Give Harry Hell: Open season on the unpatriotic
By: Daniel Clark
During the phony controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s calling phony soldiers “phony soldiers,” it went almost unnoticed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Limbaugh “unpatriotic.” If the Democrats’ own rhetoric were to be believed, that remark would have been universally met with shock and condemnation. That’s because, since the start of the war, conservatives have accepted the premise that it’s always wrong to question someone’s patriotism, no matter how valid that question may be.
For the past five years, it’s been as if the concept of patriotism didn’t even exist. Democrats have been free to slander our soldiers with impunity, not even having to pay for it with their reputations, because the Jellyphants across the aisle have lacked the fortitude to confront them over it. Even Limbaugh has bought into the “I’m not questioning your patriotism, I’m questioning your judgment” line.
To say that we’re only questioning the Democrats’ judgment means we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt that at least they mean well. Lots of conservatives question Sen. John McCain’s judgment, but would never dream of questioning his patriotism. Senators Reid, Durbin, Kennedy, et al, do not deserve that same deference. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that congressional Democrats don’t share America’s interests, but pretending that they do has become ingrained in the decorum of public debate, in much the same way that a congressman fibs when he addresses a colleague as “my friend, the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts.”
Now, the Democrats have decided that questioning somebody’s patriotism is fair game. So, let’s question away. Was it patriotic of Sen. Dick Durbin to compare our guards at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis? Or of Sen. John Kerry to accuse our soldiers of terrorizing Iraqi women and children in the dead of night? How about Rep. John Murtha’s condemning our Marines as cold-blooded murderers? Or Sen. Ted Kennedy’s likening the invasion of Iraq to Pearl Harbor? Sen. Reid himself tried to short-circuit “the surge” by publicly declaring Iraq to be “lost.” Is that the act of a patriot? Such questions abound.
It’s one thing to disagree with the approach to a particular facet of the War on Terror, but the Democrats object to every action that is taken in our defense. They don’t want us to imprison the enemy. They don’t want us to interrogate the enemy. They don’t want us to spy on the enemy. They say they want to treat terrorism as a domestic law enforcement issue, but they obstruct us from doing even that, as Sen. Reid illustrated when he prematurely boasted that he’d “killed the Patriot Act.”
To call somebody “phony” is pretty mild stuff compared to what these leading Democrats have said. The controversy lies in the fact that the Democrats identify with the object of this criticism. Limbaugh is calling out phony soldier Jessie Macbeth, and others who have slandered our soldiers by accusing them of committing fictitious atrocities. To the Democrats, people like Macbeth and New Republic “Baghdad Diarist” Scott Thomas Beauchamp are just the latest incarnations of Vietnam-era phonies like John Kerry.
It was Kerry who, in 1971, falsely testified that his fellow Vietnam veterans had “personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of [Genghis] Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.” How did he know all this? Because a bunch of impostors had testified to it at the “Winter Soldier Investigation” that had been hosted by his organization, Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
Ironically, Kerry uses his status as a Vietnam veteran to shield himself from his detractors. “I refuse to have my patriotism or right to speak out questioned,” he told the Associated Press in 2004. “I fought for and earned the right to express my views in this country.” He and his party do not apply this selective respect for military service to our troops as a whole, though. Nor did they respect the right of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth to express their views about Sen. Kerry. Presumably, they hadn’t “earned” it.
As Limbaugh likes to say, “Words mean things.” The word “unpatriotic” has a meaning, and it applies to Sen. Reid and his fellow Democrats. There’s no longer any reason to avoid saying so, according to the new rules, as set by Reid himself.
Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance (www.thenma.org). The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
New Media Alliance Television (www.nmatv.com)
Daniel Clark is a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author and editor of a web publication called The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press, where he also publishes a seasonal sports digest as The College Football Czar.