RIP Congressman Murtha, and Good Riddance

The death of an elected official is usually time to bestow praise for the worthy things he or she has done, but in the case or Marine-slandering, pork-pounding, debt-piling Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, I'll make an exception.

Murtha, who died earlier this month following a gall bladder operation, was appropriately known as "Jack," and that's just what he was throughout his 38 years in Congress — a jack.

When he wasn't engaged in corruption or stuffing pork down the taxpayers' throats, he was stabbing our servicemen and women, and the families that constantly worry about them, right in the back.

If you'll recall, it was Murtha who was making love to any television camera he could find in 2006, going on news programs to accuse our troops of intentionally killing two dozen innocent civilians in Haditha, Iraq. Murtha, without so much as waiting for military investigations into the tragedy, took alQaeda's bait and accused the servicemen of overreacting under duress and killing the civilians "in cold blood." Given the reaction of the American and foreign press, it was as though Vietnam's "My Lai" massacre had been repeated.

Murtha's real target was President George W. Bush and the 2006 mid-term elections, not the Marines. They were collateral damage in his bomb throwing, but damaged nonetheless.

President Bush deserved a lot of criticism for not getting it right on Weapons of Mass Destruction, and for the bungling way he managed the war before the 2007 troop surge, but those Marines did not deserve to be smeared, especially by a U.S. Congressman.

Murtha refused to apologize for his recklessness, even after each of the accused Marines was essentially exonerated in connection with the episode. The tally book to date reads as follows: One Marine was acquitted, six had their cases dismissed, and now only one case is left to go to trial.

Murtha's status as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 1980 bribery investigation, and his legendary earmark gluttony and contributions to mounting government debt were bad enough, but to stab servicemen and women in the back when they are risking their lives to defend us? Unforgivable.

For whatever reason — probably the military service that gave him political cover — Murtha was eulogized in the press as a patriot. To me, he was simply the worst Congressman ever.

Lord help us if anyone stands ready to fill his shoes.

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