One of Congress's most outspoken critics of the war as well as last year's surge in troops, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Penn.), told a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, news station on Thursday that he believes things have gotten better in Iraq.
Yet, apart from CNN, his statements appear to have gone largely unnoticed.
This of course is in stark contrast to the media frenzy that occurred in November 2005 when Murtha called for an immediate withdrawal of troops.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After saying at one point there was no way the troop surge in Iraq would work, John Murtha is giving a nod to the operation.
TODD (voice-over): From one of the most brutal critics of the president's conduct in Iraq, a more upbeat take on how the war is going. Interviewed by Pittsburgh TV station KDKA, Democratic congressman and Vietnam veteran John Murtha is asked, did the surge in Iraq work?
REP. JOHN MURTHA, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: I think the short term it certainly reduced incidents. I'm not sure whether it's because of the Iraqis are just worn out, but certainly the way they're doing it today makes a big difference.
TODD: Murtha said that before, and he's still not backing off his overall position on Iraq, a stand he took two and a half years ago in a dramatic rebuke of the administration.
MURTHA: U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It's time to bring the troops home.
TODD: An aide tells CNN Murtha still believes all U.S. forces should be withdrawn and he favors leaving a small strike force somewhere in the region. Murtha says more resources need to be committed to Afghanistan. But his aides says he won't go to the point of favoring a surge there.
Interesting, dontcha think? We should pull troops out of Iraq because we need more resources in Afghanistan. Yet, Murtha won't commit to putting more troops in Afghanistan? Todd continued:
TODD: Does Murtha's take on the Iraq surge mean Democrats are splintering over the war?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There's some disagreement among Democrats about whether the surge is working, whether it's making any difference, whether the political situation is improving or not. There's a little debate about that. But in terms of getting out of Iraq, there really is no disagreement. Democrats want out.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
TODD: Bill Schneider believes one way the Republicans can score points off Murtha's comments on the surge is to point out that what many Democrats said when the surge began, that it wouldn't work. At that time John Murtha said the same thing, saying a surge in troops was unacceptable. Suzanne?
Interesting report from CNN. Makes you wonder why Google News and LexisNexis searches identified no other major media reported Murtha's statements.
(Readers are advised that many outlets don't produce transcripts over the weekend. As such, reports on this matter could have been filed that are not currently in the LexisNexis database.)