Comments made by politicians last week highlight the foolishnesss involved in making certain types of speech off limits.
On Thursday Congressman John Murtha (D) PA called for pulling troops out of Iraq. In his press conference he was asked to comment on a statement
made by vice president Cheney; "The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone -– but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history." Murtha responded
; "I like guys who got five deferments and [have] never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."
Murtha's statement is of course the 'chickenhawk' arguement; only those with military service are entitled to make pro-war statements. According to this thinking, since Cheney did not serve in the military his comments must assume a lesser position when compared with those made by Murtha who served many years in the Marines. Left unresolved was how Murtha's comments, which came after those of the vice president, applied to him specifically.
Then, on Friday, the House was asked to vote on a measure declaring support for immediate troop removal. During the floor debate statements were made in support of and opposition to the war, but when congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R) OH rose to quote
a Marine colonel "send Congressman Murtha a message: Cowards cut and run. Marines never do", she was forced to recind the remark.
The speech police have their rules. Still, you'd have thought that even these people would acknowledge that a serving Marine had standing to speak on behalf of the war.