Saturday, February 10, 2007

Writing Sen. Smith: "Iraq" as "Other"

Earlier this week, I wrote an e-mail to Sen. Gordon Smith to put some steel in his spine about Iraq.

Writing the senator on-line is an exercise in frustration.

Sure, Smith's web site invites you to write him about concerns, but before you do that you need to scroll through a list of topics to choose one to describe your issue.

I'm just guessing, but the categorizing probably allows some mail-answering computer to spit out an appropriate response. "Regarding your concerns about Iraq etc."

This should be easy, I think as I put hand to mouse. Iraq has become our defining issue.

So I set out to find "Iraq" on Smith's topic list, which, oddly, is not arranged alphabetically.

"Terrorism" is high on his list.

I pause there, but pass. I figure "Iraq" is going to scroll into view soon.

There is "administration," whatever that means...Bush? Or...I didn't get my social security check in the mail?....

Scroll on...there's "Defense," which gives pause but doesn't fit. After all, the Iraqis haven't attacked us. On the contrary....

There's "Sudan," so at least one hot spot is listed.

But then here comes the "Clean Diamond Act," which opens a whole visa of possible topics, namely specific pieces of legislation...but it is the only one so honored.


Keep scrolling. "Foreign Relations." I don't think so.

Buried in the list is "Other," which I am beginning to view as a hollow fall-back topic for "Iraq."

And then I come to the end. No "Iraq."

I scroll back up thinking I have missed it.

I haven't.

Maybe Sen. Smith wishes it would just go away. If only.

Perhaps the site hasn't been updated since the fall of 2002, when Smith and his colleagues voted to permit the president to invade "other."

In desperation I choose "Defense" and begin with, "Senator, I respectfully submit that 'Iraq' be put on your topics list. And here's why......"

P.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's web site has a similar list. "Iraq" is a listed topic.

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