Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Low-Lying Lynndie England Fruit

Here is a good rule of thumb for political matters: when it is too difficult to effectively address a serious problem, do something easy.

A good example of this rule is the response of Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) to the problems that the military is currently having meeting its recruiting goals. The Army recently took a day off of recruiting to address ethical problems such as instructing recruits about how to fake diplomas and beat drug tests. The problem must be serious since, as I know from first hand experience, recruiters have been lying and urging recruits to lie for years.

To actually do something about this crisis would be difficult, so Bachus took the easy path of denouncing a Hollywood Liberal, Bill Maher. Maher made some fairly tepid remarks about the Armies difficulties: "More people joined the Michael Jackson fan club, . . . We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies."

To Bachus, to point out the obvious is treason: "In treason, one definition is to undermine the effort or national security of our country." Why are Republicans, who claim to venerate the Constitution so frequently misreading it these days. It says, in article III, section 3 : "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." Why is that so hard to understand? There is nothing there about "undermin[ing] the effort," whatever that means. You pretty much have to go to war against your own country to be a traitor.

If we accept the Bachus standard that any criticism of the war is treason then the gallows will be rather crowded. What he really wants, of course, is to silence the president's and military's critics. In the unlikely event that he is successful, Bachus still won't have solved the military's recruiting problem.

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