U.S. Rep. John Murtha, an outspoken Democratic critic of the Iraq
war, said in remarks to be aired on Sunday that voter pressure in the
November congressional election could force President George W. Bush to
pull U.S. forces from Iraq.

“I think the vast majority will be
out by the end of the year and I’m hopeful it will be sooner than
that,” Murtha, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran who retired as a
colonel after 37 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, told the CBS “60
Minutes” show.

The Pennsylvania Democrat said mounting pressure
from voters tired of the war could affect this year’s midterm election
and force Bush to devise a plan to pull U.S. troops from Iraq.

going to see a plan for withdrawal,” said Murtha, the top Democrat on
the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense

“I think the political people who give (Bush) advice
will say to him, ‘You don’t want a Democratic (controlled) Congress.
You want to keep a Republican majority, and the only way you’re going
to keep it is by reducing substantially the troops in Iraq.”‘

All 435 seats of the House are up for election in November.

than 2,000 Americans have been killed in the nearly 3-year-old Iraq
war, including 13 servicemen from Murtha’s congressional district.

Murtha in November called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq — now numbering about 145,000.

White House initially reacted by attacking Murtha for endorsing
positions of the “extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party,” but
changed tack in the ensuing debate and Vice President Dick Cheney
denied that administration was trying to stifle dissent on the war.

Some Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, backed Murtha’s pullout call.

my job, my responsibility to speak out when I disagree with the policy
of the president of the United States,” Murtha said.

“All of us
want this president to succeed … I feel a mission here, with my
experience, that I have to help the president find a way out of this