MR. RUSSERT: You say redeploy. Again, Mr. Rove challenges that comment.Okinawa? Are you kidding me? Has Murtha ever heard of logistics? We'd be talking about sorties of 2000 miles in each direction. Multiple air refueling, and cockpit fatigue to boot. Besides, hasn't Murtha ever heard of Diego Garcia which is a tad bit closer - being in the Indian Ocean and all. No need to cross over China and Pakistan or India either.
Let’s listen and give you again a chance to respond to the White House.
MR. ROVE: Congressman Murtha said, “Let’s redeploy them immediately to another country in the Middle East. Let’s get out of Iraq and go to another country.” My question is, what country would take us? What country would say after the United States cut and run from Iraq, what country in the Middle East would say, “Yeah. Paint a big target on our back and then you’ll cut and run on us.” What country would say that? What country would accept our troops?
MR. RUSSERT: What’s your response?
REP. MURTHA: There’s many countries understand the importance of stability in the Middle East. This is an international problem. We, we use 20 million barrels of oil a day. China’s the second largest user. All these countries understand you need stability for the energy supply that’s available in the Middle East. So there’s many, many countries.
MR. RUSSERT: Who?
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.
And it's not like Okinawa doesn't have a few problems of its own as Michelle Malkin points out.
But the real issue is that air power is insufficient to obtain and act upon intel. You need boots on the ground. Air power can destroy buildings, military installations, and troop formations, but if you're trying to track down a terrorist cell operating under the cover of civilians in an urban setting, airpower is insufficient given the reluctance to inflict collateral damage and civilian casualties. Putting US forces outside the region does nothing to improve the security situation for the US and essentially concedes the battle space to our enemies who know that they'll be able to operate with impunity.
Others noting Rep. Murtha's comments, the lack of map-reading skills, and his proud defense of the 1993 Somolia bugout (which he completely supported because he was among those instigating for such a move) include: Say Anything, Iowa Voice, It Shines For All (NY Sun), Rick Moran, Ace of Spades, Sundries Shack, Blue Crab Boulevard, Blackfive, Texas Rainmaker, Bryan Preston, Wizbang, and Jeff Goldstein.
Rep. Murtha has some trouble with math, statistics, and polling as well. Tom Bevan has the details.