Campaign 2010

May 06, 2004

Petition for Rumsfeld’s Dismissal

Pelosi’s Statement below.

Sign the Petition: Rumsfeld out. 

To bloggers, with humility and gratitude:

Let’s show these guys what you can do.

[Update 2 (in reverse order): The Economist agrees.]

Update:  Quick thanks to Upper Left for helping us out.  Also, I mentioned earlier that there was buzz about the Pelosi-Murtha press conference today.  John Murtha (D-PA12) is second to none in terms of respect in military matters, having served 20 years on the House Subcommittee on Defense, including 18 as Ranking Member or Chairman.  It was this set of credentials that made him argubaly the prime mover in getting our troops what they needed last year when he raised alarms about Kevlar lining in the troops’ jackets and bulletproofing humvees.  He came out with a powerful calling to account of the administration’s postwar efforts today, and when he speaks people on both sides of the aisle listen.  This was my favorite part of that press conference, but the entire thing (long) is posted in the extended entry.  Worth reading.

Q  Mr. Murtha, what do you say to critics in the Republican party who say now is not the time to be criticizing the U.S. military forces when they’re out in the field fighting this battle?
 
Mr. Murtha.  You think the troops don’t know about these shortages?  You think the troops don’t have—I went over there.  This General was telling me how good the morale was.  I said, you don’t need to tell me, General, how good morale is.  I’ve been around too long.  I’ll talk with troops to find out how the morale is. 

You saw the Stars and Stripes report.  That was before it got hot.  Now it’s starting to get hot again.  They don’t need to tell me about checking with troops.  I know what affects them.  They want to be taken care of, and they’re not being taken care of.  That’s what I want to get done.  I want to change the course of this thing.

Ms. Pelosi.  Good morning.  I’m pleased to be joined here this morning by Congressman Jack Murtha, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.  Jack Murtha is a Vietnam vet, much decorated.  For 20 years he has served on the House Subcommittee on Defense, nearly 18 of that as either the Chairman of the Committee or the Ranking Member on the Committee.  He is one of the most recognized experts in defense in the country, and no one has worked harder to meet the needs of our troops.

I know last year many of you were here when Mr. Murtha gave a wake-up call to the Administration about the lack of equipment for our troops, the danger that they were in because they didn’t have the Kevlar lining in their jackets, that they didn’t have the bullet-proof protection on their Humvees.  The list goes on and on.  And because of him that situation was greatly improved for our troops.  It’s not completely finished yet, and Mr. Murtha persists with that. 

Today, he has another wake-up call for the Administration that he is going to present to you.
 
Before he does, though, I just want to make one comment, and that is that last Thursday Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld came to the Congress and briefed the Members of Congress on what was happening on Iraq.  That very evening, he well knew, “60 Minutes II” was going to have an expose on the conditions in a prison in Iraq, and yet he withheld that information from the Congress.  This is information that Congress needed to have when it was available to the Department of Defense, months ago. 

The Secretary has said subsequent to last week that: “Well, we did make this public in January.  There was public revelation of this in January, so what you’re hearing now is what we straightforwardly have put forth and not something that the press has undertaken to investigate.”

And, of course, you know that that is simply not the truth.  Mr. Rumsfeld has been engaged in a cover-up from the start on this issue and continues to be so. 

Today, on the floor of the House, Members will be debating a resolution on what happened in the prison.  The Democrats were not allowed to have an amendment.  Same as usual: we were shut down with a closed rule.  But on the previous question, we will call for the legislation to say that it “affirms the need for bipartisan Congressional investigations to be conducted immediately into these allegations of abuse, including those of U.S. civilian contractor personnel, and other U.S. civilians, and into the chain of command and other systemic deficiencies, including the command atmosphere that contributed to such abuse.” 

Despite our pleadings last night, the Republicans would not put in the resolution a call for looking into the behavior of the contractors in Iraq.  It raises certain questions. 

But, right now, I’m going to turn the podium over to our very distinguished Ranking Member on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.  Again, he is a decorated veteran in his own right and a champion of our men and women in uniform and veterans, Mr. Murtha. 

Mr. Murtha.  I thank you very much, Nancy. 

If all of you remember, when General Shinseki said that we need 200,000 troops in Iraq, OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) immediately came out and said we’ll have 30,000 by the end of the year.  Today, our forces in Iraq are undermanned, under resourced, inadequately trained, and poorly supervised.  There is a lack of leadership stemming from the very top. 

Myself and Members of Congress have made recommendation to the President, to the Defense Department over and over again.  This is obviously not a partisan issue. 

And it appears these recommendations are not being adhered to or paid any attention to.  The President and OSD continually say that only a handful of soldiers are doing the damage in Iraq. 

There have been 624 that have died since the President declared the mission accomplished.  There have been 4,340 that have been wounded.  I go to Walter Reed every week, and I see the young men and women with their arms blown off, they’re blinded, in bad shape.  And it’s moving to me and it’s absolutely outrageous that we have an inadequate force and that we don’t have security. 

Now, September 4th of 2003, I sent a letter to the President.  I said, “I recently returned from an inspection in Iraq and believe we have severely miscalculated the magnitude of the effort we are facing.  Clearly, we have no choice but to go forward and finish the job as quickly as possible.  To accomplish this goal, however, we must ‘Energize, Iraqatize, and Internationalize’ our efforts.

“I cannot overly emphasize the importance of a robust public works program for rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure and restoring its economy.” 

So far, they have spent $2 billion, the best I can tell, out of the $20 billion that we appropriated not long ago. 

“I am in agreement with Dr. Hamre’s assessment.”  He went over there at the request of the Defense Department, and he said we have a 3-month window to get this thing under control.  The support of the Iraqi people is critical”—this is what I say in this letter—“The support of the Iraqi people is critical to a positive outcome.  We must engage the Iraqi population and provide them with a sense of ownership.”  And I always say Tolstoy talks about an X factor.  X factor is winning the minds and hearts of the people. 

Well, this incident in the prison was absolutely disgusting.  I cannot imagine an American soldier being ordered to do these things and participating in such an egregious, outrageous impact.  I don’t know that there is anything we could do that is more degrading than what they did. 

The Arabs have to think—this is the type of thing that the Arabs will believe in their own mind that we had planned.  Because when you put men nude in front of women and other men, it had to be a planned thing.  I mean, they have to think that.  We know better.  But the damage—we are not going to recover from this damage, in my estimation. 

Now, I say a few other things: “In addition to the insight I gained, my inspection in Iraq also disclosed critical shortages.”  I talked about that last year.  “Mr. President, while some talk boldly about a generation-long commitment to bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East, the near term reality is that on its present course we are in danger”—I said this in September—“on its present course we are in danger of losing the support of both a significant portion of the Iraqi people and the American public.” 

The latest poll showed that we’ve lost the American public, and I don’t know what the polls show in Iraq.  “To make significant progress, we must ‘Energize, Iraqatize and Internationalize’ our efforts.” 

Then in October I wrote a letter to Secretary Rumsfeld:  “In my most recent visits to Walter Reed, the troops expressed concerns over the lack of training in urban warfare.  Many said they were operating outside their MOS”—that’s a military specialty—“with little or no training in their newly assigned task.  For instance, an infantryman was working primarily military police duties.  Another soldier was assigned the task of giving out paychecks to a crowd that was becoming increasingly unruly, and he was uncomfortable with the situation and commented, ‘I just had to show them who’s boss.’”  In other words, he wasn’t trained to handle the situation. 

“I understand the Army”—now this is October 23rd of 2003.  “I understand the Army has shortages in critical MOSs in Iraq and as many as 6,300 people may be working outside his or her appropriate MOS.  I believe proper training and ensuring our troops are working within their MOS is a necessary step towards winning the hearts and minds of the people.” 

Now, November 21st I sent a letter to the President:  “We are concerned that our Armed Forces are over-extended.”  This letter went from a bipartisan group, and you have copies of this letter, and I won’t read the whole thing, but there are about 100 of us signed this letter.  This was on November 21st, 2003. 

“We are concerned that our Armed Forces are over-extended and that we are relying too heavily upon members of the Guard and Reserve in the continuing the war on terrorism. 

“The operational tempo required to maintain forward-deployed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Korea, and elsewhere is unprecedented.  Not since the Vietnam War has the U.S. Army had such a large fraction of its active-duty forces deployed. 

“While we understand the Administration will seek to reduce the U.S. force in Iraq as Iraqi security forces are trained, we must expect that the Iraq deployment will continue at substantial levels for a considerable time.  Moreover, the war on terrorism is not a crisis for which the military can surge and then recover.  This will be a lengthy war that will define entire careers. 

“The men and women of our Guard and Reserve can and should be called upon to assist our country in times of crisis on a temporary basis.  Many of the units currently serving”—now this, again, is November 21st of 2003—“Many of the units currently serving in Iraq will have been serving for nearly 15 months, in some cases longer, by the time their tours are finished.  When they come home, the nature of this war is such that they know they are quite likely to be called up again sometime in the near future. 

“The size of the current Army—and the Army budgets that pay for it—are predicated upon an early-1990s strategy that did not foresee the tempo of today’s operations.” 

I won’t read the rest of the letter. 

Now let me go to an e-mail I received from the 372nd, and all of you know the 372nd is the one that was at the prison.  I have some people from my district that were guards, were involved in the prison itself, the Military Police Company.  This is the e-mail that I got because a father called me in the first place concerned about his son. 

I said: “I’ve got to see something from him.  He is the guy that has got to e-mail.  I have to see his e-mail.”  So this is the e-mail I received, a composite e-mail that he and some other people in the unit sent to him and he related to me: 

“This letter is to address serious concerns I have as a member of the 372nd Military Police Company.  As a bit of background information, the 372nd MP Company was mobilized in February 2003, cut orders for 365 days for mobilization to Iraq.  In January 2004, the unit was extended for 100-day extension orders and told they would be released as soon as possible.  Now the 372nd has been held in theater awaiting 120-day extension orders that they have not received yet.  This call comes on the heels of an 8-month deployment in Bosnia in 2001-2002.  While being extended again is obviously a hardship on the military family, this is not our primary concern. 

“The new mission is to ride shotgun in Kellogg, Brown and Root tractor-trailers and do personal protection for these drivers on long-distance convoys covering roads that have been under heavy insurgent attacks in recent weeks.  This is not an MP mission and cannot be found in an MP handbook or resources.  There is no standard operating procedure for such a mission.  We have no battle drills that cover shooting from cabs or trucks, dismounting from cabs or trucks or any other drills that would apply.  We would be alone on these missions with no communication with other members of our unit and the MP providing escort security in armored Humvees.  The reason for this mission is because the civilian drivers who have no military experience are refusing to do their jobs until they get what they want from the U.S. Army.  These civilian drivers are aware of the dangers their jobs can entail, can quit and leave their jobs at any time, and make large sums of money driving for KBR in Iraq. 

“This brings me to the current state of our unit.  We currently have no officers”—this is the 372nd.  This is the 20th of April, 2004. 

“This brings me to the current state of our unit.  We currently have no officers left in our company.  Our commander and first sergeant were relieved of duty and are still in Iraq.  Our other officers served on 22 months of active duty and were entitled to go home.  Our commander is an enlisted Sergeant First Class E-7.  Our first sergeant is also an E-7.  He does not have a military police MOS.  Without any officers our unit suffers from a lack of commissioned leadership and leaves our company with no one to address the issues to look out for our best interests. 

“Our unit has packed our personal and military equipment for shipment home, leaving us rushed into a mission without the proper equipment and supplies to succeed.  We have no communications equipment such as radios and GPS.  All of our night vision, medical supplies for our combat lifesavers, and weapons cleaning kits were packed away in our connexs.  Many soldiers do not have the basic TA-50 such as sleeping bags, ammo pouches and other standard issue gear. 

“The 372nd Military Company is being rushed back into Iraq without the proper equipment, training, and command structure.  The unit is not being given the tools it needs to succeed, and the mission is not properly thought about.” 

They were in the prison before.  When they went back, they went back into this as truck drivers. 

Now the father sends me another e-mail.  Dave Morrison of my staff talked to General Casey.  General Casey sent General Helmly out to talk to the unit in Cumberland, Maryland.  Cumberland is not in my district, but some of the people in my district are in that unit.  Here is what the family says to me now, after he attended the meeting: 

“We attended a family readiness meeting for the 372nd Military Police Company on Saturday May 1st, 2004. 

“Also in attendance was General James Helmly who is the U.S. Chief of Army Reserves.  It came as a surprise to me that he did not seem to have updated information about the 372nd MP Company.  He did not know the following: 

“That only 54 percent of the whole company was still deployed, and most of the other soldiers returned home in January. 

“The soldiers are riding in cabs of tractor trucks on these convoys. 

“Whether or not the soldiers have radio communication, night vision goggles, and so forth.” 

I talked to him this morning, and I can’t repeat what I said to General Helmly.  I mean, this is a breakdown in leadership from the top down. 

The prison problem.  Here is the unclassified version.  This has already been on the Internet, they tell me.  But this is the unclassified report on the prison from General Taguba: 

“I find that the 800th MP brigade”—which the 372nd was part of—“was not adequately trained for a mission that included operating a prison or penal institution, this complex, Abu Ghraib.  As the Ryder Assessment found, I also concur that units of the 800th Brigade did not receive corrections-specific training during their mobilization period.  MP units did not receive pinpoint assignments prior to mobilization and during the post-mobilization training and thus could not train for specific missions.  The training that was accomplished at the mobilization sites were developed and implemented at the company level with little or no direction or supervision at the battalion or brigade levels and consisted primarily of common task and law enforcement training.  However, I found no evidence that the Command, although aware of this deficiency, ever requested specific corrections training from the commander of the Military Police School.” 

Second—this is listed as item number six—“I also find, as did Major General Ryder’s team, that the 800th MP Brigade as a whole was under strength for the mission for which it was tasked.  Army Doctrine dictates that an I/R Brigade can be organized with between 7 and 21 battalions, and that the average battalion size element should be able to handle approximately 4,000 detainees.” 

There were between 6,000 and 7,000 detainees, untrained people doing the work with undermanned strength.  I don’t know how many are in the unit.  I can’t find out how many were actually there—500 usually in a battalion, but I have no idea of how many actually were there. 

Now one of the people in that unit—this is the Tribune-Review, which is a newspaper in Western Pennsylvania.  I won’t read the name, but this talks about one of the people involved in this problem, and he was one of the 372nd, and he was one of the guards or participating in interrogation.  I’m not sure what his job was. 

He works as a state prison guard in civilian life.  “He has been accused three times of abusing his former wife Staci and their two children, according to Fayette County court records.  As a result of the hearing, Fayette County Judge Ralph Warman issued a protection from abuse award against Graner.” 

Now this guy was not supposed to be in the prison.  What does this mean?  This means that you have inadequate people with no training, no supervision, and on top of that you have people who shouldn’t be there in the first place.  A person that has been charged with abuse of his wife in the military can’t even carry a weapon, and this guy is in one of the most notorious prisons in the world.  Outrageous.  And the damage that they did is irreparable. 

Now this doesn’t go to this small group.  This goes to planning.  This goes back to what I said at first.  Shinseki said you need 200,000 people.  You remember the riots that got out of control when this thing first started because we didn’t have enough people.  And because of that, this prison didn’t have enough people. 

How many other installations are undermanned, that don’t have enough people in them and are supervised?  And how many people are sent over there without the proper training to do the job that they’re doing? 

I’m at the hospital with a kid that lost his leg telling me he’s going a job that he wasn’t trained for; and, of course, I report this to the Defense Department. 

Now why am I not going to the Defense Department?  Why am I coming to you?  I’ll tell you why.  I wrote this letter to the President in September, and I got an answer just a month ago, and he said everything is all right.  It wasn’t even from the President.  It was from an Assistant Secretary of Defense. 

That’s the way they treat Congress, with absolute arrogance.  Pay no attention to the suggestions that are made by Congress. 

Our failure to surge in terms of troop level and resources needed to prevail in this war has let what appear to be unattainable goals in our current path.  In Korea, we surged from 593 to 1.5 million from 1950 to 1952; Vietnam, we went from 969,000 in ‘65 to 1.5 million in 1968.  In other words, we tried to have the numbers of people—and this goes right to the Pentagon.  This is the problem where you say they needed 30,000, oil was going to pay for this thing

Our troops are suffering because of the lack of planning by those people over there at the Pentagon.  Bad intelligence, inept planning, careless mistakes made by the architect of this war as a result of the gross errors and underestimated distribution of resources that are needed.  Lack of vehicles, lack of armor, lack of—they just sent tanks back. 

Now let’s take Fallujah.  In Fallujah, we’re going to go in.  We’re going to wipe them out.  That’s what the dictation was.  That’s what General Kimmitt said.  We’re going to wipe them out.  We’re going to find those people that killed those contractors.  A couple weeks later, they found out they didn’t have enough people to do that, so they backed off. 

Now what message do you think this sends to the Arabs?  Kill Americans and we’ll change our policy.  That’s the message it sends.  This policy has to be changed.  We cannot prevail in this war with the policy that is going today.  We either have to mobilize or we have to get out.  That’s the solution that I see.  I see no alternative in the current path. 

For instance, the political transition, you’re talking about a constitutional election.  That’s what Bremer first said, Ambassador Bremer.  Then, second, we said we’re going to have an interim constitution because they killed Americans, because they weren’t satisfied.  Third, they said we’re going to turn it over to the U.N.  That was the third alternative because they killed more Americans. 

Now does anybody believe without military security you’re going to attract any allied forces, you’re going to get any kind of allied money?  The first war we raised $60 billion worldwide. 

They told us this war was going to be paid for by oil.  They said we’re going to go to war with a tin cup and get a lot of money from these other countries.  So far, they got $2 billion in grants and $5 billion in—the American public is bearing the whole resources of this war.  With all the problems we have in education and transportation, in Social Security deficit, a $500 billion deficit, and we’re bearing this whole burden.

But the whole point is, the direction has got to be changed or it’s unwinnable in my estimation.  I would be glad to answer any questions. 

Q Should we mobilize or get out? 

Mr. Murtha.  Well, I believe that it would be a devastating international blow to us if we were to get out.  But I don’t know that we have the will to mobilize, now that the public has turned against it.  We’re talking about—it takes a year or two to mobilize.  You almost have to go to a draft. 

Now I have always been for a draft.  I always believe that the young people I see serving today joined the military, in many cases, to be upgraded.  They joined so they could get an education. 

So we have a disproportion of people who couldn’t find jobs and so forth in the military today.  Good morale.  They’re doing their job, most of them.  You can’t speak enough about how well most of the troops are doing.  But they don’t have the resources they need. 

So, theoretically, internationalize.  Theoretically, get money from somebody else.  Theoretically, mobilize.  Whether we have the will to do that, I don’t know.  I personally would be willing to support that.  I would support full mobilization of this country in order to try and get the security under control. 

Q  Mr. Murtha, you said it starts at the top—
 
Mr. Murtha.  Right. 

Q —And months ago you stopped short of calling for Secretary Rumsfeld to resign.  Do you see that that is a resolution at this point that he should resign? 

Mr. Murtha.  Well, I tell you this:  You saw what I said about these young people on the ground, inadequate facilities that they’re living in, everything.  The conditions they were living in were deplorable, as I understand.  The hours they were working were terrible.  No supervision.  No training.  They’re going to be court-martialed.  What did they do to the officers?  Slap them on the hand.  I call that absolutely wrong.  It ought to go right up the chain of command. 

If General Sanchez—and I don’t know if this report is accurate—if he saw these people naked in there, he ought to resign.  I don’t know how far you go with this thing at this point, because I don’t know how much we know.  I’m not willing yet to say it goes as high as the Secretary, but I’ll tell you one thing:  For him not to tell us about this report which is so—I mean, anybody would see that this thing is going to destroy everything we’ve tried to do over there.  I don’t care how many schools you have built, how many roads you fix, how many medical facilities, this one incident destroyed our credibility in Iraq and in all the Arab world, internationally. 

These guys must not get out of the White House.  I tell you, if they get out there in the field, they’ll see how bad people feel about this.  People are outraged by what’s going on and what happened there.  And you could blame these guys and they should be court-martialed, but so should everybody else in that chain of command. 

Q  Mr. Murtha, if there is no change in direction and there is no mobilization, will you continue to vote for funds, the $25 billion the Administration has requested? 

Mr. Murtha.  Absolutely.  I’m going to support the troops.  That’s my history.  I will do everything I can to help the troops.  But I will continue to tell them you have got to change course. 

I think the $25 billion is inadequate.  I think it’s going to be $50 billion to $60 billion.  I don’t think there is any way that they can pay for this war.  We’re already talking about $200 billion which is not in the budget.  Well, the $50 billion is not in the budget.  No money for the reconstruction.  No money for the 30,000 additional people. 

But until the President makes a decision, I’m going to make sure they have what they need.  We haven’t seen the details of the $25 billion, but that’s inadequate. 

Q  For Ms. Pelosi, do you think Secretary Rumsfeld should resign? 

Ms. Pelosi.  Yes, I do.  I think that Mr. Rumsfeld should resign.  I think that the case that Mr. Murtha has laid out here is very clear one.  As you have seen the indictment in the paper this morning, the Washington Post editorial, lays it out very clearly.  The issues they present we’ve been talking about for a while.  And now I think it has been clearly presented.

Mr. Murtha.  What you got to remember is they didn’t have any adequate training, they didn’t have adequate resources, and this goes to the very top.  And they fired General Shinseki when he said we needed 200,000 troops. 

Q  Was that a good figure do you think—200,000—or would it take more now? 

Mr. Murtha.  I think it will take more now.  At the time, we could have stopped it with 200,000. 

If we had kept the army in place, the Iraqi army would have put 200,000 troops in there, my personal opinion is we could have maybe started getting out of there by this time. 

Q  Congressman Murtha, I’m curious as to why you do not yet call for Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation since you were also talking about the arrogance of the Pentagon towards Congress and the way they have disregard for the questioning that comes from here. 

Mr. Murtha.  Let me tell you why.  Because up until this point, he’s briefed me almost every week.  Any time I have called, he’s answered my calls.  He’s called me many times to ask for advice.  This is the first time in my history with him that he has not responded the way he should have.  So I’m not willing at this point to say that he ought to go.  More and more things are coming out.  Is this widespread?  Even if it’s not widespread, it still comes from the fact that - there was poor planning and we didn’t have enough troops on the ground.  That’s the problem. 

Q  Just for clarification, your call for resignation is attached to the prison incident or over-all prosecution? 

Ms. Pelosi.  I’ll have a fuller statement on that today.  The focus here is on Mr. Murtha’s statement. 

Mr. Murtha.  He’s asking me about the resignation. 

Q  Your clarification since you called for resignation. 

Ms. Pelosi.  I will be issuing a statement later today with the reasons why I am calling for Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation, but that’s not the focus of our meeting. 

Q  Mr. Murtha, what do you say to critics in the Republican party who say now is not the time to be criticizing the U.S. military forces when they’re out in the field fighting this battle?

 
Mr. Murtha.  You think the troops don’t know about these shortages?  You think the troops don’t have—I went over there.  This General was telling me how good the morale was.  I said, you don’t need to tell me, General, how good morale is.  I’ve been around too long.  I’ll talk with troops to find out how the morale is. 

You saw the Stars and Stripes report.  That was before it got hot.  Now it’s starting to get hot again.  They don’t need to tell me about checking with troops.  I know what affects them.  They want to be taken care of, and they’re not being taken care of.  That’s what I want to get done.  I want to change the course of this thing. 

Q Congressman Murtha, when you talk about full mobilization, what do you mean? 

Mr. Murtha.  I’m talking about increasing the size of the force.  And the military commanders have been hesitant for some reason.  I don’t say it’s because General Shinseki was fired, but I would guess that’s the major reason that they didn’t think we needed more forces.  But they need to be realistic about this thing, decide what we need in each of these areas where we’re having a problem, and then get the number of forces on the ground. 

And let me tell you, you don’t do this overnight.  That’s the biggest problem I have with mobilization, to get it done. 

Q Mr. Murtha, how has Secretary Rumsfeld responded to your concerns in these weekly briefings that you say you have gone to with him? 

Mr. Murtha.  Well, the big thing is the shortages.  They immediately got on it and started to take care of the shortages as quickly as possible.  We have worked very closely with them on getting those shortages down.  They shouldn’t have happened in the first place.  They should not have sent those troops in there with 40,000 people not having the inserts in their flak jackets and so forth. 

Q Given the polls showing that the American people do seem to be becoming less enthusiastic about the war, do you think that we should pull out at this point? 

Mr. Murtha.  I hesitate because of the damage it would do to—our credibility is pretty low already.  But, no, I think that I’m not ready to reach that conclusion.  I have been struggling with this for six weeks, trying to figure out something else to do.  The only conclusion I can come to is to either mobilize or get out.  And, so far, I’d prefer the mobilization side of it.  Of course, that would take a lot more money and be very difficult to accomplish. 

Many of these things that the people talk about can’t happen.  Talk about internationalizing this. 

If you don’t have security, it ain’t going to happen.  There’s all there is to it.  You’re not going to get anybody coming in there at all.  You don’t see these countries clamoring to come in there and help us like the Administration said they were going to. 

Q With reports of possible abuses in other facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, do you think it might be appropriate to give detainees the status of prisoner of war to assure the world that they are being treated under the Geneva Convention? 

Mr. Murtha.  Well, first of all, they should separate the prisoners of war from the civilians.  They ought to close that prison.  They ought to burn that prison.  They ought to destroy that prison.  That’s what they ought to do.  That’s the first step they ought to do.  That would impress the Arab world we’re serious.  This may be the most notorious prison probably in the world except for maybe Dachau and some of the concentration camps.  It should be destroyed.  The procedures have got to be changed.  There is no question about that. 

Q What about the status of prisoners of war? 

Mr. Murtha.  Well, the status of prisoners of war, absolutely.  And then the Red Cross should have availability of these things.  Saddam Hussein is getting better treatment than these people are.  Most of these people are detainees and have no—I don’t know what the charges are against them, but, at any rate, Saddam Hussein is getting better treatment than they’re getting.  The Red Cross has been able to visit him. 

Ms. Pelosi.  Thank you all very much.  Thank you, Mr. Murtha, for your great leadership.


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