I understand lefty bloggers are quite bothered by this story in the Washington Post, with the eye-catching headline, “Lawmakers Describe ‘Being Slimed in the Green Zone’”
Here’s what constitutes the “sliming”:
The sheets of paper seemed to be everywhere the lawmakers went in the Green Zone, distributed to Iraqi officials, U.S. officials and uniformed military of no particular rank. So when Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) asked a soldier last weekend just what he was holding, the congressman was taken aback to find out.
In the soldier’s hand was a thumbnail biography, distributed before each of the congressmen’s meetings in Baghdad, which let meeting participants such as that soldier know where each of the lawmakers stands on the war. “Moran on Iraq policy,” read one section, going on to cite some the congressman’s most incendiary statements, such as, “This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in American history.”
The bio of Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.) — “TAU (rhymes with ‘now’)-sher,” the bio helpfully relates — was no less pointed, even if she once supported the war and has taken heat from liberal Bay Area constituents who remain wary of her position. “Our forces are caught in the middle of an escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, with no end in sight,” the bio quotes.
“This is beyond parsing. This is being slimed in the Green Zone,” Tauscher said of her bio.
Unless there’s some fact not in evidence – that the quotes are inaccurate? — how is a bio sheet describing a lawmaker’s position on the war, and quoting what they have said about it, ”sliming”? Those who meet the lawmakers aren’t supposed to know what a lawmaker has said about the war before? What, is this information some sort of secret? Don’t the folks in the Green Zone who meet the lawmakers have a right to know a bit about ‘em, perhaps to anticipate the kinds of questions they’ll get?
(Tauscher might have a legitimate complaint that it refers to a May vote as her “latest vote” on Iraq, when she voted on her own bill on August 2. But the vote is still accurate, and nothing in the story says the quotes about the war attributed to her are inaccurate.)
There’s also much cheer for the comment, “Brief, choreographed and carefully controlled, the codels (short for congressional delegations) often have showed only what the Pentagon and the Bush administration have wanted the lawmakers to see.” Look, I’d love to think that the risk to life and limb in Baghdad had passed, but it hasn’t; isn’t the fact that the codels are “brief, choreographed and carefully controlled” have at least a little to do with the fact that the Pentagon doesn’t want some lawmaker injured or killed while they’re traveling around Iraq?
Finally, is it just me, or does this Post article have a bit of revealing inside-the-beltway bias in the eye-rolling disbelief that someone could possibly need a pronunciation guide for Ellen Tauscher’s name?