In case you haven't heard about it already:
What a jokester. I know I find the idea of basically taking out an entire country pretty hilarious. I mean, hey, when I was young, I got bored one afternoon and asked my mom what I could do, and one of the suggestions I threw out jokingly was "can I bomb Libya?" Of course, I was eight at the time, and yeah, she called me on it.
The point here isn't that someone is joking about nuking Syria. I'm all for free speech, after all. But it's one thing when, say, a standup comic, a radio talk-show host, or an idle kid jokes about it, and another entirely when someone in an actual position of power makes the suggestion. Then it takes on a level of irresponsibility on the part of joker, I'd say. I'm sure all the people of Syria found it pretty hysterical, to say nothing of its neighbors, who no doubt would've suffered from the fallout. And how about all the parents of the dead and injured soldiers from the Iraqi war, who've died while (vainly, thusfar) searching for the WMDs that Sen. Johnson is so eager to make light of? Rolling in the aisles, I'm betting.
Yeah, Sen. Johnson was within his rights as an American to make that joke. But that doesn't mean it was a good idea. And as a senator, he should know that being not only in the public eye but in a position of power and influence carries a degree of responsibility for one's actions that wouldn't be an issue if he was just a private citizen. That one of the people he was talking to at the time was President Bush, who's almost always in the public eye, makes it worse. I'd like to hear what the people of Syria have to say about this incident- not just his inappropriate joke at their country's expense, but at his dismissive "hey, didn't you realize I was just kidding?" response when he was questioned about it.
Oh, and "just talking between veterans?" Now there's a joke for you. As they said in the film THE OPPOSITE OF SEX, "just because I've gone to a bar mitzvah doesn't make me Jewish."