Like us, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid is pretty damn pissed off at White House Press Secretary Tony Snow’s callous disregard for the American military men and women killed in Iraq.
Said Reid fro the floor of the Senate Friday:
In the Senate yesterday, we had a moment of silence because we lost our 2,500th troop in Iraq. It was a solemn milestone which we observed in this Chamber.
Over at the White House, I guess they have a different feeling. In all the news around the country today, there’s a quote from Tony Snow, the President’s Press Secretary, who said in response to the news, "it’s a number."
"It’s a number."
I say to the White House, it’s more than a number. It’s somebody’s son or daughter, someone’s father or mother, a neighbor, an uncle, or an aunt.
In Nevada, we’ve lost 39 soldiers in Iraq. Every one of them is more than a number.
I wonder how my friends – the Lukacs and the Salazars – feel about that statement?
These are two Nevada families I met around Memorial Day in my office, and then again at Memorial Day Ceremonies in Boulder City. Both of them had lost sons in Iraq.
I wonder how they feel about their sons being just numbers?
They’re not just numbers. They’re no more numbers than the people who have been wounded. They’re not numbers either.
All of them–they’re people–people who in many instances who have lost eyes and legs and arms and are paralyzed.
They’re not just numbers.
Mr. President, I think maybe we should discuss briefly what a Republican Congressman said yesterday. I know this man, know him well. I’ve been going to the House gym for a lot of years, and a man who also goes there–by the name of Wayne Gilchrest–is my friend. He is a Republican Congressman from Maryland.
One day, we were standing in the House gym–I’ve known him for many, many years–and because of our knowing one another, he was – he was shaving, actually, with his shirt off and on his back – I noticed he had a real scar. I said, Wayne, what is that scar? He said, I was shot in Vietnam.
He was a sergeant. Raised his arm to fire and as he did that, somebody shot him through the chest. The bullet came out of his back and left a big scar.
The words he remembers is "Sarg has been shot. Hope he’s not dead."
He survived after many months in hospitals. He was a school teacher when he came back from Vietnam, taught kids. Now he is a member of Congress and has been for sometime. Here’s what he said in the Washington Post Yesterday.
"I can’t help but feel through eyes of a combat-wounded Marine in Vietnam, if someone was shot, you tried to save his life. . . . While you were in combat, you had a sense of urgency to end the slaughter, and around here we don’t have that sense of urgency."
"To me, the administration does not act like there’s a war going on. The Congress certainly doesn’t act like there’s a war going on. If you’re raising money to keep the majority, if you’re thinking about gay marriage, if you’re doing all this other peripheral stuff, what does that say to the guy who’s about ready to drive over a land mine?"
Mr. President, our troops are more than just numbers, and they deserve a better debate.
Our troops also deserve a better Commander-in Chief.