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Thursday, March 09, 2006

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This morning I spoke at a gathering of the National Newspaper Association regarding my strategy to redeploy our troops from Iraq on a scheduled timetable as soon as practicable. Iraq continues to be mischaracterized by the President as the center for the Global War on Terrorism. It is estimated that there are less than 1,000 Al Qaeda in Iraq. What is happening in Iraq is a civil war. It is Iraqis killing Iraqis and our troops are also targets.

We are depleting our resources in Iraq. Last night the House Appropriations Committee passed the President's supplemental request, providing an additional $67 billion for the continued military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. With this supplemental, Congress will have appropriated nearly $450 billion for the war, running our federal deficit higher and higher while this country had a surplus when President George W. Bush took office.

The latest reports show that the war in Iraq has badly depleted essential equipment. I am particularly concerned about the National Guard, who have only a third of the equipment they need to respond to a catastrophic event in our own homeland, and much of that equipment is antiquated and worn out. If something were to happen domestically in the near future -- and it's not an "if", it's a "when" -- the Guard will be severely hampered. I have said before that our army is broke, hollow, and stretched thin. I am not talking about the soldiers; they are well trained and have accomplished their mission. I say this in regards to the equipment and my particular concern regarding the National Guard.



--John Murtha
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