Full Text: Murtha Demands Debate on Iraq

'For the safety of our troops': Democrat pouring on anti-war challenge

On the same day Iraqi citizens are going to the polls for parliamentary elections, and just one day after President Bush gave the last of four speeches on the Iraq war, Representative John Murtha again took up the anti-war cause.

Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who has called for the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, has become his party's leading voice against Bush's war. In an e-mail sent through democrats.org, Murtha urged readers to sign a petition calling for Congress to have an “honest debate for the safety of our troops.

The full text of Murtha's e-mail follows:


America wants and deserves real answers on Iraq: What is the clear definition of success? Is there a plan? How much longer and how many more lives? In short, what is the end game?

Because we in Congress are charged with overseeing the safety of our sons and daughters when the president sends them into battle, it is our responsibility, our obligation to speak out for them. This obligation has not been met. That's why I am speaking out now.

I offered a concrete plan to get our troops out of harm's way, where they have become the target. I don't expect every member of Congress to agree with my specific proposal in this debate - but I do expect them to take part in that debate, not to squash it.

I am asking you to join me in demanding a real discussion of the war in Iraq from the U.S. House of Representatives.

Tell Congress to Have an Honest Debate For the Safety of Our Troops:

http://www.democrats.org/murtha

For too long Congress has counted itself out of any real debate on Iraq policy. We didn't talk about troop levels, even after the White House fired General Shinseki because he complained the levels were too low. One problem we encountered was the lack of proper training for our troops; service members were placed to guard the prisons but weren't trained; consequently we had Abu Ghraib, and no action from Congress. And if you look at the casualties, they have doubled since then. It's time to change our course - we can't just sit back any longer.

I've taken a lot of trips to Iraq. When I came back from my last one, I had become convinced we were making no progress at all. This can't be Republican and Democrat. It can't be recrimination one way or the other. We have to work this thing out, and we can't let a real solution get caught in the crossfire of an understandably heated political fight.

It's time for a serious conversation, not more rhetoric.

Tell Congress to Have an Honest Debate For the Safety of Our Troops:

http://www.democrats.org/murtha

The past few weeks have had a lot of firsts for me. I have never sought out the spotlight, or even taken the lead in a House floor debate the way I did a few weeks ago. And I've never signed an email like this before. But I see the beginning of a debate that is long overdue, and we can't afford to let it get overtaken by talking points or the news cycle.

I'm offering this petition, which will be delivered to the Speaker of the House in order to keep our Congress focused where it should have been all along. I hope you'll sign if you agree.

Tell Congress to Have an Honest Debate For the Safety of Our Troops:

http://www.democrats.org/murtha

Sincerely,

John Murtha
Pennsylvania's 12th District

 
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