John Murtha: R.I.P.
John Murtha, Pennsylvania Congressman and former Marine, has died at age 77. He died of complications from gall bladder surgery.
In 1974, John Murtha became the first Vietnam War combat veteran to be elected to Congress. He was a longtime nemesis of the American Chickenhawk — because of being a veteran, and because he was against the Iraqi war which chickenhawks loved with a passion (as long as somebody else did the dirty work).
In 2002 he voted in favor of authorizing George W. Bush to use military force in Iraq. But in November 2005 he voted to bring all troops home immediately from Iraq, saying "The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion.”
Murtha was a longtime voice for veterans and their needs — another reason the Yellow Ribbon “Support Our Troops” dildos hated him. He actually meant — and lived! — their empty slogans.
Rep. David Obey said: “He understood the misery of war. Every person who serves in the military has lost an advocate and a good friend today.”
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said that in part because of John Murtha: “America is now on track to removing all combat troops from that country by this summer.”
And President Obama called Murtha “a steadfast advocate for the people of Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years with a ‘tough-as-nails’ reputation.”
Murtha wrote an autobiography in 2004, “From Vietnam to 9/11.” One of his quotes from the book: “Ever since I was a young boy, I had two goals in life — I wanted to be a colonel in the Marine Corps and a member of Congress.”
Nobody is pretending John Murtha was a saint. He’s had his share of scandals during his long career in Congress, including Abscam (1980) and more recent accusations of bringing too many earmarks, too much pork, to his district.
For some unfathomable — and totally irrelevant — reason, John Murtha always reminded me of Will Darnell, the auto-repair garage owner from the movie “Christine” (played by Robert Prosky).