Well, it seems I owe John Murtha an apology. It seems he did not behave like Howard Beale at a recent Florida appearance. Murtha has told the Uniontown Herald Standard - which I infer must be a paper in his district - that he did not say that the United States was the top threat to world peace, as the Florida Sun Sentinel reported. Further, another reporter at the event corroborates his account:
Murtha said, "I was recently misquoted following a speech I gave at a Veterans forum at the Florida International University Biscayne Campus on June 24, 2006. During the speech, I made a point that our international credibility was suffering, particularly due to our continued military presence in Iraq and that we were perceived as an occupying force. For illustrative purposes, I provided the example of a recent Pew Poll which indicates a greater percentage of people in 10 of 14 foreign countries consider the U.S. in Iraq a danger to world peace than consider Iran or North Korea a danger to world peace.
...In response to the misquotes, the Web site www.theinfozone.net e-mailed a Miami Herald reporter who also covered the event. The following is excerpted from a story posted on the Web site:
"The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Murtha as saying, 'American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran' to a crowd of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.
"In the article, reporter Elizabeth Baier quoted several other of Congressman John Murtha's statements in her article, as well as a quote from others at the event, but did not quote the comments alleged to have been said by Murtha in the first paragraph of her article. Melissa Sanchez of the Miami Herald, replying to an e-mail, says that while Murtha made the comment, 'That was in reference to international polls. It was not so much his own conjecture, but a conclusion drawn from polls in various countries.'
Murtha also seems to say that he was misquoted on Meet the Press, when he suggested redeploying US troops from Iraq to Okinawa. It must be subtle though, because I miss the distinction:
In a recent appearance on "Meet the Press," host Tim Russert asked Murtha to explain where our troops could be stationed if they redeployed from Iraq.
Murtha replied: "Kuwait's one that will take us. Qatar, we already have bases in Qatar. (Also in) Bahrain. All those countries are willing to take the United States... We don't have to be right there. We can go to Okinawa. We can redeploy there almost instantly."
Murtha has repeatedly explained that his plan calls for the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq at the earliest practicable date and a quick reaction U.S. force and over-the-horizon presence of U.S. Marines to be deployed to the region if needed.
He further explained, "I have said several times that we could deploy a quick reactionary force from Kuwait, Bahrain or Qatar or could deploy a larger contingency of Marines from Okinawa or the United States, if needed.
"We currently have a Marine division headquartered in Okinawa, thus logistics and existing facilities are already in place. Additionally, during the course of this war, Marines at the battalion level or lower have already been deployed from Okinawa to Iraq," Murtha said.
"But let me be clear, these forces should only be deployed to Iraq if our own national security is at risk or if the security of our allies in the region is threatened. These forces should NOT be used to intervene in the case of growing sectarian violence in Iraq. The Iraqis must settle their own civil war," said Murtha.
Is Murtha reasserting that Okinawa is a good staging area for deployment of troops into Iraq?
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