Thursday, September 20, 2007

Utter waste

Hard to believe that Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester would put out a joint news release bragging that they voted for this piece-of-crap resolution. But they did.

The meat of the resolution is this: "It is the sense of the Senate ... to strongly condemn all attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, by any person or organization."

Baucus' canned statement: “Montana men and women who fight for freedom and democracy across the globe shouldn’t have to fight for their dignity once they return.”

Tester's canned statement: “Personal attacks on America’s heroes for political gain have no place in the discussion and debate on the serious issues that face this nation.”

I understand that these two characters were trying to provide themselves some political cover from a resolution that condemned solely the MoveOn.org ad against Gen. Petraeus. But the gambit failed. The Boxer resolution failed, and both wound up voting to condemn the MoveOn.org ad anyway.

But the resolution has to stand on its own merits. And its merits are nill.

In the first place, condemning speech is not one of the duties of Congress. It's incredible that many of the senators who earlier condemned Democrats' "meaningless" resolutions against the Iraq War voted for this. If it's meaningless to pass resolutions on a war, an issue that goes to the heart of Congress' duties, then a resolution condemning political speech -- an issue over which Congress expressly has absolutely no constitutional authority -- must be beyond all known meaninglessness. It's a Britney Spears tune sung by Lindsay Lohan.

In the second place, military service by no stretch insulates anybody from personal attack. If it did, the Dave Rye dust-up over at City Lights could never have happened. Both Rye and his critics would have been rendered speechless.

And the higher up the military hierarchy one goes, the less insulation there is. Generals are, and ought to be, among the most vulnerable figures in the public eye. Those whose honor and integrity are on the line when the nation is most gravely at risk must never be exempt from personal attack. They are not gods; they are soldiers, and their performance is an open book.

Fortunately, so is the senators'. And on this day, their performance was dismal.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

THIS IS SPARTA!.........maybe they can add an amendment condemning those who say bad things bout Blackwater too! Just a thought.

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

Anonymous said...

While the MoveOn ad was over the top, was anybody really surprised that Pertreus gave a glowing report about how the so-called surge (which was, after all, his idea as the commander on the ground in Bagdhad) was working? Methinks the guys on the ground doing the actual work would have a quite different report than a general wearing 10 pounds of medals and staying in one of Saddam's old bunkers.

And can we really be surprised that Blackwater's mercenaries (who are paid $1000 a day -- which is more than our soldiers get in a month; so much for supporting the troops) are killing Iraqi civilians with impunity (since Dubya -- or at least Rummy and the neos -- gave them immunity from Iraq's laws)? As George Ochenski writes in this week's Missoula Independent: "...if we can't wage war without mercenaries, shouldn't we simply be waging fewer wars?"

Kirk Dooley, Mesa, AZ

Todd said...

I think under the circumstances, Baucus and Tester cast the right vote. The resolution was a brilliant trap by Sen. Corwyn and the Republicans to force senators to either condemn moveon.org's ad (free speech be damned) or be subject to Republican political ads proclaiming "nay" voters as far-left, Anti-American moonbats.

The GOP badly needs some seats back, and they were hoping some Democratic senators would take the bait and stand up for freedom of speech.

Perhaps in states where the electorate is sophisticated enough to see through Corwyn's ploy, a "nay" vote is a good one. Here in Montucky, however, the political ads would be running 24/7 next year and in '12.

Good for Max and Jon for not taking the bait. Voting against a silly, stupid, wedge-issue resolution like that would've been politically stupid.