Humayun Khan and Sean Smith

I am glad that Secretary Clinton and the DNC honored the heroism of Capt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American who gave his life in Iraq. I’m also glad that the networks covered the remarks of his father, Khizr Khan, and that the pocket Constitution he brandished is seeing a uptick in sales.

I wish that Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, an American killed in the Islamist attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11. 2012, had been accorded the same coverage and acceptance. Instead, her appearance at the RNC was decried by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews as having “ruined the evening”. Like someone brought the wrong wine to have with fish or something.

You can make all the distinctions you want between the Khan and Smith appearances. You can criticize either parent, or both, because you’re free to do so, and no one’s perfect. Both are speaking for young men who are not here to speak for themselves, and we don’t know what they would say if they could say anything.

But if you are praising Mr. Khan for courage in the face of overwhelming grief, you must accord the same to Ms. Smith. Then, and only then, can you claim to take exception to either of these people or their words.

Donald Trump’s instincts failed him in his decision to get into a multi-day twitfest over Mr. Khan’s speech. It comes off as disrepectful of Capt. Khan, instead of taking exception to a political speech. A few points would suffice:

Fact: Mrs. Clinton voted for the war in Iraq, and only moved to oppose it when it wasn’t going well. If she thought it was right, why retreat? Or if she doubted from the start, why vote yes?

It was in May and June of 2004, around the time Capt. Khan met his death, that Sen. Clinton was waffling on the surge, which ultimately worked.

Fact: Both parties chose these speakers to emphasize a key claim, but people are missing what the claims are. The Khan speech was meant to say that the Trump proposal to suspend immigration from some countries with Islamist terrorism is unconstitutional.

It is not, but Mr. Khan was invited to make Trump’s idea look awful, in comparison to Capt. Khan’s sacrifice.

The Smith appearance was intended to drive home the point that Sec. Clinton lied about Benghazi, even to the family members of the fallen Americans.

She did, unless numerous other people are lying.

It’s all free speech, but if you want to be consistent, either both Khan and Smith are tools, or both are Americans who can speak out and be analyzed accordingly.

One other point, and it’s not a small one: neither Sean Smith nor Humayun Khan, were drafted. Both volunteered to be in harm’s way, for their country, with alacrity, and their sacrifices were their own, no one else’s.

I’m grateful to them both, no matter what anyone says.

 

 

 

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