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The Star Tribune reports that Senator Mark Dayton alleges that Republicans denied him a trip to Iraq in order to undermine his chances for re-election in 2006. Dayton cannot comprehend a single reason why Republicans would have bypassed him for a slot on the fact-finding tour and the denial of permission to travel separately:
Sen. Mark Dayton wants to make a return trip to Iraq, but his request has been denied, the Minnesota Democrat said Wednesday.
Dayton speculated that his request was denied by the Senate Armed Services Committee because he has criticized President Bush's handling of the war and because he's up for reelection in 2006.
"Either one of those reasons is absolutely wrong, and unjust and unwarranted, and I regret very much the committee's decision," he said in a conference call with reporters.
Perhaps he should re-read the transcripts from his participation in the Abu Ghraib hearings in Congress earlier this year. Scolding General Richard Myers and Don Rumsfeld for sending materiel to a war zone in support of troops under fire does not build one's credibility for fact-finding missions:
You're increasing the number of forces, the number of tanks over there. How can this have anything to do but to escalate the level of violence, the opposition of Iraqis, intensify the hatred across the Arab world to the United States, and more atrocities? How can this have any result other than to put us deeper into this situation and make the conditions there worse for our forces and for our nation and for the world?
Of course, that may not be the reason, although it certainly qualifies as a good reason to keep Dayton as far away from the troops in Iraq as possible. (Can you imagine introducing him to the men and women serving over there? "Let me now introduce the man who questioned why we send tanks in combat zones -- Minnesota'a Mark Dayton!" I doubt we'd get a "hoo-yah" on that one.) It could have been an act of kindness on behalf of both Republicans and Democrats that kept Brave Sir Dayton firmly on US soil. After all, the mere hint of danger sent this brave Senator scurrying back to his Minnesota hidey-hole, the only member of Congress to close his DC offices from fear of a terrorist attack:
Dayton acted after reading a classified memo that was available to all U.S. senators, but said he couldn't discuss its contents. Nevertheless, few _ if any _ other Senate or House lawmakers followed suit, and many were startled by Dayton's actions.
The Washington offices of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., remains open.
A senior FBI official said that while the bureau remains concerned about an attack before the November election, there is no new information pointing to a time or place. There is also no specific information pointing to an attack on Capitol Hill, the FBI official said.
His bizarre stunt -- which some speculated might have been intended to help John Kerry's campaign by underscoring the remaining terrorist threat against the US -- brought strong reactions from members of his own party:
The surprising response by the freshman senator from Minnesota to the latest in a series of warnings prompted ridicule and a flurry of angry reactions yesterday. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said Dayton's decision was "ill-informed." Minnesota's senior senator, Norm Coleman (R), called Dayton reckless. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) compared him to the boy who cried wolf. Colleagues on both sides of the aisle whispered "paranoid." ...
"He's damaged us. He's unnecessarily panicked people across the United States," said Norton, who has often questioned the federal government's security moves in the capital. "Now we have a member of Congress who steps out and says, 'I'm going to tell you something the rest of Congress won't tell you.' That's unfair to the entire security network that is in constant communication about this place."
Paranoid and panicky -- just the kind of man you want tagging along with you in a tense neighborhood. Besides, voters have to ask themselves why Dayton is so keen on going to Baghdad -- still a dangerous place -- when he couldn't muster up the guts to stick around DC a few weeks ago. It sounds like Brave Sir Dayton wants to burnish up his record a bit before 2006, which makes his request to join the group much more political than their wise decision to decline.
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt gave this post a long mention on his show, and he challenged me to come up with a photo of Brave Sir Dayton. I'll be using this often in the next two years as his re-election campaign kicks in ...
UPDATE II: Dayton appears to have solved his travel woes:
Earlier this week Sen. Mark Dayton fumed about being left off a Senate trip to Iraq, but on Friday said he's found a way to get there.
The Minnesota Democrat told a KFGO-AM audience that he'll join Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and others on a trip to Iraq and other nations in January.
I hope the other guys don't tease him about his Kevlar underwear ...Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Payback is hell, Senator from Posse Incitatus
Both Powerline and Captain Ed are enjoying themselves over Sen. Mark Dayton's whining about not being invited on a trip to Iraq. They should. Dayton's decision to close his Washington office in the face of nebulous terrorist threats was a [Read More]
Tracked on December 2, 2004 10:45 AM
Tracked on December 2, 2004 11:10 AM
» Captain Ed Disses Dayton from Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog
Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters explains why Senator Mark Dayton just might be one of the last people one would want to share a foxhole with. [Read More]
Tracked on December 3, 2004 10:09 PM
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