Dems Step on Third Rail to Vilify Petraeus

Marc Sheppard
Weeks of franticly subverting the long-awaited Petraeus Iraq progress report have seen Democratic leaders demoting a four star General to Bush marionette and left-wing hacks attacking his very credibility, and, collaterally, that of the American military itself.  But this weekend witnessed an even more appalling shift from recent liberal regard to steer clear of assaulting our armed services - suggestions of Petraeus' disloyalty. 

Having voted unanimously for the promotion of the Iraq Multi-National-Force commander in January, Dems now find themselves in the untenable position of labeling this decent man "untrustworthy."  Selling this denigration in order to preempt anticipated positive "surge" news is further complicated by the reality that Americans rightly hold their military leaders in much higher regard than they do their politicians.

Nonetheless, charges of "cooking the numbers" of diminished daily sectarian attacks and "cherry picking" other positive progress stats have been bubbling up ever since the report was announced, and have only crescendoed as we approach showtime. 

Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi began referring to today's Petraeus testimony as "the Bush report presented by General Petraeus."  This intentionally ill-disguised allusion to the General's words being filtered through some administration spin-machine has been heard echoing through the corridors of Capitol Hill ever since.

On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid actually questioned the General's honesty, claiming that:
"He has made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual."
The Nevada Democrat then repeated his House counterpart's allegations of the report's true source:
"I have every belief that this good man will give us what he feels is the right thing to do in his report, but it's not his report anymore. It's Bush's report."
That same day, The Nation raised the sleaze bar a notch or two when it asked the loaded question Will Petraeus Betray the Truth -- And the Troops?  John Nichols stopped just short of calling the General a scoundrel with the words,
"if Petraeus uses the statistics he and his aides have been citing in the build-up to his appearance, the general will go before Congress with the intent of deceiving the elected representatives of the American people."
And today, MoveOn.org ran an ad in the New York Times headlined General Petraeus or General Betray Us?, and subheaded "Cooking the Books for the White House."  The left-wing nut-roots activists make the vile and inexcusable accusation that the General will betray the American people by denying "what everyone else knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war."

The Dems may believe they've won round one with this misinformative smear-campaign -- a new WaPo poll finds 53% of Americans believing that the report will portray an undeservedly rosy picture.

But, when the dust settles and the General has had his opportunity to put the facts on the record, they'll quickly lament the third-rail nature of their tactics. 

Questioning a commander's observations and opinions is certainly fair game.  Challenging his integrity and loyalty to his country and troops in order to debase his military assessment for political gain redefines repugnancy.

Even for Democrats.
Weeks of franticly subverting the long-awaited Petraeus Iraq progress report have seen Democratic leaders demoting a four star General to Bush marionette and left-wing hacks attacking his very credibility, and, collaterally, that of the American military itself.  But this weekend witnessed an even more appalling shift from recent liberal regard to steer clear of assaulting our armed services - suggestions of Petraeus' disloyalty. 

Having voted unanimously for the promotion of the Iraq Multi-National-Force commander in January, Dems now find themselves in the untenable position of labeling this decent man "untrustworthy."  Selling this denigration in order to preempt anticipated positive "surge" news is further complicated by the reality that Americans rightly hold their military leaders in much higher regard than they do their politicians.

Nonetheless, charges of "cooking the numbers" of diminished daily sectarian attacks and "cherry picking" other positive progress stats have been bubbling up ever since the report was announced, and have only crescendoed as we approach showtime. 

Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi began referring to today's Petraeus testimony as "the Bush report presented by General Petraeus."  This intentionally ill-disguised allusion to the General's words being filtered through some administration spin-machine has been heard echoing through the corridors of Capitol Hill ever since.

On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid actually questioned the General's honesty, claiming that:
"He has made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual."
The Nevada Democrat then repeated his House counterpart's allegations of the report's true source:
"I have every belief that this good man will give us what he feels is the right thing to do in his report, but it's not his report anymore. It's Bush's report."
That same day, The Nation raised the sleaze bar a notch or two when it asked the loaded question Will Petraeus Betray the Truth -- And the Troops?  John Nichols stopped just short of calling the General a scoundrel with the words,
"if Petraeus uses the statistics he and his aides have been citing in the build-up to his appearance, the general will go before Congress with the intent of deceiving the elected representatives of the American people."
And today, MoveOn.org ran an ad in the New York Times headlined General Petraeus or General Betray Us?, and subheaded "Cooking the Books for the White House."  The left-wing nut-roots activists make the vile and inexcusable accusation that the General will betray the American people by denying "what everyone else knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war."

The Dems may believe they've won round one with this misinformative smear-campaign -- a new WaPo poll finds 53% of Americans believing that the report will portray an undeservedly rosy picture.

But, when the dust settles and the General has had his opportunity to put the facts on the record, they'll quickly lament the third-rail nature of their tactics. 

Questioning a commander's observations and opinions is certainly fair game.  Challenging his integrity and loyalty to his country and troops in order to debase his military assessment for political gain redefines repugnancy.

Even for Democrats.