Friday, October 06, 2006

The Bad Grammar of Hyper-Aggression

The Republicans let the nation know over and over that the real war for them is the war against the Democrats. The Bush administration says it's on the offensive against global terrrorism, but American policy in Iraq is an essentially defensive, keep casualties as low as possible, let's not have the war on the front page position. However, the administration and the Republican leadership keep the offensive going against the Democrats at all costs.

Today, Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia sent a note to Nancy Pelosi demanding to know if Pelosi and the minority leadership were keeping the Mark Foley scandal under wraps until just before the election. I would say "democratic" leadership, but Kingston insists on the bad grammar of "democrat leadership. Like most conservatives, Kingston assumes that ignorance and macho aggression are closely allied.

Here's the quote from Kingston's statement:

"Just as it must be determined whether any Republican members or political operatives were aware of and attempted to conceal Mr. Foley's activities, it must also be determined whether any Democrat members or political operatives were aware of and attempted to conceal these same activities."

I guess it's an interesting possibility, but Kingston has no more evidence that Pelosi was covering up the Foley scandal than the Bush administration had for WMD in Iraq.

The key point is that evidence and truth matter just as little for the Republican leadership in the U. S. anymore than they've mattered in Iraq--perhaps less. Perhaps the Bush administration and the Republican leadership would do better if they fought al-Qaeda with the same intensity they fight the Democrats.

Notes on the Foley/Hastert Scandal

What would you have done if you were in Dennis Hastert's shoes and you had heard that a powerful ally like Mark Foley had sent some sexually inappropriate messages to pages?

That's a fair question. Would you have negligently ignored the issue like Dennis Hastert? Would you have believed Foley when he claimed he was innocent? Or would you have pushed the issue to ensure that the congressman was not sexually propositioning congressional pages?

I know what I would have done because I've been in a version of that situation. As an interim department chair, a female student and her brother brought me a series of inappropriate e-mails from a faculty member. Those e-mails were MUCH less salacious than Foley's messages to pages, but the messages made it clear that the faculty member was engaged in a seduction campaign against the student.

My immediate response was to file a sexual harassment charge. That would ensure that the matter would be further investigated and that the university affirmative action officer would come to a decision. Dennis Hastert should have done the same thing. He should have ensured that the Mark Foley accusations were further investigated to find out if there was more. Instead, Hastert just took Foley's word that he wasn't engaged in anything appropriate. Foley was lying, but Hastert was negligent to believe him without engaging in furher investigation.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Good News--More American Troops Dying in Iraq

Unfortunately, the headline is true. The biggest danger the American Army has in Baghdad is not being relevant to the sectarian struggles between the Shiites and Sunnis? The fact that thirteen American troops have died in Baghdad over the last three days is a strong indication that somebody sees the American military as worth attacking. There's not much doubt now that the U. S. military is a player in Baghdad. The big question now is whether the military can achieve its objectives of diminishing or eliminating the sectarian bloodbath. Right now, there's no evidence that such is the case.