Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement concerning the resolution to immediately withdraw all troops from Iraq:
“Yesterday, Congressman John Murtha spoke out on our nation’s policy on Iraq. When it comes to defense policy, John Murtha is one of the most respected Members of Congress. He is a decorated Marine who served for 37 years and did three tours in Vietnam. Few in Congress have done more than John Murtha to improve our nation’s security, provide protection and equipment for our troops and make our military the strongest in the world. I have the greatest respect for his expertise and his commitment to our troops.
The resolution that was before the House today was not John Murtha’s proposal. The Republican proposal we had to vote on was grossly irresponsible, as it called for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from Iraq. Any withdrawal must be done in a thoughtful and deliberate manner which is not reflected in the resolution before the House. We need to develop a real and effective strategy for handing over to the Iraqis responsibility for running their nation. This resolution was a blatant political ploy that does a disservice not only to the House but to our troops serving in Iraq.
In one week, I am making my second trip to Iraq. While there, I will meet with soldiers and military leaders on the ground. It is important for me to gain this firsthand information in order to determine the best way forward.
Congress needs to have a serious debate on Iraq policy, including hearings and floor debates. Tonight’s resolution was a political stunt that did not contribute to the sorely needed dialogue on such an important issue.”