Senator Bill Frist wants to be the president of the United States. Most of his attempts to throw his self in front of a camera this year have backfired, making him look either like a fickle nincompoop or a sock-puppet of the religious right (that's not to say he isn't really both. See previous post). I was convinced long ago that he isn't qualified to be the President or a Senator. Based on his psychic diagnoses via video-tape, he's not qualified to be a doctor either. But just in case any of you had any doubts about his fitness, this should remove them once and for all.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says he is more concerned about the leak of information regarding secret CIA detention centers than activity in the prisons themselves.
"My concern is with leaks of information that jeopardize your safety and security -- period," Frist said. "That is a legitimate concern."
Frist was asked if that meant he was not concerned about investigating what goes on in detention centers.
"I am not concerned about what goes on and I'm not going to comment about the nature of that," Frist replied.
Frist does not care whether a branch of the United States government acts in secret to violate American laws, international treaties (which hold the force of law), and all standards of human decency. He doesn't care if a branch of the United States government betrays all of the values that make America, America. All he cares about is whether anyone finds out about it. All he cares about is the potential embarrassment to an administration that he supports.
In a letter that Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees earlier this week, he asked "What is the actual and potential damage done to the national security of the United States and our partners in the global war on terror?" That is a valid and important question. The damage is probably very great and not easy to overcome. But Frist and Hastert miss the real significance of the issue. He should not only ask "how bad is the damage," but "what exactly is the source of the damage."
I have no doubt that our troops and country have been put at danger by this revelation. But the nature of the danger is not the same as giving away details of military plans, troop movements, or defensive structures to a battlefield enemy. The danger is that we will create new enemies by acting immorally. The danger is that we will alienate our allies by expounding one set of values and acting on the exact opposite.
The War on terror is as much, if not more, of a propaganda contest than a physical conflict. Every time we betray our values, we lose another battle. One of our stated values has been to honestly confront out failings and try to fix them. Frist's refusal to do that loses us another battle. Frist is acting like the sort of misguided parent who would rather help their child get away with a crime than make them behave responsibly and face up to the consequences of their actions. Frist would rather get away with crimes than correct errors.
Frist is attacking the messenger, in the most literal sense of that tired old metaphor. In doing so, he is acting in a way that is un-American and that makes him unfit to hold any public office. I haven't even scratched the surface of how much this disgusts me.