REP. MURTHA: I thinkI think its the opposite. II think right now, wewere inciting, were recruiting, were recruiting terrorists in Iraq. Were allowing them to train in Iraq. Were allowingwhen we do things likewe, 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, welast year, we spent $5 million dollars; the year before last, $5 million dollars in consultationor 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 its inadvertent, you make an enemy, and the way the military has to operate.
Bush said, when he first ran for office, "Were not going to do nation-building." Thats what were in to, and were 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, thats all. There were only 200 there three years ago. Two hundred. And now, they think, in the insurgency itself, it couldforeign fighters, foreign fighters, 1,000, maybe 15,000 insurgents. Were there, and theres 15,000 insurgents. Went from 200 to 15,000. Thats the problem. Were not, were not, were not making progress. Thats 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 wars been mismanaged, "I was wrong to vote for the war."
REP. MURTHA: Yeah, its obvious. It was a mistake. And Ive 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 dont put young people in harms way unless we have a threat to our national security.
Im in a hospital, young womans standing there beside her woundbadly wounded husband, and she says hes been in Iraq twice, and he enlisted to fight for America, not for Iraq. We want stability; its an international problem. But, but we, we, we cant achieve it in the direction theyre going. These, these comments they make about cutting and running, so forth and so on, that doesnt, that doesnt solve the problem. What is their plan? They have no plan. And were, were recruiting terrorists against us, Tim. Thats 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 theres 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 didnt come from us; it came from the Iraqis. The Iraqis know who these people are, and theyll get rid of them. I think therell be less chaos than there is when, when were there. Because were the ones that are forcingtheyre recruiting people. Theyrewhen a persons willing to kill themselves, why? Because were 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 whore responsible for us going to war, rather than hold them accountable. Thats the first stage. And the second stage: Admit you made a mistake. Presidents admitted he made a few mistakes. Its 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, "Im not going to Iraq because I dont want to occupy it, I dont, I dont 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 shouldve gone in." Well, they found out what its like to go in now....
MR. RUSSERT: Congressman John Murtha, we thank you for coming in and sharing your views. And happy Fathers Day.
REP. MURTHA: Nice to be. Thank you very much, Tim.