Monday, February 19, 2007

Venom

The Congressional antiwar revolt against President Bush was slightly less successful and considerably less enthusiastic than war opponents had hoped. Only 17 Republicans in the House crossed party lines to vote with the Democrats for a watered down, nearly neutral resolution against the troop surge.

And this was partly offset by 2 Democrats who crossed party lines and voted with the Republicans to support Bush's new, more aggressive strategy.

Never-the-less, the resolution, combined with various Democrat threats to cut off war funding or reduce troop strength, brought out the conservatives within the main stream media to launch a harsh attack on the Democrats, especially the point man, Representative John Murtha.

Liberals and especially the anti-war progressives often complain they are being accused of being "unpatriotic" or even worse, "traitors" for opposing the war and the Commander and Chief. Now these liberals have proof. In writing.

Ralph Peters, writing an opinion piece in the New York Post titled
Cowards Give Up on GI's - & Give Into Evil, said:

PROVIDING aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime is treason. It's not "just politics." It's treason.

And signaling our enemies that Congress wants them to win isn't "supporting our troops."
The "nonbinding resolution" telling the world that we intend to surrender to terrorism and abandon Iraq may be the most disgraceful congressional action since the Democratic Party united to defend slavery.


Talk about taking the gloves off. Peters was unrelenting in his attack. I'm not sure I've ever read anything this strong, this aggressive, in a main stream media publication. Is this "hate speech?" It comes awfully darned close.

Peters continues:

The vote was a huge morale booster for al Qaeda, for Iraq's Sunni insurgents, and for the worst of the Shia militias.

The message Congress just sent to them all was, "Hold on, we'll stop the surge, we're going to leave - and you can slaughter the innocent with our blessing."

Now that Donald Rumsfeld's gone, the Democrats are doing just what they pilloried the former Secretary of Defense for doing: Denying battlefield commanders the troops and resources they need.

That line about Rumsfeld is funny.

Still, in my opinion Peters was out of line. Our Representatives are not traitors. They are struggling to find a reasonable exit strategy. They are also bending to the will of their constituents. Unlike Peters, the public wants the troops to come home.

However, we must be honest. Like it or not, the vote did send a message to both our allies and our enemies within Iraq. Congress must accept responsibility for sending that message.

Peters could be dismissed as the lone gunman of the right, except for the fact he was not alone. The generally liberal editorial staff of the Washington Post took careful aim at Representative Murtha and opened fire with this editorial,
Not The 'Real Vote':

Mr. Murtha's cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about conditions in Iraq. He continues to insist that Iraq "would be more stable with us out of there," in spite of the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that early withdrawal would produce "massive civilian casualties."


He says he wants to force the administration to "bulldoze" the Abu Ghraib prison, even though it was emptied of prisoners and turned over to the Iraqi government last year. He wants to "get our troops out of the Green Zone" because "they are living in Saddam Hussein's palace"; could he be unaware that the zone's primary occupants are the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy?

It would be nice to believe that Mr. Murtha does not represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party or the thinking of its leadership. Yet when asked about Mr. Murtha's remarks Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered her support. Does Ms. Pelosi really believe that the debate she orchestrated this week was not "the real vote"? If the answer is yes, she is maneuvering her party in a way that can only do it harm.



WaPO was not alone in attacking Murtha. The normally reserved (but always conservative) Brit Hume let go with both barrels attacking Murtha on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday (this link takes you to the very conservative Hot Air website, but the full video is there):

That sound bite from John Murtha suggests that it’s time a few things be said about him. Even the “Washington Post” noted he didn’t seem particularly well informed about what’s going on over there, to say the least. Look, this man has tremendous cachet among House Democrats, but he is not — this guy is long past the day when he had anything but the foggiest awareness of what the heck is going on in the world.


And that sound bite is naivete at large, and the man is an absolute fountain of such talk, and the fact that he has ascended to the position he has in the eyes of the Democrats in the House and perhaps Democrats around the country tells you a lot about how much they know or care about what’s really going on over there.


I find Hume's attack much more compelling than the Peter's attack above. Frankly I do believe the vast majority of Democrats are blindly voting the most recent poll numbers without much real consideration about the real situation in Iraq. I've written before that we are at a fork in the road concerning Iraq. There simply is no path down the middle, as much as Congressional Democrats might wish there were.


Not all the main stream media' coverage was negative or vitriolic. But one surprisingly strong "pro-war" piece was found in, of all places, the Los Angeles Times. In a large photo and essay titled
"A Higher Calling Than Duty", the Times told the story of 2nd Lt. Mark Jennings Daily.

Daily has long been a hero among conservatives in the blogosphere because of the post he placed on MySpace. He told this story about why he joined the Army and his mission to help the suffering people of Iraq. Daily was killed in Iraq In death, his words have become a call to service.

From the LA Times article:


In typical fashion, he sought out new points of view. In one discussion, he wrote that he asked a Kurdish man whether the insurgents could be viewed as freedom fighters. The man cut him off. "The difference between insurgents and American soldiers," Daily said the man told him, "is that they get paid to take life — to murder — and you get paid to save lives."

"That Kurdish man's assessment of our presence means more to me than all of the naysayers and makeshift humanists that monopolize our interpretation of this war," Daily wrote in a Dec. 31 e-mail.

Whether they intended to or not, the Times did more to bolster Bush's call for a troop surge more than all the venom spewed out by the angry Peters, the Washington Post or any other of the dozens of critical editorials.

There is a conservative media backlash against the Democrat's anti-surge vote. One poll touted on the Sunday morning news shows (sorry, I have no link) showed that public support for Bush's new strategy was growing, though still less that 40%.

If the media backlash against the Democrats convinces more of the public to support Bush, look for the next round of defections to come from the Democrat's ranks.

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