Monday, September 24, 2007

The Pot Or The Kettle

There has been a lot of hubbub recently due to the ad taken out by MoveOn.Org in the New York Times welcoming home General Petraeus. The chickenhawks, phony patriots, and the usual assortment of right wing mouthpieces have jumped all over the ad. In their usual shrill they are claiming that because General Petraeus is a military man his credibility is unimpeachable and the ad is once again giving “aid and comfort to the enemy”.

I would whole heartedly agree with those sentiments except for a few minor details that they fail to mention in their condemnations. The first is that I am old enough to remember Vietnam, I remember the Generals back then, especially Westmoreland testifying to Congress in a manner that was not truthful. Their rosy scenario of the war did not correspond to the pictures being beamed back to American via satellite from the war zone. For many years they were given the benefit of the doubt and the respect accorded their position in the military, by doing so Congress and the American people allowed the carnage to continue in SE Asia. So for them now to say that military men are beyond reproach flies in the face of reality and our shared history. Of course many of them were too busy ignoring Vietnam to have been aware of the dishonesty that was being perpetrated against the public.

The second minor detail involves the role that General Petraeus has assumed; he is not some objective military man simply following the orders of his Commander in Chief. No, the General has taken a political position in regards to this conflict.

Fact: Shortly before the 2004 presidential election Petraeus did something that active-duty commanders should not do. In late September he wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post obviously as a favor to the Bush campaign, in which he applauded what he called major progress by the Iraqi military, Iraqi police and Iraqi leadership.

It is bad enough that the general, a smart guy who knew what he was doing, interfered in the 2004 presidential election, in effect advocating the position of the Republican candidate, the incumbent, on the number-one issue of the campaign, only weeks before the vote.

Beyond taking a political position in a way that an active-duty general should never do, which demonstrates political tendencies that in truth trouble many of the highest ranking military officers today, his forecast and analysis turned out to be almost completely, catastrophically wrong on every level.[1]

Also, the General was an advocate of the surge strategy and so he shared the goals of the Bush administration in escalating this conflict. He also signed off on the insurgency manual now being used to train US forces, again giving him a stake in the surge strategy. So you can’t have it both ways General, either you are partisan or you are objective, which is it?

The third minor detail that fails to get mentioned in the rightwing talking points is the small matter of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that labeled former Presidential Candidate John Kerry as a fraud and a coward for his service in Vietnam. Senator Kerry was a decorated war hero who for political reasons was slimed by these same right-wingers who are crying foul today for the General. I would assume that Senator Kerry would be afforded the same respect due the General.

Truth: That's the biggest lie of all. Here's the evidence. Until he suddenly resigned, Ben Ginsburg, chief attorney for the Bush campaign, was legal adviser to the Swift Boat gang. The ads were paid for by Bob Perry, big Bush contributor and buddy of Karl Rove. They were produced and marketed by the same production and advertising companies that prepared Bush's attack ads against John McCain in 2000. And, until he resigned, one veteran who appeared in the swiftboat ads also served on Bush's campaign advisery committee.[2]

The wingnuts have requested that all Democrats denounce the ad and distance themselves from I wonder where all this outcry was when Senator Kerry was falsely branded a traitor? The people at have every right to question the integrity of any official testifying before Congress, it isn’t like no one has ever lied and misled them or the American people before. I am all for respecting the military and its leaders, but at the same time I support the right of people to question authority. Questioning authority used to be a valuable trait in this country before the Imperial Presidency. So which shall it be wingnuts, the pot or the kettle?


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