“Two-bit security guard”? Update: A contractor, not a soldier

posted at 2:11 pm on April 4, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Regardless of which party a politician calls his own, insulting the troops stationed overseas — especially in a war zone — approaches the limits of stupidity. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) called a soldier pulling guard duty a “two-bit security guard” in a speech after his return from Iraq, which has many progressive bloggers in a lather today … and rightly so:

Exceedingly dumb and offensive. If McHenry didn’t bother to check on security procedures before going to the gym, then he’s the one at fault, not the soldier. Perhaps McHenry needs to realize the risks of infiltration, but the soldiers, Marines, airmen, and sailors stationed in Iraq do not. Several suicide bombers have managed to get past security arrangements in the past, but none for quite a while, thanks to the “two-bit security guards” who protect American politicians dropping in to use the gym.McHenry had better start eating some humble pie, and soon.Update: Michael Goldfarb says that it wasn’t a soldier — it was a contractor, the kind that Think Progress hardly rises to defend:

Think Progress provides the video, but at no point does McHenry indicate that the “security guard” is an American soldier. In fact, if Amanda had bothered to call McHenry’s office, she would have learned that the security guard was one of the foreign contractors so reviled by the left–an individual who in any other circumstance Amanda would likely label a “mercenary.” I did call McHenry’s office and the congressman’s press secretary offered this statement from his boss ….

Does this really make it any better? After all, the contractors risk their lives as well, albeit for better compensation. One of my good friends worked in Iraq as a contractor, and I can assure McHenry that Mike the SEAL is no two-bit security guard. He’s a highly trained professional who does vital work whether as a SEAL or as a contractor.

Ding Think Progress for the inaccuracy, but McHenry isn’t off the hook.

Breaking on Hot Air



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..and he was shot at by a Bosnian sniper.

He reminds me of Donny on Frazier, but not as smart. Kind of like his dumb, older brother…..kind of.

Hening on April 4, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Thank You, Sue & MayBee…

My Freaking Point Exactly…And The Congressman’s, I Might Add.

Miss_Anthrope on April 4, 2008 at 3:55 PM

Count me four. Seemed pretty obvious his arrogance, as he portrayed it, was part of the story. A staple tool in any southern orator’s bag.

deesine on April 4, 2008 at 4:17 PM

McHenry had a poor choice of words and he has apologized for it. He WAS NOT talking about American soldiers. We have the audio of his interview right after the story broke at http://www.conservativepunk.com/articles/586/, from the Wilkow Majority.

Verbal Abuse on April 4, 2008 at 4:18 PM

OT, but this is so ridiculous. The racists at Huffington Post are trying to make a big deal of the fact that a black man was holding an umbrella over McCain at McCain’s MLK speech today.


juliesa on April 4, 2008 at 4:31 PM


Amen to that. I can’t figure out why everyone is ignoring the end of the quote. Makes no sense to include that in your own quote unless your point is you got taken down a few levels.

Sue on April 4, 2008 at 3:31 PM

Once a snowball starts rolling downhill, it’s a lot more fun to push it along than wonder why it started in the first place. Especially, if the effort of stopping it is a bit embarrassing to the pushers.

a capella on April 4, 2008 at 5:14 PM

I’m reminded of the movie Rashomon.

Oldnuke on April 4, 2008 at 5:56 PM

“Progressive bloggers” aren’t alone castigating this retarded politician as EVERYONE joins in on the chorus.

maverick muse on April 4, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Oldnuke, we’re great fans of Rashomon as well.

maverick muse on April 4, 2008 at 6:02 PM

the Campaign of the Republican running against McCrory in Primary is who posted the snippet of this speech.

jp on April 4, 2008 at 6:02 PM

the Campaign of the Republican running against McCrory in Primary is who posted the snippet of this speech.

jp on April 4, 2008 at 6:02 PM

Which one? Graham? Orr? Smith?

SouthernGent on April 4, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Worse than a “fake soldier” is a politcal hack with his/her
“life in danger” stories. It just makes me sick. The real
danger is outside the “wire” where the “real” MEN are Mr.

gary on April 4, 2008 at 6:22 PM

Which one? Graham? Orr? Smith?

SouthernGent on April 4, 2008 at 6:11 PM

ooops, meant running against McHenry in primary. he has a gop challenger.

what is it with Mc’s and Republicans anyway?

jp on April 4, 2008 at 6:27 PM

I’m about sick to death of the disrespect shown to contractors doing highly dangerous (and highly skilled) security work in Iraq and elsewhere.

The reaction to them seems to range from contempt to outright hatred to this kind of apathetic disrespect, and it sickens me.

First the obvious: our government hires these companies. These men do dangerous work, work that is required, work that frees the actual military for other missions. That alone earns them respects.

But second and more importantly, almost every last one of them is either former military or retired military or former/retired state or federal law enforcement. They’ve almost all served their time and done their duty.

Why are they respected less just because after serving their country, they chose to use their skills in the private sector? Is the problem that the pay is far better? Is that it?

So if a soldier or Marine or SEAL gets out of the military – after serving a tour or a lifetime as an underpaid worker in a dangerous profession – and he sees an opportunity to do the same work at five times the pay … he’s dishonorable for looking into it?

For accepting the job – even though Uncle Sam is once again paying him? For deciding to use his skills in combat, rather than getting a job at some company here in the States, where his skills aren’t even utilized?

It sucks. These guys deserve better.

Professor Blather on April 4, 2008 at 6:30 PM

ooops, meant running against McHenry in primary. he has a gop challenger.

what is it with Mc’s and Republicans anyway?

jp on April 4, 2008 at 6:27 PM

I don’t know…haha. McCrory is from Charlotte…the black hole of NC politics.

SouthernGent on April 4, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Professor Blather on April 4, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Common Sense doesn’t work in this senerio remember.

upinak on April 4, 2008 at 6:34 PM

Uggh, I used to be a McHenry. I hope like hell I am not related to the man.

Jewel on April 4, 2008 at 7:55 PM

What an idiot. I guess he doesn’t like his job.

oldelpasoan on April 4, 2008 at 9:44 PM

I could be way off here, but I know McHenry personally, so I don’t think I am. The whole story is him talking about NOT taking soldiers, contractors, etc. for granted. Yes, he was cocky in the beginning because he felt safe. Thankfully, the guard required him to provide credentials, otherwise he might have been in the gym when the rocket hit. He was getting to it being a very humbling experience for him.

I’d like to see the whole speech. It’s too easy to pick the part where he talks badly and then not show the part where tells about realizing his foolishness, which is likely the case here. No one is perfect, but believe me, McHenry ain’t that way.

simon on April 5, 2008 at 12:25 AM

Better still. Put on heavy boot. Have idiot bend over. Kick idiot into next week.

waterfall on April 5, 2008 at 2:27 AM

Ok, its good that he didn’t insult our brave soldiers, but it is still inexcusable that he would call anyone manning a check point in Iraq “a to bit security guard”, those contractors take their life in their hands and are doing difficult work in difficult circumstances. He should apologize.

Dollayo on April 6, 2008 at 12:35 AM

McHenry sucks. He was under investigation for fundraising, he has that punk ass bitch feel to him. He’s from my state, so I can call hima PAB and get away with it.

THE CHOSEN ONE on April 6, 2008 at 8:20 PM

Uh . . . if I understand this correctly, then, immediately following the attack, McHenry realized he might have been dead if not for the guard. Then he goes home to the States and in front of an audience, he refers to that same guard as a “two-bit security guard.”


Splashman on April 4, 2008 at 2:57 PM

He sounds like those condescending Obama supporters when they talk about blue collar workers.

I think this fellow needs to switch parties.

funky chicken on April 7, 2008 at 9:46 AM