Democrats, Chickenhawks & "The War"

Let me begin by making my bias absolutely unambiguous: I detest the Republican Party, most of its members*, and everything it stands for -- not necessarily in theory, but in practice. In theory, I believe in smaller government, personal responsibility, freedom, liberty, and a strong national defense, but those are just rhetorical bludgeons used by most Republicans. They don't actually uphold those beliefs, and are usually more interested in political theatrics than good policymaking.

Case in point. This week the US Senate, by a 72-25 margin, passed an amendment condemning's full-page "General Betrayus" ad in The New York Times. The amendment was to:
To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.
"Strongly condemn personal attacks"?! General Petraeus is a big boy. I think he can stand up for himself and knows full and well that he's being used as a shill, a 'political prop' and a 'PR flack' by the Bush White House. The fact that this condemnation comes from a party which uses personal attacks, even against its own members, as a substitute for rational criticism is so surreal as to be almost laughable.

I could focus on other obvious points to be made here, such as our elected officials should never be wasting time on such absurd grandstanding, or that the 22 Democrats who voted with the Republicans should be pilloried for their cowardice, but I'd rather focus on something positive. Twenty five Democrats showed enough spine to vote against the resolution:
Akaka, Bingaman, Boxer, Brown, Byrd, Clinton, Dodd, Durbin, Feingold, Harkin, Inouye, Kennedy, Kerry, Lautenberg, Levin, Menendez, Murray, Reed, Reid, Rockefeller, Sanders, Schumer, Stabenow, Whitehouse, Wyden
Yes, this list includes two former (Kerry, Kennedy) and two current (Clinton, Dodd) Democratic presidential candidates. (Barack Obama is notable for his absence -- he did not vote on the amendment.)

Notable, too, are those Senators who voted against the amendment and who served in the military, unlike the chickenhawks who got us into our illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq:
  • Senator Daniel Inouye, US Army 1943-'47; Medal of Honor, World War Two (1, 2)
  • Senator John Kerry, Lt., U.S. Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in combat
  • Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) - U.S. Army, 1951-1953.
  • Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) - U.S. Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91
Senator Daniel Inouye is featured prominently in the new Ken Burns' documentary mini-series, "The War," which premiered tonight on PBS. Inouye has my full support, as do the 21 others who voted with him. As for the 75 who voted for this piece of agitprop, for them I have nothing but scorn and derision.

* Of course, not all Republicans are awful. I choose to believe that most Republican voters are simply wealthy and disinterested, ignorant and uninformed, or some combination thereof. That being said, some Republican politicians occasionally have the courage to oppose their party. Quick question: which Republican Senator and Vietnam veteran said this back in 2002?
"It is interesting to me that many of those who want to rush this country into war and think it would be so quick and easy don't know anything about war. They come at it from an intellectual perspective versus having sat in jungles or foxholes and watched their friends get their heads blown off."
Hint: he's the very same object of those 'personal attacks' I mentioned earlier.