July 23rd, 2007

Guilt by association: General Petraeus and the company he keeps

Well, it didn’t take long, did it? General Petraeus, who wrote the book on counter-insurgency fighting, whose Princeton PhD. dissertation analyzed the bloody consequences of the withdrawal from Vietnam, who was unanimously confirmed by Congress when appointed as Iraqi commander, is now officially a liar and a right-wing stooge.

Why? It appears to be a combination of two factors: the surge is having some positive results and Petraeus is reporting that fact, and he gave an in-depth interview to the likes of Hugh Hewitt (labeled a lunatic by Matthew Iglesias at the Atlantic Online, who also says—without really explaining why—that no one should go on Hewitt’s show).

If you actually read the interview transcript, it appears that Hewitt has somehow managed to keep from foaming at the mouth as he queries Pertraeus, whose answers to Hewitt’s questions seem judicious and measured. The General offers some good news, it’s true, but also some bad news about the surge—the latter including the spotty reliability of Iraqi forces, for example.

No one who reads the article with an open mind could find much actual evidence on which to question either Petraeus’s competence or his efforts at candor and balance. Ah, but that doesn’t stop those partisans on the Left who have a powerful interest in the surge not working, and in discrediting anyone—even a man with the impeccable credentials of Petraeus—who might have the gall to say otherwise.

And so they are killing the messenger by concentrating on criticism of the receiver of the message: Hewitt, who is indeed a partisan. As, of course, are they.

Here’s Hewitt’s response. In it he quotes Andrew Sullivan as saying:

….such a decision to cater to one party’s propaganda outlet [the Hewitt interview] renders Petraeus’ military independence moot,” Sullivan declared. “I’ll wait for the transcript,” he continued, before not waiting 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.”(emphasis added.)

So, let’s summarize. Despite his previous reputation as a knowledgeable man and a straight shooter (and all of that “supporting the troops” stuff on the part of the Left/liberals), if a commander gives an interview to someone on the Right, his veracity is immediately and deeply suspect. Petraeus is only allowed to give interviews to the NY Times and the Boston Globe and the New Yorker and the Nation—outlets that may not even be asking to interview him, for all we know—or his entire reputation is trashed.

It’s guilt by association, and there’s no need to point out the parts of the interview that are suspect; it’s the thing itself. The only good—and nonpartisan—interview would apparently be one with Seymour Hersh.

It’s not as though Petraeus has only been interviewed by Hewitt or the Right, either. Here’s a bunch of his recent interviews with venues that seem fairly varied: CBS and CNN to balance out Fox, for example.

The grouping includes a quote from Harry Reid in late April saying that he won’t believe Petraeus if he says there’s progress in Iraq, because whatever the General may say to the contrary, it isn’t happening there. Now, there’s another truly open and nonpartisan mind, like Sullivan’s and Iglesias’s.

And they call Petraeus biased.

18 Responses to “Guilt by association: General Petraeus and the company he keeps”

  1. gcotharn Says:

    One can see the logic in destroying Patraeus at any cost. The power to run the United States – both the Executive and the Legislative – is at stake. The entire 2008 Elections will be decided in a September 2007 Kabuki Theater in a Senate Chamber. The summer and fall 2008 campaigns don’t much matter. It’s all about Sept. 2007.

    Because the Surge is succeeding: Patraeus will be Borked. There is no other way for the Dems. Too much is at stake.

    My favorite accusation is that Patreaus used a lowdown strategy of bypassing the MSM in order to get his “unfiltered message” out. LOL

    Captain Ed makes a good point:

    Bush’ critics have forever said: “Listen to the Generals! Put more troops on the ground!”

    Now that we have more troops, “the Generals” are saying we are succeeding, and those same critics are saying “Don’t listen to the Generals!”

    Of course: “Listen to the Generals” never actually meant “Listen to the Generals.”

    It meant: “Bush is incompetent. Vote Democratic.”

    I blogged my very best effort on this topic: Link

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    But Petraeus is either willing to be used by the Republican propaganda machine or he is part of the Republican propaganda machine.

    People that believe their own propaganda, as Sullie does, should not be talking about propaganda, Neo. Theirs or anyone else’s for that matter.

    and all of that “supporting the troops” stuff on the part of the Left/liberals

    That was propaganda, obviously.

    And they call Petraeus biased.

    That’s because they believe in their own propaganda that they are the righteous and unfallen members of humanity, destined and ready to Rule. Anyone that tries to say otherwise, must be shut down and silenced.

    Just as Stalin silenced Trotsky.

    Of course: “Listen to the Generals” never actually meant “Listen to the Generals.”

    Exactly, except the Left believed in their own propaganda. And now that their propaganda line has changed, they believe in it just as fervently as they believed in the last “Oceania was at war with” line.

    No wonder they can’t think straight, most of their energies are concentrated on keeping their compartamentalized boat sinking with half of the compartments compromised with leaks and water.

  3. Zhombre Says:

    Sullivan has been unhinged for quite a while now — if only the nasty conservatives would let him get married and settle down! — and Matt Yglesias is an elitist supercilious Georgetown twit. What he knows about the military fits in a flea’s navel. What he thinks he knows about everything is as vast as the number of Starbucks in North America.

  4. Jimbo - PRS Says:

    I would love to see General Petraeus confront Sullivan one on one, but it won’t happen because General Petraeus has more important things to do than worry about what someone about as important as a bit of bird crap has to say.

  5. Mark Says:

    Neo, I think it’s important that you regularly present links to things that help to answer the statement that there is no improvement. A one-paragraph epilogue on Iraqi progress of the day, perhaps, so that even those who come in to troll will see good news over and over. I appeal to you and everyone who has a public platform to regularly present good news. If by breaking the MSM silence we can get just 8% of the electorate to doubt the Left’s narrative, we may nudge the ’08 elections in the right direction.

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    blackfive.netAnyone want mil tech info, they need to go to http://www.blackfive.net

    Neo’s specialty is not quite suited for the full line of battle counts. Most of us knew what the Left was up to, but I think their latest shenanigans are special in that it rises to a level where it is quite obvious what they are doing.

    No amount of good news will affect a person that has been indoctrinated into a brain lock state. It takes more shock than reading would create, to change the mind of such a person.

  7. camojack Says:

    And the beat(ing of a deceased equine) goes on…

  8. harry Says:

    The National Intelligence Estimate predicts increased levels of attacks by liberals, their pandering politicians and a hostile press on not only the current US administration, but also upon the US military as well, leading up to the ’08 US presidential election cycle.

    Be especially watchful of increasing calls for congressional investigations on the Bush administration for matters great and small followed by increased calls for impeachment.

    On the homefront, we expect higher instances of anti-war rallies with soldiers burned in effigy, coffins placed at local National Guard Armories, lunatics carrying signs that read “I’ll Support the Troops when they Shoot Their Officers”, and Starbucks storefront windows being smashed in.

    We expect these higher levels of “tolerance & enlightenment” when the moon is full, or an appeal judge overturns Scooter Libby’s conviction.

    You are advised to place a clump of garlic above your door to ward off moonbats and to carry chemical mace around with you if garlic is not potent enough. Of course, the 2nd amendment remains intact if necessary.

  9. Michael Blaine Says:

    rudelystamped.blogspot.comThe sick thing is all the American kids who will have to die while the politicians play their games.

    And let’s not forget the 66,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, and the hellhole Iraqis have to live in every day. 2 million have fled the country already as refugees, and 2 million are internally displaced.

    The US government owes the Iraqi people a formal apology, plus massive reparations for recklessly intervening in their country.

    Michael Blaine
    http://www.rudelystamped.blogspot.com

  10. Michael Blaine Says:

    rudelystamped.blogspot.comThe sick thing is all the American kids who will have to die while the politicians play their games.

    And let’s not forget the Iraqi civilian deaths, and the hellhole Iraqis have to live in every day. 2 million have fled the country already as refugees, and 2 million are internally displaced.

    The US government owes the Iraqi people a formal apology, plus massive reparations for recklessly intervening in their country.

    Michael Blaine
    http://www.rudelystamped.blogspot.com

  11. Michael Blaine Says:

    iraqbodycount.nethttp://www.iraqbodycount.net/

  12. Michael Blaine Says:

    Cost of the War in Iraq (JavaScript Error) To see more details, click here. inc_totals_at_rate(1000);

  13. Lee Says:

    Hey,
    At least ol’ “Hitler Youth” Michael Blaine here didn’t quote the Lancet Study.

  14. Michael Blaine Says:

    rudelystamped.blogspot.comDoes needless death bother anybody here?

    Michael Blaine
    http://www.rudelystamped.blogspot.com

  15. Michael Blaine Says:

    rudelystamped.blogspot.comI mean, what are you trying to say, Lee? The US invasion of Iraq has led to not a single civilian death?

    In fact, it has led directly to at least 66,000 documented civilian deaths.

    If that doesn’t make one’s skin crawl, I have questions about that person’s humanity.

    Michael Blaine
    http://www.rudelystamped.blogspot.com

  16. Ymarsakar Says:

    All the terrorists have to do to stop the killing is to commit hara kiri, Michael. You should focus your energies on making sure that happens, or else the blood of more people will be spilled.

    The sick thing is all the American kids who will have to die while the politicians play their games.

    You people have been playing games with lives for a long time now. Don’t think we are unable to see this.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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