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Murtha: We can support Iraq from Okinawa. Okinawa!?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, June 19, 2006

I first read about this among various milblogs yesterday and I thought, "surely he really didn't say we could successfully support our effort in Iraq from Okinawa?" There has to be some overreaction or mischaracterization or contextual problem with what I'm seeing and hearing. No one, espeically a guy with a military background, would make that sort of claim.

Well, I was wrong:
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.
Now he starts out right. Kuwait. Makes sense for an "over the horizon" presence. You stage a couple of brigades on a rotating basis with the appropriate supporting air assets, for a battalion or 2 battalion Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and follow-on with heavier forces if needed within a certain time-frame depending on where, in Iraq the problem crops up. Perhaps prepositioned and heavily secured armored vehicles are in depots in Iraq, and again we fly our guys into these out of the way places ("over the horizon" doesn't have to be out of Iraq, btw), load up and head toward the trouble spot.

Strike aircraft could also be postioned in Kuwait and respond pretty darn quickly.

But Okinawa? As Blackfive points out, Okinawa is 4,700 nautical miles from Iraq as the crow flies. It also has the minor problem of requiring a flyover of both China and Iran to get there. So even assuming China and Iran are willing, an F-16 strike out of Okinawa would minimally require 6 mid-air refulings just to get there.

While that is certainly "over the horizion", I don't think that is the horizon of which most who agree with that as the future end-state of our Iraqi deployment were thinking.

And, obviously, if an airstrike would take that sort of time and those sorts of logistics, supporting Iraq with troops from Okinawa is simply ludicrous. Heck, by the time they got there, Iraq could have changed governments twice.

While I'm sympathetic to the argument of "over the horizon" support being our future role, this is simply an indication of how disengenuous Murtha has become in this debate. If he is actually serious about his Okinawa remarks, then he shouldn't ever again be taken seriously on the entire subject. He simply isn't interested in finishing the job or supporting Iraq if he thinks Okinawa is a viable scenario for doing so.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

This is all understandable IF you view it simply:
We don’t have to make sense, just sound like we do....
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe, you left something out:

’How dare you question Murtha’s patriotism!!!!’
Written By: Anonynous
URL: http://
Did someone lend Murtha a copy of StarShip Trooper or something?
No...what was I thinking, then he would have suggested we could deploy from orbit. No, this is totally his own fantasy, he hasn’t even bothered to borrow it.

Since he retired as a Colonel in the reserves, can I assume that wasn’t necessarily his rank during his active service?
I’d have thought an active Colonel would understand the logisitics a little better than this.

Congressman Murtha is so well-respected for his first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues that he has been a trusted adviser to presidents of both parties on military and defense issues and is one of the most effective advocates for the national defense in the country.
this is the promo from his web-site. Can I gather that Georgie doesn’t have Jack on his trusted advisor list?
Written By: looker
URL: http://
With his knowledge of geography, I doubt that he could find his rear with a map and both hands.
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
Murtha and I must be exactly 180° off from each other; if I had my way I’d stay in Iraq and abandon Okinawa.

Written By: Peter Jackson
Murtha and I must be exactly 180° off from each other; if I had my way I’d stay in Iraq and abandon Okinawa.
And I ask you, "Where would 3 MarDiv go to be ignored and forgotten by the USMC, then?" You see Okinawa has a VITAL role in US National Security that Col CMutha understands, even if YOU do not!
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Can I gather that Georgie doesn’t have Jack on his trusted advisor list
Actually yes, one reason Murtha went so public is that he was indeed, snubbed by the White House, and he feels hurt.

Written By: shark
URL: http://
Shark, that was my guess after reading his press-clipping.
Now, as experienced as Fightin Jack may be, I’m kinda thinkin G-doubleyah has a rather larger pool of officers with military experience to draw on. And probably guys who understand that Okinawa isn’t really in the southwestern corner of the Persian Gulf like Jack seems to think.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
It’s part of his plan for stability in the Mid-(far)East.
Written By: Army Lawyer
I’m normally fairly forgiving of off-the-cuff flubs on the air. People say silly things sometimes without meaning them, and fix/retract/restate later. (This, ignoring the entire non-issue of bad phrasing or mangled syntax.)

But someone with Murtha’s military knowledge, attempting to shape national policy, has precious little excuse for saying "Okinawa" in that context without an immediate correction that is orders of magnitude more reasonable... and not only has there been no immediate correction, there’s been no correction at all that I know of.

Murtha almost has to know better; and if he doesn’t, as a retired Colonel, what the h*ll is wrong with him? That’s so off-base that it’s not even plausible as a "get out of Iraq no matter what" alternative; it’s a joke, and not even a funny one.

Written By: Sigivald
URL: http://
Congressman Murtha is 74 years old. Perhaps that is a factor.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
following up on timactual... getting up in years myself, I have often found myself committing a brain fart, saying one thing while meaning another (for instance, calling one daughter by the other’s name)... so it’s possible that Murtha might have been thinking of some other place, in the middle east and just had the words come out wrong... and not realized that his mouth didn’t say what his mind meant for it to say.
Written By: steve sturm
so it’s possible that Murtha might have been thinking of some other place, in the middle east and just had the words come out wrong.
It’s possible. The only "island" even close (which we have nominal control over) is Diego Garcia (it’s really an atoll). And it isn’t really fit for what he’s proposing.

But, benefit of the doubt .... maybe that was what he was trying to think of. You’d think, however, he’d have corrected this by now if that was so, wouldn’t you?
Written By: McQ
And how does one collect intel from "over the horizon??"
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
I was thinking of something a little more permanent than a brief gust of wind.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

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