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June 21, 2006

Murray opposes Kerry plan for Iraq withdrawal

Posted by David Postman at 1:51 PM

In the Senate just now Patty Murray said she did not support Sen. John Kerry's proposal to set a July 31, 2007 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Instead, Murray backs the proposal by Michigan Democrat Carl Levin to begin "redeploying" troops by Dec. 31, but sets no deadline for complete withdrawl.

The Senate today is debating the two Democratic resolutions. Murray has been a strong opponent of the war and voted against the initial congressional authorization for the invasion. But she said she could not support the Kerry plan.

"Like all of us I want the troops home as soon as possible. In fact I think they should start coming home this year. It is absolutely time for a new strategy in Iraq. An arbitrary specific date for full withdrawal, however, could force us to ignore facts on the ground, facts that have a direct impact on the security of our troops or the interest of our nation."

Murray, though, accused the Bush administration of playing politics with the war and being dishonest about it with the American public.

"Right now our nation's policy on Iraq is adrift. Instead of addressing this head on, the administration and this Congress continue to build on miscalculations and incompetence of the past and are dismissing any serious discussion of the challenges the American people now face.

"Instead of working to unite this nation behind a common purpose in defense of our security and freedom, the president and his aides are using the war as political fodder for the next election cycle, instead of being honest with the American people about the costs of our efforts and the sacrifice necessary to support them."

On the question of troop withdrawal, this puts Murray in the same vicinity as Maria Cantwell, who has rejected calls for an early, date-certain, withdrawal. It'll be interesting to see if Cantwell gets a break from the anti-war wing of her party now that she is more aligned with Murray, who has superior anti-war credentials.

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