All right folks, you've had your "cricket" dance with Murtha's death, now it's time to look back at his career.
I'd like our readers to list their top three most influential DEFENSE-RELATED things Murtha has done or championed in his more than three decades on The Hill.
Here are mine:
1.) Beating the Soviets: Murtha was a Scoop Jackson Democrat who championed the cause of freedom against communist aggressionand supported the Muj in Afghanistan against the Soviets. He was also in the tiny minority of Democrats who voted in favor of Ronald Reagan's $100 billion million aid plan to the Contras in Nicaragua, so I give him huge credit for being consistent in his support of defeating the Soviets.
2.) Pushing the V-22 forward: Murtha -- for legitimate programmatic reasons or for pure hometown pork -- was a strong supporter of the V-22 Osprey program when the program was in its darkest days. The V-22 is a huge leap in technology for rotorcraft and will prove itself over the long run to be the way of the future for air assault and helicopter support operations. Murtha, whether he meant to be or not, was a visionary on this count.
3.) Changing the Army's Camouflage Uniform: In one of his last, and perhaps most classically executed, moves Murtha bullied the Army into taken a very public relook at their disastrous Universal Camouflage Pattern. He slipped a line into the 2009 DoD Approps bill that forced the Army to evaluate their UCP pattern in Afghanistan, which had the effect of forcing the army to reconsider whether it should change their overall camo plans. This could be Murtha's most enduring mark on the services.
Now look, my beloved readers, please let's not use this as an opportunity to debate my selections. Let's use this instead as a chance to help teach eachother more about what indelible marks Murtha has made on our defense establishment. I want to hear what you have to say.