John Murtha Dead at 77
Jack Murtha, the controversial Congressman and retired Marine colonel, has died.
Representative John P. Murtha, the longtime Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, has died at age 77.His aides released a statement saying that he died shortly after 1 p.m. today at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Mr. Murtha had been placed in intensive care last week after complications from gallbladder surgery, his staff said then.
Mr. Murtha, who had an extremely close relationship with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on defense.
A former Marine, Mr. Murtha, his office noted, was the first Vietnam War combat Veteran elected to Congress. Throughout his years, Mr. Murtha paid particular attention to defense spending and to the Pentagon and the military.
When he called for bringing the troops home from Iraq in 2005, after having voted for the war, his proposal stunned many in Congress and added a powerful voice to the growing forces demanding immediate drawdowns and or deadlines.
Just this past Saturday, Mr. Murtha became Pennsylvania’s longest serving Member of Congress.
A sad loss.
While I didn’t always agree with Murtha’s tactics and frequently disagreed with his politics, he was a lifelong public servant and most of the vitriol directed at him from the Right was unjustified. His anti-Iraq War stance and his scathing criticism of the Haditha incident were borne out of concern for the troops and his beloved Marine Corps, not a lack of patriotism.