Posted by: mutantpoodle | September 24, 2007

Dear Dianne:

I’ve had a weekend of being pissed at the Senate over the Cornyn Amendment, and since one of my Senators had the bad taste to vote for it, I thought I’d send her a note (she doesn’t get links, but you do):

Senator Feinstein:

I am writing to express my extreme disappointment in your decision to support the Cornyn Amendment condemning’s New York Times ad from the week previous.

I challenge you to tell me what in that ad is factually incorrect. Did not General Petraeus write a pre-election op-ed in 2004, with the express purpose of making it appear the Iraq war was going better? Does he not use highly suspect methodologies to make it appear that violence is lower? Do you believe the surge has accomplished its goals? Is he not a public figure? Are, all of a sudden, public figures to be immune from criticism?

The amendment was a Republican trap, and you fell into it. The Republicans don’t really care about supporting American troops – their votes on the Webb Amendment should have demonstrated that to you. (If that didn’t, their shameful behavior at the Republican Convention in 2004, when fake purple hearts were handed out to mock Senator John Kerry, should have done it.) They care about making putting Democrats on the defensive for manufactured controversies.

Let me ask you this: Is responsible for the death of a single soldier? Have they fired Generals who don’t toe the administration’s line on what needs to be done in Iraq? Have their strategies fomented a rich training ground for terrorists who are using their training against our soldiers? Remind me again – why are their WORDS dangerous?

General Petraeus was in a difficult position of his choosing. He is fair game for criticism. That the Senate – with your support – chose to allow the Republicans to change the subject from the disaster that is the war in Iraq to this ginned-up brouhaha disgusts me nearly beyond words.

As it happens, Shut up and Sing, the documentary about what happened to the Dixie Chicks after their infamous (and unbelievably tame) remarks criticizing President Bush before the Iraq war, was on this weekend, and as I watched, I could not help but be struck by this thought: a trio of women who made their living as country musicians demonstrated phenomenal reserves of courage and bravery in the face of hate mail, death threats, and the potential end of their careers. In sad comparison, you and 21 of your Democratic colleagues showed extreme cowardice in the face of Republicans calling you names.

It is far past time for Democrats to be willing to stand up to these distractions and call them what they are: a desperate attempt to change the subject. And to understand that the problems this country faces aren’t caused or exacerbated by ads in the New York Times. That honor goes to those who, like you, when confronted with the real source of our difficulties, choose to turn away and condemn those who have the temerity to point out, bluntly, where we are going wrong.

[Youtube video of the Dixie Chicks singing Taking the Long Way on what appears to be Dutch TV.]

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