September 12, 2007

"Surge a Failure, Democrats Tell General"

Hatched by Dafydd

The title -- the headline of a Breitbart story on Gen. David Petraeus' and Ambassador Ryan Crocker's testimony before Congress -- says it all, doesn't it? "Surge a failure, Democrats tell General." I'm sure Petraeus was properly grateful for being instructed.

This is our first post from the Noordam, a Holland-America cruise ship. It turns out to be a bigger pain than expected to post from here: The connection fee is horrendous -- we just dropped $100 for 250 minutes (of which 180 remain); so we must go online, save a bunch of web pages we intend to use, then logout. Then we read the material we downloaded offline and write the post (I'm writing in Netscape Mail). At the end, when the post is finished, I will log on again, paste this text into Movable Type, edit it and check the links, and then post. Yeesh!

Here's the fuller quotation from the story:

Anti-war Senate Democrats bluntly told Iraq commander General David Petraeus Tuesday his troop surge strategy was an abject failure in its prime objective -- forging an Iraqi political settlement. [Or rather, giving Congress a playable reason to surrender.]

Several Senate Republicans [read: RINOs] also expressed unease with US war policy, as the general and US ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker endured a roasting on a second day of high-stakes testimony to Congress.

Resorting to the last refuge of a cowardly scoundrel, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE, 100%) asked Petraeus two direct questions about the efficacy of the "surge"... then he proceeded to answer them himself, without inviting the commanding general to confuse matters by participating in the interrogation.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 95%) went Biden one better, furiously asking a rhetorical question that tortured the English language until it begged for mercy: "What makes you possibly think that anything further like this is going to produce the results that anybody else has failed to do?" (Senate aides are still trying to pick up the broken pieces of syntax and semantic content Dodd left strewn on the Rotunda floor.) Sen. Lieberman (I-CT, 75%D) must have slid further down in his seat, hoping folks wouldn't think he was with the other fellow at his table.

But that's not what I came to write about (now he tells us!) I actually derived more amusement from the New York Times editorial... which was spoonfed to us on the ship as part of a little digest of the thoughts of the Times, "all the news we see fit to print." In typically condescending fashion, it begins thus:

For months, President Bush has been promising an honest accounting of the situation in Iraq, a fresh look at the war strategy and a new plan for how to extricate the United States from the death spiral of the Iraqi civil war. [Excuse me; perhaps it's my trick memory again, but I sure don't remember that last "promise" from President Bush.] The nation got none of that yesterday from the Congressional testimony by Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. It got more excuses for delaying serious decisions for many more months, keeping the war going into 2008 and probably well beyond.

It was just another of the broken promises and false claims of success that we’ve heard from Mr. Bush for years, from shock and awe, to bouquets of roses, to mission accomplished and, most recently, to a major escalation that was supposed to buy Iraqi leaders time to unify their nation. We hope Congress is not fooled by the silver stars, charts and rhetoric of yesterday’s hearing. Even if the so-called surge has created breathing room, Iraq’s sectarian leaders show neither the ability nor the intent to take advantage of it.

Wait... wasn't "shock and awe," which referred to the initial combat phase of Iraq, fulfilled when American forces routed the strongest Arab army in the Middle East in just three weeks? That's less than time than it took the Nazi blitzkrieg ("lightning war") to overrun France.

And there were roses, though I suppose the Democrats have a point that the ousted Baathists, the Democrats' natural constituency, were unhappy. And of course, I'm sure the Times editorialists are at least intelligent enough to understand that the "mission accomplished" banner referred to the mission of that particular carrier, and perhaps secondarily to the successful conclusion of the first phase of major combat operations... not to the entire Iraq war (especially as Bush explained as much in his speech).

Finally, it's astonishing how a prediction of failure by the editors can morph into another example of failure, without ever having to pass through the tedious process of actually coming to pass. "I say it'll never get off the ground... and my prognostication proves the Wright Brothers are a couple of lunatics!"

It's full of boners such as this: "The military does not have the troops to sustain these high levels without further weakening the overstretched Army and denying soldiers their 15 months of home leave before going back to war." Fifteen months of home leave? My, the military certainly has changed; perhaps the soldiers can just spend a year and a quarter lying on the beach and soaking up some rays! This must be similar to the assertion that every moment the president spends away from the White House, no matter what he is doing or how much he works, is to be considered "going on vacation."

The end was so predictable, they probably wrote it in advance of the testimony:

General Petraeus admitted success in Iraq would be neither quick nor easy. Mr. Crocker claimed that success is attainable, but made no guarantee. With that much wiggle room in the prognosis, one would think American leaders would start looking at serious alternative strategies -- like the early, prudent withdrawal of troops that we favor. [And God help the troops that they don't favor!] The American people deserve more than what the general and the diplomat offered them yesterday. [They also deserve more than a "prudent" surrender in the midst of an impressive victory.

For that matter, they deserve more than what was offered by Representative Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. When protesters interrupted the hearing, Mr. Skelton ordered them removed from the room, which is understandable. But then he said that they would be prosecuted. That seemed like an unnecessarily authoritarian response to people who just wanted to be heard.

"[P]eople who just wanted to be heard..." but who did not wish to extend that courtesy to the commanding general, the ambassador, or any Republicans over whose questioning they chose to chant. I definitely want to see prosecution of such serial abusers of other people's First Amendment rights (I refer to my right to hear what Petraeus, Crocker, and everyone else has to say).

Well! Two once-great American institutions have certainly distinguished themselves this week. (Three, if you count the American protester; though I'd only go so far as to say that they need to be institutionalized.)

We had an inkling that this would be the Democrats' "response" to the testimony (where "response" here means "scripted verbal sneering that resembles the choreographed strutting of a professional wrestler"). It's nice to see that they continue to live down to our low expectations of them.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 12, 2007, at the time of 10:23 AM

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The following hissed in response by: hunter

And now it turns out that the NYT gave a deep discount for their defamatory ad agasint Gen. Petraeus. It is the VLWC that is dead set to force America into declaring defeat in this war. Ethics, facts, patriotism, common sense be denied at all costs - America must lose.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 12, 2007 11:44 AM

The following hissed in response by: Cincy

Great job. Thanks for the effort.

The above hissed in response by: Cincy [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 13, 2007 5:27 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

Are your serious - did the above really appear as an editorial in the New York Times? I'm appalled. Really - this is MoveOn level of logical and argument.

Promises are for fools. Both those that give them, and those that demand them. And of course, Bush never made any of the promises he has now apparently broken.

The real problem in Iraq is that darn freely elected Iraqi parliament. They won't do as Bush desires, which means Bush and his policies are abject failures! The Bush/Halliburton/Neocon conspiracy is not only evil, but ineffective!

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 13, 2007 8:51 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/13/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 13, 2007 10:21 AM

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