Friday, September 14, 2007

on naiveté and treachery bought a full page ad in September 10th's NYTimes to call attention to General Petraeus' testimony before Congress the following morning. The ad was intended to provoke a strong reaction, and it did. Unfortunately, the language was incredibly poorly chosen, and Moveon's rationale for attacking the general's loyalty rather than attacking Bush for hiding behind him in the first place was flawed on its face.

"As long as General Petraeus is “untouchable” the President can continue to hide behind him. [...] The language of the ad was intended to be both hard-hitting and catchy. [...] Moreover, every word of the ad was entirely accurate—the General has in fact cooked the books, and in doing so, he betrayed the public trust."

Bullshit. The general does not represent the public trust. He represents the policy dictated to him by his chain of command. As the commanding officer in charge of operations in the Iraq theater he is subordinate to the Joint Chiefs and the Commander in Chief, and the Commander in Chief is the only position that also wears a policy hat. By attacking the general directly Moveon has done two things. First, it has stooped to Ann Coulter's heinous level:

Second, it has validated and strengthened Bush's tactic of hiding behind the General's uniform. It's the political equivalent of shooting the hostage to catch the hijacker, and Moveon should know better. They have handed the Republicans a tactical victory and worse, alienated those in the armed forces who remain committed to (whatever they perceive as) their mission in Iraq.

The general's testimony was flawed, disingenuous, and incomplete. That is more than enough reason to attack his testimony, but not his loyalty. Bush is hiding behind Petraeus for this very reason: so that Petraeus' shiny medals can take the bullet for Bush's idiotic policies. Stockholm syndrome does not make it any less unacceptable to shoot the hostage.

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