John Murtha will be remembered as on of the earliest (and certainly loudest) of the political voices calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Although initially in support of the Iraq war, his views had changed by 2005.
Many of us remember him saying, "The US cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home."
Nor will we forget the ensuing debate as Congresswoman Jean Schmidt of Ohio chided Murtha: "He (Danny Bubp) also asked me to give Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."
Whatever your position on the war, we can admire Mr. Murtha for his principled stance on it.
But flashback to the 1980's and Abscam, where he was named as a co-conspirator, and yet not indicted. He also faced serious corruption charges in front of the House Ethics Committee, and his "acquittal" there broke down mostly among party lines.
Perhaps that vote and that scandal haunted him after the 2006 elections, where he ran (with Nancy Pelosi's support) for the critical position of overseeing the Pentagon's funding...and lost handily to Steny Hoyer.
And this same man served as a Marine in Korea and Vietnam, earning a
Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. A true picture of complexity.