updated 11/21/2005 10:45:08 AM ET 2005-11-21T15:45:08

Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha, a Democrat with a distinguished record of military service, called for immediate withdrawal from Iraq yesterday on Capitol Hill.

Unlike the bleeding heart liberal variety ala Dennis Kucinich, it's hard to criticize a man like Murtha.  He is a Vietnam veteran with an excellent reputation on military matters.  In fact, Vice President Cheney referred to him last year as "one of my strongest allies in Congress."

But, no.  There's always a way to trash someone if you try hard enough.

This time it came in the form of a press release from Scott McClellan saying that Murtha was endorsing the political philosophies of Michael Moore.

Ooh.  Michael Moore.  That is SO last year, Scott.  We need to freshen up that repertoire.

Bloggers are having a field day with this story, and it's even getting play in the Arab world.

Gateway Pundit points out that this is not the first time John Murtha has criticized the effort in Iraq, and this blog provides a pretty comprehensive timeline of instances, whether in interviews or speeches, where Murtha referred to the effort as off track or urged withdrawal.

In other words, this might not be the major turning point the media seems to be spinning it to be.  If he has been critical before, this isn't really news.

But the news story here seems to be the desperation of the comebacks from the administration.  The "I know you are but what am I" style politics.

Blogger Juan Cole points out that McClellan and Cheney never served in the military.  Cole thinks they have no right to attack this decorated war hero.

Neil Boortz, on the other hand, is taking the party line on this one, saying that Murtha has become a hero for the Islamic Jihadists.  That if we do leave now it will be viewed as a surrender, a victory for the terrorists who will take over Iraq and ruin all the good work we have done.

The story is getting play in the Arab world, as well.  For example, Al Jazeera ran an article on it today.  The reporting is fairly even, although they make much of the slipping poll numbers, saying that the President's approval rating is now hovering at 34 percent.

Conservative bloggers are jumping on some comments made by the Iraqi vice president Adel Abdul Mehdi, in the Kuwaiti newspaper Alqabas.  He said that the violence Iraq is seeing today is not as bad as life under the Saddam regime.  He has urged a timetable for training Iraqi troops, but not suggested any withdrawal date for U.S. troops.

On today's show, a look at the Murtha moment.  But we'll also talk to two psychologists about kids and violence.  The story of Kara Beth Borden and David Ludwig is a chilly reminder that teens can go astray.  How can parents spot trouble?  And later, fired CBS Memogate producer Mary Mapes joins us to tell her side of the story.


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