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Democrats Propose Pullout From Iraq, Battle White House

"Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the US cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily," said Murtha, a Vietnam War veteran considered to be more hawkish than most members of his party.

Washington (AFP) Nov 17, 2005
Democrats and the White House traded fresh salvos over US Iraq policy Thursday, as a top Democratic lawmaker introduced a bill demanding an immediate withdrawal of US troops there.

Representative John Murtha's bill -- the first congressional resolution demanding an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq -- represents yet another marker in rapidly eroding support on Capitol Hill for the war.

The veteran US lawmaker said that the US military operation in Iraq is a lost cause.

"Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the US cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily," said Murtha, a Vietnam War veteran considered to be more hawkish than most members of his party.

"It's time to bring them home," Murtha said.

His resolution comes two days after the Senate approved a Republican measure requiring quarterly updates on the pace of military and policy gains in Iraq, in a signal that anxiety over how the Iraq operation is proceeding is spreading to members of Bush's own party.

Meanwhile, recent opinion polls also have found that the US public also is increasingly war-weary, with the number of US military deaths now well over 2,000, and the billions of US dollars spent there mounting every week.

Partisan sparring reached new levels after Vice President Richard Cheney on Wednesday called Democrats' accusations that the administration misled the country into the Iraq war "reprehensible" and "pernicious."

His remarks followed at least two broadsides against Democrats by President George W. Bush since Friday, and senior administration officials lambasted Democrats who claim Bush hyped the case for war with Iraq.

While Republicans accuse Democrats of seeking to "cut and run" or even planning "surrender," against an entrenched insurgency, Murtha insisted Thursday that the presence of US troops was actually "impeding" progress in Iraq, rather than helping.

"Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency," he said. "We have become a catalyst for violence."

"Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein and captured or killed his closest associates, but the war continues to intensify," he added.

His resolution introduced in the House of Representatives says the United States should "pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy."

"The deployment of US forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date," the text says.

It also calls for the deployment of a "quick reaction US force" in the region.

Meanwhile, a phalanx of more than a dozen Senate Democrats held a news conference on Thursday and accused the Bush administration of using the Iraq issue for partisan political gain.

"The American people don't care about whether the White House is losing another political war, they care about whether America is winning the war in Iraq so we can bring our troops home," said Democratic Senator Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, on a trip to South Korea for an Asia-Pacific summit, Bush on Thursday again fired back at his critics.

"I expect there to be criticism, but when Democrats say that I deliberately misled the Congress and the people, that's irresponsible," Bush said after talks with South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun.

Top Senate Republicans joined the administrationion criticizing Democrats for accusing Bush of misleading the country, and rejected all calls for a specific timetable for withdrawing US troops from Iraq.

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Legal, Policy, Moral Issues In Iraq Prisoner Abuse
Washington (UPI) Nov 17, 2005
The U.S. Army intervened last week to stop the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners, offering a sharp contrast to a similar situation last year and raising complicated legal question about the nature of the American occupation of Iraq.







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