Tuesday, April 15, 2008

McHenry video episode should be investigated

Hickory Daily Record Tuesday, April 15, 2008 by Ed Readling

God surely does answer prayers in mysterious ways.

For us, the answer is a chance to get rid of Patrick McHenry as our representative in Congress. He’s always been a minor-league politician with a major-league ego, always interested in promoting himself at everyone else’s expense. But now he has gone way too far and the whole country knows it, even without the help of most local newspapers.

McHenry went to Iraq on Easter weekend to pump up his never-picked-up-a-weapon resume in his election run against three decorated service veterans. While in the Green Zone, he had a run-in with a soldier he described in a speech as a “two-bit security guard,” then went outside and made a video during an insurgent attack.

He couldn’t make himself apologize (other than “poor choice of words”), so he puts his own video on his congressional Web site to boost his image.

Within two days after posting his video, in which he pointed over his shoulder and described the effects of an insurgent attack, two U.S. soldiers were killed and 17 others wounded in a separate attack on the same area. One of the soldiers was Col. Stephen K. Scott, 54, of Huntsville, Ala., who was killed on a treadmill in the gym McHenry described in his video, the same gym the “two-bit” guard kept the congressman from entering. According to his obituary, Col. Hunt was planning to retire this summer to play with his grandkids.

Was McHenry’s ego the reason Col. Scott will never again see his grandchildren? Because he couldn’t bring himself to apologize in a “proper forum,” did he bungle his public relations response into placing a bullseye on our troops for the insurgents? Because he violated basic operational security rules, did McHenry become, in effect, a forward ground observer for Al Qaida? I don’t need to know these answers to know that he has got to go!

I want to see a full-blown congressional investigation into these matters with McHenry, and I want the inquiry fully aired in public so people can see his true character. If it’s possible, I want to see him censured, prosecuted and expelled from the House of Representatives.

Our district can be no worse off than it is now, with him being the target of thousands of Internet writers calling him every despicable name under the sun.

In the meantime, I recommend that voters in the 10th Congressional District support Lance Sigmon in the Republican Primary May 6. I know Lance, and he would never bring shame upon us as McHenry has.

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