Pelosi Orders Removal of Congressman's Tribute to Fallen Marines
Congressman Walter Jones R-NC has a picture gallery at his official website. Displayed prominently are dozens of images of the congressman alongside uniformed U.S. military personnel and concerned veterans. Among them, scenes of his opening dedication of a memorial to fallen solders stand out in the context of the newest House controversy.
Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein wrote in an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle that a poster (seen in the video below) kept on the wall in the hallway next to the Congressman's office had been removed. That poster had displayed the photos of U.S. Marines from Camp Lejeune, based in his district. All of them had been killed in Iraq. Jones has claimed that it was a memorial to those Marines.
Some might view material such as this poster in the hands of anti-war organizations as a cynical political statement. But Walter Jones gets the benefit of the doubt because of his close affiliation with and the recognition given to him by veterans groups. His regard for them appears sincere.
The Republican congressman now opposes the War in Iraq after initially supporting it. He has even called for President Bush to apologize for the war. It seems that it is not political opposition to his views of the war that spurned Speaker Nancy Pelosi D-CA to order the removal of the poster. They were on the same ideological team in that regard. So what was it about the poster that bugged the Speaker?
The official reason given by the House was that it violated policy on advocacy material. As Mr. Fein describes it, that policy bans organizational material from being displayed in the hallway. The law would prohibit, say, the Speaker from brandishing an Amgen sign outside of her office. According to Mr. Fein, the placard contained no references to political action committees or advocacy groups of any kind. So what is the Speaker's motive?
Mr. Fein, when reached for further comment explained that in the weeks before this incident, the Speaker had complained about the poster which rested on an easel. In response the congressman had removed it from the easel and hung it on the wall so it would not obstruct hallway traffic. Still the Speaker persisted and had it removed from the wall. Some observers consider that a direct affront to service members and veterans stemming from at best a callousness towards the intent of the placard, to recognize those who died for our country.