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Murtha predicts US troop withdrawal

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051120/pl_nm/iraq_usa_dc Murtha predicts US troop withdrawal By Joanne Kenen 6 minutes ago WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rep. John Murtha
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 20, 2005
      http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051120/pl_nm/iraq_usa_dc

      Murtha predicts US troop withdrawal

      By Joanne Kenen 6 minutes ago

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rep. John Murtha (news, bio,
      voting record), the Democrat whose call for
      withdrawing U.S. troops from
      Iraq set off a furor last week, on Sunday predicted
      U.S. forces would leave Iraq before next year's U.S.
      congressional elections.

      The Pennsylvania lawmaker, a Vietnam veteran and
      respected authority on the military, said on NBC's
      "Meet the Press" that he expected more people to come
      around and share his views and that U.S. troops should
      be withdrawn in 2006.

      Asked if that meant U.S. troops would be out of Iraq
      before November congressional elections, Murtha said,
      "You have hit it on the head."

      President George W. Bush's approval ratings have been
      sinking in the polls in tandem with growing public
      disapproval of the Iraq war and even some Republicans
      have started to question aspects of the administration
      Iraq's timetable and strategy.

      The U.S. House, in an unusually raucous session on
      Friday, defeated a nonbinding resolution calling for
      an immediate troop withdrawal. Democrats denounced the
      vote as a political stunt meant to attack and isolate
      Murtha.

      But Murtha predicted that more and more Americans, in
      government and private life, would come to the same
      conclusion he had, that U.S. military occupation was
      making the situation in Iraq worse and that a
      political solution was needed.

      "I have never seen such an outpouring in the 32 years
      I've been in Congress of support and people with tears
      in their eyes, people walking along clapping when I'm
      walking through the halls of Congress, saying
      something needed to be said," Murtha said.

      "It's not me. It's the public that's thirsting for an
      answer to this thing," he added."

      Bush and top administration officials in the past few
      days lashed out sharply against critics of the Iraq
      policy. But the president, speaking in Beijing, and
      Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were both more muted
      about their opponents on Sunday although both strongly
      defended their Iraq policy.

      Bush, dogged by questions about Iraq during a
      week-long Asia tour, said "Congressman Murtha is a
      fine man, a good man who served our country with honor
      and distinction as a Marine in Vietnam and as a U.S.
      congressman."

      Rumsfeld, who appeared on four Sunday talk shows, said
      debate about war is and should be part of the
      democratic process, but that Murtha's call for an
      immediate withdrawal would strengthen U.S. enemies and
      embolden terrorists.

      "That would be a terrible thing for our country and
      for the safety of our people," he said on CNN's "Late
      Edition."

      Rumsfeld depicted progress in Iraq in both the
      political and military arenas. "The Iraqi security
      forces are doing an excellent job. They're
      well-respected by the Iraqi people. They're engaged in
      the fight," he said on FOX News Sunday.

      Rumsfeld also reiterated his support for the war to
      topple
      Saddam Hussein, even knowing now that the intelligence
      on weapons of mass destruction was flawed. But he said
      Bush had never directly asked him for his views on an
      invasion.

      "I wasn't asked," he said on ABC's "This Week." "I'm
      sure the president understood what my views were."

      While commending Murtha's record as a veteran and
      lawmaker, Rumsfeld pointed out that neither
      Republicans nor Murtha's fellow Democrats had rushed
      to embrace his ideas.
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