NYT tongue-bathes Republican anti-war senator

Dan Riehl pretends not to know why they’re running a story about a speech delivered three weeks ago when there’s “no new news at all” to report about it.

Why, there hasn’t been a show of moral authority this absolute from a Republican since the Passion of George Voinovich. Who, um, later changed his mind.

At the close of the Senate’s lame-duck session, in between formulaic tributes to senators departing voluntarily or otherwise, a Republican backbencher suddenly rose to give one of the most passionate and surprising speeches about the war in Iraq yet delivered in Congress…

But the real impact of the address came not just from Mr. Smith’s words, but from the way he delivered them. His somber cadence resonated in a way that made political Washington take notice, transforming him into one of the most talked-about Republicans heading into the new Congress…

Mr. Smith said that his use of the word “criminal” in his speech to describe the war in Iraq came from his reading of that book, which he said explained to him the “practice of British generals, sending a whole generation of British men running into machine guns, despite memos back to London saying, in effect, machine guns work.”

Much like the British in World War I, he added, “I have concluded that we are employing strategies that are needlessly getting kids killed.”

British troops KIA in WWI: ~910,000, or slightly more than 300 times the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq. Don’t look for that figure on your AP Pocket Casualty Counter, though. It’s programmed to calculate only unflattering comparisons.