MIAMI — American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to an audience of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.
Murtha was the guest speaker at a town hall meeting organized by Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, D-Miami, at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus. Meek's mother, former Rep. Carrie Meek, D-Miami, was also on the panel.
War veterans, local mayors, university students and faculty were in the Mary Ann Wolfe Theatre to listen to the three panelists discuss the war in Iraq for an hour.
A former Marine and a prominent critic of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq, Murtha reiterated his views that the war cannot be won militarily and needs political solutions. He said the more than 100,000 troops in Iraq should be pulled out immediately, and deployed to peripheral countries like Kuwait.
"We do not want permanent bases in Iraq," Murtha told the audience. "We want as many Americans out of there as possible."
Murtha also has publicly said that the shooting of 24 Iraqis in November at Haditha, a city in the Anbar province of western Iraq that has been plagued by insurgents, was wrongfully covered up.
The killings, which sparked an investigation into the deadly encounter and another into whether they were the subject of a cover-up, could undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq more than the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib in 2004, Murtha said.
"(The United States) became the target when Abu Ghraib came along," Murtha said.