June 3, 2007 — -- Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., says homegrown terrorist plots like the alleged plan to bomb fuel pipelines at John F. Kennedy International Airport are provoked by the U.S. presence in Iraq.
"Absolutely," Murtha told George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on ABC News' "This Week." "Our presence in Iraq, our occupation of Iraq gives these people the inspiration."
The congressman said the "Korean model" mentioned by White House officials this week for a long-term American presence in Iraq is "absolutely not realistic."
Instead, Murtha is "absolutely convinced the first step to stability in Iraq is redeployment."
Murtha, chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, also called plans by the Army's top officials in Iraq for 2008 troop reductions, as reported by ABC News this week, "not satisfactory."
Army Gen. David Petraeus reportedly proposes a drop in troop levels from 150,000 to 130,000 by December 2008, with additional reductions in 2009. Lt Gen. Raymond Odierno proposes having an estimated 100,000 troops remaining in Iraq by the end of 2008.
"I've lost a lot of confidence in many of the military leaders, because they say what the White House wants them to say," Murtha said.
When asked if Petraeus was included in his lack of confidence, Murtha added, "I'm waiting to see what he has to say. But I am absolutely convinced there has been this overly optimistic picture of what's going on in Iraq, while the figures show the opposite."
"We've got to do is what's best for the American foreign policy, not what's best for Iraq," said Murtha, who said he is absolutely convinced that the U.S. troop surge in Iraq is not working.
"We're inspiring these al Qaeda to go after our troops, who are so vulnerable because they're caught in this civil war between al Qaeda, between the Sunni and the Shia," Murtha said.