NPR logo
Onetime Iraq War Backer Calls for Troop Pullout
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5017378/5017379" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Onetime Iraq War Backer Calls for Troop Pullout

Politics

Onetime Iraq War Backer Calls for Troop Pullout
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5017378/5017379" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

One Democrat who voted for the war is now calling for an immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha is a legendary hawk, a retired Marine who fought in two wars. Murtha says the military has done all it can in Iraq, and as NPR's Andrea Seabrook reports, his shift reflects the increasing unease over the war in Congress and in the country.

ANDREA SEABROOK reporting:

Murtha gave several reasons for his about-face on the war, but his most impassioned argument was about the soldiers on the ground.

Representative JOHN MURTHA (Democrat, Pennsylvania): Our troops have become the primary targets of the insurgency. They are united against US forces, and we have become a catalyst for violence.

SEABROOK: Murtha spoke of the more than 2,000 soldiers killed in Iraq so far, and he choked up several times describing his meetings with wounded troops. When asked about the assertions of the Bush administration, that Democrats are undermining the war effort with their criticisms, Murtha lashed out at Vice President Cheney, who did not serve in the military.

Rep. MURTHA: I like guys who've never been there to criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys that got five deferments and never been there and send people to war and then don't like to hear suggestions about needs to be done. This is a flawed policy, wrapped in an illusion.

Representative DUNCAN HUNTER (Republican, California): I respect John Murtha. And he's a friend of mine and he's wrong.

SEABROOK: That's Duncan Hunter, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Hunter said now is not the time to criticize the war; he said it's a time for endurance.

Rep. HUNTER: It's easy to be a flag-waver and to be patriotic and to support the troops when you're in the initial attack phase and it looks like you may have only a two-week war.

SEABROOK: Others were not so delicate as Hunter. House Speaker Dennis Hastert called Murtha's move an attempt to surrender to the terrorists. One thing is sure: Murtha's comments got Republicans' attention. Fourteen of them showed up to counter his news conference. Andrea Seabrook, NPR News, the Capitol.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.