Friday, July 20, 2007

Terror Of A Different Sort

Following is a sampling of the left-wing reaction to Iraqi Theater Commander General David Petraeus' interview on the Hugh Hewitt radio show the other day:

Andrew Sullivan:

I think such a decision to cater to one party's propaganda outlet renders Petraeus' military independence moot. I'll wait for the transcript. But Petraeus is either willing to be used by the Republican propaganda machine or he is part of the Republican propaganda machine. I'm beginning to suspect the latter. The only thing worse than a deeply politicized and partisan war is a deeply politicized and partisan commander. But we now know whose side Petraeus seems to be on: Cheney's. Expect spin, not truth, in September.

Glen Greenwald:

Despite the Mandate Orthodoxy that General Petraeus be treated as the Objective, Unassailably Credible Oracle for how we are doing in Iraq and whether we are winning, his track record of quite dubious claims over the last several years about the war strongly negates that view. It ought to go without saying that no military commander - particularly in the midst of a disastrous four-year war - is entitled to blind faith and to be placed above being questioned. It is not only proper, but critically necessary, to subject happy war claims from the military to great scrutiny.

Matthew Yglesias:

Petraeus [dubbed "the New Jesus" by MY] keeps resisting Hewitt's efforts to get him to say something like "this is just one front in the endless struggle against Iran-directed Islamofascism." At the same time, Petraeus seems unfazed by the fact that the core base of political support for an open-ended military commitment to Iraq is composed of lunatics like Hewitt.

The Carpetbagger:

And speaking of Petraeus, what should we expect from him come September? It’s probably best to lower expectations now. Petraeus’ credibility suffered a serious blow this week when he appeared on far-right activist Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, and stuck closely to the White House script.

Gun-Toting Liberal:

To reach the rank of general you have to be part politician, it has always been that way. A good general is always a general first and a politician second. Those who have been generals first have over the last six years be driven from the service by Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush Administration. What we have left are men like General Petraeus. Not only a politician but a political hack. We know what he’s going to say in September because he said it all yesterday on wingnut radio, The Hugh Hewitt Show. On cue from Hugh he recited all the Administration/neocon talking points.

Talk Left:

Does anyone believe that a proud soldier like Petraeus will provide a sense that he can't succeed? Of course he will not. Heck, if he would, would you really want him to be leading the forces? Unlike Glenn, I am not as skeptical of Petraeus' intentions; I just realize he is human and the commander of the operation is not going to be the one to declare his operation a failure.

D-Day, in a post entitled "You're Either With Us [the cut & run crowd] or you're against us":

I have little need to wait for a transcript. This has become a Defense Department strategy, intentionally reaching out to conservative bloggers and media types in order to get their "unfiltered message" out. They even have a name for it; the "Surrogates Option". Of course, those partisan ideologues that continue to defend the President are all too happy to scrupulously type up military propaganda. Because that's what it is.

This is nothing new in wartime, but it ought to be known that the General leading forces in Iraq is only speaking to partisan ideologues instead of any reporter that would ask a tough question. And Congress should use that as a guide when they take a look at his report in a couple months.

Balloon Juice:

I am actually pretty shocked that General Petraeus took time from his busy schedule to appear on what is little more than an organ of the right-wing spin machine.

Just kidding. It isn't surprising at all.

You would honestly think that the military, at the very least, would want their leadership to appear to be more than GOP party organs. Instead, Petraeus is appearing on Tinkerbell central, and now brings his credibility into question.

Excellent work, General. Was Limbaugh busy, or something?

Barfed yet? Put an axe through your monitor? Gone outside to drop-kick the cat into the next yard? If not, you're made of stern stuff, indeed.

As for me, it leaves me with a few loosely related thoughts.

***How is it that General Petraeus has forfeited his "military independence" and "credibility" by talking to a media personality that isn't rabidly against the war?

***What "Republican propaganda machine"? My party is scared of its own shadow, and the Bush White House is the most disinterestedly incompetent spin apparatus I've ever seen.

***I thought "neocons" were extinct. All their leading lights in the Bush palace guard are long since gone, other than the Vice President, I suppose, and when's the last time the President listened to him? Last November's election was supposed to be the stake driven through their coffin. So where would their "talking points" come from? I mean, if there actually is a "Republican propaganda machine"?

***"Tinkerbell Central"? Is John Cole questioning Double-H's sexual orientation?

Common thread: Only the anti-war narrative is, or can ever be allowed to be, "objective reality". The facts on the ground in Iraq are irrelevant. If General Petraeus doesn't meekly regurgitate the "Bush lied us into a disastrous mistake of a war we can't win and we've got to get out NOW and impeach his neocon ass" as the Enemy Media's latest tin-starred "little bitch," he's a "political hack reciting White House propaganda". And anybody who does not want to see America run away from the Middle East and bring Islamist mayhem raining back down on our country is a "wingnut" and a "lunatic".

Y'know how Limbaugh says that the Dems "own defeat"? This is what it looks like. And they are scared crapless that General Petraeus and the troops under his capable command are about to cost them their investment. So they are burying, months in advance, any and all possible good news that makes it into his September report, and smearing him and anybody else they have to smear, in order to by main obnoxious force bulldoze any other narrative but their own out of the public consciousness.

Thus does a process that began in the fires of the Florida Insurrection six and a half years ago, seemingly finally rewarded last November, take a turn the far Left never suspected. And the name of that process is "Stalinization".

Only question is, will it remind the American electorate of why they never should have given power back to the REAL lunatics eight months ago? Or will they cheer and applaud the REAL partisan ideologues, pour momentum back into that left-ward lurch, and make a second Clinton dark age even more inevitable?

UPDATE: If this doesn't cause nutter heads to explode Scanners-like, nothing will.