Sunday, November 20


Now this man has credibility. A few excerpts from today's Meet the Press transcript:

And the biggest problem is this illusion that--I remember going to Iraq a month or so after the invasion when they said it was all over. And one of the members said to Ambassador Bremer, "What do you think about this cleric named Sistani?" And he turned to his expert, and you know what she said? She said, "Oh, he's just a minor cleric." Now, two weeks later that guy had 100,000 people in the street. That's the kind of information they were acting on. They've been overly optimistic and illusionary about their policy.
MR. RUSSERT: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said he's given the troops, the commanders on the ground, everything they've requested, including troop levels.

REP. MURTHA: Tim, Tim, come on. They fired Shinseki when he said they needed 200,000 troops. They had 44,000 shortage of armored vests. They had no--one brigade had one jammer in it. They had no--I mean, that's what the troops told me. I came back and they started to come up with that stuff. People had to buy their own armor.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you straight, do you have confidence in Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld?

REP. MURTHA: Well, I'll put it this way: There have been an awful lot of mistakes made, and I don't know whether it's his fault, but when he forced the military--now this is what I hear from the military. He forced them to go in with inadequate forces. Then he thought we were going to be able to go through Turkey. You remember we had the best division, the most technologically advanced division, sitting off Turkey. And so, fortunately, we had enough troops to get through. But then for the transition where he completely miscalculated the transition--and so the president has to look at that and--and then Abu Ghraib. They had inexperienced people without super vision in Abu Ghraib and that caused us--that's when the tide turned. The casualties have gone from one a day to two a day to the last month, four a day casualties, and that's happened because you got to win the hearts and minds of the people. We are not winning the hearts and minds of the people.
REP. MURTHA: Well, it's not--this is not a party issue, Tim. This is something that I'm offering as an individual, and it's only been out there for two or three days. Let me predict this: We're going to be out of there, we're going to be out of there very quickly, and it's going to be close to the plan that I'm presenting right now.

MR. RUSSERT: You think we'll be out of Iraq by the end of 2006?

REP. MURTHA: I think we'll be out of there; if not completely out of there, we'll be very close to being out of there. I think we could be out--yeah, I predict we'll be out of there--it'll be 2006.

MR. RUSSERT: By Election Day 2006?

REP. MURTHA: You--you have hit it on the head.

MR. RUSSERT: In hindsight, do you now believe your vote for the war in Iraq in 2002 was a mistake?

REP. MURTHA: Obviously, it was a mistake. I mean, all of us were misled by the information that we had...We have increased terrorism in the Middle East, is what we've done.

MR. RUSSERT: Well...

REP. MURTHA: And since we're the target, we've increased instability in the Middle East. So the only way to do this is redeploy our forces outside and let the Iraqis handle this themselves.

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