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Rep Murtha: US Must Denounce Intention To Build Bases In Iraq January 23, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Military News, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Democratic Rep. John Murtha, a leading critic of President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy, on Tuesday urged a “responsible, phased” withdrawal of U.S. troops to begin from within Saddam Hussein’s palaces.

Murtha, 74, a decorated Vietnam veteran and retired Marine colonel, said the U.S. should denounce any aspirations to build permanent military bases in Iraq.

“Historically, whether it was India, Algeria or Afghanistan, foreign occupations do not work and, in fact, incite civil unrest,” said Murtha, in testimony prepared before delivery before the Senate Foreign Relations committee. The committee is examining “alternative plans” for Iraq.

“Our military remains the greatest military in the world, but there are limits to its ability to control a population that considers them occupiers,” said Murtha, who is chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.

To restore international credibility, Murtha said the U.S. must make clear it doesn’t want permanent military bases in Iraq and must close the Guantanamo detention facility and bulldoze the Abu Ghraib prison.

He said the withdrawal of U.S. forces should start from Saddam’s palaces, where some U.S. troops operate, and then from Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone. That should be followed by a withdrawal from prime real estate in Iraq’s major cities, factories and universities and then the entire country.

“We need to give communities back to the Iraqis so they can begin to self govern, begin economic recovery and return to some type of normality,” Murtha said.

Even as troops are withdrawn from Iraq, the size of the U.S. military overall should be increased, he said.

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