Media should inform public how representatives voted on war

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

For more of your opinions, see Gazette.Net/Letters.

Deborah A. Vollmer, Chevy Chase

On March 16, the House of Representatives voted some $68 billion to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as part of a supplemental emergency appropriation bill.

The day after this vote occurred, the vote was mentioned, but only briefly, within an article in the Washington Post, which carried the headline ‘‘Congress Raises Ceiling for Borrowing.” With no mention in the headline of the article of the Iraq war in particular, it was easy for a reader to miss the impact of this vote on funding for the war in Iraq altogether.

As a Maryland voter, I was curious to know how my own representative in Congress, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Dist. 8), voted on the $68 billion military appropriation to continue military operations in Iraq. Many of Van Hollen’s constituents believe that only when members of Congress develop the courage to vote ‘‘no” to any further funds for military operations, can this illegal and immoral war on Iraq be brought to an end.

I did subsequently learn that Rep. Van Hollen voted for the appropriation to continue funding for the Iraq war. But I learned this from a source on the Internet, with no help from the Washington Post! Nor do I recall seeing this story in The Gazette, for that matter, but I find special fault with the Post, since the Post is the heavyweight, when it comes to national and international news coverage in the Washington metropolitan area.

There is an election coming up in November. The voters are entitled to know how their representatives in Congress voted on the emergency supplemental military appropriations bill to spend billions more on the war in Iraq. Some voters might decide that it is time for new leadership — but they cannot decide intelligently, if they do not have the facts. By not reporting this news, the Post, in particular, is falling short of the expectations of its readership. The Post should cover in depth all proceedings in Congress, which have an impact on the conduct of this illegal and immoral war. So, for that matter, should The Gazette, and the rest of the print and electronic media as well. The public has the right to be informed as to the voting records of their elected representatives.