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Murtha Raises Alarm Over Study Group, Warns ‘Kissinger Came Out With The Same Type of Thing’

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"Murtha Raises Alarm Over Study Group, Warns ‘Kissinger Came Out With The Same Type of Thing’"

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Tonight on CNN’s Situation Room, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) said that the Iraq Study Group’s reported recommendations for troop withdrawals from Iraq were “unacceptable.” According to the Washington Post, the group will recommend that roughly half of U.S. forces be redeployed from Iraq by 2008.

“[T]he problem is they say it depends on the circumstances on the ground,” Murtha said. “Well, if it depends on circumstances on the ground it’s not a lot different than what President Bush is saying.” He added, “Kissinger came out with the same type of thing in the 1960s and three years later we got out of there, but we lost 20,000 troops.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/12/murthagroup.320.240.flv]

Murtha noted that he is “going to meet with the White House officials sometime next week and try to convince them that it’s just not going well. It’s not going to be better.”

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Full transcript:

MURTHA: Now, the commission is saying let’s redeploy, let’s change the policy of stay the course to redeployment.

The problem, as I understand it, and I haven’t seen the report either, Wolf, but the problem is they say it depends on the circumstances on the ground. Well, if it depends on circumstances on the ground it’s not a lot different than what President Bush is saying. And then President Bush says he’s going to ignore it anyway.

Now, we have to have a change in policy here and that’s what we’re going to work on all this year, trying to work with this president in trying to reduce our number of troops in Iraq and do it as soon as practicable.

BLITZER: Leon Panetta, a former White House chief of staff under President Clinton, OMB director, former member of the House himself. Did he give you any sense of how specific, though, they might be in terms of a time line?

MURTHA: Well, he said, I think, the end of 2008 have all the troops out, but that’s unacceptable.

BLITZER: You mean all the troops or just the combat troops?

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Because half of the troops are combat troops; the other are support troops or trainers.

MURTHA: Yes, that’s true. He said combat troop. But that is unacceptable to me. We’re costing $8 billion a month, Wolf. Since I spoke out there were 400 attacks a day. Now there’s 800 attacks a day. All the measurements which you and I have talked about before, oil production, electricity production, below prewar level. The Iraqis want us out of there, the world wants us out of there. We have to find a way to redeploy the troops and we have to do it sooner rather than later.

Now, we have to work on it this year. I’m going to meet with the White House officials sometime next week and try to convince them that it’s just not going well. It’s not going to be better.

Kissinger came out with the same type of thing in the 1960s and three years later we got out of there, but we lost 20,000 troops. We’re just not making the progress. And then they say, well, we need 300,000 Iraqis trained. Then they say we need 100,000 more Iraqis trained. They keep changing the guidelines. That’s the problem with this report.

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