In a speech on the House floor, an angry [Rep. Patrick] Kennedy turned a speech on Afghanistan into a finger-pointing lecture to the Washington press.
"If anybody wants to know where cynicism is … cynicism is that there is one … two press people in this gallery," Kennedy said, angrily pointing to the press gallery where reporters sit. "We're talking about Eric Massa 24/7 on the TV. We're talking about war and peace, $3 billion, 1,000 lives and no press?"
"No press!" Kennedy repeated, his voice cracking. "You wanna know why the American public is fit? They're fit because they're not seeing their Congress do the work that they're sent to do."
"It's because the press, the press of the United States, is not covering the most significant issue of national importance, and that is the laying of lives down in the nation for the service of our country. ... It's despicable, the national press corps right now!" Kennedy said before being cut off by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), who was presiding over the chamber.
Granted, Erik Massa is a big story, but where was Afghanistan before that story broke? There's an honest to God war on -- a war of debatable merit -- and there's no coverage. Part of the problem here is that there's no debate of those debatable merits. Democrats and President Obama have painted themselves into a corner on Afghanistan. They supported occupying Afghanistan as a way to avoid looking weak for opposing the occupation of Iraq. It may have been a good short term strategy (politically speaking, anyway), but in the long term, maybe not so much. And Republicans? Well, what do you need to say, other than it's a war. If it involves converting massive amounts of money into bombs, then blowing all that money up, they're all for it. It's what they do. There's your bipartisanship for you -- we can all agree to kill people and blow up money, but we can't get it together to save people's lives and save our own money with decent, affordable healthcare. Yay for bipartisanship.
At issue was a resolution to withdraw from Afghanistan. It was doomed to failure and lost big -- 65 yeas to 356 nays. Support withdrawal? Fine. Don't support it? Fine.
But shouldn't a real war be some kind of an issue to somebody? Doesn't an issue this big and this consequential deserve some kind of debate? And not just in congress but, as Rep. Kennedy points out, in the press?
Otherwise, the "forgotten war" will just keep on being forgotten. We can still chase around Erik Massa or whatever other scandal-of-the-day is out there. It's a 24 hour news cycle -- there's plenty of time. We'd still have time to find out what Paris Hilton had for breakfast.
But can't we get an hour or two for Afghanistan?
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