Friday, September 21, 2007

Message to Senate: Get us out of Iraq, you sanctimonious blowhards

The Senate recently voted 75-24 to pass an amendment condemning MoveOn.org (of which I am a PROUD member) for running this ad calling out General Petraeus for the pro-occupation shill that he has been:
(click image for .pdf)

Here's the text of the ad:
General Petraeus is a military man constantly at war with the facts. In 2004, just before the election, he said there was “tangible progress” in Iraq and that “Iraqi leaders are stepping forward.” And last week Petraeus, the architect of the escalation of troops in Iraq, said, “We say we have achieved progress, and we are obviously going to do everything we can to build on that progress.”

Every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows that the surge strategy has failed. Yet the General claims a reduction in violence. That’s because, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon has adopted a bizarre formula for keeping tabs on violence. For example, deaths by car bombs don’t count. The Washington Post reported that assassinations only count if you’re shot in the back of the head — not the front. According to the Associated Press, there have been more civilian deaths and more American soldier deaths in the past three months than in any other summer we’ve been there. We’ll hear of neighborhoods where violence has decreased. But we won’t hear that those neighborhoods have been ethnically cleansed.

Most importantly, General Petraeus will not admit what everyone knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war. We may hear of a plan to withdraw a few thousand American troops. But we won’t hear what Americans are desperate to hear: a timetable for withdrawing all our troops. General Petraeus has actually said American troops will need to stay in Iraq for as long as ten years. Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us.
Here's the relevant text from the amendment:
[a listing of Petraeus' many accomplishments and awards]

(b) Sense of Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate--

(1) to reaffirm its support for all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, including General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq;

(2) to strongly condemn any effort to attack the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all the members of the United States Armed Forces; and

(3) to specifically repudiate the unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus by the liberal activist group Moveon.org.

First of all, I didn't see anything in the MoveOn ad attacking any member of the armed forces except General Petraeus. So it's ridiculous for the Senate to imply that it is. Stop trying to use the members of the armed forces as human shields against criticism. It's pathetic.

Secondly, MoveOn.org is not denying that General Petraeus is a highly accomplished, highly decorated military commander. MoveOn.org is questioning what the general is saying to Congress, and cites a good deal of evidence that calls into the question the assertions the general was making. It doesn't matter how accomplished you are, you don't get to lie or mislead. It doesn't matter how good your resume is, if you're shilling, then you are a shill. Where did people get the idea that intelligent, accomplished people with distinguished records of service can't lie when it suits their purposes to do so? And if someone seems to be lying to Congress about the war, is it not our duty to question their integrity?

Thirdly, since when did putting on a military uniform make you immune to criticism? When General Shinseki famously said that it would take several hundred thousand troops to successfully occupy Iraq, did Republicans withhold their criticism out of respect for the uniform he wore? No, they did not. And it turns out Shinseki was probably right, or at least more right than the people to whom the Republicans did listen. So please allow those of us who think this occupation is a stupid, immoral calamity to voice our criticism. We don't have a Deputy Secretary of Defense to attack generals whose opinions we don't like, so we have to use groups like MoveOn.org and have them take out ads in the Times.

Remember, this General Petraeus is a guy whose own boss (CENTCOM chief Admiral William Fallon) called him an "Ass-kissing little chickenshit". So it's not just us on the left who have issues with him. Maybe the Senate can take the time to censure the CENTCOM chief, too. No doubt Admiral Fallon is a deeply unserious, terrorist-loving, hippie Al-Qaeda traitor, along with the 59% of Americans who want to withdraw from Iraq.

So Internal Monologue is putting forward a "sense of the blog" resolution (passed 1-0) that the Senate should stop wasting its time condemning anti-occupation activist groups for exercising their free speech rights and start figuring out how to get us out of the Iraq quagmire. It would be ridiculous enough if MoveOn.org was expressing a minority opinion. But when MoveOn.org is attacked by 72 members of the Senate for expressing a majority opinion on the #1 political issue of the day, you can start to realize how completely broken our political discourse is. How long will it take for the will of the majority of people to translate into action?

By the way, congrats to Senator Clinton for voting against the Senate amendment. Obama, why were you absent? My California senators split predictably: Boxer voted Nay, Feinstein voted Yea. Find out how yours voted here.

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