June 14, 2007
The Seditious Senator Reid
Comfortable among his own kind, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has dropped all pretenses of the insincere "...but we support the troops" mantra utterly by the far left, the Politico reports:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "incompetent" during an interview Tuesday with a group of liberal bloggers, a comment that was never reported.
Reid made similar disparaging remarks about Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said several sources familiar with the interview.
This is but the latest example of how Reid, under pressure from liberal activists to do more to stop the war, is going on the attack against President Bush and his military leaders in anticipation of a September showdown to end U.S. involvement in Iraq, according to Democratic senators and aides.
The report of Reid's attacks on key military commanders comes one day after Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Bush claiming that the "surge" in Iraq has failed, just weeks after claiming they would wait until September to evaluate the success of the surge, and despite widespread and growing Sunni uprisings against al Qaeda in al Anbar and Diyala provinces, in Baghdad's Sunni-dominated Amiriyah district, and elsewhere.
According to U.S. Code, Title 18 > Part I > Chapter 115 > § 2387 Activities affecting armed forces generally:
(a) Whoever, with intent to interfere with, impair, or influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States:
(1) advises, counsels, urges, or in any manner causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States; or
(2) distributes or attempts to distribute any written or printed matter which advises, counsels, or urges insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
(b) For the purposes of this section, the term “military or naval forces of the United States” includes the Army of the United States, the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve of the United States; and, when any merchant vessel is commissioned in the Navy or is in the service of the Army or the Navy, includes the master, officers, and crew of such vessel.
Marine General Peter Pace is still the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an active duty officer and leader in the United States military. U.S. Army General David Petraeus is the Commanding General of Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I), in command of all U.S Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force military units in Iraq. Petraeus was confirmed to that position confirmed to that position by the Senate in an 81-0 vote less than five months ago on January 26, 2007.
Senator Harry Reid, please explain to us how your apparent utterances calling serving generals "incompetent" while they are engaged in command duties as general officers of the United States during wartime does not amount to interfering with, impairing, or attempting to influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States.
You'll note, Senator Reid, that Chapter 15 of U.S. Code covers "Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities," and I find it very hard for you to argue—though you and your supporters certainly will—that words uttered against the competence of active duty commanding generals during wartime does not amount to an attempt to "interfere with, impair, or influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States." Your offense, coming from your position of United States Senate Majority Leader, is particularly egregious when it is considered that these comments are directed to a group of opinionmakers that claim to hold such sway over Democrat Party politics.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 14, 2007 08:37 AM
Probably just a co-incidence that Pelosi now wants the Pentagon to provide free-rides for the CHILDREN of Congresscritters who are taking "important" trips.
"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
The First Amendment has never been construed as allowing treasonous or seditious speech.
Make your argument based upon whether or not Reid technically violated the cited U.S law against unmining U.S. forces (he certainly seems to have violated the spirit of the law), but to attempt to imply that any and all treasonous or seditious speech is somehow given blanket protection is ridiculous.
"You'll note, Senator Reid, that Chapter 15 of U.S. Code covers "Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities," and I find it very hard for you to argue—though you and your supporters certainly will—that words uttered against the competence of active duty commanding generals during wartime does not amount to an attempt to "interfere with, impair, or influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States.""
While I carry no bag for democrats, I'd point out that the argument is pretty simple.
Criticism of incompetent officers is intended to enhance the ability of the military to perform well. Acting to improve the performance of the military is a requirement for the US government. In no way is this criticism intended to impair loyalty or morale, it is intended to improve performance. It is hard to argue that trying to improve the performance of the US military is treasonous.
You'll have a hard time showing that an American could go to jail because they call a government employee incompetent. To the extent that the law limits free expression, it is invalid.
To the extent the law might apply, you'll have a hard time here:"with intent to interfere with, impair, or influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United State." Reid's will say his intent is to improve the performance of the US forces by criticizing those who are incompetent. Like one normally does when one calls a government employee incompetent.
I don't know what section of the US code defines "seditious" speech. Or even how pure speech can fit the definition of treason. But you will find that the 1st amendment will severely limit how speech can be treason or seditition.
I have to agree with Rafar - conceptually anyway. That Reids comments do indeed assist the improvement of the military is a hard argument to make. His comments have far more to do with posturing in front of his political base than with assisting the war effort. In his position, if he had real criticism or issue with Petraeus' leadership, he could move or petition for the general to be replaced or speak to the general in person about what he feels needs to change. For him to bad mouth American commanders without due cause or specific issue may not be outright treasonous, but it is certainly neglectful of his responsibility to the country.
ZOMG INSULT TO TROOPS
Quick, activate massive indignation mode from behind keyboard or it will seem like you're not 100% in love with troops and therefore not up solid against the right wing wall!
US Constitution Art. I, sec. 6, clause  "and for any speech or debate in either house , they shall not be questioned in any other place"
Though I find Reid's comments reprehensible and do tend to give aid and comfort to Al-Qaeda -- they are waging a media war and seek to sap our will to fight. Reid's comments help that goal.
CY, is your argument that people cannot speak out against the progress or execution of the war?
Doc:::so you think SEDITION is find and dandy and CONSTITUTIONAL!!! it has been duly noted
An interesting comment thread.
If I'm understanding the general sentiment thus far correctly, a significant number of you feel is is fine for Harry Reid to disparage the competence of U.S. commanders. I wonder, does this extend to Reid's comment from several weeks back, where he claimed that if he heard any good news from Iraq, that General Petraeus would be a liar (or words to that effect, questioning his integrity and honesty)?
According to this mindset, disparaging the compentence, honor, integrity, and honesty of our military commanders without cause while they attempt to lead troops at war is perfectly acceptable political discourse, and somehow curiously intended to improve their performance.
For historical context, I'd be interested to know what language was used by another "peace Democrat" during the American Civil War, a former Ohio Congressman, Clement Laird Vallandigham, who was arrested, tried, convicted and expelled from the Union to the Confederacy (the Confederacy subsequently regarded him as an "alien enemy," and deported him to Bermuda) for comments he made about the union during that war. Deported by both sides, Ohio Democrats then brilliantly nominated him for governor in absentia, where he lost in a landslide.
Wikipedia brushed upon the tone of the comments lightly, but doesn't provide details of what Vallandigham said with any precision or context, other than at the speech most proximate to his arrest, he called President Bush Lincoln "Wicked and cruel" for not ending the war.
But Reid was not criticizing the war or the policies of the administration.
He was quite specifically attacking the compentence and capabilities of serving military leaders, attempting to undermine them. Does that not meet the standard of intentionally interfering with, impairing, or influencing the moral of the troops?
I submit that his comments do meet that standard, unless you are willing to argue that Reid is not intelligent enough to know the intention and probable effects of his comments.
I wouldn't predict that Reid is in any danger, however.
Though he is very arguably seditious and is certainly pro-defeat, he will not be prosecuted for his offense, not by this Justice Department. Nor will his fellow Democrats call for him to resign. Hell, the liberal bloggers he was pandering to when he made these comments flatly covered them up.
"I wouldn't predict that Reid is in any danger, however."
Because its ridiculous that someone would be convicted of a crime for calling a government employee incompetent. Maybe in a dictatorship, but not here.
NOTED, TOO, ARE YOUR CAPITALS, EXCLAMATION POINTS, AND ODD USE OF COLONS:::::!
The difference between what I posted and what you posted should be clear to anyone keeping score at home: you were telling me what I think, and I was asking CY to clarify what he thinks.
Telling me what I think and feel is a favorite pastime of wingnuts, who, thankfully, tend to hang out at other sites. On the other hand, the generally conservative but (otherwise) rational crowd that frequents CY has the decency to treat questions as questions unless otherwise indicated.
Senator Harry Reid’s voting record on military issues can be found at: http://vote-smart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=53320&type=category&category=47&go.x=16&go.y=7
Senator Reid’s history of speeches on the Iraq war can be found at: http://vote-smart.org/speech.php?keyword=iraq+war&daterange=&begin=&end=&phrase=&contain=&without=&type=search&can_id=53320&go2.x=0&go2.y=0#Results
Senator Reid’s ratings from special interest groups on military issues can be found at: http://vote-smart.org/issue_rating_category.php?can_id=53320
For more information on Senator Reid’s position on military issues please visit http://www.vote-smart.org or call our hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART.
Read that again, Doc.
Reid's quote about Pace as attributed by Bob Geiger, who was on the call, from the comments at your link:
I guess the president, uh, he's gotten rid of Pace because he could not get him confirmed here in the Senate… Pace is also a yes-man for the president and I told him to his face, I laid it out to him last time he came to see me, I told him what an incompetent man I thought he was."
Perhaps more telling, Reid has not denied this.
Even better... Reid admits it.
Keep that in mind the next time you read Greg Sargent, Bob Geiger, John Aravosis and other top liberals bloggers who had denied what Reid said, and wonder what they will lie to you about next.
Here's TPM's take:
We spoke to as many people as we could on the call to see what was actually said. And a number of liberal bloggers on the call told us that they didn't remember Reid saying these things. Now we've finally found someone who taped the call.... So The Politico's John Bresnahan, who wrote the original story, was right; Reid did call Pace incompetent. On the other hand, it was in the context of a discussion of Alberto Gonzales and other administration incompetents, not Iraq. The reference to Pace was an aside -- brought up solely to highlight Bush's loyalty to Gonzales. Reid's focus here wasn't on Pace or the commanders.
In the Fox article, Reid is quoted as saying,
I believe that General Pace would not be if he had come forward to be reappointed the chairman of the Joints Chiefs.
...Which frankly sounds as if English is Reid's second language, but he also made the point that,
I think we should just drop it. The fact is, he's not going to be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, for which I'm happy.
So I guess the question that arises here is this: if Pace isn't going to be Chairman, isn't the hypothetical damage of Reid's remarks mitigated? Also: at what point does Reid actually get to say what he thinks? Don't we want to know his thought process? He is a senator, after all, and his thought process affects how our country is run.
if Pace isn't going to be Chairman, isn't the hypothetical damage of Reid's remarks mitigated?
Not if congress is involved in confirming his for anything else.
"Hey dude, I'm sorry I burned your car up by mistake!"
"No problem, I was going to abandon it anyway"