Friday, November 18, 2005

# Posted 9:29 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

"We have nothing but respect for Congressman Murtha's service to his country," White House communications director Nicolle Wallace told NBC's "Today" show Friday. "And I think he spoke from the heart yesterday. We happen to have a real serious policy disagreement with him."
Absolutely correct. But it is also important to point out, as Joe Malchow does (with perhaps a little more vitriol than necessary), that Murtha has been speaking out against the war for some time now.

He called for a strict timetable for withdrawal this past June and called the war "unwinnable" in May of 2004. Thus, the flurry of media coverage surrounding yesterday's speech -- including the lead story on NBC Nightly News -- is somewhat inappropriate. Murtha's record as a hawk is real, but it is in the past.
And it is past I am quite familiar with as a result of my doctoral dissertation. In the 1980s, Murtha was one of very few Democrats who consistently supported Ronald Reagan's controversial policies toward El Salvador and Nicaragua. At the time, there was no better test of a congressman's hawkishness. But now it is seems like ancient history.

UPDATE: Jason Broander has live-blogged tonight's debate about withdrawal, provoked by Murtha's comments.

UPDATE: Instapundit has multiple posts making the same point as Joe, i.e. that Murtha has been against the war for some time now. Glenn also links to this post from GatewayPundit, which drives home the fact that if journalists made a little more use of LexisNexis that wouldn't get so many things wrong.
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