The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times all failed to report on Rep. John P. Murtha's (D-PA) disclosure that military officials plan to request an additional $100 billion for the Iraq war in 2006
In their respective articles on President Bush's December 7 speech on U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times all failed to report that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA), in a press conference that followed the president's address, disclosed that military officials plan to request an additional $100 billion for the Iraq war in 2006. By contrast, the Associated Press article on Bush's speech clearly noted this disclosure.
Murtha, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, held the press conference shortly after Bush's speech concluded. During the question-and-answer portion, he asserted that military officials "are going to ask for another $100 billion next year" to cover the ongoing costs of the conflict in Iraq:
MURTHA: Twenty years it's going to take to settle this thing. The American people is [sic] not going to put up with it; can't afford it. We have spent $277 billion. That's what's been appropriated for this operation. We have $50 billion sitting on the table right now in our supplemental, or bridge fund we call it, in the Appropriations Committee. They're going to ask for another $100 billion next year.
QUESTION: Can we come back to the $100 billion? You said that you expect the military to ask for $100 billion. Where are you getting that figure?
MURTHA: Where I get all my figures: the military.
AP reporter Deb Riechmann's article on the president's speech and the Democratic response noted Murtha's disclosure:
Rep. John Murtha (R., Pa.), a longtime hawk on military matters who now wants U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq, said the military has told him it plans to ask for $100 billion more for the war next year. That is in addition to the $50 billion that Congress is expected to approve for this year before adjourning, and the $200 billion that lawmakers already have given the president for Iraq since 2003. "It's been poor planning from the start," Mr. Murtha said.
Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said "it would be premature" to discuss next year's budget, which the administration has not completed. Military commanders have told the administration the next $50 billion should last through Memorial Day.
The New York Times article on Bush's speech not only ignored Murtha's disclosure but also failed to note any Democratic response to Bush's speech.