Oh, Boyda: Kansas Congresswoman Walks out on General's Positive Iraq Testimony

From the Gavel -- At a House Armed Services Committee Hearing on Iraq Legislation Friday morning (revised from "this morning" when originally posted on Monday), Kansas Congresswoman Nancy Boyda apparently heard as much good news as she could stand.

So she did the old cut-and-run by walking out (as The Gavel explains, "She is responding in part to General Jack Keane, who testified before the Committee but left before Rep. Boyda’s remarks, and was reportedly one of the architects of the escalation policy"; there should probably be a "from" before the second mention of Keane's name):

"I was certainly hoping that General Keane would be able to be here as well. Let me say thank you very much for your testimony so much, Mr. Korb, and I just will make some statements more for the record based on what I heard mainly General Keane. As many of us, there was only so much that you could take until we, in fact, had to leave the room for a while, and so I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things that after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to."

"But let me just first say that the description of Iraq as if some way or another that it’s a place that I might take the family for a vacation, things are going so well, those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying here’s the reality of the problem and people, we have to come together and deal with the reality of this issue."

Note that she:

  • Is almost certainly mischaracterizing the general's testimony -- unless someone can find Iraq described by the general as a suitable family vacation destination (good luck).
  • Is afraid of positive news becoming known (this would appear to be a smoke signal to Old Media to ignore this testimony).
  • Is, in effect, calling an multi-star general a liar, even though he was likely under oath.
  • By walking out on a general's testimony, is showing that SHE is more interested in keeping opinion on Iraq divided than getting at the truth.

But she supports the troops. (/sarcasm)

Let's visit her campaign web site's home page, shall we? Going to the last paragraph:

Now our challenge is to turn the promise of our campaign into action in Congress. Kansans cast their ballots on Election Day to end the era of one-party rule, so I am working every day in Washington to replace partisanship with leadership.

Nancy Boyda's (possibly contrived?) hearing cut-and-run act was surely not an example of leadership.

From a Google cache of her "issues" page during her 2006 campaign (click on "Foreign Policy" to see the text; backup stored here in case Ms. Boyda has Google cache scrubbed):

"Stay the course" is a political slogan, not a military strategy.

The administration must establish a responsible, realistic plan for dealing with the insurgency and a timeline during which the Iraqi citizens must establish a viable government for themselves.

So the administration has refined its plan, and a general comes in to explain how it's going, in part to see if it meets Ms. Boyda's "responsible, realistic" criteria. Apparently, Boyda's definitions of "responsible" and "realistic" never encompassed "improving the situation in Iraq"; in fact, it seems that she can't even handle the idea that the situation might be improving. Her expressed fears that good news might actually be reported would seem to betray a wish on her part that the mission fail, and her belief that good news testified to by a multi-star general, probably under oath, shouldn't get out.

In light of her veiled plea to Old Media to ignore Keane's testimony, will be interesting indeed to see how Old Media will play the testimony and Ms. Boyda's snit fit, or whether it will bother to cover either.

Foreign Policy Iraq Congress Campaigns & Elections Nancy Boyda Jack Keane