Well, what I saw today just about made me gag:
A life-size likeness of the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha will be unveiled Monday morning at the Veteran’s Park in Johnstown.The part of the article that made me gag the most was thus:
In a press conference at the Frank J. Pasquerilla Conference Center on Tuesday, the congressman’s wife, Joyce Murtha, said a public dedication ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. Retired U.S. Gen. James Jones, former commander of all NATO forces, will give the keynote speech.
“(My husband) had a lot of admiration for Gen. Jones and spoke of him quite often,” Joyce Murtha said. “I’m delighted he’s taking the time to come in and be with us.”
More than $180,000 in private donations have already been raised to bring a statue of Murtha to the Veteran’s Park, with 65 percent of contributions coming from individuals who gave $100 or less. According to Joyce Murtha, fundraising efforts will continue.
“We are still accepting contributions because we need a maintenance fund for the years ahead,” she said.
“We don’t want to see the statue fall into disrepair,” she added.
Wayne Hyde of Manns Choice was selected as sculptor for the statue, which is in place at the park but covered by a canvass. He said he was honored to help with the project.And with that quote, dear readers, I stand here... speechless.
“I hope the statue will stand there to always remind people of a good public servant,” he said.
I invite anyone to peruse the contents of this blog, which for a span of nearly four years served to chronicle the misdeeds and malfeasance that pock-marked the long, ingnominious tenure of Jihad Jack Murtha. The same Jack Murtha who from his early days as a congressman was a shining example of a self-serving, corrupt politician in the tradition of Huey Long. Murtha, remember, was proclaimed an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Abscam scandal in the early 80s. Like a pharaoh with a god complex, he erected countless monuments to himself in PA-12, including a barely utilized, multi-, multi-million dollar airport complete with state of the art equipment that no one knew how to run. Murtha was also known as the "King of Pork" and was no stranger to seedy earmarks to political cronies who, in turn, would keep his campaign war chest well stocked.
If John Murtha's only crimes were reckless malfeasance with taxpayer monies, despite the fact he was unmatched in that dubious category, it would be one thing.
But John Murtha, though an ex-Marine, was a ruthless man who would let nothing stand in the way of his political ambitions, nor would he leave any perceived stepping stone un-stepped on to meet his nefarious ends, no matter whose lives he ruined in the process.
Enter the Haditha Marines.
Though a corpulent man, Mr. Murtha was quick to make a bee line to any microphone he could to condemn what he said was a massacre against innocent civilians in the town of Haditha in Iraq. According to Murtha, the Marines in Haditha just 'lost it' and went on to massacre innocent civilians in 'cold blood', supposedly without a firefight, supposedly without any kind of resistance at all. Without a shred of evidence to back up a single assertion in his story, Jihad Jack Murtha doubled down on his traitorous tirade, going on every news show he could to spread his lies.
Murtha, of course, bet his political future on this story. Up until that point (though history would prove the contrary) Jack Murtha was considered a "hawkish" democrat, and was persona non grata to the leftist power structure of the democrat party. He had to find a way to endear himself to the far left and to then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in particular. He had his sights set as being the House Majority Leader, and betted (correctly) that if he could turn public sentiment against the Iraqi war, the democrats would win Congress in 2006, and Murtha surmised (wrongly) that he would then collect his ultimate 'chit' for getting the ball rolling--his much-coveted leadership seat of the Majority party in the United States Congress.
In the process, Jack Murtha was more than ready to absolutely ruin the lives of innocent Marines whose only crime was to follow the rules of engagement. One of the parents of the wrongfully accused Marines, Darryl Sharratt, writes on this very blog of the hell that his son and his entire family went through in the ordeal.
Time passed. "Jihad Jack" Murtha, in first coming out against the war in 2005, and then doubling down with his false accusations against the Haditha marines in May of 2006, allowed the democrats to come out from under their collective rocks to turn the tide of public opinion against the war in Iraq. The democrats handily took over congress in the November, 2006 elections, and Jack Murtha was ready to call in his 'chits' and assume his 'rightful' place as House Majority Leader.
And that's where Murtha's fortunes changed.
Despite calling in his markers and getting support from the then-newly elected Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Murtha went so far as to ensure that one of his earmarks was specifically targeted toward one of Nancy Pelosi's nephews), the far left wing rank and file of the United States congress threw out Jack Murtha like last week's garbage. Once thought to be the darling of the left after selling out the Haditha Marines, Murtha had outlived his usefulness after the democrat congressional victories of 2006. His bid for the leadership for the Democrats in the U.S. House was summarily ignored, and instead Steny Hoyer was elected to the post, and Murtha was once again relegated to the smoke-filled rooms, making back room deals and continuing his legacy of corruption.
As time went on, of course, all of the Haditha Marines (save for one, to save face) were acquitted/exonerated of all charges with respect to he incident. Turns out there was an IED. Turns out that there was a firefight. Turns out that the Haditha Marines were, in fact, correctly following the rules of engagement.
As the real facts of the Haditha case began coming out, numerous calls for Murtha to apologize for his remarks were coming to the fore. Murtha continued to use the tired excuse that he was unable to comment since the investigation was 'ongoing.' Haditha Marines, one by one (including Darryl Sharratt's son, Justin) were being acquitted of charges, followed by more calls on Murtha to recant his story and to apologize to the Haditha Marines.
Each call to do so fell on deaf ears.
Murtha never apologized.
Murtha's patently false accusations against the Haditha Marines led to incredible pressure to create a show trial, and to deny the assumption of innocence, both in the military courts as well as in the courts of public opinion. The Haditha Marines were treated as base criminals, held in small cells, and were denied the basic creature comforts that were otherwise showered on Guantanamo Bay detainees. These valiant heroes literally went through hell, their shackled backs ridden on by a corrupt politician who was hellbent on a sardonic, sadistic quest to utilize their situation as a twisted, albeit unsuccessful means of catapulting him to a coveted political future.
And Murtha, so full of himself as he was, couldn't bring himself to apologize.
Murtha took his misdeeds with him to his grave. Only he and the Lord will know if he died with a contrite heart. But the Haditha Marines and their families, scarred as they were from their experiences, will never know the satisfaction of an apology.
So forgive me if I don't share in the sentiments of Joyce Murtha and the others who will be dedicating a life size statue to a man who was supposedly a "model public servant."
Murtha already has untold monuments in Johnstown and other parts of PA-12 dedicated to his profligate largesse.
Murtha doesn't need a statue to honor his memory.
On the other hand, a Dorian Gray picture, perhaps.