GOP plays politics with Chinese balloon

When Biden was briefed on Wednesday, he told the Pentagon to shoot it down “as soon as possible” (see story here).

The military waited until it was over water, then promptly shot it down. The debris was “spread out over roughly seven miles” (see story here). That’s why it wasn’t shot down over land. “U.S. military commanders had determined downing the balloon while over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area,” the Secretary of Defense said.

But Republicans are acting like they don’t care if the debris rained down on a school playground (and there was no way to assure it wouldn’t).

In the House, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs committee, called Biden’s handling of the incident an “embarrassing display of weakness.” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), who chairs the House Armed Services committee, accused Biden of trying to “hide [a] national security failure.”

In the Senate, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), top Republican on the Senate Armed Services committee, accused Biden of ignoring “the standard protocol for defense of U.S. airspace” and called it “a failure.” He didn’t mention the September 11 attacks under a Republican president who ignored terrorism warnings from his predecessor.

They’re playing politics. You can be very sure that if the balloon had been shot down over Montana, or anywhere else over land, they’d be lambasting the administration for “endangering lives on the ground.” Republicans are going to criticize Biden for everything he does, no matter what he does, or how he does it.

It’s not like they have anything intelligent to say; S. E. Cupp, a political commentator, called it “partisan sniping” (listen here). It’s talking to hear themselves talk, and criticizing for criticism’s sake. There’s nothing there worth listening to.

Related story: A popular flight-tracking website had thousands users breathlessly tracking the wrong balloon (read story here).

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