15 September 2007

Media Politics: Trying to Change the Subject

Well, Republicans apparently have their panties all in a knot about the advertisement that moveon.org ran in The New York Times last Monday. The advertisement, a larger version of which you can see here, criticized General Pertraeus for presenting a wildly inaccurate account of conditions "on the ground" in Iraq. There are a number of things to mention about all this.

The first thing is the sheer hypocricy of right-wingers whining when someone's military service and "character" are called into question. Remember how right-wingers questioned John Kerry's Viet Nam war service? How about Max Cleland? (All of that is especially despicable given the by now tiredly familiar story about how none of the architects of our Iraq policy availed themselves of the opportunity for active duty military service.)

The second thing is that Petraeus was selling a policy that is, charitably put, bullshit. He was in on the design of the surge and is recommending a troop "reduction" that, after roughly 18 months of surging, would reduce our forces only to pre-surge levels. That is a shell game. He ran it for the administration. He also, purportedly, ran it out of his own political ambitions.

The third thing is that it hardly is unprecedented for BushCo to send an "honorable" military man out to sell its policies in ways that hardly are straightforward. Can you spell C-o-l-i-n P-o-w-e-l-l? Rhymes with Petraeus, no?

Fourth, moveon.org cites sources for each claim in the advert on their web page. Republicans may not like the ad, but they might argue back with reasons and evidence. That could be tricky though, given BushCo's own report to Congress yesterday that called into question the extent of both military and political "progress" in Iraq.

Finally, what is at issue here is not what some liberal advocacy group says about the fiasco in Iraq but the actual fiasco. Since they cannot really talk about the dismal situation BushCo have created in Iraq, the right wants to change the subject.

My advice? Keep your eye on the ball. That means telling the right-wingers to stop whining and telling the administration (as well as the spinelsss Democrats) to end the war.

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Anonymous Dawei from Beijing said...

Who exactly is moveon.org trying to protect? Many soldiers have expressed their willingness to stay and fight for American interests in Iraq. Even soldiers who have been maimed and mutilated say they would go back if they could. Are they trying to protect Iraqi civilians? That's ironic considering that when and if America will leave every last Sunni will be murdered and eventually the Kurds too. I've said this before on this blog but it's worth repeating: the notion that the U.S. will pack up and walk away from Iraq and essentially handover the region to Iran on a silver platter is a fool's assertion. The U.S. will not leave Iraq, or the region, no matter how many stickers and websites the "anti-war" movement puts up.

BTW, why do people still call this a "war." This is neither a war nor an occupation. The U.S. long defeated Saddam's half-assed military. By what logic is the U.S. at war with Iraq when the political leadership and countless civilians have expressed that they want the U.S. there? The U.S. is at war with Al-Quaeda and other radical lunatics who are trying their best to create in Iraq a haven for fanatics, and that's exactly where it seems to be headed. Are people that ignorant that they mistake these fanatics who plant IED's and chant Allhu Akbar as some sort of freedom fighting revolutionaries whose aim is free Iraq from the Americans and create a free, just, utopia? Give me a break!

15 September, 2007 21:53  
Blogger stanco said...

The US didn't learn from the Bay of Pigs fiasco, when they predicted the majority of Cubans would fight beside them, they didn't learn from Nam- and this current administration is well beyond listening, let alone learning.

US soldiers must consider anyone in Iraq as The Enemy, that's why countless, innocent Iraqi civilians are dead- and why they'll continue to die in our name and by our hands as long as we remain there.

We let Osama escape at Bor Bora, then we brought Al Quaeda into Iraq. The US can't put Humpty back together; this administration destroys, it does not fix, repair or restore, at home or abroad. And we have effectively destoyed Iraq, the country we chose to "liberate." We've replaced a ruthless dictator (who we supported) by throwing the entire country and its population into its death throes, whether we stay or leave.

16 September, 2007 02:00  
Blogger stanco said...

And pray these idiot, maniacs don't bomb Iran before they leave..

16 September, 2007 02:02  
Anonymous Dawei from Beijing said...

The assertion that the U.S. destroyed Iraq is silly because there was never a proper, cohesive Iraqi society to begin with. The only reason Iraqis played nice under Saddam was because there was hell to pay if they didn't. Germany was twice crushed in WWI and WWII, did the residents of Munich, as a result, decide to slaughter all the Berliners? Of course not. The U.S. invasion has nothing to do with their savage sectarianism-we're caught in the midst of the inevitable. I agree that this war is an epic blunder that should have never been but that doesn't justify making an even bigger mistake of pulling out immaturely and without taking all things to account. If you got involved in a bad business deal based on a fool's prognosis will you pull out of the deal at any expense, on principle, even if completing the deal is a less costly option?

16 September, 2007 02:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news, Jim. Looks like your president is getting ready to stop all the hostile, posturing, belligerent, terrorist-supporting, convert to Islam or die, aggressive nonsense of Iranian Islam:


War is perhaps on its way, and Iran is starting it. Quite convenient - because it gives the US a reason to finish it.

16 September, 2007 07:23  
Blogger stanco said...

The epic blunder (beyond all logic) is to continue to believe that this administration cares enough to follow up anything in a responsible manner.

16 September, 2007 11:31  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Anon, I guess you've missed the several posts I've written on the impending US-Iran conflict? My mistake, I thought perhaps you might read and think before running your mouth. Ooops, sorry.

Your comment reminds me of when my boys were younger and, when conflict flared, would each shout ... "But he started it!" Bush and his cronies and their minions are no smarter than Ahmadinejad and his. The U.S. will be no more able to "finish" a war with Iran than they have been able to "finish" the war in Iraq. In fact, they arguably are much less able to do so.

16 September, 2007 13:03  
Anonymous Dawei from Beijing said...

I'm not too big on Thomas Friedman but he had an Op-ed in the Times last week that perfectly summed up the Iraq war. He used China to compare what the two superpowers have been up to for the last six years: China - massive economic growth, massive domestic investments, increased international prestige and influence, and preparing for the Beijing Olympics. The U.S. - 2 wars with no end in sight, a mortgage crisis, Katrina, the collapsing infrastructure as exemplified by the bridge in Minneapolis, nasty partisan politics, decreased international prestige, and huge debts. Friedman is on the money. The U.S. needs to start investing in ITSELF rather than the bullshit "global war on terror" with the "Islamo-fascists". It's unbelievable what these clowns got the U.S. involved in.

16 September, 2007 20:04  

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