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Question for the Left
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

You recall the recent reaction by the left to a GEN Petraeus interview on Hugh Hewitt? No? Well these should remind you:
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.
And:
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.
That was pretty much the company line. Yesterday you saw a similar event when the character of both Michael O'Hanlan and Kenneth Pollack was attacked for daring to write something positive about Iraq.

Now the trifecta.

John Burns, who heads the NYT effort in Baghdad has now given Hewitt an interview in which he claims that an early withdrawal from Iraq would be catastrophic.

To those who agree with the left's assessment of Petraeus and the "Brookings two" is John Burns now an irredeemable political hack as well?
 
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Yes, absolutely. He has wasted whatever credibility he had by appearing with HH. It was the dumbest move in his career and he will rue the day. ’Hack’ does not even come close to describing him and his attitude. To imagine that he could ever be taken seriously again after debasing himself in such a fashion strains the bounds of credulity.


So, who is John Burns then?
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
I wonder if Clarlie Rose will be declared "less than a liberal" in the course of the day, as John Burns has previously appeared on "the Charlie Rose Show" on PBS and said precisely the same thing.

If so, it will have been established, proof positive, that there is a new litmus test.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
rue the day
Nobody talks like that. LOL
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
A top general appears on a radio show and is crticized for his choice.
Two hawkish and pro-war authors report that things are going better in Iraq.
A reporter appears on a radio shows and gives the conventional wisdom that leaving Iraq too quickly could lead to disaster.

Pretty mundane stuff. Criticizing Petraeus for his choice isn’t the same as calling him a hack. Hawkish commentators sour on Bush’s handling of the war suddenly finding the surge a cause for optimism is standard fare. A reporter on a radio show is not the same as the top general. Conclusion: Petraeus is not a hack, but should expect criticism from some if he appears to be aligned with extremely partisan types. But it’s no big deal. Hawkish commentators look to the surge with hope. That’s fine. Reporters aren’t subject to the same criticism as the top general for their choice of whose show they appear on.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Here’s a question: is this the thinking liberal’s (however few there are) walkback?

What I mean is that a small subset of liberals are starting to realize that the situation in Iraq really is as good as the military says it is, the surge IS working, and we really are kicking the crap out of Al Qaeda. Such that news from Iraq is so good (relatively speaking - this is a war) that it really is becoming impossible for the NYT.CBS.CNN.MSNBC.ABC.NBC to bury the real, undeniable facts on the ground. They also know that they have to get on the right side of this war or spend another generation being viewed as cowards and defeatists again, a la Viet Nam.

This is the beginning of that process. First respected lib’s will start to say it, then fringe Dem politicians will begin to talk about the surge working, with teeth fully clenched), until all that are left on the wrong side of victory are the hard left fringe, those politicians so invested in defeat that to turn now would make them look even worse (if possible), and the New York Times editorial board.

What’s sad is that we have view these folks from this political prism, and not the prism of what is best for our country...
 
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
Ellison said that local leaders in Ramadi told him of how they partnered with U.S. and Iraqi military officials to virtually rid al-Qaeda from the city. Although the lawmakers had to travel in flak vests and helmets, "we did see people walking around the streets of Ramadi, going back and forth to the market."
And here we have Rep. Keith Ellison flaking with that same old line about "going back and forth to the market".

 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Um, Kay, the custom is to add a line using some form of "sarcasm alert" to comments such as these so that all readers grasp your meaning immediately. I thought it was an excellent comment. LOL
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Warrior, I don’t think most critics of the war think the surge is going to suddenly turn everything around, nor do I think most critics believe that a sudden and precipitous withdrawal is in our best interests. Rather, the issue is whether or not Iraq can develop a stable political structure, and the surge alone cannot even come close to achieving that — again, it could even make matters worse in the long run if Sunnis armed by the US to fight al qaeda, use that against the Shi’ite majority, or it makes reconciliation more difficult. There is no disconnect between recognizing tactical successes in the surge but still believing the strategic goals are out of reach and not worth a continuing American effort. At best the surge could open us up for what I predicted last January (2nd blog entry) a "peace with honor moment." One thing I got wrong is that I expected then the surge to be relatively successful against both al qaeda and Sunni insurgents, with the Shi’ites laying low to allow the US to leave (with the Shi’ite government still in control). Instead, Petraeus has managed to form links with Sunni insurgents to enlist their support in the battle against al qaeda. That makes it easier for the US, though we’re not only not doing the dirty work the Shi’ites wanted us to do against the Sunni insurgency, but we’re even arming some who could ultimately oppose the government. Charles Krauthammer thinks this is brilliant and may allow us to leave with the Sunnis strong enough to force the Shi’ites to deal. It could, however, make the Sunnis strong enough to risk a real confrontation with the Shi’ites. But by the then the surge will be over and we’ll likely have departed.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Um, Kay, the custom is to add a line using some form of "sarcasm alert" to comments such as these so that all readers grasp your meaning immediately.
Typical nanny state thinking. Don’t force readers to think for themselves, give them a "sarcasm alert" so they won’t be confused or have to do some thinking on their own. Rob them of the experience when it dawns on them that it’s sarcasm, yielding a sense of surprised amusement. Alert ahead of time so they can’t make an error. Coddle. Hand hold. Come on, readers should be able to recognize sarcasm, and those engaging in it deserve to be misunderstood if their sarcasm is not well crafted — though some may even want their sarcasm to be ambiguous enough to trap people into taking it seriously, which seems rather cruel.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
Typical nanny state thinking. Don’t force readers to think for themselves, give them a "sarcasm alert" so they won’t be confused...
I’m wondering, are this and other comments by Boris in this thread merely the result of too much caffeine, or is this the beginning of a summer crack-up?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I’m wondering, are this and other comments by Boris in this thread merely the result of too much caffeine, or is this the beginning of a summer crack-up?
I was thinking more in terms of something to do with glue and a small brown paper bag.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I was thinking more in terms of something to do with glue and a small brown paper bag.
Gee, McQ, I try a little humor and that’s your response? Seriously, though, I’ve asked some fair questions about the strategy, and acknowledged numerous tactical successes of the surge. You decry the state of party politics today, and I agree. But part of that is because the political has become personal for so many people, and instead of discussion it’s more like a jihad — ridicule and insult replace discussion and listening. I really think you’d find yourself in more fruitful discussions if you would take the time and listen to those with whom you disagree, and not be so quick to insult. I learn a lot from your posts, and the links you provide. When I disagree, I try to do so with respect and take seriously what you say. Is that too academic a stance to take in blog discussions? Oh well, your posts are insightful and helpful, and I’ve developed links to have students follow (I’ll assign Michael Yon’s coverage), and in short your work has made a difference in my thinking on this. That’s why I read. It’s a bit disappointing that you seem unwilling to reply to me except when it’s an insult, but that’s a small price to pay.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
Seriously, though,
Ah, Boris, I hate to break this to you for the 11 or 12,000th time, but you don’t have no "seriously, though." That ain’t happenin’ for you.

And if what you are attempting in this thread is "humor," keep the tenured day job.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Burns is a good reporter, but like his Times colleague Michael Gordon, has been known to pass along government propaganda as if it were fact. (We see it in the interview, with him echoing government propaganda about how Democrats’ desire for a pullout is really making things terrible in Iraq. And of course the talking point about how a million Iraqis will die if we leave, without any evidence to back this up and without a thought to the 600,000+ Iraqis who have died because of the occupation.)

He’s not as bad as Gordon, but he’s very comfortable with passing along government talking points without bothering to check if there are any actual facts/figures to back it up.

So General Petraeus says things are hunky-dory; war shills O’Hanlon and Pollack says the surge is great, and John Burns proves again that the New York Times is not a liberal paper. None of this changes the fact that pulling out of Iraq is the right thing to do.
 
Written By: M.A.
URL: http://
So General Petraeus says things are hunky-dory; war shills O’Hanlon and Pollack says the surge is great, and John Burns proves again that the New York Times is not a liberal paper. None of this changes the fact that pulling out of Iraq is the right thing to do.
Well, to be clear "pulling out of Iraq is the right thing to do" is hardly a ’fact’.

And your comments about Keith Ellison and Jerry McNerney saying the surge is showing progress?

Shills?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Congressman McNerney wants a "flexible" timeline to leave Iraq, which is fine. The issue is not the kind of timeline we have, but whether we have a timeline at all. Bush’s plan is to keep us in Iraq forever, and thereby defeat and humiliate America. People who actually have America’s national security interests at heart, like McNerney or Murtha, want some kind of timeline.

This is the point: minor instances of progress in Iraq are essentially irrelevant (particularly since the government is only organizing tours to specific areas, much as Stalin once took Walter Duranty to nice parts of Russia). The point is that Iraq has no functioning government, and there can be no true solution to Iraq until we stop occupying their country. Therefore anyone who doesn’t want us to be defeated and humiliated in Iraq must favor some kind of timeline, whereas Bush opposes a timeline because he wants America to be defeated in Iraq.
 
Written By: M.A.
URL: http://
Congressman McNerney wants a "flexible" timeline to leave Iraq, which is fine. The issue is not the kind of timeline we have, but whether we have a timeline at all.
We have a flexible timeline now ... it is conditions based. That’s different than one based on an arbitrary date. Pretending there is no timeline now is simply disingenuous.
The point is that Iraq has no functioning government, and there can be no true solution to Iraq until we stop occupying their country. Therefore anyone who doesn’t want us to be defeated and humiliated in Iraq must favor some kind of timeline, whereas Bush opposes a timeline because he wants America to be defeated in Iraq.
He wants American to be defeated in Iraq? Wow ... thanks for stopping by.

BTW, did you ever consider that if that were his true desire, we’d have been out of there 2 years ago?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
We have a flexible timeline now ... it is conditions based.
Based on conditions that will never be met (Iraq becoming a pro-American democracy), conditions that are irrelevant (defeating "Al Qaeda" as if that’s who we’re fighting in Iraq) and conditions that won’t be met until we leave (political reconciliation can’t take place while we’re occupying the country and arming both sides of a civil war).

Bush knows perfectly well that when he says we’ll stay until we win, that means we’ll stay forever. The point is that we have to transition from talking about how to "win" to talking about how to leave. Bush knows we can’t win (unless he’s an idiot, and he’s not), but he refuses to consider ever leaving.
BTW, did you ever consider that if that were his true desire, we’d have been out of there 2 years ago?
Leaving Iraq is not a defeat. It’s just an acknowledgement that this is not our war to win; it’s the Iraqis’ country, not ours. Staying in Iraq forever, on the other hand, is defeat and humiliation. And that’s what Bush wants, whereas people like Murtha want to leave Iraq and thereby avoid defeat and humiliation.
 
Written By: M.A.
URL: http://
Based on conditions that will never be met ...
Really? Well if you recall, 6 months ago, Anbar was "lost to us". What happened there?
(political reconciliation can’t take place while we’re occupying the country and arming both sides of a civil war).
Again, see Anbar.
Leaving Iraq is not a defeat. It’s just an acknowledgement that this is not our war to win; it’s the Iraqis’ country, not ours. Staying in Iraq forever, on the other hand, is defeat and humiliation.
Riiiight.

Like I said, thanks for stopping by.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Really? Well if you recall, 6 months ago, Anbar was "lost to us".
That was your talking point, not ours. Anbar is mostly Sunni and the problems/solutions there are different from areas that haven’t been ethnically cleansed yet.

The "Anbar miracle" is the new "painting the schools" talking point, designed to distract attention from the fact that America cannot "win" the Sunni-Shi’ite civil war, and that if we say we’re going to stay until we "win," we’ll be defeated and humiliated.
 
Written By: M.A.
URL: http://
Dar€ I say this, this smacks to me of a coordinated effort. this goes directly to the point that I made the other day, and reinforces it; The Democrats are discovering, (allbeit, too late, I think), that their politics of the last couple years, are losing them voters, losing them the confidence of the American people, and a will lose them their power in 08.

There’s a growing yet unspoken consensus in the Democratic party, that the course they’ve been on for the last couple of years has put them directly in line with an iceberg. They’ve already destroyed themselves, and these are last ditch efforts to avoid that destruction. It’s too late to change course, now. All one needs to do now, is sit back and watch. Personally, I find the display rather satisfying.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
That was your talking point, not ours.
Uh, no, that was the assessment of the military intelligence community in Iraq at the time. Hardly a talking point.

And that’s what you’ve faithfully regurgitated here, isn’t it? And you have the audacity to call Petraeus, Pollack and O’Hanlon hacks?

Too funny.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Uh, no, that was the assessment of the military intelligence community in Iraq at the time.
Yes, but the point is that us moonbats didn’t think the Anbar situation was the key to Iraq: ethnically-homogenous areas have different problems.

The new Bush-hack talking point is that the civil war is over because some Sunnis dislike Al Qaeda marginally more than they dislike us. That’s nuts. The important issue in Iraq is the Sunni-Shi’ite civil war, the one we’re making worse by arming both sides.

There’s a growing yet unspoken consensus in the Democratic party, that the course they’ve been on for the last couple of years has put them directly in line with an iceberg.


This is a talking point I’m hearing from Rush Limbaugh and every Limbaughvian. It makes no sense. If actual anti-war liberals said the surge was working, that would be one thing. But two longtime war shills say the war is great, and this is representative of the Democratic party?

You guys should just follow Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is also the truth, which is that the MSM is not liberal and constantly pushes Bush administration talking points — like the O’Pollack op-ed.
 
Written By: M.A.
URL: http://
I’m wondering, are this and other comments by Boris in this thread merely the result of too much caffeine, or is this the beginning of a summer crack-up?
The beginning?
This is a talking point I’m hearing from Rush Limbaugh and every Limbaughvian. It makes no sense. If actual anti-war liberals said the surge was working, that would be one thing. But two longtime war shills say the war is great, and this is representative of the Democratic party?

You guys should just follow Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is also the truth, which is that the MSM is not liberal and constantly pushes Bush administration talking points — like the O’Pollack op-ed.
I get it now... It’s a joke... MA is joking.

He can’t actually have said that, and meant it.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
The important issue in Iraq is the Sunni-Shi’ite civil war, the one we’re making worse by arming both sides.
That is fundamental. The current tactical success will be all for naught if there isn’t Shi’ite - Sunni reconciliation. Or, perhaps, a partition of Iraq. That is starting to look like a feasible way to avoid civil war and even regional war.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
But two longtime war shills say the war is great, and this is representative of the Democratic party?
So, Keith Ellison, the only Muslim in either house, is a longtime war shill? Sheesh, You are so stuck into the Liberal Narrative that even daylight is dark to you. Open your eyes, it is Noon time on the East Coast and 9 AM on the West Coast. It is Daylight! You can crawl back into your crypt anytime now.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Someone commented on Eric’s comment:
"There’s a growing yet unspoken consensus in the Democratic party, that the course they’ve been on for the last couple of years has put them directly in line with an iceberg."

This is a talking point I’m hearing from Rush Limbaugh and every Limbaughvian. It makes no sense. If actual anti-war liberals said the surge was working, that would be one thing. But two longtime war shills say the war is great, and this is representative of the Democratic party?

You guys should just follow Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is also the truth, which is that the MSM is not liberal and constantly pushes Bush administration talking points — like the O’Pollack op-ed.
* The Times runs one op-ed piece optimistic about the war and it’s suddenly "not liberal and constantly push[ing]" Bush talking points? And, what’s next, Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert, and Paul Krugman, not to mention Arthur Sulzberger Jr., don’t exist?

* If "actual anti-war liberals said the surge was working?" If the real "anti-war liberals" were in Baghdad, touring the town in convertibles, eating at expensive restaurants on George Soros’s AmEx card, relaxing in the cafes, and playing stickball in the streets with Iraqi youths, they’d be there to attend an international conference led by Ramsey Clark on how the U.S. destroyed Iraq.

* The last and next Democratic nominees for president voted for the war; neither could subsequently make up their minds which direction the wind was blowing in, so they began dithering in most un-leaderly ways.

* As far as the iceberg goes, the same ship the Democrats are sailing today hit that iceberg in 1972 because of McGovern, in 1980 because of Carter, in 1988 because of Dukakis, in 2004 because of Kerry (whose Deanification destroyed him). In 2006 the Democrats got a second-term midterm bounce in Congress that was about average, and look at the clowns they’ve become over it.

* Of course they — Democratic elites and especially the Clintons — are going to scramble away from that mess, especially the Murtha mess. I saw the Pelosi bunch the other day on C-SPAN having a press conference talking about how they were passing legislation that would finally provide security for the U.S. They were talking like adults, for them. I was shocked. Where, I wondered, did this new appearance of maturity come from? And I thought of one word: "workshop." They’ve been getting workshopped on how to act and speak like normal people. Let’s see how it plays out for them. I’m of the opinion that the GOP has all the political commercial material it could have ever dreamed of already in the can.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Sorry Scott, but this line you keep trotting out about "re-arming Sunni’s" is pure bunk. From McQ’s post Saturday about General Petraus (from Gen. Petraus himself):
I want to make one thing very clear: We are not arming these groups.

I have done — we just took a hard look at this, and the best I can tell, we armed 10 security detachment personnel for a mayor in one town because he was being threatened, and so we did give him 10 AK- 47s. Beyond that, we have not given weapons to any insurgents groups. They have plenty of weapons.
First, we’re not re-arming them, straight from the horses mouth as it were, and second, do you think for one minute that if the someone, anyone - Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Jihadist, wanted to get a weapon, that it wouild be very difficult to do in Iraq? If you spit you’ll hit a weapon, and that was prior to 2003. And probably ’91.

So please stop making that claim. It’s silliness.


 
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
That reminds me of something. What is it? Oh yeah, I know!
Gloria: "Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic mechanism, from which one extracts what one needs."

Billy: "I hate it when you talk like that.It makes me crazy when you talk like that."
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Warrior, I was taking Charles Krauthammer on his word, when he praised this tactic of arming the Sunnis and said it may make them better able to get a deal with the Shi’ites. Krauthammer, those ideas often are completely opposed to mine, usually is pretty careful with his facts so I didn’t think to double check.

I’ll look into it more. As often as I’d like to dismiss Krauthammer’s claims, he’s usually pretty careful.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Yesterday you saw a similar event when the character of both Michael O’Hanlan and Kenneth Pollack was attacked for daring to write something positive about Iraq.
It wasn’t their character that was under attack, silly billy. The right claimed that they were especially credible because they had been "fierce Bush critics" (on the same epistemic theory that courts allow a hearsay exception for statements against interest). That claim was pretty much demolished, leaving with the fairly banal event of Iraq War defenders defending the Iraq War.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
It wasn’t their character that was under attack, silly billy. The right claimed that they were especially credible because they had been "fierce Bush critics" (on the same epistemic theory that courts allow a hearsay exception for statements against interest). That claim was pretty much demolished, leaving with the fairly banal event of Iraq War defenders defending the Iraq War.
Pretty much demolished by whom?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As far as the iceberg goes, the same ship the Democrats are sailing today hit that iceberg in 1972 because of McGovern, in 1980 because of Carter, in 1988 because of Dukakis, in 2004 because of Kerry (whose Deanification destroyed him). In 2006 the Democrats got a second-term midterm bounce in Congress that was about average, and look at the clowns they’ve become over it.
Precisely, Martin. In every single case, the democratic party has been a victim of its own left. Unfortunately, so has the republican party, and the victim of its own left.

I take as confirmation that the republicans, at least, have learned that lesson, the downfall of John McCain . Reality, apparently, has sunk in at last. I also take his confirmation of this, the number of people who are signing on to an idea that I expressed several years ago; that being that George W. Bush is no conservative. Rather, he is a satirist at best.

Meanwhile, I take as confirmation that the Democrats are starting to sense something out there, but are quite willing to admit it yet, this unspoken, fearful notion that resulted in the escape route being planned.

I dare to make to you the following production;

Whether or not those lessons are learned well enough, will directly affect the elections in 2008. The party that learns better, that the only way to survive is to disassociate itself from its own left, will win in ’08.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Typo:

/satirist/centerist/

sorry.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
The interesting program over the weekend was Chris Matthews on ABC [NBC appears resolutely against patriotic support of our troops & any positive outcome in Iraq] when thoughtful reporters like Gloria Borger and David Ignatius expressed their cautious opinion that the Surge was beginning to have a positive effect.

Dingy Harry Reid & his female sidekick in the House are totally invested in a defeat in Iraq, so when the NYT’s Pulitzer reporter John Burns & Brookings came out with positive noises, the Dhimmi-crats rolled out their political commissars for a broadside on the character, skill-sets, and general intelligence of all who could dare to disagree with the Dhimmi-crat defeatist appeasement policy line.
 
Written By: daveinboca
URL: http://www.daveinboca.blogspot.com
Scott, I didn’t know whom you were quoting, but the one I laid out was from Gen Odierno. (That I mis-attributed to Gen Petraus earlier.) McQ’s is from this post: www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=6545.

And the broader point still stands: how difficult is it really for anyone, everyone to be armed in Iraq?
 
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
Pretty much demolished by whom?
Your cites show they’ve been critical of Bush, but that’s a standard part of the war defense template. These two gents have been consistent corner-turners since ’03, and you’ve linked to nothing that suggests otherwise.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
Warrior, well, I suspect the arms the US can provide are of much higher quality then what one can get on the street. But Odierno trumps Krauthammer.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Is the badge of crediblity for reporters an ideological mindset? IOW, in order to be credible, must a reporter have been against the war from day one? Must reporters be like lawyers, taking (or being hired for) a side and sticking to it?

What happened to the "call ’em like I see ’em" reporters?

More importantly, what happened to their audience?

 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com

 
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