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Thousands seek to sink Navy plan to name a ship for Democrat John Murtha

April 30, 2010 |  2:44 am

A San Antonio Class US Navy Ship

One thing the elected and appointed folks of Washington are extremely good at is honoring themselves and one another. It's just like Hollywood awards without the beauty and fame and glamor and grace and borrowed dresses and jewelry and red carpet and public interest. Other than that, it's the same.

Rooms, anterooms, passageways, legislation, proclamations, days, you-name-it, if it's big or doesn't move, it will get someone's name on it. Which is, of course, totally meaningless, but it keeps them from doing possibly worse things during their limited work hours.

So naturally Navy Secretary Ray Mabus waited only a few weeks after the death of Democrat pork barrel king Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania to announce that a new San Antonio class ship (see photo above) would be named for the Pennsylvania grump.

Longevity is king where seniority rules. And the 77-year-old Murtha lasted almost 18 terms, which is a long time worthy of keen admiration by the elected likes of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (only 11 terms so far), who called Murtha "our dear Jack."

As the former owner of a car wash in Johnstown, it's only natural that Murtha's name would go on a combat amphibious transport dock as the first not named for a city. Actually, what....

...Obama appointee Mabus likely had in mind was Murtha's several years in the  Marines. Murtha was, in fact, the first House member who served in combat in the Vietnam War, which was unfortunately lost. He received a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

The keel-laying for the Murtha ship is still a year away, and it won't be doing anything worthwhile for three years after that.

But there's a problem. And it's growing. Back in 2005 as part of Murtha's late-breaking opposition to the Iraq war he was for before he was opposed, when a few fellow Marines were accused of killing some Iraqi civilians in Haditha, ex-Marine Murtha announced the soldiers had done it "in cold blood."

Democrat Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, now dead

Never mind that there hadn't been a full investigation yet, let alone trials.

Despite Murtha's preemptive verdict, eventual charges against six Marines were dropped, one was acquitted and another awaits trial on reduced charges. Other than that, Murtha was bang-on.

Immediately after Mabus' announcement, a raging online controversy broke out even on the Navy's own website, where Murtha was accused of betrayal.

The honor was called inappropriate, "a slap in the face," an "absolute disgrace" and akin to naming a U.S. ship for Benedict Arnold.

Within two days, a Facebook page called "People Against Naming a Navy Ship USS Murtha" acquired some 1,300 followers. Friday morning membership had exploded beyond 6,860.

On one online site David Martin wrote:

There are many men and women with greater records of valor and service to the country who deserve the honor of having a warship named in their memory before John Murtha has a warship [named] in his honor. He made sure there was an airport named after himself. What more does there need to be?

Reality, of course, is that since Murtha was of Washingtonand ex-Mississippi governor Mabus is now too and Murtha's Democrat party still controls both houses of Congress, not to mention the White House and Navy Department, these protests are going to disappear beneath the waves faster than the Titanic.

The irony is that in addition to its 360 crew members, the  John P. Murtha will also transport 700 cold-blooded Marines.

Related items:

Murtha district race: Republicans seek to turn Tim Burns into the next Scott Brown

Joe Biden update: He campaigns in old Murtha district, predicts 200,000 new jobs

Newly-converted Democrat Arlen Specter skips Murtha funeral for Calif. money-raising

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: U.S. Navy; Associated Press (Murtha on a good day).

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