Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Get it through your heads: REP John Murtha is a realist!!

When will people realize that REP Murtha's position on Iraq doesn't have anything to do with his party affiliation?

Murtha opposes OIF because he is a textbook dogmatic Cold War realist (poli sci sense). Realists are traditionally pro-military and pro- National Security. They are genuinely hawkish. Realists are also traditionally against liberal endeavors like nation-building and internationalist intervention. The Bush admin's chosen strategy in the WOT, including Iraq, is a liberal strategy.

I bet Murtha is not a fan of the UN. I also bet that if you get him talking about China, he'd be very hawkish and enthusiastic about competing with a 'near-peer' state-actor competitor. The liberal strategy we're employing in the War on Terror, including Iraq, is simply contrary to Murtha's dogma.

More evidence from Newsbusters: REP Murtha opposed the Somalia operation.

Update from my comment on Neptunus Lex:

badbob,

Thanks. Regarding Murtha compared to other reformed realists, he does seem particularly inflexible, hence the qualifier as “dogmatic”.

As a liberal, I don’t ideologically agree with the realist school, but I agree with you: as individual thinkers, not all realists are as rigid as Murtha. I like the idea of a neo-realist school; I’ll just call it the liberal security model.

My point in bringing this up is that I think the focus on Dems vs GOP, doves vs hawks, and Left vs Right has been harmfully misleading when analysing Murtha and those like him. Our concepts are still stuck on the Vietnam War debate. Popular discourse in the WOT needs to be reshuffled to fit a different kind of war.

In the WOT, to include Iraq, we are following a liberal (or neo-realist) strategy. That strategy since Day One has been harshly attacked and undermined by dogmatic realists on the homefront. These people are not ‘hippies’ or ‘moonbats’; they’re established experts - Cold War hawks - in the national security field who were raised in the Cold War balance of power. Their dogmatic worldview is misapplied in the WOT, but just the same, they are still treated as The American Authority in the field of war and national security . . . even if they are dangerously obsolete.

Like I said, I know the type. They dominate the poli sci department at Columbia.

Dogmatic realists have been getting away with attacking OIF because our national debate about war is still stuck on Vietnam. We know enough to disparage ‘hippies’ and moonbats’, but we fail to recognize and respond to the ‘hawkish’ experts who ceaselessly attack the Bush admin’s WOT strategy. Until WOT supporters recognize that threat in our domestic debate and face it head-on, dogmatic realists will continue to erode domestic support for the WOT.

In my opinion, the unchecked opposition to the WOT by these ‘expert’ right-wing dogmatic realists poses a FAR greater domestic threat to our ability to prosecute the WOT than radical leftist ‘moonbats’. Keep in mind, the American people who dismiss anti-war ‘hippies’ out-of-hand have been raised to deeply respect the views of the victorious realist Cold Warriors.

I do respect our dogmatic realists for winning the Cold War and their opinions are not without merit, but this War on Terror must be won by our liberal warriors.

I would like to issue a democratic ‘call to arms’ in the domestic debate so that we can focus on the dogmatic realist threat. To do so, we have to get over the red herrings of Vietnam War ‘anti-war’ stereotypes and recognize the enemy at home for what he is.

Update 12Dec05: Was REP Murtha driven to act now to protect his realist worldview because the future of military funding is at stake? Read Tom Barnett's latest post and decide for yourself.

- Eric

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