Thursday, September 29, 2005

Cowardly Commentary

Mark Hyman rolls out the “hate the troops” rhetoric for another go around, but there’s an increasing sense of desperation behind both Hyman’s rhetoric and the shenanigans in Congress that inspired his most recent commentary.

Hyman lambastes six Democratic members of the House of Representatives for their “repugnant” views (looks like someone got a thesaurus for his birthday!) that show they “don’t support our service men and women.”

What did these Representatives do to sell our troops out? Did they vote to not supply our troops with body armor or up-armored Humvees? Did they vote to institute “stop loss” programs that force soldiers who are entitled to come home to continue risking their lives? Did they vote to not send in enough troops to secure Iraq from insurgents? Did they vote to give contracts for rebuilding Iraq to private companies with whom they had personal ties and who have squandered millions upon millions of dollars? Did they vote to send American servicemen and women into harm’s way based on trumped up evidence?

Nope. Those are all things the Bush administration did, and apparently Hyman has no problem with any of these actions, since he hasn’t devoted a single word to criticizing them.

Instead, Hyman implies these Representatives are traitorous because they voted against
House Resolution 427.

HR 427 is the most recent example of “ideological pork barrel” legislation: you put together a bill that just about everyone would be happy to vote for, but you slip in some self-interested language that forces people to tacitly agree with you, or risk looking like obstructionists.

The resolution was passed just before the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and was nominally an effort to acknowledge the losses of those whose loved ones perished that day. It also is intended as a vote of confidence for the troops in Iraq. So far, so good. But in doing this, the resolution uses language that is designed to (yet again) conflate the events of 9/11 with the ongoing war in Iraq through the amorphous term “Global War on Terrorism.”

Representative Fortney Stark of California, one of the six slandered by Hyman, put it eloquently in his speech on the House floor:

I cannot vote for a resolution supporting a "global war on
terrorism" because there is no such thing. The only war the United States is
engaged in is the misguided Iraq War. To support a resolution simply so
President Bush can continue to carry out actions in the name of this false
global war of terrorism only encourages this Administration to lead this country
into additional unnecessary military actions.
Instead of honoring the
victims of 9/11 and their families, this resolution only encourages the
President to sacrifice more American lives for wars that have nothing to do with
terrorism or the events of that tragic day.
When the House leadership
presents a resolution that truly honors the victims of 9/11, I will vote for it.
Until that happens, I urge my fellow Members of Congress to vote against this
resolution and others that endorse President Bush's misguided foreign policies.

It would have been easy enough to simply put forward a resolution honoring the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families. It would have been just as easy to draft a resolution that voices support for the troops in the field without tainting this support with the disagreements over how and why they got there. But this would have been far too civilized and decent for Rep. Henry Hyde and the other Republicans behind this cynical resolution. Instead of honoring the victims of 9/11 and honoring the troops, Hyde & Co. abuse the respect the nation has for these people by using it for pork barrel politics, using the cowardly tactic of hiding behind those who have fought and fallen rather than arguing openly and cleanly for the policies they support.

And Hyman does exactly the same thing. By using the troops as ideological cannon fodder, Hyman dishonors them and disgraces himself.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.01


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