View Full Version : Rapid Pullout From Iraq Urged by Key Democrat

11-18-2005, 08:10 AM
Page one on all of today's papers - here is the New York Time's piece - Rapid Pullout From Iraq Urged by Key Democrat (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/18/politics/18military.html).

Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a Vietnam combat veteran who voted for the Iraq war, said that after more than two years of combat, American forces had united a disparate array of insurgents in a seemingly endless cycle of violence that was impeding Iraq's progress toward stability and self-governance. He said the 153,000 American troops in Iraq should be pulled out within six months.

"Our military has done everything that has been asked of them. It is time to bring them home," Mr. Murtha said, at times choking back tears. Mr. Murtha's proposal, which goes well beyond the phased withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq that other moderate Democrats have proposed, stunned many Republicans who quickly held their own news conference to criticize the plan.

11-19-2005, 06:42 AM
19 Nov. Washington Times - Pullout rejected 403-3 (http://www.washtimes.com/national/20051119-123457-8799r.htm).

The House last night overwhelmingly voted down a resolution calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, as Republicans tried to draw a line in the sand after a week's worth of back-and-forth charges over the war.

11-19-2005, 06:21 PM
Sounds like the "debate" was quite spectacular, too. Almost wish I'd stayed home from work to watch, or at least recorded it.

Representative Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican who is the most junior member of the House, told of a phone call she had just received from a Marine colonel back home.
"He asked me to send Congress a message: stay the course," Ms. Schmidt said. "He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."
Democrats booed in protest and shouted Ms. Schmidt down in her attack on Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a Vietnam combat veteran and one of the House's most respected members on military matters. They caused the House to come to an abrupt standstill, and moments later, Representative Harold Ford, Democrat of Tennessee, charged across the chamber's center aisle to the Republican side screaming that Ms. Schmidt's attack had been unwarranted.
"You guys are pathetic!" yelled Representative Martin Meehan, Democrat of Massachusetts. "Pathetic."

I am fascinated by the manner in which politicians can criticize their opponents for using their own tactics:

The measure's fate was sealed - and the vote count's significance minimized - when the Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, criticized the Republican tactics and instructed Democrats to join Republicans in voting against an immediate withdrawal.
"Just when you thought you'd seen it all, the Republicans have stooped to new lows, even for them," said Ms. Pelosi, who assailed Republicans as impugning Mr. Murtha's patriotism.

11-20-2005, 07:03 AM
20 Nov. London Times - American Plan for First Troop Withdrawals Within Month (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1880085,00.html).

American commanders of the war in Iraq have drawn up a bold plan to start pulling troops out of the country after elections next month.

The plan, which has been submitted to Donald Rumsfeld, the US defense secretary, calls for more than 60,000 troops - over a third of the total - to leave by the end of next year.

According to US television reports this weekend, the total number left in Iraq would fall from 161,000 to what defense experts call the "magic number" of below 100,000.

The Pentagon refused to confirm the proposals last night but a senior Ministry of Defence source said they appeared to "match our own plans" for a phased withdrawal under which most British troops will have left Iraq by the end of 2006.

11-22-2005, 07:55 AM
22 Nov. Washington Times - General Seeks 'Patience' on Iraq (http://www.washtimes.com/national/20051121-103439-4482r.htm)

The top U.S. commander for Iraq urged "patience" from "within the Beltway" on the war in Iraq and predicted that the tide of battle will improve next year once a permanent Iraqi government has been elected and put into place.

...the head of U.S. Central Command was emotional in making his case that a rejuvenated Iraqi security force will be able one day to defeat terrorists..

"It's not hard to deal with patience in the Middle East. Everyone is patient," Gen. Abizaid told reporters... "The only problem that there appears to be a patience problem is within the Beltway. ... When I talk to civilian audiences, I don't get the same sense of impatience that I detect here in the Beltway."

"... Gen. Abizaid made it clear that he is unhappy with press coverage, saying journalists do not report adequately on the enemy's brutal tactics, such as blowing up mosques and schools, kidnappings and videotaped beheadings."

11-23-2005, 07:06 AM
23 Nov. Washington Times - General Calls Iraq Pullout 'Destabilizing' (http://www.washtimes.com/national/20051123-122910-1566r.htm).

The top tactical commander in Iraq says an abrupt pullout of U.S. troops would be "destabilizing" and labeled "disturbing" Washington's heated political debate that has some Democrats calling the war unwinnable.

Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who commands the Multinational Corps Iraq, said that 36 Iraqi battalions, about one-third of the total force, are now responsible for their own security sectors and can fight the insurgency. But they are not yet ready to operate totally independent of U.S. supply lines and tactical advice.

Because of that, he said, now is not the time for an American withdrawal.

11-23-2005, 07:17 AM
23 Nov. Washington Post - 3 Brigades May Be Cut in Iraq Early in 2006 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/22/AR2005112202086.html).

Barring any major surprises in Iraq, the Pentagon tentatively plans to reduce the number of U.S. forces there early next year by as many as three combat brigades, from 18 now, but to keep at least one brigade "on call" in Kuwait in case more troops are needed quickly, several senior military officers said.

Pentagon authorities also have set a series of "decision points" during 2006 to consider further force cuts that, under a "moderately optimistic" scenario, would drop the total number of troops from more than 150,000 now to fewer than 100,000, including 10 combat brigades, by the end of the year, the officers said.

11-23-2005, 10:07 AM
23 Nov. Christian Science Monitor - New Iraq Strategy: Stay in Hot Spots (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1123/p01s02-woiq.html).

As US Marines battle insurgents in a string of towns in Iraq's western Anbar Province, they are applying lessons learned from their experience in Fallujah: Flush out insurgents, then stay there.

Some of those farming towns, along the Euphrates River, have been cleared and cleared again up to three times during the past year, as militants reestablish their grip when US and Iraqi forces depart.

Now marines are setting up temporary camp in these remote outposts - just as they did here in Fallujah a year ago, when marines cleared the city of Al Qaeda and nationalist insurgents, who had turned the city into a haven for kidnapping gangs and a launching pad for suicide attacks on Baghdad...

11-24-2005, 06:53 PM
DoD statement via American Forces Press Service - Pentagon Official Comments on Iraq Troop Levels (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2005/20051123_3436.html).

Recent news reports that say major U.S. troop reductions in Iraq may occur next year are speculative in nature, a senior Defense Department official said today.
"When we have any major force adjustments, I think we've always been very good about making those decisions known to you," DoD spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters.

The Defense Department routinely prepares for possible contingencies, Whitman said, noting such planning could include increasing or decreasing troop levels in a certain geographic area. Currently, there are more than 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

"The United States military looks at the full range of things that could occur in Iraq and makes plans accordingly," Whitman said.

Whitman said military, political and economic conditions in Iraq all play into assessments about proper troop levels, and any adjustments made to U.S. force levels in Iraq are based on recommendations from commanders in the field.

"It remains something that the commanders continually assess, and as appropriate, will make recommendations as to the correct size and capabilities that the United States has in Iraq," Whitman said.

Bill Moore
11-24-2005, 08:01 PM
This statement is a perfect example of a non-statement. I wish I could provide an answer like this to my boss on some occassions :)

Happy Thankgiving!

11-30-2005, 06:45 AM
30 Nov. Washington Post - U.S. Debate on Pullout Resonates As Troops Engage Sunnis in Talks (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/29/AR2005112901850.html).

... The spirited exchange in Ramadi came at the largest meeting yet between those suspected of supporting the Iraqi insurgency and the U.S. forces battling them. The comments by the tribal leaders, and similar remarks to reporters Tuesday in Fallujah, 30 miles away, offered fresh evidence of how the debate in the United States about pulling out troops is also echoing through Iraq. President Bush is expected to address growing public sentiment for withdrawal in a speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Nowhere is support for a U.S. military exit stronger than in Anbar province in western Iraq, heart of the Sunni insurgency, where fighters control whole communities along the Euphrates River, and where money and materiel flow in from neighboring Syria. Elsewhere in Iraq, many people who resent the U.S. presence say they fear factional struggles and upheaval if the U.S. troops leave too quickly. But in Anbar cities such as Ramadi and Fallujah, the calls for a pullout are enthusiastically applauded.