Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 08/15/06 14:33, Edited: 08/15/06 14:34
by Dave Mindeman
It is not often that a lawyer will request an apology from a sitting US Congressman regarding a pending case, and it is probably rarer still that the Congressman will give that apology within an hour of getting the official papers.
That's what has happened in the Haditha atrocity case with respect to Congressman John Kline. The reality of all this is a political problem... John Kline needs to correct a mistake.
As a retired Marine Colonel, John Kline was one of the few Congressman given the first briefings on the Haditha case and his first response was what I would consider a typical first response:
(quote from Washington Post): "I was saddened, surprised and outraged that this could happen," Kline said. He said he thought the incident would be regarded as "a horrific aberration" for the Marines.
Kline, as far as I know, didn't mention any names and he characterized it as an abberation -- not charactisitic of the vast majority of our fighting force.
But this investigation was supposed to be completed in June.. the attorneys for one of the Marines involved (nobody has even been charged yet) decided to take the offensive and sue Congressman Murtha .. and later John Kline for defamation of character.
Kline's immediate apology gets him off the hook. Several bloggers (and probably donors) wanted Kline to unlink his name with Congressman Murtha. Kline and Murtha had almost the same exact reaction to the Haditha briefing. Kline forgot to check with his partisan leadership -- he gave a rare human response to a bad situation. But the bloggers went on a rampage against Murtha; Congressman Kline's PowerLine buddy, John Hinderacker raked Congressman Murtha thusly:Mad Jack [Murtha] is the most notorious example of a public figure who has convicted the Marines accused of wrongdoing in Haditha before any evidence has been offered, but he is hardly the only one: the drive-by media have gleefully joined in.
Hinderacker conspicuously left out Kline's name in his diatribe even though the Congressman had said virtually the same thing.
But now Congressman Kline can correct this, and he has -- he can publicly apologize for having his "words taken out of context"... he never meant to imply any "prejudgment".
And now, we can safely break any Kline link to Murtha.
Murtha won't apologize because there is no need to apologize. Murtha condemned the act... and the act did happen. He never named any particular person.. he only gave a visceral reaction to a terrible event.
Congressman Kline is safely insulated from the criticism now. They can attack John Murtha all they want -- Kline apologized and the bloggers can do their dirty work.
Kline had better get his orders right next time.