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Murtha Says Iraq Is Now a 'Civil War'
Yahoo News/AP
January 27, 2006

PITTSBURGH - U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year due to political pressure in a Congressional election year, Rep. John Murtha predicted.

Murtha, a decorated Vietnam veteran from Johnstown, created a firestorm in November when he called for troops to be pulled out of Iraq. On Thursday, he told editors and reporters from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the war in Iraq is a civil war and the U.S. should disengage.

"Our troops are the target," Murtha told the newspaper. "We're not fighting terrorism in Iraq. We're fighting a civil war in Iraq. We've got to give them an incentive. We fought our Civil War. Let them fight their civil war."

Murtha, the senior Democrat on the House appropriations defense panel, said many Iraqis think "it's all right to kill Americans" and that most Iraqis want U.S. troops out of the country.

"There is no reason in the world we couldn't do what we're doing (in Iraq) from the periphery," Murtha said. "I've just come to the conclusion it's going to happen and it's just a matter of time."

Murtha, who voted in 2002 to give President Bush the authority to go to war, said he believes Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, had no ties to al-Qaida and wasn't a threat to the United States.

He wants U.S. troops to be redeployed to Kuwait and areas around Iraq. He predicted there will be fewer than 100,000 troops by midsummer and that the pullout by the end of the year.

"We're not cutting and running. We're giving the Iraqis incentive to take over," he said.

Murtha also weighed in on other topics during the meeting, saying the United States should use diplomacy in combating the threats Iran poses to Mideast stability. He also said Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., could win the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, but that she would lose in the general election.