- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One or the other

“The anti-Iraq-war crowd is always quick to say they ‘support the troops.’ But it’s not an expression of support when you accuse the top ‘troop’ of lying, cherry-picking facts, and serving as a uniformed mouthpiece for the president, especially when all evidence is to the contrary.

“That’s exactly what MoveOn.org has done with its full-page ad in the New York Times, accusing the top ‘troop’ — four-star Gen. David Petraeus — of ‘betraying’ the nation he has sworn to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. Many top Democrats … are also guilty by association.

“Worse, during [last week’s] Iraq-report hearings, many of those same Democrats lied on the record by expressing ‘respect’ for the ‘distinguished’ and ‘honorable’ service of both Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker on the one hand, then accusing both men of presenting a report that required — in the words of Sen. Hillary Clinton — ‘the willing suspension of disbelief.’

“They can’t have it both ways. Petraeus cannot be an honorable man … and at the same time a liar who would betray his country. He’s one or the other.”

W. Thomas Smith Jr., writing on “The MoveOn Choice,” on Friday at NationalReview.com

Online graffiti

“ ’What Perez Sez About the VMAs’ — the first installment of a deal between VH1 and gossip blogger Perez Hilton to emit six specials pegged to awards shows — was all about hostile intimacy. Hilton is the nom de spume of one Mario Lavandeira. Have you had the pleasure of ‘reading’ his blog? The dish is not half bad, but, stylistically, his closest antecedent is the bathroom wall. …

“I tried hating ‘What Perez Sez,’ but it proved so fantastically easy to hate as to deny any satisfaction. … The show is Hilton’s bid, a terribly credible one, to become the Barbara Walters of his generation.”

Troy Patterson, writing on “I Love This Dirty TV Show,” Friday at Slate.com

Book bragging?

“Back in the day, a credulous reporter bought JFK’s assertion that he read 1,200 words a minute, and apparently no one else questioned the young prince’s supergenius powers. Sure, why not? And then in his spare time, like Mao, he went out to instruct the nation’s surgeons on better technique.

“I was reminded of that story when I read Slate’s excerpt from Robert Draper’s new book on [President Bush]. In a late 2006 interview, the president brags that so far he’d read 87 books that year.

“Is there any American with an IQ above room temperature who actually believes that? I am a fast reader. I’ve only gotten faster since law school. I like to read more than is good for me. … And I’m reasonably sure that most years I have more uninterrupted reading time than the president of the United States. But I don’t think I’ve ever read 87 books a year, even when I was doing mostly fiction.

“It’s odd when you think about it, that it was Al Gore who got in trouble for all the little … white lies.”

Gene Healy, writing on “Reading is Hard,” on Sept. 6 in Brainwash at www.affbrainwash.com

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