September 12, 2007

"Gen. Andrew Jackson probably would have responded to these reflections on his honor with a series of duels."

"Gen. Petraeus, in the manner of the modern Army, patiently answered with a series of facts and charts showing military progress in Iraq that seemed unimaginable even six months ago."

Writes Michael Gerson.

I don't know about you, but I cannot bear the personal attacks on Petraeus. Argue with him on what his report means, find the holes in the statistics, cross-examine him, but respect him.

225 comments:

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Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin said...

jane said...

Beth, MoveOn and the Swiftboaters are equivalent? Really?

The Swiftboaters dimished the value of all military honors. For someone like me, with no military experience (first-hand or otherwise), the lesson I learned from the Swiftboat episode is that just because someone has a combat medal, doesn't mean they did anything to deserve it. I don't know John Kerry. He's just another former soldier. So if other former soldiers are coming out saying he didn't deserve his medal, I have to wonder how many others don't deserve theirs.

The MoveOn and Swiftboat ads are both attacks on individual soldiers that ultimately tarnished the military as a whole. In the end, both of these men (John Kerry and David Petraeus) were attacked for political gain. And neither of them suffered* (or will suffer) for it. The brunt of the consequences will fall on the other soldiers and verterans who will now see their medals devalued and their honor questioned.

I don't know what it means to "support the troops". Most people who so adamantly insist that they "support the troops" seem to mean that they either wish them well (in a good-karma kind of way) or believe that advancing their own political agenda is best for them. Neither of these does much for the troops, in my opinion. But the whole mudfight over which soldier deserves respect or who was in Cambodia on Christmas doesn't seem to be "supporting" anyone.


*Yes, John Kerry lost the election. But he's still a US Senator and probably will be for the rest of his life. He's going to be fine.

jane said...

Justin,

You've missed it completely, sorry. Supporting the troops doesn’t and hasn’t ever meant lionizing each and every enlisted service member or officer. Some do not perform their duties well or admirably. But at the time of Kerry’s service, his compadres did not go public and smear him to the world. It was Kerry who slandered his fellow service members in his now discredited Winter Soldier testimony to Congress. It was Kerry who made up stories about gruesome, wanton killing and magic hats, telling the world that much of our military were liars and murderers and that we were in Cambodia when we said we weren’t—all this just to get himself known and elected to office. Either that, or he’s a pathological liar and needs help. Take your pick

There are other despicable things Kerry did post his service, enemies with whom he met, etc. He threw away his (flesh wound) medals in a big protest, only to get them back and use/ abuse them for political campaigns later.

There is NO equivalence between the Swiftboat men who served with honor and whom Kerry horribly besmirched by association years ago and the MoveOn anti-war malcontents and partisan nutcases largely funded by that billionaire megalomaniac Soros.

MovOn's "General Betray Us and cooked books" ad takes a few steps down that path of Winter Soldier calumny.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Theo wrote:

I try to use plain, Anglo-Saxon words. It's a well-known rule of good English style.

Ahahahahahaa! You are a riot Theo!

Anglo-Saxon words, eh? Do you mean something like this?

hwæt we gar-dena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
oft scyld scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas, syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden; he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,
oðþæt him æghwylc þær ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan. þæt wæs god cyning!


Well?

Thanks, Theo; good laughs are too rare around here. I give you top marks for your effort.

Trooper York said...

The first real damaging instance of "Swift-boating" occurred with the revolutionary war hero Benedict Arnold. Arnold led a valiant attempt at conquering Quebec which was brilliantly portrayed in the novel Arundel by Kenneth Roberts. He was also the combat leader who was the real reason for the very important victory at Saratoga which basically saved the Revolution. However he was wounded and incapacitated. He sought recompense and an adequate pension from an ungrateful and partisan Congress, but political opponents vilified him and denied him his just due for his heroic exploits. General Washington was extremely sympathetic and persuaded him to accept a sinecure as the commander at West Point, which he famously tried to betray. His name has become synonymous with betrayal and lives on in infamy and as an epithet hurled at political opponents to this very day. In fact his only positive legacy is the tasty little breakfast dish he developed in his later days in exile in England. Benedict Arnold is a name that lives on in infamy in history, but Eggs Benedict floushies in the culinary arts (A sovereign hangover remedy).

Justin said...

jane said...

Supporting the troops doesn’t and hasn’t ever meant lionizing each and every enlisted service member or officer.

I'm not suggestion anyone should be lionized.

But at the time of Kerry’s service, his compadres did not go public and smear him to the world. It was Kerry who slandered his fellow service members ...

I agree that what he did was disgusting. I think everything you mentioned did more harm to the military than both the Swiftboat and MoveOn ads.

I know it looks like I am defending Kerry, but I'm not. There's no justification for what he did, and he should be held to account. But his behaviour does not excuse the same from the other side.

There are many ways that Kerry's "Reporting for Duty" campaign could have used against him without discrediting his medals. You just listed several things that were used to discredit his ability to lead the military. There is nothing in that paragraph that is out of line. Point out his lies. Show how he slandered his fellow soldiers. Argue that he's "unfit for command". But don't question the legitimacy of his (and every other soldier's) awards.

The fact is, he was awarded medals. Did he earn them? I don't know. But if other Vietnam veterans are saying that he didn't, then there's no reason for me to believe that others didn't either. A combat medal is something to be proud of. Unless everyone who sees it wonders if you really earned it.

He threw away his (flesh wound) medals ...

See, here's another example of degrading his awards. Purple Heart? Big deal. John Kerry got three of those for flesh wounds. Anyone can get one.

There is NO equivalence between the Swiftboat men who served with honor and whom Kerry horribly besmirched by association years ago and the MoveOn anti-war malcontents and partisan nutcases largely funded by that billionaire megalomaniac Soros.

Yes, there is. They both attacked a military man for partisan gain.

jane said...

No, Justin. The Swiftboat group attacked a politician who once served, not admirably in their book, who slandered our military after his service, who lied about a hat and Cambodia, who threw away medals that didn't mean much to him, who re-acquired them when he started running for office, who has a very poor voting record on military and foreign policy issues, and last, and this was the last straw, who used his stint in VietNam to bolster his Presidential run, the same war and service he besmirched for all of the other Nam vets.

THAT'S when the Swiftboaters could no longer abide his weasel ways and spoke up as to the quality of his service and leadership they experienced those many years ago.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jane said...

General Petraeus is a sitting General in command of an important, on-going mission. His credibility counts for lives and success in theater. For Hillary to declare that his report requires a suspension of disbelief is to undercut him and the troops serving under him as they fight to win the confidence of different Iraqis.

Having once served does NOT inoculate anyone from criticism. Even currently serving military should be subject to criticism. But the how, when and proof of such critique or expression of dissatisfaction needs to take into account that it's cheap to attack serving mil on a partisan basis when they are required not to be political in return; that different interpretations of policy and numbers shouldn't necessarily call into question someone's integrity unless there's specific proof of malfeasance or lying; that, especially during war or deployment, gratuitous undercutting of our mil or its leadership has real consequences of blood shed and mission failure; and, finally, that most of our serving military are committed to honor, duty and country, and to crudely call that into question without specific and credible evidence is beyond disgusting and demoralizing to our armed forces. And morale counts for a lot. It's one of the best weapons in the arsenal, if maintained well.

Justin said...

jane said...

THAT'S when the Swiftboaters could no longer abide his weasel ways and spoke up as to the quality of his service and leadership they experienced those many years ago.

You're missing my point. They can talk about his service and leadership all they want. They crossed the line when they said he didn't deserve his medals.

Luckyoldson said...

Sooooo, Petraeus is telling the truth, but all of the other generals and military experts were...lying?

This is nothing more than a new spin on the old spin.

30,000 soldiers out by March...leaves us with the same number we had when the magnificent "SURGE" began.

And I love the 14 month timetable that coincides with the November 2008 elections.

Bush will leave this mess to whoever wins the White House, head for his ranch in Crawford...and begins scheduling his speeches...so he can "replenish the ol' coffers."

And we'll still be trapped in Iraq, with Americans dying every day of the week.

What a terrific guy.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cyrus pinkerton said...

Theo,

I don't understand why you're trying so hard to offend me, but let me assure you that it won't work. If you want to believe my writing is inadequate, that's fine with me. If you feel you need to announce your opinion on this blog, I'm not going to complain about it. Frankly I can't take seriously the opinion of someone who doesn't know the difference between the English and Anglo-Saxon languages.

In this regard, I honestly thought I was doing you a favor by pretending that you were playing the clown rather than slamming you for your arrogance and stupidity. I apologize if my attempt to save you some embarrassment is unappreciated.

By the way, if in the future you aren't able to understand what I've written, you can always ask for clarification and I'll do my best to help you understand. I'm always happy to work patiently with the slower commenters to make sure that no Althouse reader is left behind.

Luckyoldson said...

Crocker: "Things have never been better in Baghdad."

BAGHDAD — The most prominent figure in a U.S.-backed revolt of Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida in Iraq was killed Thursday by a bomb planted near his home in Anbar province, 10 days after he met with President Bush, police and tribal leaders said.

Luckyoldson said...

theodore,
Suck off.

Trooper York said...

One of the most egregious attempts to move the agenda by an officer in the political arena was by that lucky soldier George Armstrong Custer. He barnstormed and campaigned with President Andrew Johnson while on “Leave” to help sell the reconstruction and reconciliation agenda of same. The rumor was that he was promised the colonelcy of an active duty regiment as a quid pro quo for his support. However when he was offered the 10th Calvary he refused because it was a “Negro” unit and instead opted to serve as a lt. colonel of the 7th Calvary. This led directly to his appointment with Crazy Horse on the greasy grass and was surely a most unintended consequence of his political meddling. This can only lend credence to that old maxim “Be careful what Johnson you mess around with…cause it might come back to bite you instead”…as first articulated by Clara Bow in 1927.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cyrus pinkerton said...

Theo,

I assume all Althouse readers are intelligent and decent until they prove otherwise. Sadly, you've been working overtime to prove otherwise.

A person with good intentions who felt a need to advise me about my writing would have done so in a constructive and civil manner. You chose a different path. Clearly you intended to offend, but you've made the mistake of assuming that I hold the same high opinion of you that you hold of yourself. I hate to break the news to you, Theo, but nothing could be further from the truth. And because you're unable to earn my respect based on intelligence, wit or character, your opinion doesn't matter to me.

On the other hand, perhaps your goal was to impress other Althouse readers with your lack of manners or unpleasant nature. At this point you have a very small audience, and if I've judged Althouse readers correctly, few will be impressed by your embarrassingly poor behavior. However, if it's attention you crave and this is how you hope to get it, good luck to you. With any luck, you will deserve whatever admirers you get.

I'm not surprised to find that you're now reduced to babbling about "trolls," as that is the reliable fallback position for commenters who have nothing intelligent or substantive to say. The fact that you have nothing of intelligence to offer at this point comes as no surprise. After all, if you had a substantive point to make about any of my posts, you wouldn't have started our exchange with a question about syllable counts and then immediately moved to ad hominem babbling.

Since you've failed miserably in trying to impress me with your intelligence, I'm going to have to make a few points clear to you so that you won't make the same mistakes again in future replies.

First, as far as I know, you don't speak for anyone here but yourself. Therefore, you may tell me that you are bored by my writing style, but don't claim to speak for others. As far as I'm concerned, you don't.

Second, the distinction between Anglo-Saxon and English is not "pointless" as you insist. Surely you know that, but if you don't, you should. It's an important distinction--a distinction that relates to the evolution of the English language. Your assertion is a bit like claiming that the distinction between Homo sapiens idaltu and Homo sapiens sapiens is meaningless. (I assume you're not dumb enough to make that claim.)

Unfortunately, rather than simply admitting your mistake, you've chosen to deny it. Poor choice. If you are going to pretend to be an expert on language and writing, you need to either avoid making silly mistakes or, when you slip up, own up to your mistakes and correct them. You may not understand this, Theo, but admitting mistakes when you make them is a sign of integrity, not a sign of weakness.

Finally, if you address your posts to me, make an effort to avoid contradicting yourself. Nothing bothers me quite as much as a commenter who can't hold an idea in his head long enough to complete a series of posts that are self-consistent. With this in mind, I'm hoping that you will now retreat to your secure position under whichever rock you call home and will try to behave decently in the future.

Trooper York said...

When Jay Leno does his jay walking shtick...the rubes he encounter's often mistake Andrew Jackson for Andrew Johnson...they can throw out a few facts but never focus on the main identifying historical achievements to differentiate between the two....Andrew Johnson was a surprisingly popular figure even though he had been impeached...back in the day after slave days....African Americans often took the last names of presidents before the current vogue of faux Muslim nomenclature...so that many ended up with the surname Johnson....in fact in the NBA in the 1980's there were such players as Magic Johnson, Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson, John Johnson, Eddie Johnson and Earvin Johnson were all at one time or another on the court...so much so that David Stern did actually consider changing the league motto to: "The NBA, come and see ourJohnson’s”

Trooper York said...

Full disclosure, I stole the punch line from an old David Letterman routine...as do many of the commentators steal from the talking points of both side of the aisle...sorry for the digression...back to regularly scheduled invective.

Luckyoldson said...

Theodore,
I know EXACTLY WHO YOU ARE.

But, I digress.

Fuck off.

Theo Boehm said...

Lucky: If you do, please favor us with the information. I will be glad to return the compliment. Of course, anyone who uses Google and wishes to waste 30 seconds can find that out in your case.

Save yourself a few keystrokes, and stop calling me "Theodore." My screen name is an historical reference to a person named "Theobald."

You might want to give Theodore in Marina del Rey a call and find out if he's me.

Luckyoldson said...

Theodore,
I know exactly who you are.

And I didn't need Google.

Why not just ignore my comments and bugger off?

I find nothing of interest in what you say...it's the same bullshit 90% of the people here post.

Republican talking points.

Trooper York said...

The scariest NBA news that I have heard in a long time is that New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury has presidential ambitions...albeit on the Democratic side of the aisle.

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