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'What is killing Americans and Iraqis today?'

Your fellow Democrat from Pennsylvania, Congressman John Murtha, has called for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

No, he did not.

An almost immediate withdrawal.

No, he did not. He asked for the almost immediate redeployment (of American troops). He talked about leaving a certain number of them at the border and some of them in Kuwait. But he clearly envisons them being involved in the provision of security.

So when should American troops leave Iraq?

Here is what. What Congressman Murtha is talking about is being successful in a different way. And that is what I am talking about. I believe the withdrawal of American forces in a sensible process is an essential part of gaining success in Iraq.

Because as (Commanding Officer, Multi National Force) General (George W ) Casey has said the large presence of American forces in Iraq is not only contributing to the sense of occupation he made it very clear -- this is General Casey speaking -- it delays the readiness and willingness of the Iraqis to stand up on their own.

Now if our commanding general in Iraq is telling me that the large number of forces is delaying their (the Iraqis') willingness to stand up on their own, my inclination is to say let us reduce the number as rapidly as we can, to force them to accept more responsibility. And there are all kinds of tasks in Iraq that if indeed the administration is correct in saying 200,000 have been trained they could be doing what we are today doing for them.

I'll give you an example. What is killing Americans and Iraqis today? Two principal things -- IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), which are roadside bombs by and large, and suicide bombers. You don't need your elite combat troops patrolling the streets, inviting a target, driving on the street, looking for an IED, while somebody who lives in the country and whose country it is who wants to accept responsibility could certainly be driving that same truck.

There are a lot of different missions, I think frankly, that have worn out their usefulness. So I am in favour of putting our troops in a more rear garrison status, withdrawing some of the number as the Iraqis stand up and take over and pushing them (the Iraqis) to do that.

I think that is the way ultimately you are going to be successful. The longer you stay there in a large number taking over the major responsibilities, the more you are going to be targeted, the more we invite the targeting, the less capable they (the Iraqis) will be.

Also Read: 'No way but surrender for America'
'We are walking into the American trap'

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