Friday, September 21, 2007

dear senator webb, nincompoop

To Senator James Webb of Virginia,

I voted for you. I voted for you proudly. Today, I am ashamed to be your constituent.

After your victorious election last November, I beamed at press reports that during a beginning of session tea party at the White House, you refused to make small talk with President Bush about your son, a Marine serving in Iraq. You tried to redirect the conversation to actual issues. Others criticized you for being disrespectful. Not me. I was hopeful that, for the sake of your family and your country, you were committed to doing away with niceties and games and focusing on the real work of getting the United States out of Iraq.

Today, when I heard about the Senate bill condemning MoveOn.org's New York Times advertisement questioning General Petraeus's credibility, I was incensed. I was certain you would reject such folly. I knew you would condemn the Bush administration's disgusting propoganda tactics meant to distract from the important dialogue about Iraq.

I was wrong.

I am sickened by your vote, Senator Webb. Shame on you. You actually devoted your time and your power, time and power that could have been devoted to crafting an exit strategy or improving benefits for veteran amputees or working to gather votes on your excellent proposal to regulate troop rotations, to casting a ballot against a silly newspaper advertisement that engaged in name calling? That makes you a nincompoop. That's right. I called you a nincompoop right there in print, Webby. I double dog dare you to pass a bill against me, too.

Maybe you're a little jealous of Petraeus? Quite a few people have accused you of betrayal over the past couple of years, but you have no Senate resolution to show for it. Even though you have deep military ties, you want the Iraq War to end. Maybe we can pass one of these little laws to honor you?

I encourage you to leave your office and walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. Have a look at those words of the First Amendment writ large on the side of the new Newseum, as I did last weekend as I read some signs about how I should burn in hell because I’m a traitor for wanting peace in Iraq. That stung a bit. Where’s the Senate bill recognizing my pain?

I don't much care what the damned New York Times advertisement said. I don't care whether it came from a liberal organization or a conservative organization. I care that you take responsibility for doing your job, for representing the American people and ending an unjust war, rather than simply playing around so that a grown man's feelings don't get hurt. Isn't he tough enough to handle criticism? He's an American general! How much tougher does it get? Apparently, you don't think he's particularly tough at all. He needs special protections, special exemptions from the right to free speech. Isn't the First Amendment one of those sacred freedoms that the military is charged with protecting?

Sticks and stones are not being hurled from the pages of the New York Times, Senator Webb. Only words. While you were working hard at protecting Petraeus from the shower of sans serif-fonted words, some American soldier or Iraqi civilian was fielding a shower of bullets.

What happened to the Senator Webb who wouldn't let President Bush draw attention away from the suffering and safety of Americans and Iraqis?

I am ashamed of you today, but we can't afford to focus on stupid mistakes, can we? I suggest that you and I, all of us, moveon. Please make me proud to be your constituent tomorrow. Get the job done. Get us out of Iraq.

Your Constituent,
Bridget Robin Pool

P.S. I've never sent a dime to moveon.org before. Today, I'm sending a donation in your name.

1 comment:

jim webb said...

You're right.