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Journalistic Bomb

Hours later, the BBC carried the denial:

"The White House has dismissed claims George Bush was talked out of bombing Arab television station al-Jazeera by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"The allegations were made by an unnamed source in the Daily Mirror newspaper.

"A White House official said: 'We are not going to dignify something so outlandish with a response.'"

Says al-Jazeera : "Aljazeera has said in a news statement that it is investigating the report and urged the US and British governments to challenge it."

Moving right along . . . Slate's Fred Kaplan says the media are missing the nuances on Murtha:

"Everyone in Washington seems to agree that Rep. John Murtha's proposal for getting out of Iraq is a bad idea. But everyone is wrong in describing just what it is that he proposes.

"Take a close look at Murtha's now-infamous statement of Nov. 17. You will not find the words 'withdrawal,' 'pullout,' or their myriad synonyms. Instead, he calls for a 'redeployment' of U.S. troops -- which may seem like a euphemism for withdrawal but in fact is very different. Toward the end of his statement, Murtha lays out the elements of what he calls his 'plan':

"To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces. To create a quick reaction force in the region. To create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines. To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

"He doesn't elaborate on any of these ideas, but it's clear they don't add up to 'cut and run.' True, his final line reads, 'It is time to bring them home,' but his plan suggests he wants to bring, at most, only some of them home. The others are to be 'redeployed' in the quick-reaction forces hovering just offshore."

At the same time, you can't fight a war from offshore.

Ed Morrissey at Captains Quarters cites a report challenging Murtha's past:

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