Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Murtha is dead

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - U.S. Rep. John Murtha, an influential critic of the Iraq War whose congressional career was shadowed by questions about his ethics, died Monday. He was 77.

The Pennsylvania Democrat had been suffering complications from gallbladder surgery. He died at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., spokesman Matthew Mazonkey said.

To everyone other than his close family and friends Jack Murtha will be remembered for three things. One, his career in the United States Marine Corps (pronounced core, like an apple core, in case the president is reading this). Two, his time in the House of Representatives. Three his opposition to the war in Iraq with particular emphasis upon his statements about a group of Marines who were accused of a war crime at a place called Haditha.

Murtha pre-judged these men pronouncing them guilty of war crimes both on the floor of the House and in interviews with the press. Murtha implied that his information on the men's guilt came from highly placed contacts within the Pentagon but it turned out that his only source was an article in Time magazine.

As things stand now all but one of the Haditha Marines have been cleared of all charges.

Since I was never a Marine I will leave it to Fits, who blogs at Shooting the Messenger to comment upon Mr. Murtha as an ex Marine:

John Murtha was 77. One of the very few "ex" Marines. He gave up all rights to that honor when he sold his.

To the man he used to be: Rest in peace.
As for Murtha's general opposition to the war I will note that it seemed very conveniently timed to help his career. Murtha's comments on the Haditha Marines must always be remembered in the context that his accusations were false and that till his dying day he refused to apologize for them.

As for Murtha's House career in general I will note that he will be remembered as the Master of Earmarks and the King of Pork. In other words he was just the kind of politician that gives politics a bad name.

On balance Murtha will have to be remembered as a man who did more harm than good in the world and a man who did that harm by choice rather than by accident.