My colleague John Armor points out that the often clueless Ninth Circuit deserves one cheer for its ruling in support of Arizona’s honest voter law. John may be too generous to note that this is one cheer more than Congress deserves for its “work,” some of which is, unfortunately, on display this afternoon.
Case in point: the Pat Tillman hearing. Tillman left behind a lucrative NFL career to volunteer to fight in Afghanistan. There he was killed in combat. His death was initially reported to have come about in a firefight with the enemy. It turned out that this report was false; he was killed, as sometimes happens in the fog of war, by friendly fire.
Today’s hearing adds next to nothing new to what we already know. Why, then, is it being held? I believe for two reasons. First, it’s designed to muddle Tillman’s heroism, and inferentially the heroism of others like him who wear the uniform. The most important fact about Tillman is not that his fate was erroneously, or even dishonestly, reported. The most important fact is that he saw what the blowhards shamelessly using his death ignore, namely, that we have a lethal enemy that must be confronted where it lives and taken down.
The second reason behind the Tillman hearing is to tarnish military action generally. We have seen this before from the Cindy Sheehan/Michael Moore crowd and their congressional apostles. These people are the rightful heirs of Jane Fonda et al., for whom America is too tarnished to deserve a robust defense, and consequently for whom there were no brave or decent or generous American soldiers. There were only “baby killers.” Since 9/11, when the value of having an army became too obvious to deny, it has become impolitic for this group to use direct insults against the military. Accordingly, a different strategy (but identical thinking) has been brought to bear. In the service of that strategy, we heard 24/7 coverage of Abu Ghraib for weeks on end, while the hundreds if not thousands of episodes of bravery and friendship and benevolence by American soldiers toward the Iraqi people were dropped on the editing room floor.
So this is what it has come to: Congress uses Pat Tillman’s death in the service of securing the very defeat Tillman correctly saw would be a disaster. The irony of such behavior is outstripped only by its venality.
But there’s a catch. The American people are on to it. The widely heralded new Congress (heralded by the MSM, anyway) isn’t doing so well. In the three most recent polls by Fox News, the Los Angeles Times and Gallup/USA Today, Congress finishes behind the President in job approval (see the non-partisan pollingreport.com). Perhaps venality can be seen behind its disguises after all.