Posted: December 16, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
"Editor's note: David Bellavia is a former U.S. Army staff sergeant who served in the First Infantry Division for six years. He has been recommended for the Medal of Honor by his leadership, and has been nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross. He has received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Conspicuous Service Cross (New York state's highest combat valor award) and was recently inducted into the New York State Veteran's Hall of Fame. His Task Force 2-2 Infantry has fought on such battlefields as Al Muqdadiyah, An Najaf, Al Fallujah, Mosul, and Baqubah. His actions in Fallujah, Iraq, were documented in the Nov. 22, 2004, cover story "Into the Hot Zone" by award-winning journalist Michael Ware. He is 30 years old.
"As the debris continues to settle from the explosion detonated by Representative John Murtha's, D-Pa., continued rapid fire defeatist comments this past week, I wonder how he expected his statements to be perceived. As an infantryman whose boots are still caked with blood and dust from Iraq, I am beyond confused with the Democratic Party's "Prada Pant Suit Posse" of Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Louise Slaughter's insistence that he preserve his title as a combat visionary.
As rancor and hyperbole have reached its peak, we continue to be fed bastardized statistics and a complete denial that Iraq – according to al-Qaida intercepts – is indeed the front line in the War on Terror. Murtha's outrage seems to be concerned with the massive amount of American youth far from home and in harm's way. There is no outrage that we have 1,700 troops patrolling Kosovo's tranquil streets. No complaints from the left when asked about the 3,000 troop presence in Bosnia or why there is a need for 1,754 troops in Iceland. "Mr. President, bring home our boys from Iceland NOW"!
When President Clinton sent 15,000 troops into post-hostile Bosnia to get the job done, it was the equivalent of keeping 585,000 troops in Iraq post invasion, when equating terrain and population. Tellingly, the silence from the left is deafening. To the leftists in America, Clinton understood war like no other. The template is simple: Pull out when the blood starts to flow (Somalia) and over commit when there is no chance of loss (Kosovo and Bosnia).
As Congress jockeys for their individual credibility in who has eaten more meals at Halliburton chow halls, Murtha stands and wears his lone Bronze Star with Valor (BSV) as his badge of authority. On behalf of every veteran of Iraqi Freedom who has exchanged hot lead with this enemy, allow me to state: "Mr. Murtha you don't know 'Jack' about the mujahadeen."
Rep. Murtha quotes an unscientific poll that concludes arrogantly that "80 percent of Iraqis want us out." I am no John Zogby, but I conclude 100 percent of Iraqi's want us out ... eventually. They very much want us there while Islamo-fascists continue to blow them up as they worship and apply to serve the cause of freedom.
My peers are not appreciative of the Sen. Kennedy and Kerry elitists who daily attempt to uncover mistakes made by this administration, while my brothers under fire bleed to death thousands of miles from their homes. In the era of digital satellite, these senators have put us on daily trial for executing a war as it unfolds, without delay and in its entirety.
Iraqi veterans are without apologies for not finding weapons of mass destruction today in Iraq. As former administrations ignored the present danger in this region for years before 9-11, we in the trenches pay the price for our past inability to confront our brazen enemies. Each day, the enemy hopes that one more 10-plus death toll inflicted against the coalition via a roadside bomb will be the last straw of the American collective will.
Voting against the immediate pull out of the troops and then carpet bombing every TV program that offers an invite by supporting Murtha's ignorance is a political attack that is aiding the enemy. Congress has had multiple opportunities to pass official articles of war against al-Qaida and her assets to end once and for all the bipartisan bickering of why we fight in Iraq today. They have yet to act.
Make no mistake: This is a middle- to lower-class war, fought by volunteers of the greatest generation of American Warriors ever born. I personally have written over 47 Bronze Stars with Valor awards for the members of my 34-man infantry platoon. The BSV is alarmingly growing more and more common during this fight and yet my peers cannot use their awards as a platform to defend their noble struggle, because they are still deep in the fight. Neither Mr. Murtha, nor any other congressional representative, has held a position in a skirmish line under fire in Iraq, yet they pontificate to the masses from "their war" experience.
Not one has borne witness to the extreme close quarter nature of this fight or commented on the tearful thanks from a deserving and proud people who need us to stay the course. Yet Rep. Murtha has the extreme audacity to call my peers "broken."
The testament to the American soldier is the attrition on the other end of the battlefield in Iraq, and it is almost biblical in proportion. Hundreds of thousands of Iranian-trained Hezbollah, Chechnyan, Wahabbi and local mujahadeen militants have been pacified by our young patriots and their continuation of the legacy of the American Warrior Ethos. Funny how a man like Murtha – who made his career on detailing his heroism under fire – is the first to chip at away at my generation's valor.
As my peers continue to bleed for the acceptance from a growingly cynical media, it must be stated: We are not "broken," we have never "terrorized Iraqis in their homes" and we are most certainly not "living hand to mouth."
Each day, the Iraqi War veteran grows closer to the embarrassing disrespect of the Vietnam warrior. Each day, legislators like Rep. Murtha move us closer to losing a winnable war and abandoning a worthy ally. Democratic leadership feels the need to apologize for our nation's ability to deliver unrelenting prudent lethality onto our deserving enemies. Instead of supporting the cause of my peers, they stoke the fires of the al-Jazeera faithful, who would see a pullout in Iraq as a greater victory than the Soviet retreat in Afghanistan.
Though soldiers bleed for the very right to dissent from the truth, we must remember that at times our dissent will embolden our desperate Islamo-fascist enemy when they read accounts of the growing fecklessness of the American people and her policymakers.
"Staying the course" isn't a campaign slogan – it is a life-support message to my peers. Congressman Murtha – above all others – should know the perils inherent in dictating military policy from across the Potomac in a time of war. I imagine he can still taste the hated partisan spittle of the war protestors 30 years ago. Like Vietnam, the American soldier cannot be defeated on the field of battle, only by the failure of the political class to stomach the hardships of combat. "
David Bellavia "