By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer
One of Congress' most hawkish Democrats called Thursday for an immediate
"It's time to bring them home," said Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), a decorated Korean War and Vietnam combat veteran, choking back tears during remarks to reporters. "Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty."
The comments by the
"Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against
In a biting response, Republicans criticized Murtha's position as one of abandonment and surrender and accused Democrats of playing politics with the war and recklessly pushing a "cut and run" strategy.
"They want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
"It would be an absolute mistake and a real insult to the lives that have been lost," said Rep. David Dreier (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif.
Just two days earlier, the GOP-controlled Senate defeated a Democratic push to force Bush to lay out a timetable for withdrawal. Spotlighting mushrooming questions from both parties about the war, though, the chamber approved a statement that 2006 should be a significant year in which conditions are created for the phased withdrawal of
Murtha estimated that all
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stopped short of endorsing Murtha's position, even though he's one of her close advisers. Her counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record) of
Thursday's rhetorical dueling came in a week that had already seen Bush and other top administration officials lash out at war critics, who they say advocate a strategy that will only embolden the insurgency.
Some Senate Democrats have already laid out plans for bringing home
Seldom overtly political, Murtha uncharacteristically responded to Vice President Dick Cheney's comments this week that Democrats were spouting "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges" about the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the war.