Thursday, September 20, 2007

In Our Opinion...

There really is a Tooth Fairy, and Four-Star Generals never lie!

Isn’t it amazing the way those in the highest echelons of government who routinely spin and lie, and those apologists in the media who favor, and feed off of them, display such almost-convincing indignation in response to any exposure of their misrepresentations, and outright lies? One such media apologist, Sean Hannity carries on as if he just graduated from a parochial high school with unbruised knuckles and a piggy bank full of Tooth Fairy money.

Last week on Fox’s nightly Hannity and Colmes program Mr. Hannity made quite a fuss about those in Congress, particularly New York Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton’s, and Chuck Schumer’s, criticisms of General David H. Petraeus’ testimony before them a few days earlier. Both senators, together with other senators and representatives, some of them Republicans, had voiced skepticism with regard to the statistics and analyses the good general had rolled out before them. Many, who had reluctantly financed the President’s surge tactic expressed open disappointment with the unabated daily casualties and deaths, both Iraqi and American,
reported nightly, experiencing difficulty reconciling the Four Star General’s positive evaluations with the known facts.

To hear Hannity carry on about those who believe that Petraeus was carrying water for a president who has gotten himself, and our Nation, into something we should not have entered into, one would think such observers and critics were guilty of blasphemy. Turning to the camera he declared, “This is a Four-Star General they’re
calling a liar,” indignation literally radiating from his brow.

We would remind Mr. Hannity, and others of his ilk, that there is nothing about high military position that inoculates one from telling an occasional lie, either by omission or commission, as former General, then Secretary of State, Colin Powell discovered the hard way in his address before the United Nations on the subject of
Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. We have no reason to believe that General Powell was any more loyal to this president then, than General Petraeus is now.

And, the phenomenon is hardly exclusive to the George W. Bush Administration. Surely Mr. Hannity is aware, if only from studying recent American history, of the exaggerated and often downright false body-counts that came out of Vietnam under General William Westmoreland in his concerted effort to create support for, and pressure on, President Lyndon Johnson, for a widening of the War and an infusion of significantly greater numbers of troops. Westmoreland, much like Petraeus, had his attrition charts and bar graphs, all designed to persuade Congress and the American People that we were succeeding in Vietnam. However, over time it became increasingly clear that the intelligence on enemy casualties and deaths, as well as weapons captured, and a host of other indices, could not be reconciled with the day-to-day reality on the ground, and Westmoreland was ultimately recalled and replaced by General Creighton W. Abrams.

Thankfully, many in Congress understand that those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat prior mistakes. Additionally, the American People are not only wary of the war in Iraq, but have been voicing their opposition to it in ever-increasing numbers. Despite those whose political philosophy and blind loyalty to a misguided and stubborn leader keeps them in lock-step with his policies, and condemning of those who suggest that soldiers can be liars, the last time We checked this was still the United States and nobody, not even four-star generals, are sacred cows.

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