Navy Award for Murtha Sparks Marine Furor

40K sign petition against rep who cried murder in Haditha
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2009 5:20 PM CDT
The scene in Haditha, Nov. 19, 2005.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Sailors and Marines are up in arms over a Navy commendation to Rep. John Murtha, who has accused servicemen of murdering Iraqi civilians, the Navy Times reports. Outgoing Navy Secretary Donald Winter awarded Murtha the Distinguished Public Service Award earlier this month for his work on a House subcommittee. The citation applauded Murtha’s “selfless devotion.”

Murtha was sharply critical of the deaths of 20 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, in 2006. “Our troops overreacted,” he said. “They killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” After seven of eight Marines investigated were found innocent or had charges dropped, more than 40,000 people signed a petition against Murtha winning the award. They are “appalled” that the “highest award for a non-employee” would go to him “after his vile and despicable attacks.”