ByÂ Philip Ewing – NAVY Times
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the Navyâ€™s decision to name an amphibious warship after Rep. John Murtha, but the formal announcement Friday added fuel to an already smoldering backlash online.
Murtha â€” â€œour dear Jack,â€ as Pelosi referred to him â€” deserved the honor as a tireless advocate for troops generally and Marines in particular, she said, and she recalled admiring his rapport with them.
â€œWhether on the battlefield, or on the bedside, he thanked them for their courage, listened to their concerns, and asked them for comment â€” and he answered their needs, and responded to their calls, whether it was for body armor, up-armored vehiclesâ€¦ radios, you name it,â€ Pelosi said. â€œIn those minutes [together], he bonded with them especially because he would share his own personal military service with them, and cared for them as a father. They knew it, and they returned his respect.â€
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who technically is the only person in the government with the power to name U.S. warships, also praised Murthaâ€™s history of service. He unveiled an official illustration showing an amphibious transport dock marked with the hull number â€œ26â€ named John P. Murtha. It will be the first in the San Antonio class not named for an American city.
Despite the encomia from Pelosi and Mabus, thousands of Web users remembered a different Murtha â€” the one who opposed the Iraq war and accused Marines in 2005 of killing Iraqis â€œin cold bloodâ€ â€” when reacting to the announcement about the ship named in his honor. A Facebook group called â€œPeople Against Naming A Navy Ship USS Murthaâ€ had 1,336 members as of Monday morning, and it was becoming a clearinghouse for angry comments and homemade cartoons criticizing Murtha.
Continue reading this article in its entirety: Â http://www.navytimes.com/news/2010/04/navy_murtha_backlash_042710w/
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