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Rep John Murtha Slams Iraq War, Rove on "Meet the Press"

Rove on "his big, fat backside, saying, 'Stay the course' "

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Rep John Murtha Slams Iraq War, Rove on "Meet the Press"

Rep. John Murtha

MR. RUSSERT: Are you concerned if we got out you could leave behind complete chaos, which could become a real haven for international terrorists, another Afghanistan pre-September 11?

REP. MURTHA: I think—I think it’s the opposite. I—I think right now, we—we’re inciting, we’re recruiting, we’re recruiting terrorists in Iraq. We’re allowing them to train in Iraq. We’re allowing—when we do things like—we, we go into Fallujah, which, which they considered a military victory. We put 300,000 people outside their home.

Now, why? Why do we do it? Because we use overwhelming force in, in order to comply with the military structures that we have. I agree with that. We have to do that to protect Americans. But that makes enemies. And when you use military force to make enemies, you inadvertently pay people. And to give you an example, we—last year, we spent $5 million dollars; the year before last, $5 million dollars in consultation—or consolation payments. Last year it was $20 million dollars. That means we killed that many more people. Every time you kill an Iraqi, even though it’s inadvertent, you make an enemy, and the way the military has to operate.

Bush said, when he first ran for office, "We’re not going to do nation-building." That’s what we’re in to, and we’re not successful at it. The military is not successful at nation-buildings, particularly in an insurgence.

Now, let me make it clear: 1,000 insurgents, that’s all. There were only 200 there three years ago. Two hundred. And now, they think, in the insurgency itself, it could—foreign fighters, foreign fighters, 1,000, maybe 15,000 insurgents. We’re there, and there’s 15,000 insurgents. Went from 200 to 15,000. That’s the problem. We’re not, we’re not, we’re not making progress. That’s the problem.

MR. RUSSERT: ...Do you believe any Democrat who seeks the nomination for president in 2008, who voted for the war in Iraq, should publicly say not just the war’s been mismanaged, "I was wrong to vote for the war."

REP. MURTHA: Yeah, it’s obvious. It was a mistake. And I’ve said this from the very start. I mean, you had no weapons of mass destruction, you had no connection with al-Qaeda, there was no danger to our national security. We don’t put young people in harm’s way unless we have a threat to our national security.

I’m in a hospital, young woman’s standing there beside her wound—badly wounded husband, and she says he’s been in Iraq twice, and he enlisted to fight for America, not for Iraq. We want stability; it’s an international problem. But, but we, we, we can’t achieve it in the direction they’re going. These, these comments they make about cutting and running, so forth and so on, that doesn’t, that doesn’t solve the problem. What is their plan? They have no plan. And we’re, we’re recruiting terrorists against us, Tim. That’s the problem.

MR. RUSSERT: They say their plan is, when the Iraqis stand up, we stand down. That, if given time, the Iraqis will produce enough of a military and security force to secure their country, put down the insurrection, and allow the Americans to go home.

REP. MURTHA: I, I believe when we redeploy, that will happen. I believe there’s only 1,000 foreign fighters, 1,000 in al-Qaeda. Might be more foreign fighters, but 1,000 al-Qaeda in Iraq. I believe they will get rid of them. Just like Zarqawi. It didn’t come from us; it came from the Iraqis. The Iraqis know who these people are, and they’ll get rid of them. I think there’ll be less chaos than there is when, when we’re there. Because we’re the ones that are forcing—they’re recruiting people. They’re—when a person’s willing to kill themselves, why? Because we’re there. Eighty percent of the people want us out. The president, vice president of Iraq said, "Give us a timetable to get out." They know how important it is.

Internationally, who have we held responsible for this thing and accountable? Have we held secretary of defense accountable? Have we held anybody in the White House accountable? They promote people who’re responsible for us going to war, rather than hold them accountable. That’s the first stage. And the second stage: Admit you made a mistake. President’s admitted he made a few mistakes. It’s more than that. We went to war on the wrong assumptions.

We made a terrible mistake, and we need to talk to the international community, get their help, just like in the first Gulf War, where they paid $60 billion dollars, they had 160,000 troops involved in that, and we went to the border. Bush One said, "I’m not going to Iraq because I don’t want to occupy it, I don’t, I don’t want to rehabilitate it. It would cost too much money and too many lives." And he was right. And a lot of right-wingers said, "Oh, no, we should’ve gone in." Well, they found out what it’s like to go in now....

MR. RUSSERT: Congressman John Murtha, we thank you for coming in and sharing your views. And happy Father’s Day.

REP. MURTHA: Nice to be. Thank you very much, Tim.

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