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Outrage is a mild word to describe the reaction to the naming by two well-known Marine Corps veterans who served in Vietnam, like Murtha.


Marine Vets Denounce Naming Ship for John Murtha

Outrage is a mild word to describe the reaction to the naming by two well-known Marine Corps veterans who served in Vietnam, like Murtha.

No sooner had Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced plans to name the latest San Antonio Class LPD battleship in honor of the late Rep. John P. Murtha (D. Pa.) than the firefight began.  The most vocal opposition to  naming a transport ship in honor of the first Vietnam veteran  elected to Congress came from some of Murtha’s own fellow U.S. Marines.

“Outrage” is a mild word to describe the reaction to the possible naming by least two well-known, distinguished Marine Corps veterans who, like Murtha, served in Vietnam.

“You are kidding!”  retired Marine Col. Jack Brennan fired back to me by e-mail after I sent him news of the naming of the ship for Murtha, “I am  aghast, shocked, and chagrined by this disgrace.”

Brennan, onetime U.S. Marine Corps aide to President Richard Nixon who was portrayed by Kevin Bacon in the film Nixon-Frost, charged that the honoring of the late congressman “is clearly a payoff for Pelosi.”  Murtha and the House speaker worked closely together in the House and, in his final years, the Pennsylvanian was frequently in the news for joining Pelosi in criticizing the U.S. action in Iraq.

“Naming a U.S. Navy ship for recently deceased Rep. John Murtha is a disgusting act because Murtha himself was a disgrace,” Orson Swindle, Vietnam POW and decorated Marine Corps veteran, told me last week week after Mabus made his announcement.

Agreeing that Murtha, as a powerful House Appropriations subcommittee chairman, did funnel major federal dollars to the Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy, Swindle pointed out that the Pennsylvanian also “funneled millions in pork-barrel projects to serve his political interest and his friends.  Our military service chiefs are constantly challenged to acquire sufficient funding to keep our national security arsenal capable of meeting all challenges as they compete with the insatiable demands of entitlement programs and pork-barrel projects of politicians.

A former assistant secretary of Commerce and member of the Federal Trade Commission, Swindle also cited Murtha’s opposition to the U.S. effort in Iraq and the Pennsylvanian’s involvement in the 1980 ABSCAM probe of corruption in Congress. (Unlike other lawmakers caught on film accepting bribes from FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks, Murtha declines money, but says matter-of-factly of two colleagues who were also targets: “Those guys expect to be taken care of.”).

“Murtha the politician was unethical, corrupt and arrogant with our money,” said Swindle, “He used it as if it were his own.  He has no obvious sense of shame.  It is a disgrace to name a U.S. Navy ship for him.”
Mabus’s announcement comes weeks before voters in Murtha’s former 18th District (Western Pennsylvania) select his successor.  Recent polls have shown Republican Tim Burns maintaining a slight lead over Democrat Mark Critz, longtime top aide to Murtha.
Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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