From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
DEAR CONGRESSMAN MURTHA...
By JOHN A. LUCAS
I SAW YOU ON TV recently. With all the venom and bile you could muster, you pronounced, "This is George Bush's war."
I understand fully what you were saying. You were telling the country and - more import- antly - our enemies, that this is not your war, that you do not support it.
More than that, you were saying that it is not your party's war. And, you were telling Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Osama bin Laden and their jihadist allies that it is not America's war: "This is George Bush's war!"
You are wrong, congressman. Dead wrong. You are wrong on three levels: institutional, historical and moral.
On the institutional level, Congress voted to authorize this war. Virtually every prominent Democratic politician spoke in favor of its objectives - Hillary and Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Madeleine Albright and Joe Lieberman, to name just a few.
Many now conveniently ignore or seek to rationalize their vote. A few courageously stand by it.
But, it is not Congress' war, either. When Congress voted to authorize the war and the commander-in-chief gave the order to initiate it, it became our war. Ours: yours, mine, the country's. Our war, sir, not George Bush's.
You are wrong, too, about history - past and future. You were referring, of course, to the Iraq "war." However, history tells us that this is one battle in a larger war against radical, fascist Islamic fundamentalists who seek to conquer.
Do you know your history, sir?
Do you listen to what our enemies say?
Listen, they will tell you: They seek to restore Islamic rule and sharia law over that portion of the world that they regard as historically "theirs."
They mean not only the Mideast, but northern Africa, central Asia - and even Spain.
Then, they seek to expand that rule by imposing the same regime on any country where there is a significant Muslim population, anytime. They mean Europe, Nigeria - keep your eye on Nigeria, congressman, it is already happening in that most populous country of Africa - and, yes, the United States.
Do you deny any of these things? On what basis, sir?
They rightfully identify the United States as the sole power capable of standing in their way, of marshaling opposition to them.
Calling this battle "George Bush's war" won't blunt their strategy. No, it supports it.
Have you forgotten the other Islamic fascists' battles against us, indeed against the world?
Do you remember the airplane hijackings, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the USS Cole, the bombing of a barracks at a U.S. air base in Spain, bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the World Trade Center in 1993, in 2001?
They all are part of this war that George Bush did not start.
Yet they are not even the beginning of this war, congressman. This war has been going on for centuries, and it is not going to end if we retreat now, as you advocate.
Finally, you are wrong on the moral level.
Let me explain, lest you think that you have a monopoly on morality.
My son is now preparing for his second combat deployment in this battle. He will tell you that it is his war.
In his first combat tour, my son wrote: "I truly see this as a battle between the forces of good and evil. How can anyone not? Good brings hope to a whole people that have never known any and evil cuts the heads off innocent civilians on TV."
THAT SORT OF sums up the morality that our soldiers see. He and his comrades would like to think that they are not fighting this alone, that this is not just their and George Bush's war.
They would like to think that they fight for this country, including you, congressman.
It is their war, it is my war, and it is this country's war.
My son's life, and the lives of all the men and women fighting this battle are too precious to be endangered by politicians who give aid and comfort to our enemy in order to score rhetorical political points.
If you will not desist, I can only hope that responsible members of your party will repudiate your dangerous rhetoric and condemn your assistance to our enemies.
John A. Lucas, a lawyer in Knoxville, Tenn., is a West Point graduate and was an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam, where he earned four Bronze Stars