Tuesday, May 23, 2006

NRO hits the nail on the head...

The Editors at National Review Online have an excellent piece called Profile in Disgrace:
...We don’t question Murtha’s physical courage, which he demonstrated while serving his country as a Marine. But the Profile in Courage Award is meant to celebrate courage in the public realm, and here Murtha is far from extraordinary. According to the JFK Library’s statement announcing this year’s winners, the award is for “public servants who have withstood strong opposition to follow what they believe is the right course of action.” In Murtha’s case, “strong opposition” included cheers of support from prominent Democrats, lionization by the broader antiwar Left, and press coverage that approached idolatry. Public opinion had already turned against the war by the time Murtha came out against it, transforming himself from a regional obscurity into a national figure. There are many words to describe this journey, but “courageous” is near the bottom of the list.
They go on to say...
The military’s investigation of those claims isn’t finished yet, but Murtha apparently can’t wait for all the facts to emerge before damning the accused. In doing so, he inflames international opinion against the United States and makes it more difficult not only to fulfill our mission in Iraq, but to conduct military operations anywhere in the world. Even if the allegations against the Marines are true, Murtha’s rhetoric is imbalanced: He declines to emphasize that the vast majority of soldiers perform their duties honorably and that those who break the rules are severely punished, choosing instead to cite the actions of a few sadists as though they were representative of the military.
...But of Murtha takes no blame for emboldening our enemies, nor any responsibility for his broad-brushed accusations of the military, stating:
...Further, to ignore this incident, which happened six months ago and has now been publicized around the world, is to invite criticism that the United States does not practice what it preaches. That will severely undermine our goals of promoting democracy, as did the Abu Ghraib scandal.
...There is a difference in "ignoring" an "incident" (of which Murtha admitted to not reading the reports) and trying to be the first to trot out and tripping all over yourself (even before all the facts are out), trying to find a camera to play judge, jury and executioner, for party-hack political gain.

The NRO editorial concludes:
...If the selection committee had cared more about celebrating courage than about attacking the Bush administration, it could have chosen any number of Iraqi politicians as winners. Foreign leaders have been honored in the past—Ukrainian president Viktor Yuschenko, for example—and it’s hard to imagine many people who face “strong opposition” like the Iraqi leaders do. These men and their families live under constant threat of assassination, but somehow they keep pressing forward. As just one example, consider Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq’s newly appointed vice president. At the end of April, gunmen shot his sister dead. His brother had fallen to a similar attack less than two weeks before. Yet he remains in his post.

Such courage should make us count as dross the achievements of a mere Murtha.
The JFK Library’s decision to fête such an unworthy recipient dilutes the meaning of “courage” and diminishes the value of its award. But we suspect that, having gotten in a good dig against the war, it doesn’t much care.
...and JFK is spinning 360s in his grave right now.