he said. “It’s time to turn it over to the Iraqis. They’ll let us fight there forever.” – from the story in Thursday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. (Emphases mine.)

That powerful piece was found by Howie in Seattle, who always finds the most important stuff. Can you imagine putting up with 1:5 electricity reliability? We’d lose our minds … Howie found this too:

“I didn’t get to see the Saddam trial — our electricity was out and the neighborhood generator was down. All I’ve been seeing these last two days are bits and pieces of it on various channels (they keep repeating the part where he scolds the judge).

The electricity schedule in what appears to be most areas in Baghdad is currently FIVE hours of no electricity for every one hour of electricity. It’s very frustrating considering the fact that it’s not really cool enough yet for excess electrical heater use- where is it all going? If the electrical situation is this bad now, what happens later when the populace starts needing more electricity? … Read all at the Riverbend (aka Baghdad Burning) blog.

Howie adds that “Earlier this year, Baghdad Burning the blog was turned into Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq. Feminist Press published the whole first year of blogs in book form and it was a huge honor. The book is available [at Powell’s] … The British version was published by Marion Boyars Publishers.

“As if having the blog published as a book wasn’t enough- the book itself won the third prize of the Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage in October… An amazing honor.

“Also – Baghdad Burning in Japanese… and Baghdad Burning in Spanish. Many, many thanks to the people taking so much time to translate the blog!” — Via Howie in Seattle

I’m glad I could end this on an up note. It’s wonderful that her blog is now a book. I wish her peace, health and safety. I wish it for our soldiers and all the Iraqi people too. Somehow, it has to be possible. Somehow. Thank you again, Jack Murtha.

0 0 votes
Article Rating