Murtha: No More U.S. Troops for Afghanistan
Last week I urged people to watch Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Reps. David Obey (D-Wis.) and Jack Murtha (D-Pa) for barometric measurements of deflated Democratic congressional support for the Afghanistan war. Levin, of course, came out on Friday for deferring a second troop increase this year. Now Murtha is opposing it outright.
In an interview with Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin, the chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee says:
“In Vietnam it took 500,000 troops and that didn’t solve the problem. So we have to take a different approach,” Murtha told The Cable in an exclusive interview. “I think that’s what McChrystal is trying to do,” he said, referring to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, who recently delivered a status report to the White House on the situation there.
Rogin correctly notes that Murtha’s 2005 opposition to the Iraq war, coming as it did from a consistent hawk, encouraged congressional Democrats to grow full-throated in their own criticism of the war. But now Murtha’s embroiled in massive ethical scandals. Congressional Democrats are balking at a second troop increase this year for their own reasons, and have leaders like Levin, House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and others expressing discomfort. Murtha probably won’t have the galvanizing effect on the Afghanistan debate that he did on the Iraq one.