WASHINGTON - February 15 - In an exclusive interview released at 11:00 this morning on the
web site www.movecongress.org,
Congressman Jack Murtha (D-PA), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee
on Defense, described his strategy to use the Supplemental Appropriations
bill that is now before his committee to stop the surge of troops
into Iraq and begin to "force" their redeployment. He
described the redeployment of US troops out of Iraq as "the
first step to security in the Middle East".
Key to Murtha's strategy will be establishing a set of strict
requirements that the administration will need to meet to deploy
troops into Iraq:
1) Troops will need to be certified as "fully combat ready"
with the training and equipment that they need;
2) Deployments cannot be extended beyond one year;
3) Troops must have at least one-year at home between deployments;
4) The "stop-loss" program where soldiers are forced to
extend their agreed upon enlistment period will be prohibited.
Chairman Murtha described other measures the committee is considering
for inclusion in the legislation:
1) Prohibit an attack on Iran without Congressional authorization;
2) Prohibit the construction of permanent military bases in Iraq;
3) Close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba;
4) Bulldoze the Abu Ghraib prison into rubble;
5) Substantially reduce private security contractors and establish
greater accountability for those who remain.
Key to adoption of Chairman Murtha's plan will be the strong support
of Congressional Democrats, starting with House leadership. Tom
Andrews, former Member of the House Armed Services Committee and
National Director of Win Without War, sponsor of the web site, said
that activists will make an intensive effort to persuade Members
of Congress to support redeployment.
"A non-binding resolution is useless and counterproductive
if not followed by strong binding Congressional action. We are launching
an effort to convince Members of Congress to back up their words
with action upon their return to Washington."
Chairman Murtha reported that his subcommittee will vote on the
Supplemental Appropriations bill on March 14 and send it to the
Appropriations Committee where action will be taken three or four
MoveCongress.org was launched Monday by the Win Without War coalition
to provide opponents of the Iraq war with an "inside look"
at the workings of Congress and organizing tools to push for Congressional
action. Additional on-line interviews and meetings with key Members
of Congress are being made and will continue to be released.