Sunday, September 16, 2007

I've Got Two Words for the Outraged Repugs Who Condemn the MoveOn Ad: "Swift Boat"

Back in the Spring of 2004, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) went public, declaring its mission to essentially destroy the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (MA) through a series of venomous attack ads, web site smear campaigns and slanderous public statements with the singular focus of disparaging Kerry's patriotism and military record. Funded by such hardline rightwingers as Bob Perry, Sam Fox and former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, they charged--using a despicable bunch of lying sailors who allegedly served with Kerry on the swift boats he commanded in Vietnam--that he lied about his length of duty and the nature of his injuries which resulted in his receiving three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. It was a disgusting display of the Republicans' ravenous appetite for power. That Kerry stood up to defend his country--enlisting for two tours of duty, leading dangerous patrols down the deadly Mekong Delta--and was a highly decorated war hero was of little matter to these front-stabbing, amoral chickenhawks. It was partisan politics at its absolute worst.

Of course, the charges were baseless and completely fabricated. In September 2004, upon completion of his review of the claims, Vice Admiral Ronald A. Route, the Navy inspector general, stated in a memo to Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England:

"Our examination found that existing documentation regarding the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals indicates the awards approval process was properly followed. In particular, the senior officers who awarded the medals were properly delegated authority to do so. In addition, we found that they correctly followed the procedures in place at the time for approving these awards."

Yet while all the bashing was taking place, neither President Bush, VP Cheney, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, or prominent figures in the conservative media condemned the attacks. Only Arizona Sen. John McCain, himself a decorated war hero and renowned Vietnam prisoner of war, publicly criticized the smear campaign.

To be sure, the powers that be in the GOP were downright giddy over the effect the attacks were having on Kerry's campaign. It put him constantly on the defensive, and served as a major dstraction away from the pertinent issues of the campaign. And their comrades in the lock-stepping right-wing media ran with it. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others did their Fourth Estate best to villify this undesputable war hero.

Now cut to September 10, 2007, the day that the liberal political group took a full-page ad in the New York Times asking in a headline, "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" and accusing the top US military commander in Iraq of "cooking the books for the White House." This was in advance of the Congressional testimony on the war that Petraeus was to provide that day. The ad, as expected, created a veritable shitstorm in Republican circles. A sampling of this righteous outrage:

'08 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney called the ad "outrageous" and said of the General: "Like the men he commands, he is risking his life to protect our freedoms here at home. We should not prejudge him or his testimony, or give him anything less than the full respect he deserves."

Another '08 candidate Fred Thompson: "This is the group that funds the Democratic Party. I call upon the Democratic Party and all of the Democratic candidates for president to repudiate the libel of this patriotic American."

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) who introduced a resolution on Monday condemning the ad: "The despicable attack launched against General Petraeus today should be condemned by all Members of Congress, including the Democratic leadership...I urge Members on both sides of the aisle to join in support of this resolution so the House speaks with one voice rejecting the character assassination tactics employed by this extremist group."

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader: "I resent the comments of those who have sat comfortably in their air-conditioned offices, thousands of miles away from the firefights and the roadside bombs, and tried their Washington best in recent days to impugn the general’s good name."

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (MO): "Enough is enough. has gone too far with an ad that attacks one of our nation's finest generals."

Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: "I offer my colleagues the opportunity to use this hearing to distance themselves from the despicable ad that was published today calling into question the patriotism of General Petraeus."

Rep. John Carter, Texas Republican: a "shameful, disrespectful attack.

Chickenhawk conservative Fox News spinhead Sean Hannity: "I see a hero being slandered, an American war hero being slandered...I'm a fan of the military. I love, I respect the hard work and the fact that these guys put their lives on the line for us and our liberties and they're doing what their country asks them to do."

And the biggest chickenhawk faux-hero/patriot of them all, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the GOP frontrunner for '08, placed his own ad in The New York Times on Friday rebutting the ad and attacking "the Democrats' orchestrated attacks on General Petraeus."

All of these comments could have been said in noble defense of Kerry back in '04 (and of Max Cleland and John Murtha, who've also had their military records gutted by these ravenous right wing chickenhawks) but they weren't. Where was the chorus of outrage then? Why was Kerry's record not off-limits to such reprehensible political chicanery, but Petraeus' military service is supposedly sacred? The double-standard established by these morally repugnant operatives will no longer be tolerated. demonstrated that earlier this week. And I say, bravo baby. Keep 'em coming. How about an ad with the various publicly-available pics of Rudy Julie-Annie in drag, and headlined: "Is this the Commander-in-Chief You Want Leading the Fight Against Terrorists?"

Wah, wah, wah. These "outraged" Republicans are nothing but a bunch a whiny, petulant, spoiled little hypocritical partisan hacks who live by the mantra "do as we say, not as we do," getting their panties in a snit whenever they experience the Democrats' mantra: what goes around comes around.

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute.

On November 12 in NYC we will be holding our first annual Fundraising Gala, with a musical performance by Alanis Morissette followed by a celebrity reading of Adrienne's script "The Morgan Stories," featuring Paul Rudd, Edie Falco, Ally Sheedy and many others. To learn more about our mission, to make a tax-deductible donation, and to sign up to receive details about the November benefit please visit our website. Every contribution helps preserve Adrienne's legacy, allows us to help others, and creates something positive out of this tragedy.

Adrienne's film "Waitress" opened in theatres May 2nd to rave reviews from the NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, Ebert & Roeper ("Two Thumbs Up"), Leonard Maltin and others, and has so far grossed $19-million domestically and almost $1-million internationally. The DVD will be available in November. It's a truly wonderful film that you're sure to love. A link to the trailer is below. Enjoy.


Unknown said...

I agree that is wrong to attack General Petreus in the ad. He is doing his job. The focus should instead be on the Commander In Chief, the "decider," President G.W. Bush, who is using the Petreus report as some kind of cover for his failed policies and lack of any kind of realism in planning for a post-war Iraq.
According to the Constitution it is the civilian government, i.e. the executive branch, that sets miitary and political policy, not the other way around. Bush is attempting to mislead the public and shirk his responsibility, leaving this mess for the next President.

Anonymous said...

Petraeus is nothing but a cheap date who drooped his knickers for an offer from the New World Order crowd: "Play ball with us and we'll let you in our private club and set you up for life... How 'bout it, pallie? Spread 'em."

Petraeus sold out his country AND his Oath of Office for a few sheckles or simply for a promise of financial well being in coming years: showing the world what sort of principles he REALLY had! A cheap scoundrel despite the over-hyped publicity releases about him being a macho military gung-ho GI Joe... He is now and forever on the rubbish heap of history with the rest of the NeoCon criminals who sold their country out for personal gain.

How do you spell: "BLOOD MONEY"?

Christopher said...

What angers me even more about this faux outrage is the number of DINO Dems like Speaker Nancy "impeachment is off the table" Pelosi and Joe Biden blasting for doing their job.

I have had just about as much of the DINO Dems as I can stand. If they want to stand with the GOP then switch parties but stop trying to shut down free speech.

Anonymous said...

Ok Sparky the first thing that you should do is CALM DOWN! Now take your meds. And a few deep breathes. There were no "lying marines" involved in the whole Swift Boat affair! They were all SAILORS! Or also known as squids. Remember that Kerry was in the Navy.

Semper Fi.

Anonymous said...

Everybody seems to have forgotten that Bush has a well documented history of having Generals lie about the Iraq war, Just ask Colin Powell.

Anonymous said...

They weren't Marines.

Anonymous said...

It's worth noting that Kerry himself has condemned the MoveOn ad.

Kerry has come quite a long way (some might say, has sold out) from the anti-war sentiments of his youth.

Kuni said...

Unlike the “Swithboat Liars”, Move-On told the truth. And like the Swiftboat Liars; Petraeus also lied. We all have heard of Op-Ed six weeks before the 2004 election where he painted an extreme upbeat picture of Iraq; but that is not the only time Petraeus has lied about the situation in Iraq. Below are more examples.
September 14, 2003 . . .

. . . Schieffer: Let me ask you one other thing, and that is this intense criticism that seems to be boiling up on Capitol Hill. This story this morning is filled with it, and basically it comes down to that Don Rumsfeld, and I'll just put this straight to you, is stubborn, and that's the reason he won't admit that he made a mistake when he said we have plenty of troops there, and that that's one of the reasons you're having problems on the Hill and within the Pentagon. I just want to give you a chance to respond to that.

Rumsfeld: Sure, I'm glad to. How do you respond to whether or not you're stubborn. I guess you respond this way, we have General [John] Abizaid who is in charge of the Central Command, [Lieutenant] General [Ricardo] Sanchez, who is in charge of Iraq, and then a series of division commanders, good ones, [Major] General [David] Petraeus, [Major] General [Raymond] Odierno, and they meet regularly, and they ask that question, do we need more U.S. troops, and they say they don't. They do not feel that we ought to bring in more additional troops, why?

Rumsfeld: Just let me respond. Now, should I be stubborn and say, you're wrong? What I do is I say, why do you or don't you need something, and I go and discuss it. And they come back consistently and say they do not need more additional troops, you need more force protection, you need more combat support people if you're going to have more troops. We're managing the skill mix of the troops, because they're not doing a lot of combat, they're doing a lot of presence and a lot of construction, and a lot of assistance, and a lot of forming city councils, 90 percent of the people in Iraq are now living in an area that's governed by a city council, or a village council.

Schieffer: So you do not feel that you made a mistake‑

Rumsfeld: If I felt I'd made a mistake I'd change it.

Schieffer: Misestimated, or underestimated.

Rumsfeld: My problem is the people who are saying we need more troops are not giving any good reasons. There's no substance to their arguments, they're just saying we don't have enough. Our military people say we do, and they then explain why they think they do, and why they want the effort on increasing the Iraqi capability. So I listen to the two sides of the argument. I would increase the number of troops in five minutes, if people would come to me and make a decent argument, but all I see is critics saying, you need more troops. Something has to be wrong. . .
June 28, 2004 – Recent adjustments made to improve Iraqi security forces are working, a senior U.S. officer in Baghdad said June 27.

Ongoing changes "are gradually, but markedly improving the quality of Iraqi security forces," Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, chief of the Office of Security Transition in Iraq, reported during a Pentagon Channel interview. . .

. . . "But, there are also areas where we see considerable success," he pointed out. For example, he said, Iraqi security forces had months ago assumed a variety of important security tasks from coalition forces in the north and south of the country. . .
January 05, 2005. . .

. . . GEN. METZ: No, no. The original plan for the Iraqi army was 27. As we began to grow -- a year ago, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, which became the National Guard, that number has changed a number of times since I've been in command. We are focused right now on 45 battalions, but with an expansion program to about the 65-battalion level. That has a relationship to the amount of equipment we can ship in to get them to that level.

So I just don't have all the numbers memorized, but there is a 27-battalion army original plan; 45-battalion National Guard growing to 65 plan. The minister of interior has an ever-increasing and robust structure that he's putting together. The army has made some decisions inside of that original plan to go with intervention forces and change some of the training for the army battalions. He's brought on -- he's working on bringing on mechanized forces.

And so, again, we had a plan before sovereignty and it was a baseline to work from. But the sovereign government has made decisions and is changing things, and we're offering advice. But it's going to be a robust enough structure, I think, in 2005 to take on the insurgent fight here in Iraq, and it will be equipped and trained to do so.

Does that help?

Q Yes, sir, thank you. Just, the 65, is that by the end of this year, or what is --

GEN. METZ: I would say by the end of '05 for sure. I'm sure that we can get you that data. I just -- I apologize, I just don't have it all memorized --

Q Sure, no problem.

GEN. METZ: -- and that's because my good friend, Dave Petraeus, he's supposed to put me out of business. And every time I see him I hug him and say, "Dave, you've got to put me out of business. I'm the Multinational Corps fighting here. You're building the transition security capability -- get on with it." And he is. And we really are a team. We're good friends. But I look to him to memorize all those numbers. And when he gets them trained and they become tactical control, take on to the Multinational Corps, we employ them and they are good troops. . .
Jan. 10, 2005 – The U.S. Army general in charge of training Iraqi forces said here today that the job is tough, but it is a mission that must be accomplished before coalition forces can leave Iraq.

And, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, added, progress is being made. . .

. . . Iraqis must provide for their own security, Petraeus said. The coalition cannot impose a peace on Iraq, nor can force make democracy flourish. . .
March 14, 2005 . . .

. . . Petraeus said the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections provided a boost to the security forces. Iraqis manned the two inner lines around more than 5,000 polling places nationwide. Insurgents launched more than 270 attacks on Jan. 30, but did not penetrate any polling place, he said.

Following the elections, the general continued, the Iraqi forces got a boost in morale for their fine showing, and the Iraqi people developed trust in the security apparatus. This respect has meant more recruits for the Iraqi army and police, and a greater role in the defense of their own country.

Iraq has 96 operational combat battalions today, Petraeus said. The battalions are out in the cities and rural areas of the country. They are going on independent operations and they are getting results, the general said. Iraqi forces are "shouldering the burden" in 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces -- the three Kurdish provinces in the north and the nine provinces in the south.

"It's making a big difference. You see it in Fallujah, you see it in Baghdad," he said. "You also see it in places like Tikrit and Mosul." . . .
Aug. 2, 2005 – The chief of the coalition command charged with training Iraqi security forces said "enormous progress" has been made in the effort. . .

. . . Petraeus said that while most of the Iraqi units rely heavily on coalition forces for support and guidance, "there are still some three dozen of them that are assessed to be in the lead." By this he means that the Iraqi units are leading the fight against the insurgents with minimal or no help from coalition forces. . .

. . . Given continued progress and acceptable conditions, Petraeus said, the United States may be able to reduce troop presence in the country next year, noting this depends on political progress as well as progress in the security capabilities of Iraqi forces. . .
Oct. 5, 2005 – The Iraqi security forces have made enormous progress over the past 16 months, the U.S. Army general who oversaw their training for more than a year said during a Pentagon news conference today. . .

. . . Iraqi security force readiness has continued to grow with each passing week, the general told reporters, and will grow even more between now and the Oct. 15 national referendum on a draft constitution. "There are now over 197,000 trained and equipped Iraqi security forces, and that should be close to 200,000 by the time of the referendum," he said.

More than 115 Iraqi police and army combat battalions are in the counterinsurgency fight, he said. About 80 of the battalions are fighting alongside U.S. forces, which the general said equates to Level 3 readiness in the four-tier readiness rating system. "Over 36 (battalions) are assessed as being 'in the lead,'" he said. In the lead is the term associated with Level 2 readiness, and means the troops are capable of leading joint patrols, as opposed to merely participating.

Level 1 units are labeled as being "fully independent." There is one battalion in this category, Petraeus said.

The general said it is a mistake to fixate on the Level 1 unit. He said Americans should to expand their understanding of the readiness levels and what each unit brings to the fight. . .
Bush Pleased With Progress of Iraqi Security Forces

Oct. 5, 2005 – President Bush said today he's pleased with the progress Iraqis are making in developing a military capable of handling the security challenges of the future.

Bush spoke to the press following a meeting with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld; Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq. Rumsfeld and the generals briefed the president on the status of Iraqi forces and coalition operations in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

The Republicans' reaction to the ad reminds me of an old saying: "They can dish it out, but they can't take it." It's no wonder they want to change the conversation to anything, ANYTHING but the abysmal failures we've had in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

While it's true that our soldiers are risking their lives in Iraq -- they are not fighting for "our freedoms here at home."

The tragic fact is is the men and women who joined the U.S. military with the honorable intention of defending American freedom are being misled by a dishonorable commander in chief, who is actively engaged in the destruction of our civil liberties.

Our soldiers are fighting and dying for a president whose attacks on our freedom, since 9/11, include illegal surveillance conducted inside the U.S. by the Pentagon, illegal wire-tappings, and FBI agents engaging in illegal call-tracking efforts that violated the privacy of millions of Americans.

They're fighting and dying for a president who has eliminated the writ of habeas corpus -- the mainstay of the individual's protection against an abusive government.

Our soldiers are fighting and dying for a president whose only goal is to keep them fighting and dying until he can toss the remains of his ignoble war into the lap of his successor.

Has the general betrayed us? "...Ask the infantry and ask the dead."

Anonymous said...

fact of the day:

"The term "democrat" originated as an epithet and referred to 'one who
panders to the crude and mindless whims of the masses.'"

that is all.

Anonymous said...

Apparantly the Vice-Admiral who verified the awarding of Kerry's medals didn't hear/see a Kerry campaign spokesperson admitting during a press conference in mid-August '04 that Kerry's first Purple Heart Medal was awarded for an accidently self-inflicted wound rather than by enemy fire as Kerry claimed - exactly what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth alleged.

IMHO, that one fact undermines that Vice-Admiral's entire verification.