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Blackburn to Rumsfeld: Oppose Calls for Immediate Withdrawal, Focus on Troop Morale

Location: Washington, DC

December 8, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (TN-7th District) met with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld today and asked that he continue to oppose calls for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. In addition, Blackburn requested that the Administration focus on troop morale.

"We're not only at war in Iraq, we're battling here at home to be sure the purpose of this effort is clear," Blackburn said. "I want the Secretary to focus attention on the morale of our troops and their families, given the constant stream of attacks on our Iraq efforts. The troops shouldn't have to doubt America's commitment to victory. The families here at home are bearing a terrible burden with the negative coverage."

"When you've got the top Democrat in the House and the Democratic National Committee Chairman calling for immediate withdrawal and comparing this war to Vietnam, it's obvious that Americans would have doubts about this effort. The assertion that there's no progress, and comparisons to Vietnam are based less on fact than political maneuvering."

"It's one thing to question policy, it's another to demoralize our troops and ignore the progress. Sure we've had setbacks, but we've also had a clear plan for succeeding in Iraq and that plan continues with each election and each new Iraqi battalion. It was good to share with the Secretary my support for this aggressive war on terrorism."

Blackburn represents Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne Division. Last week Blackburn spent time welcoming home two Tennessee Army National Guard units that have served in Iraq and around the world.

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