Monday, April 24, 2006

Murtha Continues to Rip Bushco ...

Murtha assails Bush in Downtown speech

By Bill Steigerwald
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, April 20, 2006


U.S. Rep. John Murtha, continuing his criticism of President Bush's handling of the Iraq war, said today it would take more than Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation to restore Bush's credibility in the Middle East and with the American public.

The only way Bush can show he is ready to seriously change direction and pursue a diplomatic solution to the war is if he makes "substantial" changes in his administration, Murtha told about 100 people attending a luncheon sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh at the DoubleTree Hotel, Downtown.

"Nobody can believe these guys anymore," Murtha, D-Johnstown, told reporters after his speech, in which he listed the reasons he believes the Bush administration has "mishandled, mischaracterized and misrepresented" the planning and management of the war.

Whether it's Bush's fault or not that things are going badly in Iraq, Murtha said, "he's getting blamed for it, so he needs to make some substantial changes" in his top staff. "He's got to let loyalty and friendship take a subservient position to the good of the country."

Unless "we replace the people responsible for the failed plan" the U.S. will not be able to get the international help and cooperation it needs, Murtha said during his half-hour speech. He also again criticized Rumsfeld, saying he andBush "were wrong when it came to Iraq" but "won't admit it."

Though the president touts the elections in Iraq as evidence of success in the war, Murtha said in reality "we have lost the hearts and minds of both the Iraqi people, and as the polls indicate, of the American public and, obviously, of the world."

Murtha said the administration should admit it has made mistakes in Iraq and announce it wants to pursue a diplomatic solution.

"It's the only way it can be done
," he said. "All the military commanders will tell you it can't be done militarily."

Only the Iraqis can solve their problems now, Murtha said.

"We can't do it from the outside
."

The U.S., which he says is caught in the middle of a civil war, should "redeploy from a pervasive occupying presence inside Iraq to a powerful quick-reaction force" that is stationed nearby but outside the country.


Bill Steigerwald can be reached at bsteigerwald@tribweb.com or (412) 320-7983.

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