Troops to congressman- 'Don't pull out' of Iraq

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Tim Murphy, one of two members of Congress treated at a military hospital after a weekend accident in Iraq, said Monday that wounded soldiers had told him the United States should remain in Iraq.

"Every soldier I talked to said, 'Don't pull out. Do not make it so those who have been wounded and those who have died have done so in vain. We know we can take care of this cause. We got to finish this,"' said Murphy, R-Pa., at a Capitol Hill news conference.

Murphy appeared at the news conference in hiking boots and sporting a small bandage on a cut above his right eye. He said he is still experiencing soreness in his neck, arms and back.

Murphy, 53, said he was traveling on a back road to the Baghdad airport with Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., on Saturday night when an oncoming vehicle sideswiped the small armored bus in which they were traveling.

Marshall, who was not injured, said that as the bus toppled over, he held onto Skelton, who has no use of his left arm and minimal use of his right arm due to a bout with childhood polio.

A spokesman for Skelton said he was doing well, and medical tests in Germany showed no injuries to the 73-year-old congressman. He was expected home later this week.

The delegation had traveled to Afghanistan for Thanksgiving with the troops before heading to Baghdad.

President Bush telephoned all three members Monday "to express his concern about them and to wish them all a speedy recovery," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said aboard Air Force One en route to Tucson, Ariz., for a presidential speech.

Murphy, a psychologist from Pittsburgh, said he was impressed with the care he and the injured soldiers around him received at hospitals in Baghdad and Germany. He said the trip reaffirmed his resolve that the United States should be in Iraq and not pull out by an "artificial timeline."

In a Baghdad hospital, Murphy said, he saw a small Iraqi orphan boy who who had been shot. Doctors called the boy "Tater Tot."

"I could not help but think if we were to walk out now, we would see a lot more fellows like this young kid and hear a lot more awful stories about kids who were orphaned," Murphy said.

Associated Press Writers Sam Hananel and Nedra Pickler contributed to this story.

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