Tuesday, October 2, 2007

How Low Can They Go

I watched a bit of the Blackwater hearings on C-SPAN 3 this morning. There was a considerable amount of what Atrios refers to as “comedy gold.”

I’ve put together a few award-winning moments (I transcribed this myself so I can’t verify that it’s error-free):

• The Recycling Award goes to Darrell Issa (R-CA), who gave his opening statement brandishing the MoveOn.org ad and claiming, "What we're hearing today is a repeat of the MoveOn.org ad .. they've simply switched targets. [...] I’m not here to investigate Blackwater, I’m here to defend General Petraeus."

Dude, that was last week.

• The Atta Boy Award goes to Chris Shays (R-CT), who felt Blackwater CEO Erik Prince deserved a pat on the back for not losing any of the State Dept. personnel under their protection:

“That's a perfect record and you don't get any credit for it for some reason! [..] I just want to be on record for THANKING you for the AMAZING job you do."

Uh, yeah. I don’t think the issue is that they aren’t doing their jobs but rather the excessive force used to get those results.

• Shiny Sparkly Object Award goes to Darrell Issa for interrupting the hearing to ask if Committee Chairman Henry Waxman investigated the crash of an Air Force CT-43 that killed Ron Brown in Croatia back in 1996.

This has been the subject of several tin-foil hat conspiracy theories by the fringe right, since Brown was being investigated for corruption at the time and also, of course, everyone knows Bill Clinton was a serial killer in his spare time from being POTUS and molesting women. So don't be surprised if the fringe-nuts to pick up on this bit of obfuscation.

I’m not sure but I do believe Issa served on the Oversight & Government Reform Committee when the Republicans were in the majority, so I suppose he could have called that investigation himself. If not Issa, then whatever Republican Congressman was in charge would have, had they felt it was warranted. That it didn’t happen should pretty much explain it all.

• The Can’t We Just Go Home Award goes to John Mica (R-FL) for using his opening statement to call for the committee to adjourn. Guess he wishes the “do nothing” Congress was back in power.

• The Misplaced Career Award goes to Blackwater USA CEO Erik Prince, who said he was honored to “speak on behalf of the brave men and women who volunteered to serve their country [...] they answered the call to support our country ...."

Er, no, that would be those brave men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. You’re speaking on behalf of employees who are paid a generous salary to be in your service. They may be brave and they may feel they are answering some call to service, but you can’t gloss over the fact that a large number of them are there because of financial reasons.

The Truth To Power Award goes to William Clay Jr. (D-MO) for this smackdown:
"To the viewers of C-SPAN today, some in this Congress and this Administration seem to be steeped in hypocrisy as far as taking these frequent flies to the Green Zone and Baghdad. When you look they are some of the same ones who would never lift a rifle to defend this country in Vietnam but yet ridicule and criticize those who have not traveled to Baghdad. I just wanted the American public to be aware that some in here are steeped in hypocrisy."

The saddest thing of all is seeing how the Republican Party has been reduced to defending soldiers of fortune. Abraham Lincoln is rolling in his grave.