May 16, 2008
In 2008, Patrick McHenry, during a speech he presented at a Lincoln Day Dinner in Lincoln County, weaved a very methodical story about a recent trip to Iraq- one that would inevitably show his true demeanor regarding the troops in Iraq. In his speech, he explained how he was “safe” in the Green Zone in Baghdad, yet he “couldn’t sleep”- so he decided to go to the gym in the morning, “not that I makes this a great habit”.
And so, in the morning, I got up early – not that I make this a great habit, but I went to the gym- because I just couldn’t sleep and everything else- and sure enough, the guard wouldn’t let me in, said I didn’t have the correct credentials. It’s 5:00 in the morning and I didn’t have sleep- I wasn’t too happy with this two bit security guard. And so, I said I wanted to see your supervisor. 30 minutes later, after the supervisor wasn’t happy with me, the escort me back to my room. It happens.
McHenry later went on to explain how this “two bit security guard” actually saved his life- as he claimed that during this rocket attack, the very gym he was claiming to get into was hit by insurgent fire. Of course, McHenry never made any thanks toward this officer- in fact, his speech did nothing but berate this brave guard who inevitably protected his life on that no doubt strange Easter morning.
Naturally, some of the Republicans during this speech were outraged at the flippant way in which McHenry weaved this story, and the way in which he obviously discredited a guard who saved his life- many in the room were veterans of past wars. Television stations like WLOS interviewed disgusted voters- many of which questioned McHenry’s reason for going to Iraq in the first place. Of course, the Democrats, especially on MSNBC, loving every minute of McHenry’s stupid comments, lashed out at Patrick McHenry, openly insulting Republicans, using his statement as an example of “what they really think about the troops”.
McHenry’s response was twofold- first, he openly denied the guard was an American soldier, claiming it was a “foreign contractor”- and essentially claimed that the guard’s nationality made it OK for him to belittle him. Secondly, he came forward with what is now known as his “Green Zone Video” (which we cannot post online due to Pentagon demands), which made any “two bit” comments look small in comparison.
The McHenry Green Zone Video is a video shot in the Green Zone only moments after the insurgents attacked, recorded from a video camera somewhat hidden shooting upward (at a height approximately 3″ off the ground, as evidenced by McHenry’s proportions), as if shot by holding it between the legs, where McHenry gives explicit detail of the attacks that just occured, essentially a “damage report”, including specific locations, pointing to a destroyed building in the background. McHenry, of course, also made sure to note about being restricted from entering the Gym, though not making any note of a foreign security guard.
The problem? McHenry had been clearly told by soldiers in the Green Zone to NOT record any video or give any specific damage reports, an offense which would be court-martiable if McHenry was in the military. Such information is regularly given to any visitors, as it constitutes Operational Security, or OPSEC. The video (which we cannot place online due to the Pentagon’s wishes, see below) gave explicit detail of the accuracy of attacks, which clearly endangered American lives. Brandon Friedman, a military veteran and vice chairman of VoteVets.org, made it clear:
“The bottom line is that whoever launched that strike could take the information McHenry provided and use it to kill Americans in the Green Zone, [...] This is why professionals operating in a combat zone are trained not to reveal any battle damage after an attack.”
In fact, the video was so offensive that the Pentagon demanded that McHenry remove the video. Did McHenry remove the video? Absolutely not. According to reports done by news organizations before his 2008 challenger made a press conference, McHenry’s video was still hosted on Congressional servers for up to a week after the Pentagon demanded the video to be removed. The URL (which is now dead) was easily retrievable from a variety of political blogs, aiding the enemy even further.
McHenry may have been responsible for the deaths of two US troops for posting this video, which led his primary challenger in 2008, Republican and ex-Air Force Judge Lance Sigmon to demand a congressional investigation into McHenry’s actions after reports came out that only days after these attacks occured, two soldiers (one a full Colonel) were killed in the same locations McHenry detailed in the video.
McHenry’s response to this was to claim that Sigmon, his opponent at the time, was utilizing the video as a “political gimmick”, insinuating that the potential deaths that came as a result of this video were unimportant. McHenry never apologized or claimed personal fault, and in fact never came forward with any statement about the video, only removing the video and accusing his challenger of being “absurd”- and refusing to answer questions at all future 10th District Republican events from then on, only using a press contact for all future comments.
One can only imagine how the families of those two soldiers feel- they may never know if a foolhardy Congressman may have cost the life of their loved one.