Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why the New York Times MOVEON ad was wrong: An Exegesis

MOVEON.org--I have a number of reasons to dislike Moveon--search this site, and you'll know why, as Eli Pariser is basically a creep who wants to be power-broker like Henry Kissinger or Josef Goebbels. Bluntly-put, he's a little man. Is the basic thrust of the ad wrong? Of course not, the war is a disaster and was never a worthy cause. It's equal to the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939, a war of aggression, the highest crime there is. Here's an excerpt of the text of the ad:

Cooking the books for the White House(Click here for the thinking behind the ad) General Petraeus is a military man constantly at war with the facts. In 2004, just before the election, he said there was “tangible progress“ in Iraq and that “Iraqi leaders are stepping forward.” (Moveon.org)

The problem? General Petraeus is not a civilian leader--they control the military and give the ultimate orders, not the Joint Chiefs. The ad should have targeted Congress, and most especially, the White House, the president. Congress gave the president the ability to use aggression in late 2002, and the president has refused to draw-down troop deployments.

So have enough members of Congress that a redeployment is not going to happen unless there's a massive groundswell of the public calling for them to, by e-mailing them, writing them, and confronting them at their offices in the districts they claim to represent.

The onus is not on General Petraeus. Were he to disobey the orders of the president, he could be imprisoned or shot for treason. The former would be the most-likely outcome. Yes, he has the option of resigning as so many other Joint Chiefs of the high command have done. Many of them simply had the wisdom to resign or to retire before-or-during the conflict, and the general is just the one left holding the bag. If you're going to criticize General Petraeus, this is what you should be hitting him with: "Why didn't you resign rather than obey orders that are clearly illegal?" Yes, he does have the ability to challenge the legality of his orders, but we all know that that's an uphill battle he would lose with the current administration and Congress.

Merely having the public on your side is not enough, and making his the focus of the ad was poor judgement. No, the onus is not on General Petraeus--it's on all of us. WE allowed this political climate to fester and grow. WE are the oil-addicts. WE are the greedy. WE are lazy and apathetic complainers. WE have sat back silently and allowed this illegal war to happen. WE have no regard for our victims. WE aren't hitting-the-streets and engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience, effectively shutting-down this war. WE are the fatalists who have said to ourselves, "Best to keep my head down, there's nothing I can do to stop this."And WE are the culture that made this mess because WE haven't been responsible, civically-active citizens. What the Moveon ad does is let the public off-the-hook, and that's its greatest sin.

If General Petraeus did what the public and Moveon claims we all want, it would amount to a coup, and that's the last thing that's going to fix the mess that America is in right now. It would only makes things worse...much worse. In short, while most Americans appear to be on the same page about the war, we're still just the same irresponsible creeps who helped create the proper climate for this catastrophe, and we're going to pay for it eventually. We deserve to based on our irresponsibility. George W. Bush is merely a symptom of a cultural and political malaise.

Blame: YOURSELF, CONGRESS, THE MEDIA, and GEORGE W. BUSH and his administration. Nonetheless, Moveon has every right to be wrong--it's part of the First Amendment, the right to free speech. I'm exercising that right at this moment. What are you doing? You might start exercising those rights before they're gone.By taking the approach of attacking the military, Moveon has played right into the hands of the GOP, but at least it got them some more donations (a short-term fix, traded for the long-term prospects for peace). The Senate passing their stupid measure isn't going to help Congress's approval ratings much but this whole debacle will surely prolong the war. Shame.

We all have to accept our share of the responsibility for this obscene war, it's high time.

Full Text of the Moveon ad with links: http://pol.moveon.org/petraeus.html