John Murtha, RIP

John Murtha has passed away:

Representative John P. Murtha, the longtime Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, has died at age 77. His aides released a statement saying that he died shortly after 1 p.m. today at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Mr. Murtha had been placed in intensive care last week after complications from gallbladder surgery, his staff said then.

Mr. Murtha, who had an extremely close relationship with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on defense. [. . .] When he called for bringing the troops home from Iraq in 2005, after having voted for the war, his proposal stunned many in Congress and added a powerful voice to the growing forces demanding immediate drawdowns and or deadlines.


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    He was a brave voice when it was needed (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:18:01 PM EST
    I know he was not perfect, but I will remember him for speaking up when few would.

    He was keeping Johnstown afloat (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:19:15 PM EST
    single-handedly. RIP.

    RIP. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:23:47 PM EST
    Removing the gallbladder is usually not a life-threatening surgery.

    anytime you go under (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:27:42 PM EST
    its life threatening.  something to remember.

    True, Capt Howdy (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Zorba on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:37:42 PM EST
    Aside from possible adverse reactions to the anesthetic, there are some risks from any surgery.  Cholecystectomies are usually safe, but there can be internal bleeding, infection, or the bile duct can be damaged.

    You are so right... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:40:39 PM EST
    ...about that.  But, it's not only the going under, it's just plain being in the hospital with such lovely things as MRSA exposure that is a danger.

    nicked his intestine (none / 0) (#10)
    by jedimom on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:54:15 PM EST
    from AP at HA:
    I remember seeing a few days ago that he was in the hospital for surgery but assumed he was out of the woods because he was in stable condition. Not so -- for good reason:

        The 77-year-old Democrat underwent scheduled laparoscopic surgery to remove his gallbladder at Bethesda Naval Hospital last Thursday but then, after his release, sought care at the Virginia Hospital Center over the weekend.

        The congressman's spokesman declined to say Tuesday what led him to be hospitalized again. But responding to questions Wednesday, he said that Murtha was in stable condition. Two persons said it appeared Murtha's intestine had been cut inadvertently during the gall bladder removal.

    A perforation of the g-i tract (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 03:16:49 PM EST
    through surgical injury may have resulted in infectious, generalized peritonitis.

    Sadly, (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Zorba on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 05:26:44 PM EST
    This can happen, even with the best of surgeons.  I am sorry for Murtha, and for his loved ones.

    My very healthy twenty (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 05:59:44 PM EST
    year old daughter almost bled to death after an appendectomy from what I suspect was something similar. Then she got an E Coli infection and ended up spending almost a month in the hospital.

    I rediscovered "the power of prayer" that month, I'll tell you.

    RIP Mr Murtha.


    Oh, boy (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 11:35:36 PM EST
    Thanks for posting this.  I've been wondering why a 77-year-old guy, which isn't all that old these days, would die from gall bladder surgery.  "Nicked his intestine" indeed.  Peritonitis moves fast and overwhelms the system rapidly.  By the time they figure out what's going on, it can be impossible to stop.

    What a shame.


    My prayers go out to his family n/t (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by cawaltz on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:44:25 PM EST

    R.I.P. Representative Murtha (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by lentinel on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:46:26 PM EST
    I will always remember when Mr. Murtha called for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2005. He gave voice to the many millions of Americans who wanted an end to the war. In my opinion, this wave was responsible for the democrats taking over the House and Senate in 2006.

    Then, they caved in to Bush. Instead of a withdrawal, we got an escalation.

    This set the pattern which they have continued to this day.

    I am grateful to Murtha for his statement. At the time he made it, it took some personal courage.


    Probably the Closest Thing (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by The Maven on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 03:39:28 PM EST
    we had to a "Cronkite Moment".

    His statement made it possible for other Representatives and candidates to call for an end to the Iraq war without having to be afraid of being called cut-and-run surrender monkeys, which the right wing would continue to do, regardless.

    Sadly, unlike 40+ years ago, this moment was short-lived, but it was important nonetheless.

    Jack Murtha, R.I.P.


    And... (none / 0) (#17)
    by lentinel on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 05:38:01 PM EST
    I will add the fact that during this "Cronkite moment", both Obama and Hillary Clinton endorsed the reelection of Joe Lieberman.
    Obama said Lieberman should be reelected so that he could continue to work on "our behalf"(!)

    That's one reason the moment was short-lived.
    It was killed by the Democrats themselves.


    I (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by sas on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:57:25 PM EST
    just loved John Murtha.  I am so saddened by this news.  He was an old-time Democrat - stood for the common man and woman, stood for America.  RIP

    I (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by sas on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:57:54 PM EST
    just loved John Murtha.  I am so saddened by this news.  He was an old-time Democrat - stood for the common man and woman, stood for America.  RIP

    Rest in peace (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by WS on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 04:44:55 PM EST
    Mr. Murtha.  

    My congressman, Norm Dicks, (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by oldpro on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 08:20:57 PM EST
    will no doubt take his close friend Jack Murtha's committee chairmanship.  I hope he can see through bad war policy with the clarity of Ccngressman Murtha over Iraq and speak out with as much conviction and courage when appropriate.

    I'm not really hopeful, even though Norm trained under Maggie and not Scoop, for Norm became a hawk like Murtha without the independence Murtha displayed when it counted.

    RIP Congressman Murtha.

    Yup, didn't he move in the wrong direction (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 08:45:26 PM EST
    on Iraq, or am I thinking of someone else?

    Either way, there's no avoiding him. There would be a caucus war if anyone tried to violate seniority. My question is: who's going to get the vacant seat in Appropriations and on the committee? I vote Patrick Murphy, a Blue Dog INO.


    Both Norm and Jack Murtha were (none / 0) (#22)
    by oldpro on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 08:56:59 PM EST
    hawks on Iraq in the beginning...sigh...

    In fact, as I recall, Norm was one of the 3 Democrats who met with Bush's White House to form the plan for the congressional bipartisan vote of support for Iraq.  Made me sick then...gives me pause now.

    No opinion how the musical chairs will shuffle, including Norm's Chairmanship of Interior...a vital committee chair he'll give up to shepherd the Pentagon budget.  I know who wants it but I don't know who's in line to get it.  Inslee, maybe?

    Guess I'd better quit guessing and do some research!


    Oh boy, Jim Moran is in line for Interior (none / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 09:03:09 PM EST
    He's much more liberal than the other possibilities, but he is polarizing.

    Oh my...Moran. Just what we need... (none / 0) (#24)
    by oldpro on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 10:02:49 PM EST
    more polarization.

    He joined the Rs in voting to support the impeachment process re Bill Clinton.  Also voted against the Iraq resolution, however, and has held many liberal positions with which I agree.


    nicked his gallbladder.... (none / 0) (#9)
    by jedimom on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 02:53:01 PM EST
    they apparently nicked something in removing his organ....and I am sure he had top notch care

    RIP, thank you for serving the country

    Yes, the risks of surgical treatment (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 07:42:22 PM EST
    have often been underestimated and may occur at leading hospitals and with important people.   Even a patient like President Clinton encountered a rare complication following quadruple bypass heart surgery in 2005, with fluid and scar tissue enveloping the lower portion of his left lung.  Going further back in time, Andy Warhol suffered a fatal complication from gall bladder surgery at age 58  The cause remains a bit of a controversy but apparently cardiac fibrillation occurred in the surgical aftermath.

    And with him dies (none / 0) (#25)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 10:49:49 PM EST
     The National Drug Intelligence Center, a $23 million a year redundancy, dubbed wasteful by the GAO before it was built. which has lasted this long only because it's located in Johnstown.

    Any time there was an effort to terminate it, Murtha would use his Appropriations Subcommittee Chairmanship to threaten programs in the critics' districts.

    I love Ben (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 02:26:44 AM EST
    As long as Ben is around I will always have an updated list of who is mindlessly blowing my money on mostly bull$hit :)

    This is looking like a pretty good time (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 02:27:39 AM EST
    to whip some incumbent butt too Ben.

    Oh Man (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 02:24:37 AM EST
    I have been spending hours and hours tending to household needs and other things that must be done at the moment.  Didn't even turn on the news.  Not a perfect person but if there was ever a patriot it is John Murtha, and perhaps there is no more noble of a cause or a higher calling.  A God calling these days seems to be nothing finer than an excellent opportunity to be a bottom feeder with a job.  And as my father always says as well, "I have no desire to be perfect, look at what they did to the last guy who was :)"  John Murtha will be missed in this house.

    John Murtha (none / 0) (#30)
    by cal1942 on Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 11:39:24 AM EST
    called himself 'a bread and butter Democrat'

    IMO, the premier requirement for a good Democrat.

    sarcasm alert? (none / 0) (#31)
    by diogenes on Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 09:53:38 PM EST
    I assume that he referred to his obtaining porkbarrel spending for his district (airports, etc) when he called himself a "bread and butter democrat", but maybe I am missing something.

    Yes (none / 0) (#33)
    by cal1942 on Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 08:32:20 PM EST
    Thanks.  "bread and butter Democrat" means exactly that.  Insuring the economic well being of the average citizen.  It's the very essence of being a Roosevelt Democrat.