Last week Congress passed a resolution condemning MoveOn.org’s “General Betrayus” ad from the New York Times. This action brings to mind many questions:
Is it appropriate for Congress to condemn a group of American citizens for peacefully exercising their right to free speech, which even during wartime must be protected?
Is it appropriate for Congress to waste time passing resolutions on issues tangential to the war when they should be passing them on the war itself (pay raises for the troops, shorter deployments, redeployment, etc.)? And on other important issues, for that matter?
Did Congress not hear Rush Limbaugh’s 9/26/07 radio broadcast in which he stated that US military personnel who have expressed opinions against the war in Iraq – many of whom based those on their experiences during actual tours of duty over there – were “phony soldiers?” If so, where's the resolution, folks?
Last year John Kerry (D-MA) said kids who don't do well in school might "end up in Iraq." The outrage, particularly from the right, was deafening; so much so that many people had to be reminded Kerry wasn't actually running for anything. No matter how easy they are to use for political gain, Kerry's words were essentially true. Sometimes patriotism drives kids to enlist (and it disgusts me to no end that we let "kids" do such a thing). But quite often, it's the inability to afford college or to find a job, or the need to get "straightened out" that's the motivating factor. My own father (who doesn't know of this blog's existence) ended up in the US Army because he couldn't quit goofing off and get serious about college.
Was Kerry wrong? In many cases, no.
Was MoveOn.org wrong? Possibly – there are different ways to view Gen. Petraeus' report on Iraq, as facts can always be "interpreted" to one's own benefit.
Was Congress wrong to condemn MoveOn.org? I think the answer to that is obvious. And they are remiss in failing to condemn Limbaugh's comments, if that's the way we deal with those who criticize the military these days.
It seems the old adage that the first casualty of every war is indeed the truth. "Sense" must be a close second.