“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.

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