Mr. Bring-'Em-Home

An interview with Representative John Murtha

What is the role of political fault here? President Bush can come out and say the intelligence was bad and I took us to war over it, but nothing changes.

Who did Bush give the medal of freedom to? George Tenet, the director of the CIA. Now, George Tenet is a friend of mine, but he shouldn’t have gotten a medal of freedom.

We spend more on intelligence than the whole rest of the world. But poor intelligence is not enough to make those kinds of judgments. And it just goes on. They keep mischaracterizing the war. They say Iraq, then they say terrorism. There was no terrorism in Iraq before we went in.

Murtha: 'There are only two positions—the president’s position and my position.'
photo: courtesy of Congressman John Murtha's office
Murtha: 'There are only two positions—the president’s position and my position.'

What was the real turning point for you?

I went home in August. All I heard about is Iraq. I come from a patriotic district and a patriotic family. My dad and his three brothers fought in World War II. My three brothers and I served in the Marine Corps.

And when I was home, all I heard from everyone was, what is going on in Iraq? Why are we still in Iraq? What’s the plan?

You were involved in leading a House vote earlier this week on McCain’s anti-torture amendment, a vote that passed.

The president caved completely on that issue. McCain called me. I had already made up my mind, I was going to bring up this resolution. Because four months ago, I met with a young man who had been involved with Abu Ghraib. Congressman Bartlett had brought him to me, and I met with him with Curt Weldon. We listened to him, and he talked about the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and this torture that is going to kill us.

We are so low in poll figures. If we want international help, we are not going to be able to get it.

I just decided then to do it [to push the measure]. And I announced it and McCain called me and told me how much he appreciated it. I said from the very start, I said this country is not for torture. Even the president is not for torture. No torture, no exceptions.

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