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Friday, 21 September 2007 04:38

Catherine Fenton: Hurry, Draft An Apology!

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by Catherine Fenton

"These international war criminals were led by Gen. Wesley Clark ... who clicked his shiny heels for the commander-in-grief, Bill Clinton." Michael Savage.

"Who would have ever expected anybody to go after a general in the field at a time of war, launch a smear campaign against a man we've entrusted with our mission in Iraq?" Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Hmm. Does something about the above strike anybody else as odd?

"General Petraeus or MoveOn.org. Which one are we going to believe?" Mitch McConnell.

Well, how about we take a look at the actual evidence, Mitch, or would that be too radical? Squeeze your handkerchief and take another sniff of your smelling salts if you need to. Let's look at the only journalist (journalist, comedian, whatever) I have seen who has compared head to head what the President said to what General Petraeus said:

Jon Stewart: The general raises a key point. We keep hearing from President Bush how the surge is meeting its military objectives, but we need more time. Well, yesterday, the good general was whistling a different tune.

General Petraeus: The military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met. It will take time.

Stewart: My god! The President's been right the whole time! Even down to the details.

President Bush: U.S. Marines and Special Operation forces have been striking terrible blows against al-Qaeda.

Petraeus: Coalition and Iraqi forces have dealt significant blows to al-Qaeda.

Bush: Anbar province was al-Qaeda's base in Iraq and was written off by many as lost.

Petraeus: A year ago, the province was assessed as lost.

Bush: The consequences of withdrawal would be disastrous.

Petraeus: A premature drawdown of our forces would likely have devastating consequences.

Stewart: Wow! I bet they're friends on MySpace.

Might the above indicate that it's just remotely possible that General Petraeus is not exactly an independent agent of truth? That he is not above reproach? That in fact, his honesty and judgment certainly are open for discussion without the Senate throwing a collective hissy fit and dropping into a dead faint?

Let's look at the actual language in the amendment the Senate felt compelled to pass, because you know, it's not like they have anything else to work on:

"To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces"

I'm sorry, did I read that right? Questioning General Petraeus is personally attacking the honor and integrity of all members of the United States Armed Forces? Are Republicans still allowed to hide behind our troops? I find that hard to believe, maybe because of things like this.

"Still, what may have been the worst moment of the war for Joe and Kelly came in April, when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that U.S. Army tours would be extended from 12 months to 15.

"Joe heard the news not from his commander, but by phone from Kelly. She said he couldn't believe it would include his company.

"His exact words were: ‘It better not be us. I will f---ing lose it,'" recalled Kelly. "And I thought, ‘Oh my God, is something in his brain going to snap?'"

If we were "supporting the troops," we'd be bringing them home, not using them as political cover for propping up a failed policy, hitting the opposition party a low blow, and protecting our Senate seats.

But I suppose the Republicans can be expected to try every last desperate tactic to change the subject. After all, polls show that General Petraeus' testimony did not move public opinion; Americans still want out. The Republicans have nothing and will continue to have nothing through the '08 election. This is what we can expect from them, with FOX news, a wholly owned subsidiary of the RNC, leading the diversionary charge.

What though, can we expect from the Democrats? Well, we found out during this vote, didn't we? Twenty-three Democratic Senators voted "yea" on this amendment, thus cowering before the Republicans. Three Democratic Senators, two of whom are running for President (Biden and Obama) were too scared to show up for the vote at all. And 25 voted "nay" including, it must be said, Hillary Clinton. That makes 26 Democrats who either voted yes or chickened out of the vote all together, to the 25 who voted no.

What is the Democratic battle cry? "Duck the torpedoes, draft an apology!"?

People can smell fear on you, and it's not a smell that incites either confidence, or votes, guys.

The next time a partisan Republican asks you for an apology, Democrats, try this one: F you, stronger apology to follow.


Catherine Fenton
New York, NY