Sunday, September 16, 2007

An open letter to Dave Rye

Mr. Rye

Yesterday, along with several other bloggers, I posted an outraged response to a scurrilous attack you aimed at two men who have just given their lives for their country while serving in Iraq. I wrote:
You would think that the hatred Republicans feel towards dissenters would end with the death of the dissenter, that someone who has given their life for their country should be allowed to rest in peace. You thought wrong.

Sergeant Yance Gray was one of seven sergeants in the 82d Airborne who submitted a letter to the editor of The New York Times. Earlier this week, Gray, along with one of the other authors of the letter, died in Iraq, serving his country. Less than a week after Yance Gray's death in Iraq, a prominent Montana Republican, Republican broadcaster Dave Rye, launched a vicious attack on Gray, claiming Gray wasn't smart enough, along with his six friends, to write the letter to the editor . . .[1]
I referred to you, Mr. Rye, as a "prominent Republican" because you have held a fairly significant elected office (Montana State Senate), have served as a Republican Congressional staffer, and, in the words of your own bio (which, I am told is out of date):
"[Dave Rye] is unparalleled among the state’s broadcasters. As network News Director, Dave produces seven daily newscasts covering Montana’s biggest headlines and issues, with voice actualities from the newsmakers. He also does a daily commentary on Montana's issues and people."
Clearly Mr. Rye, you are far better connected than, say, seven enlisted men in the 82d Airborne. Surely you would admit that?

I note that today you continue to try and act out the storyline you have tried to frame: that it is you, poor defenseless Mr. Rye, that is being attacked by outraged liberals. But why shouldn't you be attacked? You did in fact write something outrageous--it was clearly your intent to do so.

But as I look back at my post from yesterday, I realize that I myself missed the real story. I was outraged by the fact that you, Mr. Rye, questioned the intelligence of these men, failing to recognize that in today's service many enlisted men and women are college graduates.

No, the real story is that you questioned the honesty and honor of these men, two of whom had just given their lives for their country in the line of duty, claiming that these men did not help write something they had set their names to.

Last year Senator John Kerry blew a joke that was meant to question the intelligence of President Bush. The joke, as mis-told, appeared to question the intelligence of our servicemen and women. Senator Kerry was--rightly, I think--strongly criticized. His gaffe carried consequences: he was forced to apologize, drop off the campaign trail, and abandon any thought of another run for the presidency in 2008. All that for an accidental trip of the tongue.

But you, Mr. Rye, you wrote what you wrote intentionally, maliciously. You intentionally questioned the intelligence, honesty, integrity, and honor of two men who have just given their lives for their country. You sought to tear down the reputations of two dead heroes in order to further your own political agenda.

In response, let me quote to you the words of Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy on June 9, 1954: "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

1 comment:

Mosquito said...

More bad three of the seven men who wrote the letter to the NYT are dead....killed in action.