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Posted by on Jun 20, 2009 in Breaking News, International, Politics, War | 2 comments

Saturday Roundup

David Rohde, a New York Times reporter who was abducted by the Taliban seven months ago, has escaped and is on his way home. One striking detail about this story comes from his wife, Kristen Mulvihill:

“We’ve been married nine months,” she added. “And seven of those, David has been in captivity.”

That is very poignant to me. I am so glad Rohde is safe and in good health and that he and his wife will be together again very soon.

Pres. Obama has issued a statement directed to the Iranian government. It is brief, but pointed, and in my view does a first-rate job of condemning the violence and physical brutality without actually taking sides in a political sense.

Statement from the President on Iran

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness. has an article about the growing rancor along party lines on the subject of Iran.

Kerry stirred Senate debate with an op-ed in Thursday’s New York Times criticizing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for suggesting Obama’s response to the Iranian protests has been “tepid” and that the U.S. should speak out more forcefully. Following that up with interviews on CNN and MSNBC, Kerry said wading into the controversy would only allow hard-line leaders to rally the population against the U.S.

“If we actually want to empower the Iranian people, we have to understand how our words can be manipulated and used against us,” Kerry wrote in the Times. “We can’t escape the reality that for reformers in Tehran to have any hope for success, Iran’s election must be about Iran — not America.”

McCain himself would not comment, telling The Hill that he had not read Kerry’s editorial. But Republicans lined up en masse to defend him, and Democrats likewise defended Obama’s diplomatic approach.

“The appropriate response to brutal suppression of dissidents in Iran is not silence,” said GOP Sen. John Cornyn (Texas). “We need to show some strength. Just playing nice and hoping that somehow we’re going to persuade them to stop their terrorist acts strikes me as naïve.”

“We should be involved actively,” said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.).

“We have to figure out a way to engage the moderates in Iran and somehow get around the leadership which is very much bent on being a nuclear power and denying human rights,” said Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman John Thune (S.D.).

But Democrats back the Obama-Kerry approach, saying that Ahmadinejad would relish the opportunity to paint the U.S. as meddling and rally the country around him.

“The last thing we should do is stick our noses in Iran’s election situation,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “It would be the worst possible thing we could do. And I should remind you that Sen. McCain was one of the biggest proponents of the Iraqi War. Look what a debacle that was. So I don’t think he has much credibility on this.”

It looks to me like GOP leaders would rather harm the possibility for positive change than get over themselves, get out of their own way, and admit that some things in the world can happen without our active involvement.

Blackfive and his fellow milbloggers are incensed because Barbara Boxer took offense at being addressed as “Ma’am” rather than as “Sen. Boxer.”

Apparently, Barbara Boxer, a Senator from California where some of the biggest military bases exist, doesn’t understand respect when she hears it.

As a former Army Officer, if one of my soldiers called me “Lieutenant”, instead of “el-tee” or “Sir”, I would know that he found me lacking.  Calling me by my job title or rank is only done because it is the lowest requirement of respect. 

The. Lowest. Requirement. Of. Respect.

If one of my soldiers called me “Captain”, without using my last name behind it or “Sir”, I would know that he found me substandard. 

BG Walsh was showing Barbara Boxer respect by calling her “Ma’am” instead of “Senator.”  Believe me, the title “Senator” does not really hold a whole lot of credibility in the US military.  It’s a job, and a Corporal leading a team in Baqubah has more honor than most of those holding that title.

Sir or Ma’am is showing Barbara Boxer respect that doesn’t have to be shown to her.  BG Walsh can call her Senator all day and night.  Instead, the general called her “Ma’am” – a term in deference to her and to show respect for what she earned. 

But if she wants to be associated with that den of corruption and incompetence, be my guest.

Robert Stokely, a Gold Star Dad, has this to ask of you all – Flood Barbara Boxer with letters over how she treated BG Walsh[.]

Good effin’ Lord. Do these guys have nothing more important to get outraged about? Barbara Boxer has every right to want to be addressed by her professional title when functioning in her professional capacity. “Ma’am” is not an insult, certainly, but it’s also not the most respectful way to address a U.S. senator. “Ma’am” is something a clerk in a grocery store or a bank teller might use in addressing <b>me</b>. It’s generic. It applies to any woman of a certain age, regardless of position or accomplishment. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a member of the U.S. Senate to wish to be addressed by her or his professional title.

Congress is not an army base, thank you very much.