Sunday, September 30, 2007

Speaking Out

It seems everyone has something to say.

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The Petraeus Betray Us ad from Move On sure raised a lot of eyebrows.

I wasn't too outraged since it was Bush, after all, who deliberately set Petraeus up as his proxy. Bush purposely inserted Petraeus into the political argument because his own stewardship of the war is no longer credible in the eyes of the majority of Americans. Borrowing a page from the Iran-Contra "Arms for Hostages" handbook, Bush trotted a handsomely uniformed General Petraeus in front of congress and the American people in a way that was reminiscent of Oliver North being trotted out some 20 years earlier. He did it to buffer criticism as much as he did it to protect his ideology (or, as I like to think of it, his "idiotology"). It's a fairly safe strategy... who isn't anxious to revere the character of a soldier willing to risk his life for us? Who isn't uncomfortable criticizing one of our protectors?

I won't concern this post with the details of Petraeus's testimony. You don't need to look very far on the internets to find the points of contention. Besides... on whole, it was pretty much exactly what I expected.

Move On has a right to say what they did but their ad annoyed me greatly. Not so much for its "attack" on Petraeus but because I knew it would instantly be attributed to "the left". Move On is not "the left"and they do not speak for "the left". I would certainly never say they speak for me. But sure enough, suddenly they're my assigned spokesman. Grrr. Also, I thought their ad was counterproductive. They could have pointed out the factual inconsistencies in Petraeus's testimony without being so inflammatory as to invoke treason (yes, I know there are people who believe deeply that his testimony was treasonous). Perhaps it sounds cynical to actually say it, but the truth is that people want to celebrate their military heroes... it's been our nature since the dawn of man. It's very counter intuitive to ask people to believe that Petraeus is betrayin' us.

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Fox News decided pile on with some General abuse of their own (of a slightly different nature).

The commentary says, among other things, that "our generals are betraying our soldiers . . . again" and "our generals in both the Army and Marine Corps have cared more about their precious careers and reputations than their soldiers and Marines under them."

Of course Fox wasn't aiming this commentary toward generals who support the continuance of the war, but rather toward generals who resist the idea of snipers "baiting" Iraqis with random IED parts scattered on the ground in order to help them identify which people to shoot.

What a horrible idea that sniper baiting shit is. There are lots of people who will pick up a shiny object on the ground as automatically as a six month old will taste any object within an arm's range of its mouth. My husband is one of these people. If he saw a bullet in the dirt, or an interesting-looking piece of electronic gadgetry, you can bet your ass he'd pick it up. If we lived in Iraq, this would make me a widow. What a stupid, reckless, and perhaps most tellingly -- desperate -- premise.

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Rush Limboob got in on the action this week with his "phony soldier" tirade.

Note to all: the men and women of the armed services are just as diverse a crowd as the rest of us. Officers might be overwhelmingly Republican but the rank and file are a politically mixed bunch. It's ridiculous to accuse a soldier of being phony simply for recognizing that Bush's Iraq strategy, planning, and execution sucks ass. I mean, really... are we to believe that the only 'real' soldiers in Iraq are the ones who buy what W's selling? Leave it to a Republican to be that egocentrically delusional.

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Columbia University created quite the furor by inviting Iran's Ahmadinejad to speak.

The American uproar was understandable but the lack of faith in the inherent rightness of our first amendment was tragic. As it turned out, the big picture brilliance of our Founding Fathers and their understanding of the power of free speech has never been more prominently displayed than in the ironic foiling of Ahmadinejad's plan to use that freedom against us. Ahmadinejad, looking for a platform from which to further divide us, assumed that our insistence on free speech was a weakness to be exploited. Too clever by half, he failed to recognize the double edged nature of this most sacred tradition until it was thrust cleanly between his ribs.
Yes, Mr. Ahmadinejad, we will listen to what you have to say. But we have words for you, too. And, apparently, laughter.

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