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So the President,
behaving a little bit more than usual, like we would all
interrupt him while he was watching his favorite cartoons on the
DVR, stepped before the press conference microphone and after
side-stepping most of the substantive issues like the Israeli
raid on Syria, in condescending and infuriating fashion,
produced a big political finish that indicates, certainly, that
if it wasn’t already – the annual Republican witch-hunting
season is underway.
“I thought the ad was disgusting. I felt like the ad was an
attack not only on General Petraeus, but on the U.S. Military.”
“And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democrat
party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad.
“And that leads me to come to this conclusion: that most
Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like
Moveon.org or more afraid of irritating them, than they are of
irritating the United States military.”
“That was a sorry deal.”
First off, it’s “Democrat-ic” party.
You keep pretending you’re not a politician, so stop using words
your party made up. Show a little respect.
Secondly, you could say this seriously after the
advertising/mugging of Senator Max Cleland? After the
swift-boating of John Kerry?
But most importantly, making that the last question?
So that there was no chance at a follow-up?
So nobody could point out, as Chris Matthews so incisively did,
a week ago tonight, that you were the one who inappropriately
interjected General Petraeus into the political dialogue of this
nation in the first place!
Deliberately, premeditatedly, and virtually without precedent,
you shanghaied a military man as your personal spokesman and now
you’re complaining about the outcome, and then running away from
Eleven months ago the President’s own party, the Republican
National Committee, introduced this very different kind of
advertisement, just nineteen days before the mid-term elections.
Al-Zawahiri’s rumored quote of six years ago about having bought
All set against a ticking clock, and finally a blinding
explosion and the dire announcement:
“These are the stakes - vote, November 7th.”
That one was ok, Mr. Bush?
Terrorizing your own people in hopes of getting them to vote for
your own party has never brought as much as a public comment
The Republican Hamstringing of Captain Max Cleland and lying
about Lieutenant John Kerry met with your approval?
But a shot at General Petraeus, about whom you conveniently
ignore it, was you who reduced him from four-star hero to a
political hack, merits this pissy juvenile blast at the
Democrats on national television?
Your hypocrisy is so vast that if we could somehow use it to
fill the ranks in Iraq you could realize your dream and keep us
fighting there until the year 3000.
The line between the military and the civilian government is not
to be crossed.
When Douglas MacArthur attempted to make policy for the United
States in Korea half a century ago, President Truman moved
quickly to fire him, even though Truman knew it meant his own
political suicide, and the deification of a General who history
suggests had begun to lose his mind.
When George McClellan tried to make policy for the Union in the
Civil War, President Lincoln finally fired his chief General,
even though he knew McClellan could galvanize political
opposition which he did when McClellan ran as Lincoln’s
presidential opponent in 1864, nearly defeating our greatest
Even when the conduit flowed the other way and Senator Joseph
McCarthy tried to smear the Army because it wouldn’t defer the
service of one of McCarthy’s staff aides, the entire civilian
and Defense Department structures, after four years of fearful
servitude, rose up against McCarthy and said “enough” and buried
The list is not endless but it is instructive.
Air Force General LeMay—who broke with Kennedy over the Cuban
Missile Crisis and was retired.
Army General Edwin Anderson Walker—who started passing out John
Birch Society leaflets to his soldiers.
Marine General Smedley Butler—who revealed to Congress the
makings of a plot to remove FDR as President and for merely
being approached by the plotters, was phased out of the military
These careers were ended because the line between the military
and the civilian is not to be crossed!
Mr. Bush, you had no right to order General Petraeus to become
your front man.
And he obviously should have refused that order and resigned
rather than ruin his military career.
The upshot is and contrary it is, to the MoveOn advertisement he
betrayed himself more than he did us.
But there has been in his actions a sort of reflexive courage,
some twisted vision of duty at a time of crisis. That the man
doesn’t understand that serving officers cannot double as
serving political ops, is not so much his fault as it is your
good, exploitable, fortune.
But Mr. Bush, you have hidden behind the General’s skirts, and
today you have hidden behind the skirts of ‘the planted last
question’ at a news conference, to indicate once again that your
presidency has been about the tilted playing field, about no
rules for your party in terms of character assassination and
changing the fabric of our nation, and no right for your
opponents or critics to as much as respond.
That is not only un-American but it is dictatorial.
And in pimping General David Petraeus and in the violation of
everything this country has been assiduously and vigilantly
against for 220 years, you have tried to blur the gleaming
radioactive demarcation between the military and the political,
and to portray your party as the one associated with the
military, and your opponents as the ones somehow antithetical to
You did it again today and you need to know how history will
judge the line you just crossed.
It is a line thankfully only the first of a series that makes
the military political, and the political, military.
It is a line which history shows is always the first one crossed
when a democratic government in some other country has started
down the long, slippery, suicidal slope towards a Military
Get back behind that line, Mr. Bush, before some of your
supporters mistake your dangerous transgression, for a call to
further politicize our military.
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