I try to avoid Zurawik’s fellow villager pundit Kathleen Parker, but her most recently concocted dreck (here) on the amendment sponsored by Sen. Al Franken in response to the ordeal suffered by KBR contractor Jamie Leigh Jones (pictured) is too odious to ignore…
The amendment, which passed Oct. 6 by a 68 to 30 vote, was intended to prevent the Pentagon from contracting with companies that require employees to resolve disputes over sexual assault and discrimination through arbitration rather than through the courts.
The impetus behind the amendment was the 2005 horror story of (Jones), then a 20-year-old employee of Halliburton/KBR in Iraq, who alleged that she was drugged, gang-raped and held captive for 24 hours in a shipping container without food or water. When Jones sought legal recourse, the defense contractor argued that, under its employment contract, she had to pursue her complaint through arbitration rather than the courts.
So far so good with Parker – but…
No one hearing details of the alleged assault wants to be on the side of those who attacked her — or the company that refused to help her. If you’re a remotely savvy politician, that’s not a battle you want to join.
How about a politician possessing a modicum of basic human decency? What does “savvy” have to do with trying to comprehend Jones’ horrifying ordeal?
One might assume, therefore, that there must be some reasonable explanation for 30 Republican senators taking a position that would invite vilification. It’s true that Halliburton donates seven times more campaign money to Republicans than to Democrats, according to http://CampaignMoney.com. Then again, while we’re crunching numbers, journalists donate disproportionately to Democrats — more than five times as much as they give to the GOP.
The implication that campaign funding for either party had anything whatsoever to do with deciding to do the right thing here is almost too repugnant for words.
And the only fault that Parker can find with the 30 senators who opposed the Franken amendment is that they “haven’t been brilliant in explaining their position” (of course, for these 30 utterly clueless and heartless life forms, they’re lucky I suppose that Parker is here to explain their position for them).
See, according to Parker, the amendment was opposed by the 30 senators, the Department of Defense and the White House because if was “overbroad,” which may or may not be true. However, according to TPM here…
The White House does say it supports “the intent of the amendment,” spokesman Tommy Vietor told TPM.
Vietor also said the White House is working with legislators to rework the amendment “to make sure it is enforceable.”
The Senate legislation, part of a defense appropriations bill, must still be merged with a House bill before it can be signed.
And just as a reminder, here are more details on what Jones endured, which led to the Franken amendment…
Ms Jones was working in Iraq during Iraqi Operation Freedom for KRB when she was brutally sexually assaulted. When she reported the gang rape, she was held imprisoned in a shipping container by two armed KBR guards until she could call the Embassy to reach her father, after which she was rescued.
Ms Jones needed reconstructive surgery due to the brutal nature of her attack. Reconstructive surgery! And the assailants claim it was “consensual”. Her breasts were misshapen and torn from the wall of her chest, among other painful injuries she sustained.
Of course, far be it for Parker to include all of this in her screed, a typically “through the looking glass” bit of bogus Beltway blather trying to defend the utterly indefensible.
I think I speak for many when I say that I think Jones is a hero. I cannot comprehend her bravery, and the very least we can do to honor it is to pass the amendment with whatever modifications for enforceability are necessary so that it is signed into law at the earliest possible moment.
Which would thus subvert the obstruction of at least 30 ignorant white men who only want Jones to shut up and go away.