Today, the House of Representatives is debating H. Con Res. 248, a privileged resolution brought to the floor by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), and others that required Congress to debate whether or not to continue the war in Afghanistan.
During one point in the debate, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) delivered an impassioned speech against escalating in Afghanistan and condemned the media for its wall-to-wall coverage of the scandal surrounding former Rep. Eric Massa while ignoring the Afghanistan debate in Congress:
KENNEDY: What is shameful is our policy that puts them in harm’s way when they don’t need to be … Finally, if anyone wants to know where citizens are, there’s two pres people in this gallery. We’re talking about Eric Massa 24–7 on the TV, we’re talking about war and peace, $3 billion, 1,000 lives and no press, you want to know why the American public is fit? They’re fit because they’re not seeing their Congress do the work they’re sent to do. It’s because the press, the press of the United States is not covering the most significant issue of national importance and that’s the laying of lives down in the nation for the service of our country. It’s despicable, the national press corps right now!
Soon after the speech, CNN host Rick Sanchez asked State of the Union host Candy Crowley to comment on Kennedy’s media complaint. Crowley mused that it could be argued “one way or another” whether the Massa scandal was as important as debating the war in Afghanistan, and even suggested that Kennedy made his speech because “the Democrats in particular and certainly…Kennedy would like the Massa story to go away”:
CROWLEY: I think think it is one that — what he is arguing — is that it is one of perspective and [he] obviously believes that Massa’s been given too much attention where the war in Afghanistan is not. You know, we could argue one way or the other, but it is very clear that he — the Democrats in particular and certainly Congressman Kennedy in specific would like the Massa story to go away.
Given that 895 American soldiers have died in combat in Afghanistan and the U.S. is spending $101 million a day on the war — which has lasted longer that World War II — there are plenty of good reasons for Congressional Democrats to be debating an exit strategy from Afghanistan other than to distract from a minor scandal.
The resolution failed 65–356. The full roll call of the vote is here.