Thursday, May 20, 2004

Republicans fighting a bit over prisoner abuse hearings

I got this from Maureen Dowd's column today in the New York Times. Given that the committee hearings are basically being run by McCain, a war hero who knows torture and mistreatment from first-hand experience, and John Warner, who knows how to do Rummy's job having done it back in the ice age, the quotes from these senators indicate (as Ms. Dowd says) what must be a very deep rift.

Concerning House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter's words:

"It is time to refocus on winning the war and not pull our battlefield leadership out of the theater," said the House committee's chairman, Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California.
Translation: Warner and McCain are traitors for bothering such important American heroes such as Rumsfeld, Abizaid, Miller, etc.

Concerning Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island's comments:

"There's a lot of churning going on," said one committee member, Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island. "But meantime, the days are slipping by, the months are slipping by, the tide is turning."
Translation: Warner and McCain are losing the war in Iraq by distracting the troops with this minor concern about treating humans with dignity.

And then some Texans weigh in. Tom Delay and John Cornyn:

In expressing misgivings about the Senate inquiry, Congressman Hunter was backed by the House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas. "We should not allow it to distract us from the war at hand," Mr. DeLay said.

Then unrest was signaled in the Senate as well, by a junior Republican member of the committee, John Cornyn of Texas, among others. Mr. Cornyn echoed Mr. Hunter's complaint. "It begins to look like we are engaged in some collective hand-wringing," the senator said, "which can be a distraction from fighting and winning the war."
Translation: Warner and McCain are old ladies worried about a dog messing in their petunia beds, completely missing the burglar coming in the back door.

All the quotes above are from a different article than Ms. Dowd's: LINK. Maureen gets the best quote, though, in that direct attack on John McCain the other day:

The most absurd cut was delivered by Speaker Dennis Hastert, who responded to Mr. McCain's contention that Congress should not enact tax cuts during wartime because it prevented a sense of shared sacrifice by barking: "John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda. There is sacrifice in this country."
Mr. Hastert, John McCain knows far more than you about the interior of an army hospital ward. He knows far more than you about valor and about soldiering. Go find your fellow Republicans mentioned here and do them a favor. Get them a copy of Mr. McCain's book, "Why Courage Matters." You gentlemen, and I use the term loosely, need to be schooled.

So, is this a lead-up to a large-scale attack on McCain because they are scared he might join the Kerry team, or are these guys just mad at him because he broke up their campaign finance boondoggles?

Either answer is disgusting.