From the Register:
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said today that when Democrats criticize the war in Iraq, it has a "demoralizing impact on our troops."
Further down in the story:
He added: "It's my recall that in World War II, we didn't have Republicans criticizing Franklin Roosevelt."
At the end of World War II, Grassley was 12, so he's hardly in a place to say he read the papers every day to scan for dissent. But that's neither here nor there. This is terrible on several levels.
1) There are legitimate arguments to be made on whether or not we should have ever gone to Iraq, whether or not we should be there anymore, and whether or not we should make a plan to leave someday. This isn't World War II. There's no clear-cut need to be in Iraq right now. And anyone who compares the two needs to be beaten with the history books they obviously haven't read.
2) This is a thinly veiled attempt to take away debate on an issue where Republicans are losing ground. The midterm elections are 55 days away. Of course Grassley wants Democrats to stop talking about the war. I'm sure he'd love to have them stop talking about the minimum wage, health care and education, too.
3) This will work on people with blind patriotism. The "Why do you hate our troops?" people will be all over this in all their stupid glory. If Grassley had said, "Don't talk about high gas prices, it demoralizes our oil companies," he'd be laughed out of the room. If he had said, "Don't talk about Medicare, it demoralizes our health care workers," someone would have thrown something at him. But by combining the phrases "Support our troops" and "stop debating," he's created a wedge.
I support our troops. I don't support using them to gather votes.
UPDATE: The Register story has been updated to show a response from Tom Harkin.