- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

We’ve heard one too many antiwar partisans shout “You’re questioning my patriotism!” to let this sorry display pass. The far-left organization MoveOn.org’s disgusting “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” advertising campaign sets the new standard for bad-faith, motive-impugning argument. This is beyond the pale, sinking swiftly to the level of Klansmen and Neo-Nazis, to accuse the commander of American troops in Iraq of being a traitor. It’s enough, or ought to be, to persuade the legislators who feed on the swill at this group’s trough to return MoveOn.org’s donations and send this organization back to the lunatic fringe where it thrives.

It will take more than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s expression of “frustration” to right this wrong. The standard is to renounce campaign contributions from such organizations. MoveOn.org, which previously compared President Bush to Hitler, is one such. This organization and the crazies of the far left cannot countenance U.S. military action anywhere. This group is so radical to deny the nation’s inherent right to self-defense, having opposed intervention in Afghanistan after the attacks on America six years ago this morning.

The Democrats who take MoveOn.org’s money are the same ones who cry “my patriotism!” whenever someone observes how weak they are on national security. They’re either silent or engage in Mr. Reid’s tepid talk in defense of common decency. Democrats dismiss Gen. Petraeus as not being an “independent evaluator” — that’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California — or accuse him of “carefully manipulating the statistics” — that’s Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. Others who cannot summon the boldness to say anything in public praise MoveOn.org’s ability to do the dirty work.

If these attacks are not smears on the patriotism of Gen. Petraeus, nothing could be. The left expects its “my patriotism!” indignation to be taken seriously, but and expect others to stand by as the smear is launched. It does not add up.

It is fair to expect more from Democratic lawmakers whose job it is to represent more than the leftmost 5 percent of their party. This should embarrass and shame this group’s antiwar Democratic friends on the Hill that they continue to regard its money and support as common currency, even as it comes close to accusing Gen. Petraeus of treason.

Every antiwar lawmaker now claiming to seek substantive discussion would be compelled by logic to repudiate MoveOn.org if such worthies mean what they say about Iraq, if they intend their words to have meaning. At minimum, they would heed Mr. Reid’s plea in January to “Listen to the generals.” But more than this, they would demonstrate that they are serious in their principles, that their claimed principles are not merely convenient, easily discarded emotives made for dramatic effect. They would demonstrate that their arguments are more than hysterical nonsense.

Fat chance. “No one wants to call [Petraeus] a liar on national TV,” one anonymous Democratic senator told the Hill newspaper Politico. “The expectation is that the outside groups will do this for us.” MoveOn.org, the premier leftist “outside group,” now fulfills that expectation grandly. These lawmakers are complicit in the attack, no matter how many times they say “We support the troops.”

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