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View Diary: Why we need to leave Iraq ASAP-from someone who is over there. (223 comments)

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  •  Murtha rocks Blitzer's world (none)
    from CNN yesterday:
    .... your quick reaction to these new alarm bells that apparently the U.S. Coast Guard itself raised about possible terror links involving the United Arab Emirates and this port security deal. What's your reaction?

    REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, they certainly -- they try to scare people, and they've been scaring them with this terrorist tactics, and then all at once they're surprised at the public reaction to something that was secretly handled. I have to take a look at it myself. My initial reaction would be against it since what I heard about the Coast Guard, but, you know, we've got to take a good look at it.

    BLITZER: Let's talk about Iraq. Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador, told me, and we heard it here in the past hour, that they were close to looking into the abyss of a civil war a few days ago but now they've come back and things are back moving in the right direction.

    MURTHA: Well, Wolf, I think the ambassador is -- he's got a good reputation, everybody thinks highly of him, but he tends to give too much advice to the Iraqis. They have to settle this themselves. They have to settle the underlying problems which have caused the insecurity there.

    For instance, water supply, the electricity supply, the oil supply. All those things are prewar level. And there's no way they're going to settle.

    Unemployment is 60 percent. There's no way they're going to settle this by talking about it. It's not rhetoric.

    And the military has done everything they can do. They have done a marvelous job. Now it's up to the political leaders to take hold of this thing and settle it themselves.

    And, you know, I keep getting different reports about the Iraqis being ready to take over, and then the next day they say there's no battalions ready. But the Iraqis themselves have more confidence in their police and in their army than they do in the United States Army.

    We have become the enemy, and our troops, unfortunately, have become the targets. So it's time to redeploy our troops.

    BLITZER: The argument, though, against that is if the U.S. were to do that, the only thing really standing in the way, they say, of a civil war are those 130,000 U.S. troops. If the U.S. pulled out, redeployed, what would stand in the way of that sectarian violence?

    MURTHA: Well, Wolf, in the 1920s, there were 130,000 British troops in Iraq and there were only 2.5 to three million people in Iraq. And we've got 138,000 -- there's 26 million people in Iraq.

    I don't know why anybody thinks that we're going to be able to contain this violence. We're caught in between two factions inside the country fighting for supremacy. And there's no way we can take sides, there's no way we can win.

    The only answer is, since we've become the targets, and we're uniting them against -- al Qaeda is a very small proportion of what's going on in Iraq. The Iraqis themselves are the ones that are creating the disturbances and have got to settle it themselves.

    BLITZER: How long if you had your way would it take to get the U.S. -- 130,000 U.S. troops redeployed outside of Iraq?

    MURTHA: Well, I think they have to give them a timeline. I said initially six months. And they could do it in six months.


    An election does not make a democracy.

    by seesdifferent on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 04:29:28 PM PST

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