The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

April 11, 2014

An emotional double standard

Let’s have a rational discussion about the word “emotional.”

But first, I’d better calm down. Maybe I’ll have a soothing cup of herbal tea and pet the cat. Oh wait, I don’t have a cat.

Which is lucky for former CIA Director Michael Hayden, or else we’d both be so overwrought we’d be clawing his eyes out over his diss of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Make that sexist diss.

In case you missed it, Hayden took off after the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee on “Fox News Sunday,” suggesting that Feinstein’s “emotional” reaction to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation and rendition programs had clouded her judgment.

Feinstein had said that releasing the committee’s report on the CIA would “ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted.”

Uh-oh. Apparently being worked up over a little torture gets you kicked out of the Big Boys clubhouse:

“That sentence, that motivation for the report ... may show deep, emotional feeling on the part of the senator,” Hayden snarked. “But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”

I don’t employ the term “sexist” lightly. Hayden was citing a column by my colleague David Ignatius describing Feinstein’s desire for a report “so tough” it would prevent any recurrence. Interestingly, Ignatius used the adjectives “determined,” “implacable” and, more critically, “obdurate” to describe the senator. Those are accurate, and they come without gender baggage.

Unlike, say, “emotional.” If you wonder whether I am being fair in using the “s” word to describe Hayden’s comments, consider: Would he have used that word to describe Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., who has been pushing for declassification? (Talk about emotional: On Monday, Udall termed Hayden’s “baseless smear” of Feinstein “beyond the pale.”) Or how about Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who recently took off after the intelligence community’s “culture of misinformation”?

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