On a story like this, its better for the rightblogs to get ahead of it rather than react to the lefties who start to call us hypocrites for getting on reporters for the same behavior exhibited by Republican congressmen.
Even though it wasn’t actually a U.S. soldier involved, pulling rank on security is still an arrogant, asinine thing to do (see Cynthia McKinney, whom many of us chastised).
If, as this video appears to show, is truly how it happened, a Republican Congressman reveals behavior no better than Bobby Calvan, the Knight-Ridder reporter who did essentially the same thing, blustering, bullying and belittling security personnel in an attempt to get past a security guard without proper credentials. However, there are differences in the circumstances.
The reporter did it to a U. S. soldier and the congressman did it to, well, a 2 bit security guard, just like he said. Sure, that makes him an asshole, but it doesn’t make him a traitor or someone who demeans the US military just trying to do its job. The reporter was trying to get over a security checkpoint into the Green Zone. The Congressman was trying to get into a gym and was already in the Green Zone. Big difference.
During a public appearance on Saturday, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) belittled a U.S. soldier in Iraq who was following orders and wouldn’t let McHenry go to the gym without the proper credentials. McHenry referred to the guard as a “two-bit security guard.”
We spent the night in the Green Zone, in the poolhouse of one of Saddam’s palaces. A little weird, I got to be honest with you. But I felt safe. And so in the morning, I got up early — not that I make this a great habit — but I went to the gym because I just couldn’t sleep and everything else. Well, sure enough, the guard wouldn’t let me in. Said I didn’t have the correct credentials.
It’s 5:00 in the morning. I haven’t had sleep. I was not very happy with this two-bit security guard. So you know, I said, “I want to see your supervisor.” Thirty minutes later, the supervisor wasn’t happy with me, they escort me back to my room. It happens. I guess I didn’t need to work out anyway.
Whiskeyfire and the execrable John Cole of Balloon Juice chide us and wonder what right of center blogs, including this one, which originally broke the Bobby Calvan story and provided several emails from Calvan and other updates regarding corresponding the Mr. Calvan, his newspaper and his colleagues, will say. I condemn McHenry in the strongest terms, same as Calvan, if it is true.
UPDATE: Tom Maguire has a good point, although it still doesn’t excuse the behavior:
My question – what in the telling of this story (other than their own partisan desire, of course) makes them think the guard in question is either American or a soldier?
I am doubtful that we are talking about a full security checkpoint at the limits of the Green Zone, although even there it is possible to encounter foreign troops, Iraqi security, and (IIRC) private contractors. But if the encounter occurred inside the Green Zone, as is likely, why couldn’t the “two bit security guard” simply be an Iraqi rent-a-cop or private doorman?
Don Surber corrects ThimkRegress’s original mischaracterization (which I also fell for, before considering Tim Maguire) that it was a U.S. soldier.