"U.S. and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq," the senior lawmaker said. "It's time for a change in direction."Murtha is respected on both sides of the aisle for his view on defense issues, and his open shift to opposing the war will provide cover for others, and hopefully some spine to Democrats.
He said he believes all the forces could be redeployed over a six-month period.
Murtha, a former Marine Corps colonel and veteran of the Vietnam war, is the first senior lawmaker to call for an immediate withdrawal. Other critics of the war have asked President Bush to set up a timetable for withdrawal.
"I resent the fact that on Veterans Day, they criticized Democrats for criticizing them," Murtha said. "This [the war] is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public knows it, and lashing out at critics doesn't help a bit. You've got to change the policy. That's what's going to help the American people. You need to change direction."
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