One Veteran's Voice

19 November 2005

What an embarrassment

I was glued to the TV tonight, watching the debate on Iraq unfold in the House of Representatives.

The most amazing thing to me was the duplicity of the whole affair. The Republicans strongarmed a sham resolution (although a few defectors actually had a conscience) onto the house floor that they knew damn would fail just so they could say, "See, we told you so." Rather than let real debate on Rep. Murtha's proposal take place, and perhaps a compromise by-partisan resolution emerge from that debate, they undercut the essence of the legislative process. Unfortunately for them, it all began to backfire when Congresswoman Schmidt, very gawdily dressed as an American flag, accused a decorated Vietnam Veteran of being a coward. She was quickly booed down and forced to retract her remarks. Amazingly, Schmidt won her last election (very narrowly) over an Iraq veteran. How much do you want to bet that he wins his senate race, and she loses her next one? I wouldn't fault Hackett for abandoning the whole idea after seeing the disgraceful displays in the House today. Vietnam Veterans on both sides got up and related everything that is going on now to what happened to them in Vietnam. Not to reference the Big Lebowski too many times in one week, but it's almost too perfect...

"I don't see the connection with Vietnam, Walter."
"Well...There's not a literal connection."
"No Walter, there's not any connection."

The war at home during Vietnam-- protestors spitting on soldiers, calling them baby killers, soldiers shooting protestors-- I can not even imagine what kind of galvanizing effects these things must have had to the people who lived through them. The problem is that I don't see how either side propping up veterans of the Vietnam war to support or decry a foreign policy decision on Iraq is really very relevant. I don't see how forcing a sham vote on a fake resolution is productive. All through the debate one Republican after another self-righteously decried the fact that the debate was even happening, and proclaimed that the call to withdraw was destroying the morale of the troops. All of them failed to mention that the resolution being debated and decried was introduced by their party leaders. Nor was the fact mentioned that the resolution being debated was never intended to pass-- it was intended to create the kind of partisan strife that they then called traitorous. Who are the real traitors?

The sad thing is that I could see the dread in many of the republican speakers' eyes-- the crazed look of a suicide cult member or a captain who has bound himself to go down with the ship. So be it, the die is now cast. Any real chance for a meaningful debate by the current congress on the issue of Iraq has been lost. The next thing to look forward to is to elect some new people in 2006 and 2008. And the worst part of it, the part that left me the most disillusioned, was that the democrats were afraid to stand behind Mr. Murtha. They cheered for him, and applauded, and booed Jean Schmidt, but when it came time to vote they voted the way the Republicans knew they would all along. They didn't even counter the political move with one of their own. Bunch of chickenshit bastards. It's almost enough to make me not give a fuck anymore. I really wish that Paul Hackett, and not Jean Schmidt, had been able to make remarks at tonight's debate. Maybe then someone who knows what the fuck they're talking about would say something meaningful, and not a bunch of crochety old guys trying to relate today's problems to the struggles of their youth. The kind of culture war that happened in the late 60's and early 70's was certainly horribly detrimental to the morale of the troops in Vietnam, as well as to the society in general. This isn't Vietnam. Hopefully there will be no need for a culture war-- but I would never back down from a battle if an uber-bitch like Jean Schmidt wanted to bring it.

Damn, I got all worked up. Who knew C-SPAN could be such great television?

6 Other Voices:

badgervan said...

Excellent column. You speak for me, a 57 year old Navy vet who was serving during Viet Nam. Your Big Lebowski quote is spot on. These nam vets who constantly use that fiasco as an excuse for their rants make me sick.
I do believe that we are in a culture war, though. After last night's irresponsible shenanigans, I will be very surprised to see repubs hold onto the House or the Senate after we vote in one year. The repubs shot themselves in the heart last night, and we will never forget the disgrace that we witnessed on cspan. Fascinating, and another nail in their coffin.
Like your blog. Young men and women like yourself give me some hope for our country's future. Good luck to you in your educational and artistic endeavors - I am a graphic artist myself, and wish you the best.
One more year, and we reclaim our government.

11/19/2005 10:33:20 AM  
gus said...

How about that asshole, Barrett, I think it was. I will not retreat, I will not give in or some such bullshit. As if he is part of the military. He looks young enough to be in the military, so why isn't he?

11/19/2005 11:08:26 AM  
Jessie said...

Just had to bookmark your blog... it was a riveting read!

11/20/2005 05:10:03 PM  
Anonymous said...

What the others said, goes me me too.
Noticed this link on http://www.blogniscient.com/ today

from a right-wing blog- The E-mail Weapon: Troops Tackle Bad Media
http://austinbay.net/blog/?p=704

here's a sample:
"I am sick of the media constantly telling us that this is another Vietnam and that we are in a quagmire. They are lying to us. They want the terrorists to win. Austin Bay Blog gives us a way to fight the disinformation they shove down our throats every day. They could not even report on the possible killing of al-Zarqawi without lacing the report with crap about how bad things are there. Like so many reports from the MSM, these reports are peppered with statistics of how many Americans have been killed in Iraq, how many people died this weekend, how we torture terrorists, blah blah blah. They can not even report on the good news without twisting it into bad news. Freedom bad, Dhimmitude good. They are practically rooting for the terrorists. It’s amazing that these asshat reporters still feel that they’re unbiased."

Maybe, since you're experience is first hand, you might be able to offer a more reality based impression. To me it seems that in the run up to the war and for the last two years the MSM has been relative cheer leaders for whatever soundbites the whitehouse has put out. While I.ve been disappointed in general with the TV coverage, I think the press in general has been very supportive of the troops, as have the left of center blogs.

11/20/2005 11:54:00 PM  
Jetting Through Life said...

Nice site here...

Thank YOU for serving for our country.

11/21/2005 05:27:11 AM  
Partisanpoet said...

Good comments. As an anti-Iraq invasion protester since the beginning, I agree with you that this is not the same as the anti-Vietnam war movement in that no one is down on the troops. Many of us are veterans and we know that "supporting the troops" does not mean blindly waving the flag. It means not sacrificing them without a damn good reason. It means making sure they have good equipment and good benefits and medical care afterwards for life as they've earned it.

I hope that this ends soon and that the perptrators who misled our country are held responsible.

11/21/2005 12:30:47 PM  

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