For Immediate Release
November 17, 2005
The Honorable John P. Murtha
War in Iraq
(Washington D.C.)- The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American
public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change
in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We can not continue on the present course.
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 Region.
General Casey said in a September 2005 Hearing, “the perception of occupation
in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency.” General Abizaid said on the same date, “Reducing the
size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is a part of our counterinsurgency strategy.”
For 2 ½ years
I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and
the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. A few
days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait – the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces
cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction – but the US forces said they were
prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.
We spend more money on Intelligence than
all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning
Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was
I have been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since the
beginning of the War. And what demoralizes them is going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition
to peace; the devastation caused by IEDs; being deployed to Iraq when their homes have been ravaged by hurricanes; being on
their second or third deployment and leaving their families behind without a network of support.
The threat posed by
terrorism is real, but we have other threats that cannot be ignored. We must be prepared to face all threats. The future of
our military is at risk. Our military and their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our
troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards. Defense budgets
are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We can not allow
promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care, to be negotiated
away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared. The war in Iraq
has caused huge shortfalls at our bases in the U.S.
Much of our ground equipment is worn out and in need of either
serious overhaul or replacement. George Washington said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means
of preserving peace.” We must rebuild our Army. Our deficit is growing out of control. The Director of the Congressional
Budget Office recently admitted to being “terrified” about the budget deficit in the coming decades. This is the
first prolonged war we have fought with three years of tax cuts, without full mobilization of American industry and without
a draft. The burden of this war has not been shared equally; the military and their families are shouldering this burden.
military has been fighting a 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, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify.
Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it
is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.
just recently visited Anbar Province Iraq in order to assess the conditions on the ground. Last May 2005, as part of the Emergency
Supplemental Spending Bill, the House included the Moran Amendment, which was accepted in Conference, and which required the
Secretary of Defense to submit quarterly reports to Congress in order to more accurately measure stability and security in
Iraq. We have now received two reports. I am disturbed by the findings in key indicator areas. Oil production and energy production
are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation. Only $9 billion of the
$18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment remains at about 60 percent. Clean water is scarce.
Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects has been spent. And most importantly, insurgent incidents
have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the
addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled.
An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in global terrorism.
I said over a year ago, and
now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won “militarily.” I said two years ago, the key
to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the
presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.
Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency.
They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis,
Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentivized
to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition
troops, and about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to
turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.
I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and
the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that
Iraq is free. Free from United States occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process
for the good of a “free” Iraq.
My plan calls:
- To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
- To create a quick reaction force in the region.
- To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
- To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq
This war needs to be personalized. As I said before I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.
we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our OBLIGATION to speak
out for them. That’s why I am speaking out.
Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the
U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily.
IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME.