September 04, 2007

Choose Your Preferred Narrative, but Quit Attacking the Troops

If you are a supporter of the on-going counter-insurgency plan in Iraq, you can find all sorts of news to support why we should stay in Iraq.

You could start with President Bush's al Asad photo-op yesterday, where the President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Ambassador Crocker, and Commanding General Petraeus met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Presidnet Talabani, and Vice Presidents Medhi and al Hashemi. Critics point out that the meeting was a merely a six-hour stop and photo-op for the President, and as such, was a public relations stunt. That the brief visit was designed as a public relations tool is beyond doubt. The undeniable fact remains that al Anbar, a province deemed all but lost according to classified Marine Corps Intelligence reports leaked to the press just a year ago, has now become so quiet that our leaders and the leaders of Iraq knew that the base was safe enough for a public meeting, without any apparent fear of a rocket or mortar attack by insurgents, or of suicide attacks by terrorists, or of anti-aircraft missiles being fired at the two large jets bringing in the American delegation, or the helicopters that (I presume) brought in the Iraqi senior leadership.

In addition to this public meeting of leaders in an area once deemed lost just a short time ago, U.S. casualties in Iraq have dropped in half at a time they were expected to actually rise, al Qaeda-aligned terrorists and insurgent groups have either turned, or become hounded and hunted in al Anbar, Diyala, and elsewhere. Some supporters are suggesting that what future history may regard as the turning point towards victory is either occurring, or may have already occurred.

For war detractors in our political classes, in the media and on the activist left, the war was lost long ago, and every day merely means another American mother will lose her soldier-child in a lost cause. To them, the war possibility of a turn-around in Iraq is unthinkable, any apparent progress is an illusion, or merely a matter of temporary gains before an inevitable fall.

Both sides are looking to make what they can of the much-anticipated "Petraeus Report" (which, as Sheppard Sheffield points out, is actually something of a myth).

Those on the right will take the local and regional gains made in al Anbar and Diyala and other areas of the country as signs of success, and corners possibility turned. Those on the left will note what is essentially a British surrender to Shia militias in Basra, the decidedly mixed security results in Baghdad itself, the continuing meddling of Iran, and what is largely a failure of the central Iraqi government to make significant progress towards reconciliation as signs of inevitable failure. As in any on-going conflict, both sides have plenty of ammunition to continue supporting their pre-conceived opinions, and they have a right to share those opinions.

What I would prefer not to see, however, is the continuation of a disturbing trend by some in the media and blogosphere towards unfairly mischaracterizing and in some cases blatantly attacking the credibility of our military, in most cases without just cause.

The techniques used to attack the credibility of the military vary widely.

Some come from minor, conspiracy-minded fringe players and are easily brushed aside with a laugh, but others, provided with a more legitimizing platform in a national news outlet, are more troubling.

Salon's Glenn Greenwald is one example, as he blatantly lied back in June as he accused of military public affairs system of deception when he stated:

All of a sudden, every time one of the top military commanders describes our latest operations or quantifies how many we killed, the enemy is referred to, almost exclusively now, as "Al Qaeda."

A simple look at the actual press releases from the PAO system immediately and conclusively debunked Greenwald's claim, but it has not stopped him, nor other critics, from attacking the credibility of the military, even as they studiously avoid almost every sympathetic media misstep.

The New Republic ran a series of brutal fantasies concocted by a U.S. Army private as real without any attempt to fact check them, instigated a cover-up that purposefully concealed the identity of sources that they said supported the story, arguably deceived these same sources, and hid countering testimony collected from other experts, only to blame the military for stone-walling their investigation. In fact, the author of this fiction has the ability to answer media requests, and instead has thus far chosen not to take them.

But minor media and bloggers aren't the only ones attacking our troops.

Hollywood directors are releasing the first of a seriesanti-war films, and the vangard of this effort, Redacted, redacts reality to push an anti-soldier, anti-war political agenda.

The leader of the United States Senate declared that the "surge" was lost before it even began, and declared in April that he would not believe any future news provided by General Petraeus that contradicted that, essentially assaulting General Petraeus' integrity. Later, John Murtha lied while claiming that the White House was using General Petraeus as a political prop, and criticized Petraeus for not meeting with Congress. Not only had General Petraeus met with Congress, he actually took time out of his schedule to brief Murtha and Pelosi privately.

Both sides, right and left, have their own political agendas. Sympathizers in the blogosphere and in media organizations large and small bring their own biases to the table as they discuss war policy. That is understood, expected, and perfectly understandable.

What is not understandable is why critics feel it is necessary to attack the troops as they attack the mission. They claim to be able to support the troops while critcizing the mission, but in practice, that is often not the case.

When General Petreaus comes back to the United States to brief the President and Congress, he will not do so as a partisan. He promises that, “The Ambassador and I are going to give it to them straight and then allow the folks at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue make what clearly is a national decision.“

He will speak for the American military, as the Commanding General of our forces in Iraq. He will not speak as a Republican General, or a Democratic General, but as a General of the Army of the United States of America. He will provide the facts, and let us discuss, decipher, and no doubt, spin what he reports.

Fine. Let us spin the data and the findings to support our political viewpoints.

But please, let's do so without attacking the integrity of those who serve, which is a tactic becoming more common, and repulsive, as time goes by.

Update:: corrected Matthew Sheffield's name in the text above.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 4, 2007 11:18 AM

Interesting article however you didn't mention the terrible increase in civilian deaths. 1800 last month alone.

Posted by: Archie1954 at September 4, 2007 12:04 PM

that terrible increase was due to the 512 deaths due to the suicide bombing of Yazdi. This occurred outside of the zones targeted by the surge.

And, while these civilian deaths due to terrorism are awful, were we to withdraw just what would Al-Queda and Iranian Shia fanatics do?

face it, we are now fighting the same people who bombed the US, blew up Khobar Towers, etc., etc. Surrender and retreat are not options.

Posted by: iconoclast at September 4, 2007 12:56 PM

Good post, Bob.

I linked it and added my thoughts about why the left has been so vicious in their attacks on the character of our troops.


The August death toll was skewed by the August 14 attack on the Yazidi village. But for the 350 to 500 deaths from that event, the death toll would have decreased significantly in August. The 1,800 figure may be technically accurate, but statistically skewed by a single "outlier" event.

It is also worth noting that, at the time of that attack, tens of thousands of Shiites were marching through Sunni neighborhoods in a pilgrimage that saw no terrorist attacks and no deaths due to terrorist activity. The bad guys instead chose a village located near the Syrian border, in the middle-of-nowhere Kurdistan. They avoided attacking the pilgrimage because they couldn't have pulled it off; they attacked a village in the boonies because it was the only wad they had to shoot.

Still, the population of Iraq is about 24 million. A death toll of 1,800 represents an attrition rate of 0.0075%. That is an infinitesimally small number. Any significant event can skew small numbers in a big way.

Posted by: Dave at September 4, 2007 01:04 PM

Re: "When General Petreaus comes back to the United States to brief the President and Congress, he will not do so as a partisan. He promises that, “The Ambassador and I are going to give it to them straight and then allow the folks at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue make what clearly is a national decision.“ "

I'll wait and see if the General's testimony is anything but a carbon copy of a Tony Snow news conference. If all I hear are identical talking points from the Rush Limbaugh Show, then we will all know that the General's script was written, not at the Pentagon, but in the White House.

I predict we will get nothing but the standard Administration line:
The Iraqi central government is a failure.
It might work some day.
Let's continue to run ot the clock to January 2009 so George W. Bush can get out of town while still claiming "we were on the road to victory when I was President".

And all the Conservatives answered, "Amen!"

Posted by: Philadelphia Steve at September 4, 2007 01:07 PM

Upon winning the election in 2008, Steve urges the immediate firing of the upper military command, to be replaced w/ those more suitable to the DNC/Kossacks.

Posted by: Techie at September 4, 2007 01:13 PM

LOL @ Steve

If the General doesn't give a bad report, he must be a lying BooshChimpHitler Stooge.

Or part of the Boosh Cheney Halliburton junta.

Or, something.

Posted by: Dave at September 4, 2007 01:28 PM

But we already know the General didn't even write his own report. The White House did. So why should we expect anything different?

Posted by: MattM at September 4, 2007 01:40 PM

MattM, do you have any proof at all to back your assertion?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 4, 2007 01:44 PM

Supporting the troops has always been there. Supporting the imbeciles IN CHARGE has been our complaint. Is that so difficult for simpletons to understand? The managers of the war are incompetent - the soldiers are heros. The soldiers have been asked to do an impossible task by a group of managers who never had the urge - or loyalty to their country - to wear a uniform. To me, that is really simple to grasp.

Posted by: Tom at September 4, 2007 02:08 PM

From Influence Peddler, quoting H.R. 2206:

(A) The President shall submit an initial report, in classified and unclassified format, to the Congress, not later than July 15, 2007, assessing the status of each of the specific benchmarks established above, and declaring, in his judgment, whether satisfactory progress toward meeting these benchmarks is, or is not, being achieved.

(B) The President, having consulted with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, will prepare the report and submit the report to Congress.

(C) If the President’s assessment of any of the specific benchmarks established above is unsatisfactory, the President shall include in that report a description of such revisions to the political, economic, regional, and military components of the strategy, as announced by the President on January 10, 2007. In addition, the President shall include in the report, the advisability of implementing such aspects of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, as he deems appropriate.

(D) The President shall submit a second report to the Congress, not later than September 15, 2007, following the same procedures and criteria outlined above.

Later in the legislation:

(3) TESTIMONY BEFORE CONGRESS.—Prior to the submission of the President’s second report on September 15, 2007, and at a time to be agreed upon by the leadership of the Congress and the Administration, the United States Ambassador to Iraq and the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq will be made available to testify in open and closed sessions before the relevant committees of the Congress.

It's pretty clear to me who is supposed to be writing a report to the Congress, and when, and what the reports are supposed to contain.

If there is a belief that General Petraeus will have the White House prepare his testimony, then some evidence of that needs to be presented.

Posted by: Dave at September 4, 2007 02:26 PM

There is no evidence that Petraeus will have GWB or the White House prepare his testimony. The moronic libs believe that because "they heard it on the internet somewhere". But it does give them a way of discrediting the report if it is positive.

Remember, the Democrats have invested everything in defeat. They will do anything and everything to make that happen.

Posted by: Steve at September 4, 2007 02:43 PM

The August numbers may also include the 500 plus enemies killed by US forces that month. We had a very good month.

Posted by: Chuck Simmins at September 4, 2007 03:24 PM

This is the same Patraeus who said the Iraqi army was standing up so we could soon stand down just before the 2004 US elections.

How did he lose his partisanship in 3 short years?

Just askin'.

Posted by: Robert at September 4, 2007 03:38 PM

Remember, they see every American death as a Democrat victory.
Iraq, Katrina regardless of who's fault it is The Left rejoices when an American dies.

Posted by: EvilDave at September 4, 2007 03:47 PM

The price of oil just took a spike up on news of expected storms in the Atlantic. What do you think will happen if Iran gets control of Iraq and continues on to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia? Anti-Semitism is rampant in Europe fueled by radical Islam and the rants of Amadinejad. Wake up you liberals before you lose the ability to make your inane points.

Posted by: Bill Dempsey at September 4, 2007 04:26 PM

The painstaking work of truth is tedious to the simple mind.

Lies are easy shrift. Who wants to think everything through to a mature, if not 100% satisfactory conclusion? Who can know enough? Everybody's lying anyway. Right?

"Stop attacking the troops!" is well-provoked, but who, exactly, has the power to make the simple-minded reporter/person stop talking?

Might as well declare a war on drugs. Cuz if someone's buying it, someone's gonna sell it.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at September 4, 2007 04:42 PM

January, 2007: "For a nation bitterly divided over Iraq, the one point of agreement seems to be that Lt. Gen. David Petraeus is the right commander for U.S. forces in Baghdad."


September, 2007:

Quite a different story, at least from the cut-and-run crowd.

"Support the troops who support what we believe!" seems to be the order of the day of the anti-war left. The "reality-based community" is anything but.

Posted by: ExUrbanKevin at September 4, 2007 04:47 PM

"Remember, they see every American death as a Democrat victory.Iraq, Katrina regardless of who's fault it is The Left rejoices when an American dies."

That's a hilarious one. Because it was revealed today that Dick Cheney Chief of Staff David Addington once observed that the White House was just "one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court."

You can try and paint Democrats as anti-American. But it's your own side that's happy to kill Americans (both here and in Iraq) as long as it suits their political goals.

Posted by: MattM at September 4, 2007 06:45 PM

MattM, have you a source for the Addington quote, or did you simply pull it out of the first available bodily orifice?

Posted by: C-C-G at September 4, 2007 07:02 PM

That's Matthew Sheffield

Not Matthew Sheppard.

Matthew Shepard (one "p") was the gay man beaten to death in 1998 in Wyoming.

Posted by: DWPittelli at September 4, 2007 07:13 PM

Here's your source: It's from a new book by Jack Goldsmith, a right-wing lawyer who was named by the Bush administration as the head of the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel.

If you're interested in pre-ordering it, you can do it here:

But I'm sure that's too reality-based for this crowd.

Posted by: MattM at September 4, 2007 07:13 PM

There are no excerpts on the Amazon page you gave. Since the book is not released yet, you cannot have obtained the quote from reading the book except in the highly unlikely event that you are a professional book reviewer.

Please provide your primary source for the quote above. "Primary source," by the way, means "where you read the quote," not a site where the quote does not appear.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 4, 2007 07:19 PM

Redacted was created by Hollywood types, but they can't make a movie without money. Redacted is funded by Marc Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

Posted by: Don at September 4, 2007 07:30 PM

I can give you all the sources you want. The primary source is an excerpt that Goldsmith himself released during this interview with the New York Times.

Posted by: MattM at September 4, 2007 07:31 PM

""Primary source," by the way, means "where you read the quote," not a site where the quote does not appear."

That would be too reality based!

Posted by: jdkchem at September 4, 2007 07:34 PM

In case you don't want to read ALL the amazingly damming first-person accounts, the quote I referenced is on page 6.

Spin it all you like - Goldsmith is a hard-core right winger who fully believes in Bush's War on Terror and the War in Iraq. He thinks the Geneva Convention doesn't apply to war criminals. And he approved the illegal NSA wiretapping.

Posted by: MattM at September 4, 2007 07:38 PM

Thank you.

Here's some more illuminating quotes from the NY Times article, by the way:

Goldsmith has recounted how, from his first weeks on the job, he fought vigorously against an expansive view of executive power championed by officials in the White House
I admired and respected Addington, even when I thought his judgment was crazy.

There is also more than one description of disagreements between Goldsmith and Addington, giving weight to the theory that Goldsmith harbors a personal antipathy towards Addington, as well as towards President Bush.

And please, spare me the stereotypical meme about "he works for the man, he must like/respect/admire him." The person who has never worked for someone he dislikes has lived a blessed life.

In short, the book, at least from the review, appears to be the usual political hatchet-job. And you can ask George Tenet about how well those work out. He worked for Bush too, you know, and he wrote a book, and that book has been pretty much discredited by the weight of evidence.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 4, 2007 07:43 PM

Who does the Geneva Convention apply to? Everyone?

Everyone you want it to?

Posted by: Synova at September 4, 2007 07:47 PM

The Geneva Conventions apply to lawful combatants. For the treatment of unlawful combatants, see André, John, Maj, British Army.

Posted by: Fox2! at September 4, 2007 08:29 PM

Geneva convention applies to

2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; Al Queda-Baathist terrorst --NOPE

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; Al Queda-Baathist terrorst --NOPE

(c) That of carrying arms openly; Al Queda-Baathist terrorst --NOPE

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. Al Queda-Baathist terrorst --NOPE

Posted by: red at September 4, 2007 08:32 PM

How did he lose his partisanship in 3 short years?
Just askin'.

Those comments came well before the al-Askiriya mosque bombing of February 2006. As a student of history, you understand what that event did for Al Qaeda and how it changed the conflict. Don't you?

Maybe the student stopped learning when the Washington Post declared Anbar was gone and Senator Reid said the war was lost.

When you find an answer you want, stop asking questions. huh?

Posted by: Dave at September 4, 2007 08:46 PM

Let's not change the subject - as much as you'd like to. You can write this off as a political hack job - but juse because someone disagrees with their boss or someone they work for, doesn't mean what they write isn't true.

The fact that he's donating all profits from the book to charity speak to the fact that he's not in this for cash. And as a Harvard Law professor, he's obviouly not in it for any new paying gig.

George "Slam Dunk" Tenet tried to shift blame from himself and got caught. That's why he did what he did. Goldsmith isn't being blamed for anything.

So what likely gain would he have to lie about all this? And if it's false, where's the administration's rebutal?

Your flippant dismissal is nothing but pure conjecture - seeing as you haven't read the book and all.

What it boils down to is an even stronger case that the neocons are in this for political reasons - Americans and American troops be dammed.

But of course, you'd never admit that - despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: MatM at September 4, 2007 09:15 PM

DePalma is a hack. He completely ruined The Black Dahlia. The pretentious little documentary about the killing that he stuck onto the DVD of that movie is laughable, no matter how gory. His fondness for such bloody fare makes me wonder if doing films like Redacted allows him to have his cake and eat it, too--in that he can satisfy his fondness for sadism even as he feigns outrage. Pervert actually means something, sometimes.

Posted by: clazy at September 4, 2007 09:55 PM

A former Clinton adminstration official, who asked not to be named, has written a book that says MattM is a comment-hijacking troll.

The book has not been released yet, but you can take it from me, because [snif]that is what the[chuckle] New York Times [giggle]is reporting...


Tenent? What does Tenent, or a previous WH staffer, have to do with The subject of this post? Oh, right, it doesn't, and here lies MattM's true motivation... fling a little poo and hope somebody reacts.

Go away little monkey, let the grown-ups talk now.

Posted by: Dark Jethro at September 4, 2007 10:04 PM

Ah Dark Jetro, you're a caricature of yourself.

First, you pull the oh-so-tired conservative hack job of insulting the messenger when you have no response to the proof at hand. Nice one. I couldn't have written a more cliched response myself.

And second, absolutely everythying about your post is completely wrong. The staffer isn't "unnamed." It's Jack Goldsmith. I know that's a multi-syllabic name, which is tough for you, but stay with me. Second, it's not what the NY Times said. It's an excerpt (that means quote) from the book. And the comment about Tenent was in response to C-C-G's Tenent comment.

So maybe try reading the thread before you show your stupidity. (Assuming you can read.)

Now go away little monkey and let the grown-ups talk.

Posted by: MatM at September 4, 2007 10:53 PM

Here's a concept: address the issues instead of attacking each other.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 4, 2007 10:58 PM

Actually, I'd like to retract that last post for most of you. Confederate Yankke runs a decent blog here, and while I basically disagree with him nearly 100% of the time, he sticks to the issues, doesn't name call (like Dark Jathro just regrettably got me to stoop to), and stands by his viewpoint (which I respect).

We need more honest debate in this country on both sides of the aisle. And in the limited time I've been reading CY, that seems to be the case, specifically from him and some of his posters.

Posted by: MatM at September 4, 2007 11:06 PM

I have a hard time getting worked up over a stupid comment. I don't know the context. Everyone says dumb things now and again...I will bet every poster who has said that all muslims should die really is just voicing frustration...and that a member of the current administration has said something inpolitic and rather dumb doesn't really make much of a difference on the major issue of Iraq.

I could easily imagine getting mad and saying something comparable about the Dem candidates for President, but I certainly would be horrified if it were to come true.

So, as CY has encouraged all of us, let's talk about why SOME in opposition to the war feel it acceptable to smear our troops as part of that anti-war effort. Is it because they cannot argue against the fact that we, now, fight against agressors who DID attack the USA, both on our shores and off. Regardless of whether or not this conclusion of the first gulf war was called for, that particular war is over. We now are fighting jihadis and assorted Iranian puppets--both of whom are our enemies.

Or is it because the DePalma's cannot argue against the 100% certainty of a near-genocidal bloodbath in Iraq were we to leave. And while a Rwanda-class genocide would be a gold mine for movie makers, selling that future is tough.

Posted by: iconoclast at September 4, 2007 11:27 PM

MatM (or is it MattM?):

Your comment, "you haven't read the book" smacks of the pot calling the kettle black. The book hasn't been released yet, so you haven't read it either. Yet you throw out quotes from it and get all up in arms when I pull quotes from the same source you do.

And his "case," as you so flippantly put it, boils down to "he said, she said." Addington's comment wasn't recorded, and at this time there is no one corroborating Goldsmith's account. That brings it into the realm of hearsay, at least among fair-minded and intelligent people, and as such is hardly a firm foundation for accusations such as the one you are preferring against an entire political party.

In short, your quote could be nothing more than a figment of one man's imagination in order to blacken the name of someone with whom he disagrees. If you've read CY as long as you claim to, you should be aware that this sort of activity against the Bush administration is becoming relatively common... see CY's excellent articles on Beauchamp, Scott Thomas and Horton, Scott, for examples.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 4, 2007 11:46 PM

Ah, but C-C-G, you were the one who first played the "You haven't read the book unless you're a professional book reader" card. I was just tossing that one back at ya.

And yes, this is a he-said/she-said situation. But my earlier point still stands - what does Goldsmith have to gain from attacking Addington? He's a conservative tried and true - so if he wanted to advance down that path, he certainly wouldn't be defaming some of the most poserful conservatives around. He's not doing it for the money - he's giving all proceeds away. And he's not doing it to save face - he hasn't been accused of any wrong doing.

It seems as if he was just doing it to, as you put it, "blacken the name of someone with whom he disagrees" he'd be doing himself more harm than good. (Unless he's suddenly angling for liberal backing, which, given his still-held beliefs about the war, the Geneva Convention, etc, is highly doubtful.)

So I don't see a logical reason why he would be lying.

Posted by: MatM at September 5, 2007 12:01 AM

MatM, you can't be dense enough not to see a reason for Goldsmith to fabricate a story.

Human Nature 101: the desire to make someone with whom you have a personal or professional disagreement look bad.

Yes, he may be doing himself more harm than good. See Tenet, George. That sort of thing happens all the time when emotion trumps reason.

Even if, just for the sake of argument, we postulate that Addington did say you accuse him of, where does that get us? Are you going to take the statement of one person, in an administrative and not policy-making role in the White House, and make it emblematic of the entire Administration?

Howard Dean once said "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for." Note that there are multiple sources for that statement, of which I link only one above.

Can we, therefore, based on Dean's position as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, claim that the Democrats are the party of hatred? Would you permit me to take that one statement--which is back by far better evidence that Goldsmith's--and use it to characterize an entire party? I highly doubt it. Yet that is precisely what you are attempting to do with the Addington quote.

Your straw man is falling apart at the seams. I recommend you abandon it.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 5, 2007 08:46 AM

Ugh, does this stuff really work with anyone? Don't you guys think we've moved past the point where claiming that criticizing the White House and it's water carriers is equivalent to criticizing "the troops"?

Enough Generals and others serving have been as critical of Patraeus and his already silly claims taht it just doesn't stand up to intelligent scrutiny.

The White House is writing his report, no doubt coaching him because with Bush and the fighting Keyboardists here...


Posted by: Danjr0802 at September 5, 2007 09:08 AM

As one who works in (but not for... contractor) government, you guys saying the President is writing Gen. Petraeus's report have it exactly backwards to reality.

Stuff is written by people down the food chain, passed up, looked over (sometimes), approved, and "published" under the approved signature.

If there's congruence between what the WH and Petraeus say, it's because the WH is using the General's words, not the other way around.

But the General probably (most likely) is not writing his own words either. Some Lt. Colonel or Captain is probably doing the actual composition.
I'd bet a month's paycheck the General DOES read it though.

Posted by: Dan S at September 5, 2007 09:28 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/05/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Posted by: David M at September 5, 2007 10:17 AM

There seems to be a pattern here with vicious military haters such as MattM. For those old enough think back to Vietnam. At first the left blamed the civilian leaders like Johnson and Nixon but as time went by they began smearing the ones in charge on the ground, mostly the generals. As the war went on the left then began smearing the troops themselves. The exact same thing is happening in this war.

The longer the war takes the harder it is for the left to hide their true feelings about our military. How many times have we heard that our soldiers are uneducated dupes? Even though it's been proven they have a better education than society as a whole. It's at a point now where they can't hide their seething rage and irrational hatred for anyone in uniform.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at September 5, 2007 11:39 AM


As long as the troops can be thought of as "dupes", the left supports them. But as it becomes clear that the vast majority of the troops believe in the Iraq mission AND that these same troops are well-spoken, intelligent, educated, etc. THEN the troops themselves become targets for propaganda attacks.

Because, after all, winning power is the most important thing.

Posted by: iconoclast at September 5, 2007 11:52 AM

Damn that Bush and his expansive view of executive power!

I too was outraged at his illegal and fascistic plan to eavesdrop on terrorists plotting mass murder of women and children on American soil.

Bush is stomping the rights of innocent American citizens on a daily basis. This cannot stand.

This Goldsmith is one admirable character

Posted by: TMF at September 5, 2007 12:06 PM

That's a hilarious one. Because it was revealed today that Dick Cheney Chief of Staff David Addington once observed that the White House was just "one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court."

Okay, I really have to ask, because I'm honestly curious: How does the quote above indicate in any way that Addington would be "happy to kill Americans (both here and in Iraq) as long as it suits [his] political goals?"

A quick reading of the linked NYT piece makes it pretty clear that Addington considered FISA, Congress, and many in Justice to be obstacles to waging effective war against al Qaeda. He thought, in fact, that they would cost American lives.

His quote isn't a celebration that soon terrorist actions would make his job easier, but a cyncial observation that the country was one major terror attack away from sweeping aside what he considered obnoxious obstacles to preventing those attacks.

That I think he was wrong about the value of the rule of law and civil liberties doesn't give me the right to ascribe false motives to him.

And while we shouldn't impugn leftists' motives without cause either, I have observed a hell of a lot of gloating about American casualties from the antiwar types and a hell of a lot of cynical use of casualty figures from certain members of Congress.

Posted by: Angry Overeducated Catholic at September 5, 2007 12:19 PM

Great Post, I agree entirely.

Specifically, I would add the vitriolic comments of late regarding the General. It's incredible to me that "progressives" claim to not bash the military when they slander the #1 soldier in Iraq on a daily basis.

Whether it's accusing him of falsifying the bios of Congressmen visiting Iraq that were handed out to the troops, or that he's lying about his numbers, or that he singlehandedly had the NIE change its report in some underhanded way to make the surge look better.

DailyKos, CarpetBagger and Think Progress are all about assassinating Petraeus' character.

And why is that?

Because the success of his surge will cost the Democrats talking points.

Posted by: N. Lihach at September 5, 2007 04:19 PM

Let's remember that NONE of the Joint Chiefs stood up to Bush Shinseki alone tried to speak reason and he got fired.

Posted by: John Ryan at September 6, 2007 08:07 PM

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight, John.

Shinseki said 100,000 more troops. Petraeus is doing the job with 20,000 additional troops--even Democrats say so.

And you call Shinseki's idea "reason"? That in and of itself shows your lack of intellectual prowess.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 8, 2007 11:04 AM