How Okinawa And Somalia Figure Into Murtha’s Cut’N’Run Plan For Iraq

Ole Cut’N’Run, John Murtha, who seems to be the closest thing the Democrats have to hawkish expert on foreign policy these days, offered up some real gems on Tim Russert’s show yesterday:

REP. MURTHA: He’s, he’s in New Hampshire. He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air conditioned office with his big, fat backside, saying, “Stay the course.” That’s not a plan. I mean, this guy—I don’t know what his military experience is, but that’s a political statement. This is a policy difference between me and the White House. I disagree completely with what he’s saying.

Now, let’s, let’s—give me, give you an example. When we went to Beirut, I, I said to President Reagan, “Get out.” Now, the other day we were doing a debate, and they said, “Well, Beirut was a different situation. We cut and run.” We didn’t cut and run. President Reagan made the decision to change direction because he knew he couldn’t win it. Even in Somalia, President Clinton made the decision, “We have to, we have to change direction.

REP. MURTHA: Kuwait’s one that will take us. Qatar, we already have bases in Qatar. So Bahrain. All those countries are willing to take the United States. Now, Saudi Arabia won’t because they wanted us out of there in the first place. So—and we don’t have to be right there. We can go to Okinawa. We, we don’t have—we can redeploy there almost instantly. So that’s not—that’s, that’s a fallacy. That, that’s just a statement to rial up people to support a failed policy wrapped in illusion.

MR. RUSSERT: But it’d be tough to have a timely response from Okinawa.

REP. MURTHA: Well, it—you know, they—when I say Okinawa, I, I’m saying troops in Okinawa. When I say a timely response, you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly. And—and—when they don’t know we’re coming. There’s no question about it. And, and where those airplanes won’t—came from I can’t tell you, but, but I’ll tell you one thing, it doesn’t take very long for them to get in with cruise missiles or with, with fighter aircraft or, or attack aircraft, it doesn’t take any time at all. So we, we have done—this one particular operation, to say that that couldn’t have done, done—it was done from the outside, for heaven’s sakes.

So, let me get this straight. If I am understanding him correctly, John Murtha, the best guy the Democrats have on defense matters, wants to emulate Clinton’s Somalia debacle in Iraq and also thinks we should station more troops in Okinawa Japan, a nation that would be 5000+ air miles away, to use as a rapid reaction force that would engage in “timely” attacks in Iraq?

Does this make any sense? According to Froggy, over at the military blog Black Five, it would likely take 10-12 hours and at least 6 mid-air refuelings each way to bomb targets in Iraq from Okinawa. And our actions in Somalia during the Clinton Administration? That was one of the events that apparently convinced Bin Laden he could get away with attacking America:

“In 1993, 18 U.S. soldiers, part of a contingent sent on a humanitarian mission to famine-struck Somalia, were murdered by street fighters in Mogadishu. Bin Laden later claimed that some of the Arab Afghans were involved. The main thing to bin Laden, however, was the horrified American reaction to the deaths. Within six months, the U.S. had withdrawn from Somalia. In interviews, bin Laden has said that his forces expected the Americans to be tough like the Soviets but instead found that they were “paper tigers” who “after a few blows ran in defeat.”

There’s only one upside to this “strategy.” It’s probably better than anything Ted Kennedy would have come up with.

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