I can say with absolute honesty that I would have preferred John Murtha left office standing up, after losing an election this fall.

Sadly, it’s not to be.  John Murtha passed away today after complication from gall-bladder surgery.

For all the policy stances I disagreed with, and the way he dealt with opposition (not well), one still must respect his story:

Born June 17, 1932, John Patrick Murtha delivered newspapers and worked at a gas station before graduating from Ramsay High School in Mount Pleasant.

Military service was in Murtha’s blood. He said his great-grandfather served in the Civil War, his father and three uncles in World War II, and his brothers in the Marine Corps.

He left Washington and Jefferson College in 1952 to join the Marines, where he rose through the ranks to become a drill instructor at Parris Island, S.C., and later served in the 2nd Marine Division.

Murtha moved back to Johnstown and remained with the Marine Reserves until he volunteered to go to Vietnam. He served as an intelligence officer there from 1966 to 1967 and received a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

He spent much of his political career as a “blue-ish dog” Democrat.  Indeed, he only became the toast of the left after coming out against the Iraq War.  In this, he was both wrong…:

Murtha’s criticism of the Iraq war intensified in 2006, when he accused Marines of murdering Iraqi civilians “in cold blood” at Haditha, Iraq, after one Marine died and two were wounded by a roadside bomb.

Critics said Murtha unfairly held the Marines responsible before an investigation was concluded and fueled enemy retaliation.

…and presciently correct…:

“This is the kind of war you have to win the hearts and minds of the people,” Murtha said. “And we’re set back every time something like this happens.”

Which, eventually, we learned.

I’m not one to let a political disagreement obscure the record of a great American.

RIP, John Murtha.

15 thoughts on “Murtha

  1. Pingback: UPDATED – Rep. John Murtha – RIP | Political Byline

  2. Ben,

    Two things: you don’t know the condition of John Murtha’s soul and his family is grieving. They deserve prayer, not scorn. And Mitch is correct, Murtha served his country with great bravery in Vietnam. He deserves our gratitude for that.

  3. I will never celebrate someone’s death, nor do I wish to denigrate a combat veteran.

    But Jack Murtha’s knife in the back of the Corps he once served in canceled out the service that he gave. Some of the Marines in Al Anbar in 2006 would have given their right, er, leg, for 5 minutes in a room alone with the man they called Traitor Jack.

    May God have mercy on his soul, because the Marines in heaven sure as hell wont.

  4. Mr.D pardon my french but I don’t give a damn, screw him. If the left can celebrate the death of Reagen, Tony Snow and others I can at least be indifferent to Murtha.

  5. It shocked me that Rep Murtha died from complications associated with gall bladder surgery. My daughter just had laparoscopic gall bladder surgery 2 weeks ago. We understood that as with all surgeries there is a possibility that something could go SNAFU. In fact I had read that one of the potential problems could be nicking another organ. In my daughters case all went pretty well and she’s healing nicely. Sadly Rep Murtha didn’t fare as well.

    My condolences to the family of Rep Murtha.

  6. Traitor Jack? There were a lot of things for which the man could be legitimately criticized, including speaking out with an accusation before an investigation was completed.

    However that US Military investigation did find evidence that supported the accusations of marines shooting unarmed civilian men, women and children. There were a number of marines charged, although all but one of those charges was subsequently dropped, and that individual is still in the limbo of waiting for trial on charges of negligent homicide, another marine is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and aggravated assault. Others were reprimanded for not reporting the incident properly and for not investigating the killings. It’s not like ‘nothing happened’ or that Murtha made the whole thing up or got it all wrong.

    Murtha was criticized for his relentless earmarks for pork to his disctrict, and allegedly for some crooked dealings that benefitted his family and /or close associates. In his salad days this guy appears to have been pretty honest. In his later days, maybe not so much?

    I wouldn’t approve of anyone celebrating the death (the life, but not the death) of Reagan or Snow either. Every individual is a mix of good and bad, including obviously Rep. Murtha. Personally, it doesn’t seem reasonable to ignore that good just because it was not undiluted.

    Your feelings are your feelings Ben, and are respected.

    The above are mine.

  7. Actually, DG, you really didn’t express your feelings; you commented on the status of military investigations and other peoples’ criticism of Murtha, not yours. Seemed more like a joook and juck and a dodge and dive… but in the end you fumbled.

  8. Disapproval of anyone celebrating the death of another person is expressing feelings KR. In case you missed it, I also expressed that there were other areas of his life that were far more dubious, but I support what Murtha said about the Haditha incident.

    Which coincidentally, is pretty much the exact same thing that was said by our own congressman Kline, another man who served in the marines before going into government and politics. So, I find it objectionable that Murtha would be characterized as ‘Traitor Jack’ but not Kline………which seems to me to be more than a bit hypocritical. Or maybe that term was used interchangably?

    As to Murtha having opposed the Iraq war after a certain point…well, he seems to have been on to something there, given the way things are going in the Iraq Inquiry over in the UK. Seems that ‘W’ and Tony Blair may have been cooking up the pretext and plans to go to war with Iraq a full year or more in advance, well ahead of 9/11 it seems, regardless of any real concerns about WMDs, etc. All those pesky secret documents coming to light.

    “W” is going to linger long in history as the worst president, by a huge margin, in the history of this country if this gets further documented by the Brits.

  9. I remember when dissent was patriotic.

    Thanks, DG, I was hoping that with a little prodding you would finally try to substantiate your “feelings”. You’ve still got a long way to go, baby.

    BTW, Clinton may have been cooking up the pretext and plans to go to war with Iraq before Boooosh even took office.

    Your demented view of history is laughable. Are you wearing your Che shirt today?

    “linger long”


    How’s that HOPE and CHANGE treatin ya?

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