The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, September 10, 2007


In this morning’s NY Times, Left-leaning has apparently decided to do a pre-emptive strike preceding General David Petraeus’ testimony before Congress by running a full-page advertisement under the headline: "General Petraeus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House."

Unlike some on the Left, I believe it's a bad idea to use ad hominem attacks against someone who disagrees with you. It is, however, a clever mechanism that allows the attacker (in this case, to disregard hard factual evidence, provide a cogent counter-argument, or present verified counter-factual information to refute the argument presented by the person attacked (in this case, David Petraeus.

It’s reasonable to ask whether has become a shill for some in the Democratic congressional leadership? The two groups have worked closely together over a relatively long period of time. I wonder what Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and others will have to say about the ad.

The Right claims, I think a bit hysterically, that the Left hates their own country and really does want the US to leave Iraq in disgrace and defeat. Somehow, the Right argues, many Democrats and a few Republicans, have decided that any gains in Iraq are beside the point. We’ve lost and we should leave. Period. The consequences … oh, never mind. I don’t agree with the Right on that, but after reading the ad, all I could do was shake my head.

And now, my own ad hominem attack, presented because it’s obvious that factual, reasoned arguments will hold no sway with and their supporters.

What a pathetic bunch—infantile in their thinking, bombastic in their moral hubris, short-sighted and naïve in their worldview, and consumed with their own self-importance. Given a choice, I think I’ll take my advice from grown-ups.

Update (9/11/07)

Overnight, MoveOn's rant against Petraeus has generated significant comment. Virtually no one on the Democratic side is defending the ad, but no one in a position of Congressional responsibility has labeled it for what it is—a screed against a good and decent man who, if nothing else, has served his country directly and forcefully.

Peter Feaver labels the ad "MoveOn's McCarthy Moment," comparing their unsubstantiated personal attack to the tactics used by Joseph McCarthy. As time passes, it appears that the angry Left has become so intolerant of opposing views that they are now unhinged. Feaver comments:
Precisely because it is so vicious, so public, and so deliberate, the attack on Petraeus cannot be ignored by either side in the Iraq debate. Supporters of the war are duty-bound, like Joseph Welch, to rise and ask of war opponents, "Have you left no sense of decency?" Antiwar members of Congress, like Senator McCarthy's allies, are obliged to answer.

Let us be clear. It is legitimate to grill Petraeus on his testimony and to ask him tough questions about the strategy he has been pursuing. It is legitimate to disagree with him, or to conclude that an alternative course of action has a better chance of advancing US interests in the region. Healthy civil-military relations do not depend on accepting uncritically anything a senior military officer says. Quite the opposite, they depend on a full and frank exchange of views.

It is not legitimate, however, and it is exceedingly corrosive of healthy civil-military relations to question the general's patriotism when his views differ from yours and are inconvenient for one's political agenda.

This is a defining moment for the antiwar faction. They can continue on the path on to which they have veered, repeating some of the worst mistakes in American history. Or they can make a clean break with the past, police their own ranks, and promote a healthy, critical, public debate about the best way forward in Iraq.

Still waiting for a comment from Nancy, Harry, Hillary, Barrack and the other leaders of the Party.