‘Condemnation’ shows need for second party


The phony flap over MoveOn’s “General Betray Us” ad demonstrates clearly how desperately this poor country needs a second major political party – if it isn’t already too late.

In case you’ve been watching All O.J. All the Time News, MoveOn ran a full-page ad in the New York Times before Gen. Petraeus made “his” report to Congress on the situation in Iraq. Petraeus is the commander of U.S. forces in what’s left of that country. The ad said, to summarize very briefly, that the writer(s) of the report cherry picked facts to support a claim that we’re “winning” in Iraq, when, in fact, we have failed.

The ad’s headline said “General Petraeus or General Betray Us.”

Of course the Republican right went nuts, on cue. That was more predictable than a sunrise.

And of course the noisemakers of television also went nuts, also on cue. Disgusting, said the right. “Throw MoveOn out of the country” said ever sillier John McCain. “An insult to the general and the U.S. military!” screamed the chorus of yapping heads.

It’s been awhile since they’ve had such a wonderful distraction topic.

O.J. Simpson soon appeared as another distraction, but the Rovians in Congress and the White House couldn’t use him to rally the troops, nor did Simpson serve to frighten the cowards in Congress who call themselves Democrats.

George W. Bush, Co-president of the United States, got on television and, using his other expression – the one that’s not a smirk – declared the ad “disgusting” and, of course, an insult to the general and the U.S. military.

And the U.S. Senate voted 72 to 25 to “condemn” MoveOn for running the ad, with 22 Senators who lay claim to being Democrats voting for the nonbinding, nonuseful resolution. Minnesota’s increasingly embarrassing freshman senator, Amy Klobuchar, voted for it.

Right before the Labor Day break, Klobuchar also voted to allow continuation of warrentless wiretapping against U.S. citizens.

Of course the state’s Republican senator, Norm Coleman, eagerly voted to slap MoveOn, but that’s to be expected. He has never crossed the Bush/Cheney administration on anything bigger than favoring the Vikings over the Cowboys – and I wouldn’t swear he ever has gone that far.

The television news shows on September 20 devoted 80 percent of their coverage to the critics of the ad – and that may be a conservative estimate. CNN had several Republican talking heads on air, being delightedly “disgusted,” and let Wolf (Hide me, I heard a shell 12 miles away!) Blitzer mumble a sort-of 30-second paraphrase of MoveOn’s response to the attacks.

Quick facts:

— The truths stated in the MoveOn ad are, indeed, truths. The research was solid, the statements accurate.

— The ad did not condemn the U.S. military. It did kick hell of of Petraeus.

— The “Petraeus report” – as a number of newspapers acknowledged in brief paragraphs inside brief articles on inside pages before the general’s Congressional appearance – was largely written in the White House. It was a political document.

— It can be honestly argued that in offering a highly colored and deliberately inaccurate assessment of the status of our military intervention in Iraq, and acting, therefore, as a political front for his mentors in the White House, the general did indeed betray his duty to the American people and his oath of service.

(Incidentally – or not – Petraeus, when stationed Baghdad in 2004-05 told Sabah Khadim, then a senior adviser in Iraq’s Interior Ministry, that he was interested in running for president of the United States, but that 2008 would be too soon. That was reported in the United Kingdom newspaper, the Independent. The general is widely said to be a very ambitious man and anything but apolitical.)

— The Senate voted to “condemn” MoveOn for –- what? -– but has never voted to condemn George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or any of their co-conspirators for suppressing intelligence, deliberately falsifying intelligence and otherwise lying to the American people in order to invade another sovereign nation that posed us no risk.

There as been no condemnation for the entirely unnecessary and useless deaths of soon-to-be 4,000 young Americans, or tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, the maiming of tens of thousands more of both Amricans and Iraqis, or the destruction of Iraq’s economy, infrastructure and way of life.

— The president has not declared “disgusting” nor has the Senate condemned the “Swiftboating” group that libeled Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and several other patriotic Democratic candidates and office holders, and which is still functioning, using slander and libel as political tools. (And it’s chief financial backer also continues as a substantial contributor to the Bush people and right wing Republican members of Congress.)

— There has been no Senate condemnation of various Republican campaign organizations that have been proven to have used illegal dirty tricks, to have deliberately used clearly illegal means to suppress the votes of ethnic minorities and committed numerous acts to subvert the American electoral system.

Please, contact your senators and tell them how ashamed they should be for that charade of a “condemnation” on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007. Do that especially if your senator is a spinless Democrat who voted for the resolution.

For Minnesotans:

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Democrat?)
Bishop Henry Whipple Building, Suite 298
1 Federal Drive
Fort Snelling, MN 55111
(612) 727-5220; fax (612) 727-5223
Web site (from which you can email her): www.klobuchar.senate.gov

Sen. Norm Coleman (Republican)
(651-645-0323; fax (651) 645-0704
Web site: www.coleman.senat.gov

For reasons I won’t go into here, and which have no real substance anyway, Democrats decided almost as soon as they became a majority to go on acting as a helpless minority. With a very few exceptions, they have shown themselves to be an intellectually puny and nerve-deficient scrum of space-fillers, the weak side of the ruling party, the Washington Generals to Bush’s Harlem Globetrotters.

We do desperately need a second party, but don’t look to any “leaders” to provide it. (The Greens, the Libertarians, et al, are forever condemned by their narrowness to be “third” parties.) We must, somehow, create it ourselves.

Maybe we could start with MoveOn.

Just a thought.