The late Rep. John Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, has achieved his highest undeserved honor. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has decided to name the Navy's newest San Antonio Class amphibious transport-dock LPD 26 the USS John P. Murtha. This is a slap in the face to every service member who bridled when Murtha publicly accused Marines in Iraq of intentionally killing women and children in cold blood.The USS San Antonio is pictured above. The USS John P. Murtha has not yet been built (thank goodness) and rumor has it that Nancy Pelosi is behind the changing of Navy tradition since all other San Antonio class LPD ships are named after US cities. The Washington Times' final shot across the bow, is worth reading.
Murtha made his views known after details emerged about a firefight in Haditha in November 2005 in which 24 Iraqis were killed. Murtha accused the Marines of engaging in premeditated murder and agreed with MSNBC's Chris Matthews that this was "exactly" like the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Charges later were brought against eight Marines but have since been dropped against all but one. However, Murtha's theatrical rush to judgment still rankles Americans in uniform, whose views on the congressman range from disappointment to the belief that he gave aid and comfort to the enemy.
It's doubtful that the ship naming will do much to honor Murtha. The brave Marines and sailors who serve aboard this vessel probably will refer to it only as LPD 26 or come up with a colorful nickname like "Porky Pig" or the "Fat Bastard" (the Marine favorite). Perhaps Murtha could still be useful in supplying the ship's slogan: "Cold Blooded Killers."Semper Fi!