Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton most recently displayed his special brand of courage in vacating his Washington office during the Senate’s pre-election recess. We wrote about the evacuation of Senator Dayton’s Washington office in “Still several cards short.”
Now the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Senate Armed Services Committee has denied Senator Dayton’s request to strut his stuff in Iraq: “Dayton’s requests to go to Iraq are denied.” Naturally, this indignity necessitated a conference call with Minnesota reporters:
Dayton speculated that his request was denied by the Senate Armed Services Committee because he has criticized President Bush’s handling of the war and because he’s up for reelection in 2006.
“Either one of those reasons is absolutely wrong, and unjust and unwarranted, and I regret very much the committee’s decision,” he said in a conference call with reporters.
Dayton, a member of the committee, called the decision “grotesquely unfair” and said committee members with less seniority have been invited to visit Iraq on an upcoming trip, but he was not.
John Ullyot, spokesman for the committee, declined to respond to Dayton’s comments or to give a reason for the committee denying Dayton’s request.
After not being invited on the committee’s trip, Dayton wrote a letter to chairman Sen. John Warner, R-Va., asking to be included, or for permission to travel alone to Iraq at a different time, he said. His request was denied without a reason, Dayton said.
Perhaps I can assist the senator here: Senator Dayton, just because they didn’t give you a reason doesn’t mean they didn’t have one. Put your mind at ease; I trust that if you’re still in office when the troops end their mission in Iraq, you will be allowed to visit and provide some valuable guidance on how to turn out the lights and lock the doors behind them when they go.