WASHINGTON (AP) – An influential House Democrat who voted for the Iraq war called Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, another sign of growing unease in Congress about the conflict.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., called for the United States ‘to immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.’

‘With a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentified to take control,’ Murtha said in remarks prepared for delivery.

The decorated Vietnam War veteran is a close adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. For months, Pelosi has pushed for the Bush administration to outline an exit strategy, although she has stopped short of calling for a pullout troops.

Some Senate Democrats have called for immediate or phased withdrawal.

Murtha’s comments came just two days after the Senate voted to approve a statement that 2006 ‘should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty’ to create the conditions for the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Murtha voted to give the president authority to use force against Saddam Hussein in 2002. In recent months, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee defense panel has grown increasingly troubled with the direction of the war and with the Bush administration’s handling of it, particularly following the disclosure of purportedly secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.

‘The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion,’ Murtha said.

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