Murtha Rebuts Bush on CNN
On Bush’s insistence that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would leave the country in the hands of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, Murtha said this:
“There’s only 750 to 1,000 al Qaeda in Iraq. Now for him to mischaracterize what’s going on in Iraq – and he continues to do this – the fight in Iraq is a civil war. The terrorism is in Afghanistan, it’s a worldwide fight. My argument is that we have to redivert our funds. We’ve been spending $234 billion in Iraq during the civil war where our troops are the targets.Murtha then reinforced that we are in the middle of an internal struggle in Iraq that can only be solved by them and not by us.
“They’ve diverted their attention away from terrorism to Iraq, to the war in Iraq, which is a civil war. The Iraqis themselves will get rid of al Qaeda once we get out. 80 percent of the [Iraqi] people want us out. 47 percent – a new poll – say it’s OK to kill Americans. That’s Iraqis. Iraqis are the ones attacking us. So I don’t know how he can say a ‘brutal enemy’ because they’re Iraqis and they’re the ones we’re supposed to be helping.”
“There’s no question in my mind that the Iraqis need to take care of this themselves. They have to have an incentive and that incentive is an exit strategy. His [Bush’s] policy is an open-ended strategy with no exit strategy. If we start to withdraw, if we tell Iraqis ‘look, you folks take care of this yourselves,’ whoever wins will have to live with it.”On Bush’s point that decisions on troop levels will “…be made by our military commanders and not politicians in Washington, D.C.”
“Well let me tell you something, Wolf. Is he a politician? He’s a politician. He made the decision to go to war, he’s got to make the decision to redeploy. And my argument is that it’s not a fight against terrorism. He’s mischaracterizing what’s going on in Iraq. What’s going on in Iraq is a civil war between two factions inside the country and we’re being diverted. In the meantime, Iran’s making decisions…. China wants us in there, al Qaeda wants us in there, Iran wants us in there. The longer we stay there, the more we deplete our resources and the more we hurt the future of the military.”Finally, Murtha addressed the stinging rebukes he got for saying recently that he would not enlist today under the current circumstances and allegations that he was damaging both recruiting efforts and the morale of those serving in Iraq.
“I admire the people who are serving. They’re doing a tremendous service for this great country. But I personally would not enlist now. What is damaging to the morale of the troops, what’s damaging to recruiting is when they’ve being deployed four times… When they go into a battle without the battle armor. When they don’t have the upper-armored Humvees… When they’re misled and don’t have a clear mission and don’t have an exit strategy – that’s what’s demoralizing. They had a recruitment problem long before I said this.”You can catch the full clip Crooks and Liars.
Now, if we could only get Congressman Murtha to quit being polite and using terms like “mischaracterizing” for Bush’s statements and call them what they are – lies.