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.