John Murtha Dead at 77

Powerful Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania was early opponent of Iraq War
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 8, 2010 2:02 PM CST
In this photo provided by CBS News, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., appears on CBS's "Face the Nation" in Washington, Sunday, April 29, 2007.   (AP Photo/CBS Face the Nation, Karin Cooper)

(Newser) – Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a retired Marine Corps officer who became an outspoken critic of the Iraq war, has died after suffering complications from gallbladder surgery. The powerful Democrat, a close ally of speaker Nancy Pelosi, was 77. In 1974, Murtha became the first combat veteran of the Vietnam War elected to Congress. He wielded considerable clout for 2 decades as a leader of the House subcommittee that oversees Pentagon spending.

In 2005, frustration over the Iraq war led him to call for an immediate pullout of US troops. Murtha's congressional career was clouded by questions about his ethics—from the Abscam corruption probe in 1980 to more recent investigations into earmarks and election fundraising.

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