As often as I mention the chickenhawks running the war in Iraq, I am quite pleased to celebrate a politician who will put his money where his mouth is. The New York Times reports that Jonathan L. Paton, an incumbent Arizona Republican seeking his second two-year term in the U.S. House, will be at Ft. Benning, GA, preparing for a five-to-six month tour of duty in Iraq and - perhaps - Afghanistan [article link]. Paton, a longtime supporter of the war, is also a Lieutenant Intelligence officer in the Army Reserve.
Paton's decision to deploy is a sign of character that one does not often see in Congress, one that this Democrat is more than ready to applaud. Although five other congressmen are also reservists, congressmen are automatically placed on Standby Reserve, making it less likely that they will be called up. Paton chose to go, despite the loss of four days of campaigning in a heated race with four others seeking his seat. While on duty, Paton is allowed to hold office and remain on the ballot - as he should be - but not to campaign.
So I say to Lt. Paton: you are a fine example of the leadership that is sorely lacking in the United States Congress, and I hope that you return safely, with the legislative seat that you have earned not with words, but through your own actions. To the rest of congress, I say: more of you should have the courage of your convictions to act upon them, rather than just talk about them. The saddest fact about Lt. Paton's action is that in our current political climate, his detractors will call his actions grandstanding, a ploy to ensure re-election. This revolting statement ignores the fact that, as an Intelligence Officer, Lt. Paton is placing himself directly in harm's way, doing himself what he asks others to do.
currently playing on miPod: Oleander, "Champion"