Why, hello there fellow American. I see that you've stopped here at The Aristocrats to have a little light-hearted fun in the middle of your hard working day. And I've got news for you - we've just captured your IP address and we're sending an urgent email to your boss right now.

Heh, heh, just kidding around. The truth is, I thought this setting would provide a nice relaxing place for me to share a few thoughts on John Murtha with you. You know, the road to victory in our historic fight with the forces of darkness is a long and winding one, the end of which we might not reach within our allotted span, and just because at times we may be tempted to turn back, we must remember that there is no back; the past has been repackaged so get ready for the future.

'There once was a man named Oedipus Rex, You might have heard about his strange complex, He's even listed in Freud's index cause he looovvved his mother'. Heh heh. That's a line from a song by a guy named Tom Leher, we used to sing his songs at Alpha Delta Omega back at the old University of Wyoming. And I guess I was thinking about that song because John Murtha himself is a strange and complex man.

You know, I'm a pretty plain spoken individual. Like I said last night, 'Anyone can say they support the troops, and we should take them at their word. But the proof will come when it's time to provide the money and the support. We expect the House and the Senate to meet those needs on time and in full'. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, that senile old coot Murtha has managed to get me flummoxed somehow, and I don't like it.

He's got this plan that, well... to be honest, he's calling it a troop support plan. He wants soldiers to have a year off between deployments, to 'rest' and 'train' in urban warfare and counterinsurgency, and he wants them to have all sorts of the latest safety equipment before they're deployed.

Sounds good and reasonable doesn't it? Let's support the troops by giving them what they need. Well, bullshit. As my dear friend and colleague Donald Rumsfeld was quick to point out, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had. If we followed the path that Murtha and Pelosi want to take, that long and winding road would turn into a highway to hell.

I think it would be prudent to look at a new congressional report on the Army National Guard as a good example of just what I'm talking about. You know, a few years ago, before 911 changed the world forever, we mobilized around twelve million man-days a year from the National Guard, and most of those were domestic use, for hurricanes and other nonsense like that. But now - Nellie bar the door - we're up to sixty-three million man-days, and we're talking action. Hell, those guys make up a third of the military, even though they get only eight percent of the DOD budget and three percent of the equipment funding.

I think you can see the problem. Eighty-eight percent of Guard units in the United States are now so poorly equipped that they are rated "not ready," according to the Army National Guard's own data. So what do we do? I think you know the answer to that - we go to war with the army we've got. Because failure is not an option.

I don't like to see our fighting men and women unfairly denigrated, and that's exactly what saying that these brave individuals are 'not ready' amounts to. This sort of talk plays right into the hands of al-Qaeda, who have stated time and again that all they have to do to win is wear down America's readiness.

I am here to tell you that this great nation is as ready as it's ever been, and to say otherwise is a slap in the face to everyone who has made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq. There are those in congress who would like to debate this fact rather than to support the troops in earnest, but I'll say it again; at the end of the day, we expect the House and the Senate to meet our needs on time and in full.

And now, for an aperitif.


2007, Mark Hoback