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Murtha Says He Has ‘Lost A Lot Of Confidence’ In Military Leaders, Including Petraeus

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"Murtha Says He Has ‘Lost A Lot Of Confidence’ In Military Leaders, Including Petraeus"

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On ABC’s This Week today, host George Stephanopoulos asked Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) about whether Congress would “move again to get a timetable for withdrawal in September if the benchmarks aren’t met, even if General Petraeus…comes to Congress in September and says he needs more time.” “He has an awful lot of credibility,” he added.

Murtha quickly disputed Stephanopoulos’s premise. “George, let me tell you, I’ve lost a lot of confidence in many of the military leaders. Because they say what the White house wants them to say,” said Murtha. Asked if he included Petraeus in his lack of confidence, Murtha added, “I’m waiting to see what he has to say. But I am absolutely convinced there has been this overly optimistic picture of what’s going on in Iraq, while the figures show the opposite.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/06/murthapet62.320.240.flv]

Unfortunately, Murtha is right. Petraeus, and other military officers, have a history of supporting the administration line, despite the facts on the ground.

In April, while Congress was preparing to vote on its Iraq timeline legislation, the administration brought Petraeus back to the United States from Iraq for a rare visit, which Murtha slammed as “purely a political move.” Petraeus has allowed himself to be used as a “political prop” to support the White House’s war czar nominee. He has also echoed Bush’s line that al Qaeda, not sectarian civil war, is the greatest threat in Iraq — an assessment that contradicts the intelligence.

Transcript:

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re convinced that Congress is going to move again to get a timetable for withdrawal in September if the benchmarks aren’t met, even if General Petraeus, as we’ve been hearing, comes to the Congress in September and says he needs more time. He has an awful lot of credibility.

MURTHA: George, let me tell you, I’ve lost a lot of confidence in many of the military leaders. Because they say what the White House wants them to say.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Including General Petraeus?

MURTHA: Well, I’m waiting to see what he has to say. But I am absolutely convinced there has been this overly optimistic picture of what’s going on in Iraq, while the figures show the opposite. For instance, how can you say things are going well when casualties in the last two months are at the highest level in any two month-period during the war? How can you say when none of the economic things have gotten better? How can you say when they haven’t done the political things they need to do and they keep putting it off? How can you say when their parliament is in recess during a period when our people are dying and in harm’s way? How can you say you’re making progress?

The Iraqis have to take this on themselves. We’re caught in a civil war, and our troops are being killed in this civil war.

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