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17 November 2005


Coffins of U.S. military men and women
killed in Iraq return to Dover (Delaware) Air Force Base.
Photos provided to Russ Kick's The Memory Hole
over the ferocious objections of the Bush Administration.

Robert B. Merkin
Northampton Massachusetts USA

17 November 2005

The Hon. John Murtha

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington DC

Dear Congressman Murtha:

What took you so fucking long? Fucking asshole.


Robert Merkin

SP5 US Army

{ [ ( o ) ] }

The Los Angeles Times (California USA)
Thursday 17 November 2005

House Democrat Calls for
Fast Withdrawal From Iraq

By James Gerstenzang, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Signaling heightened opposition to the war in Iraq from a corner of long-standing support for the military, Rep. John Murtha, a conservative Pennsylvania Democrat, said today the United States should immediately begin to bring its troops home.

Murtha, the senior Democrat on the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, said the U.S. military forces should be withdrawn as quickly as possible, which could be accomplished within six months. He called for maintaining a rapid-deployment force in the region.

His declaration, at a Washington news conference, suggested that President Bush has lost a key supporter of the war -- a knowledgeable Democrat to whom others in the party turn for advice and leadership on military issues.

He spoke two days after the Republican-led Senate rejected a Democratic-sponsored measure calling on Bush to establish an estimated timetable for withdrawing troops, but called on the administration to turn over to Iraqis more control of their country to hasten the departure of the U.S. forces.

Murtha said the war had become "a flawed policy wrapped in illusion," the intelligence on which the decision to invade Iraq was "a U.S. failure," and that the war was exacting far-reaching and damaging costs on the U.S. military and the nation's readiness to defend itself.

When the war began, no stronger supporter could be found among Democrats for the effort than Murtha, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran. He visited troops in Kuwait shortly before they crossed into Iraq, and has sought to comfort the injured troops who have come back.

Most recent, he visited Iraq in late summer, returning to the U.S. disillusioned about the course of the war, and has now become the latest -- and one of the most important -- political obstacles for the White House as it struggles to shore up support for the war.

"The American public is way ahead of the members of Congress," Murtha said. "The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq. But it's time for a change in direction.

"Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course," he said, adding: "It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf regime."

Citing one of Bush's key justifications for the war -- the concern the president raised that Saddam Hussein's regime was developing chemical, nuclear and biological weapons -- Murtha said, "The main reason for going to war has been discredited."

U.S. forces have found no evidence in the 32 months since they invaded Iraq to support Bush's argument, he noted.

"It's a U.S. intelligence failure," Murtha said.

The administration has attacked Democrats who supported the war but have now turned against it. Democrats have said that senior administration officials did not share with them intelligence questioning the accuracy of the reports about Iraq's unconventional weapons program.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), linking Murtha to far more liberal Democrats, said that the Pennsylvanian and other party leaders "have adopted a policy of cut and run."

Suggesting that success in the war in Iraq would protect Americans at home, the House speaker said of the Democrats' leaders: "They would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists, who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the president is on foreign soil."

Bush is spending much of November on overseas trips, first in Latin America and now in Asia.

Hastert added: "Rep. Murtha and other Democrats want us to retreat.


They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world. It is unfortunate that this is all politics all the time. We need to have a strong consistent policy that will protect our men and women who are fighting to protect us overseas. We must not cower like European nations who are now fighting terrorists on their soil."

Today's remarks followed a scolding from Vice President Dick Cheney delivered a day earlier to Democrats.

He said their accusation that the Bush administration had manipulated prewar intelligence was "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired" in Washington.

Murtha, who represents a blue-collar district in southwestern Pennsylvania, said the wounded troops with whom he has visited were demoralized not by criticism of the war, but by "going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition to peace."

Within the military, he said, recruitment is down, even though the military has lowered its standards, "personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in healthcare," equipment is worn out, and bases at home are facing "huge shortfalls."

"Our military has been fighting this war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, captured or killed his closest associates, but the war continues to intensify," Murtha said.

He cited U.S. military deaths approaching 2,100, serious injuries to more than 15,500 other troops, and an increase, rather than a decrease, in the number of attacks on U.S. forces there.

"Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency," uniting insurgents and becoming a catalyst for violence, Murtha said. "We need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis."

Murtha said that before the Iraqi elections scheduled for mid-December, Iraq must know that "the United States will immediately redeploy. No schedule which can be changed, nothing that's controlled by the Iraqis. This is an immediate redeployment of our American forces because they have become the target. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free, free from a United States occupation."

Asked at what point this could be accomplished safely for the troops, he said, "Six months would be a reasonable time to get them out of there."


Anonymous Jim Olson said...

Can you guess the first Senator to criticise the comments of Rep. Murtha?

You Guessed It...Senator John Kerry.

Just remember folks, Lurch lost to The Worst President Ever. He LOST to Bush. Just keep that in mind. Stolen votes in Ohio aside, Kerry should have CRUSHED Bush so that there was no question...but no, with just a bit of vote tampering in one State, (let's say it again) Kerry LOST to the Worst President Ever.

Just for clarity.


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