Murtha's Iraq Plan Is Wrong And Right

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., speaks at his campaign headquarters in Johnstown, Pa., Nov. 8. 2006. Murtha, a decorated Vietnam veteran, became a leading opponent of the war in Iraq.
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

Pennsylvania's Democratic Congressman John Murtha has a clever plan to block the President from sending more troops to Iraq.

He's proposing a law that bars the President from sending troops in Iraq back to the war zone until they have spent one year being retrained at their home base. It forbids troops from being kept in Iraq longer than the one year tour they were promised and prohibits any troops from going to the war zone until they are fully trained and have the proper equipment.

That is no way to stop a war.

If Congress wants to stop the troops from going to Iraq it should just cut off the money to send them there.

But here's the other part: Everything that Murtha proposes should be done – should have been done – a long time ago. Not for Murtha's reasons but because it is right and the troops deserve it.

Too many times the government has broken its word to the troops – held them in the army beyond their enlistments; kept them in the combat zone longer than they were told they would be there; cut short their time between combat assignments; and, worst of all, sent some into combat without proper training or equipment.

We owe it to our troops to keep the promises we have made to them and, at the very least, to insure they are never sent into battle without the proper training and equipment.

That should have been a given, regardless of whether we believe this war is right or wrong.

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By Bob Schieffer