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Rebuke This



Texas Senator John Cornyn understands the awesome responsibilities that come with power.

Nearly five years into his term, Cornyn may not have the most glittering record of legislative achievement. But rather than allowing his focus to be diverted by petty concerns such as the breakdown of public education, America’s ongoing health-care crisis, the shaky future of the Social Security system, the environmental dangers of climate change, our mammoth federal deficit, and the nearly 4,000 Americans killed in Iraq, J-Corn has kept his eyes squarely on the pigskin.

As a result, last month he took the bold step of introducing a resolution condemning for running a New York Times ad which suggested, as Republican Senator Chuck Hagel would do a day later, that General David Petraeus’s rosy estimates of progress in Iraq don’t add up.

Some of us nostalgic fools remember a time when Congress actually devoted its days to passing bills that tangibly benefited the lives of American citizens, but there’s no point getting hung up on the past. These days, it’s all about meaningless rebukes, condemnations, and verbal slaps on the wrist: Codified finger-wagging that serves no purpose and affects no change, but forces a vote that makes your political opponents squirm a bit. It’s all in good wartime fun.

Now that Cornyn has found his true legislative calling, we would like to keep the momentum rolling by offering him a list of some other individuals/organizations deserving of Senatorial condemnation. Happy reprimanding, Senator, and please don’t point that thing at me.

1) Blackwater USA

By all accounts (except those from Blackwater), guards from this security company opened fire into a crowd of Iraqis on September 16 and killed at least 11 civilians. A Congressional report indicates that Blackwater guards have initiated gunfire against Iraqis on at least 163 occasions over the last three years, and sought to cover up the facts several times. Granted, this conduct is not as objectionable as rhyming “Betray Us” with “Petraeus,” but it might be worthy of your attention.

2) Rush Limbaugh

The Limburger, one of the most decorated servicemen in the history of conservative talk radio, recently explained to his listeners that Americans serving in Iraq who oppose the war are “phony soldiers.” This apparently included three Americans who died shortly after contributing to an op-ed piece that raised objections to the war. Wonder if they spilled “phony” blood. Their “phony” grieving relatives might have the answer.

3) Members of the U.S. military establishment who lied to Pat Tillman’s family about the football star’s April, 2004 death in Afghanistan

Military leaders quickly realized that Tillman had been killed by “friendly fire,” but spent weeks propagating the fiction that enemy combatants had taken his life. Tillman’s family remains irate about the handling of this case.

4) General Peter Pace

The retiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has proven to be a paragon of tolerance, repeatedly insisting that the thousands of gay and lesbian Americans currently serving in the military lead an “immoral” life that is “counter to God’s law.” Pace might want to explain this position to San Antonio native Eric Alva, an openly gay veteran who lost a leg in Iraq in 2003. Here’s a new don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy for the military: Don’t ask General Pace if he’s a narrow-minded bigot, and he won’t tell you that he is.

5) John McCain

The Arizona senator and recidivist presidential candidate flashed his impressive diplomatic skills at an April campaign stop when he began singing “Bomb Iran” to the tune of the surf-pop classic “Barbara Ann.” (The Beach Boys’ Mike Love was reportedly indignant that McCain did not ask him to sing the low harmony part.) McCain also merits a Cornyn slap for stating that he’d be disinclined to ever vote for a Muslim presidential candidate. Look out for the Straight Talk Express, it just might run you over!

6) Ted Nugent

The Crawford Madman has proven himself to be Ann Coulter with a guitar (and crossbow). He recently urged Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to suck on his machine gun. could learn a lot from this kind of civil, fair-and-balanced discourse.

7) David Vitter

The Louisiana senator made a big hoo-ha about Bill Clinton’s infidelities in 1998, arguing that Clinton should spare the country further grief by resigning. These days, the condom is on the other penis, with Vitter exposed by a DC madam as a frequenter of her business. Amazingly, he has chosen to stay in office. Between Vitter and Larry Craig, GOP gatherings are starting to look like the party scene from Midnight Cowboy.

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