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September 19, 2007

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So General Betrayus after all.

lie upon lie upon lie

The point is that the lying still works with so much of the Republican base.

Meanwhile, the next talking point is how mean Move-On is or the Democrats in general are for denouncing the deceit.

Bottom line -- there is no civil way to conduct the debate with such liars.

Hats off to Melissa and Andy Hunt. It is good to be reminded that there are still people who see past "I've got mine so screw you".

If I'm in tinfoil mode, they want to bring specific units home so they can rest, and redeploy to a dIffeRent locAtioN.

Here's how I view this: soldiers will be brought home in some order that's based on how important their unit is to serving the mission plan. If the 13th MEU has, in effect, worked themselves out of a job, of course they should come home first.

So, who else is coming home? 19,500 soldiers from what other units? And: what if this entire drawdown was as planned? That would just suck to have had a plan, and then to have followed it.

So, who else is coming home? 19,500 soldiers from what other units? And: what if this entire drawdown was as planned? That would just suck to have had a plan, and then to have followed it.

Fine, but don't announce it as a change of plan if it was already the plan.

So, who else is coming home? 19,500 soldiers from what other units? And: what if this entire drawdown was as planned? That would just suck to have had a plan, and then to have followed it.

Fine, but don't announce it as a change of plan if it was already the plan.

Right, the problem is taking credit for an ordinarily scheduled rotation as if it were part of a drawdown of forces. Whatever Gen. Petraeus recommended, this unit was coming home on this schedule -- their return has nothing to do with larger decisions about how many troops should be in Iraq, and it's misleading to report on it as if it did.

Come on Slarti, that's pretty weak, even from you in one of your Ostrich moments.

soldiers will be brought home in some order that's based on how important their unit is to serving the mission plan

This is not correct. Marines are still on a standard five-month rotation; they are brought home at the end of the five months no matter what.

Slarti: as the others have said, I don't have a problem with the order in which troops come home. I have precisely no expertise on that score, and so even if I suspected that something was amiss, which I don't, I wouldn't feel confident enough to post on it. It's about saying 'oh heavens, we've decided to bring some troops home early', when all you've done is move their departure date from Nov. 17 to Nov. 17.

Marines are still on a standard five-month rotation; they are brought home at the end of the five months no matter what.

Ah, so no betrayal here. Cool.

It's about saying 'oh heavens, we've decided to bring some troops home early', when all you've done is move their departure date from Nov. 17 to Nov. 17.

The word "early" is nowhere to be found, hilzoy. I don't pretend to be an expert, either, as troop deployments are concerned, but I'd tend to keep my outrage in check unless it turned out that, for example, we were bringing 21,500 troops home! But replacing them with another 21,500 or more.

Right, the problem is taking credit for an ordinarily scheduled rotation as if it were part of a drawdown of forces.

Yes, it's not as if the military could possibly start drawing down by rotating out and not rotating back in. I'm not saying that's what's happening, but I can't tell from the article that it's not.

It's still weird to point to a part of the system that's not changing as evidence of a change. If I say "My new truant policy keeps children who would otherwise miss school showing up for class. Last year, 20% of students missed over a month of class. This year, only 2% of students did." and then show off two students and say "Bobby and Linda here have missed only one day of school since my new policy was instituted," and it turns out that Bobby and Linda didn't miss any school before the new policy, while I haven't told any lies, it's still deceptive to use B&L as an illustration of the effects of a change that actually had no effect at all on them.

To the extent Petraeus is doing that -- using the 13 MEU as an illustration of how troop reductions are going to work, when in fact they're completely unaffected by any change in plan, is deceptive.

Only if you read more into it than was actually there, as a starting point.

On the other hand, only 10% of the returning force is the 13th MEU. Seems a little overdone, in any event.

Further, it appears that there's a PR effort by the administration to portray the end of the 'surge' as a considered response to an improvement in conditions. In fact, from the beginning of the 'surge', it was clear that we didn't have the manpower to sustain it indefinitely without changing our rotation policies -- the extra troops were going to have to come home by April or so. Whether or not conditions were or are improving, the 'surge' was going to end.

By pointing to a regularly scheduled rotation as if it were a change in plan, Petraeus is assisting this PR tactic. Rotating the 13 MEU home doesn't illustrate anything about conditions in Iraq or the results of the surge, and it's deceptive to bring it up in that context.

That's a whole lot of assertion, LB. But let's roll with it for a second: let's say that it's a given that the surge would have to return home by next summer. Petraeus then says: hey, we're drawing down the surge by X amount by next summer.

Where's the lie?

Who said lie? In my illustrative hypothetical, I said "I haven't told any lies". Hilzoy's post also lacks the word 'lie'. Petraeus has not, to my knowledge, uttered a falsehood. But it's spin, and it supports a false impression.

It's the opposite of spin, LB. It's pure fact. Spinning it as deception is spin, though.

Cleek says it's a lie. Wonkie says betray us. dmbeaster says it's a lie. Even you say it's spinning no change as change, when "no change" would really be rotating out the 13th MEU and rotating 2k more troops from somewhere else.

Oh, fair enough about cleek, Wonkie, and dmbeaster. But this:

Even you say it's spinning no change as change, when "no change" would really be rotating out the 13th MEU and rotating 2k more troops from somewhere else.

is silly. By that standard, "No change" would mean "Everyone stand motionless -- no one move." What happened to the 13th MEU is not a change in the preexisting plan, and it's being spun as a result of an improvement in conditions or an indication of the success of the surge.

Seems to me that a news story focusing on the 13th MEU is misleading, while a news story focusing on whatever unit was scheduled to replace the 13th MEU -- but now gets to stay home -- would not be misleading. The question is whether there is such a unit. And the burden of showing that there is one is on the proponents of the 'things are changing' position (actual proponents, not debaters of websites). Obviously, this isn't a burden that has to be met with every single utterance, but given the track record, I can't see any reason not to doubt the government's bone fides, when no such unit is immediately identified.

yes, let's get into a discussion about the meaning of the word "lie". clearly, it's important to be able to tell if The Honorable Philosopher-Warrior Petraeus was lying, or merely "spinning" when he set out to deceive his audience about what the "5000 troops home by Christmas" line or "a reduction of 30,000 [OMG! that's a LOT!] by next spring" really entails. his words, the words of the WH and their fluffers in the media are clearly intended to make us think levels are going down because everything is going so well, and not that they're going down because of other reasons (which they will do their best to not mention).

yes, it's very important to be precise here. they weren't lying, they just want everyone to believe things are happening that actually aren't in order to help their political position.

Look, given this administration's track record, what is the point of having this discussion? As Charley says, there is no reason NOT to doubt. I don't understand why anyone would invest the energy in trying to rationalize for this administration again. How many times does it take for them to behave the same way before the pattern is acknowledged?


This thread is perfect evidence of why attempting to 'discuss' things with slarti is pointless.

Are you honestly, with a straight keyboard, suggesting that (to paraphrase) "Since we are bringing the troops home exactly when we would have had to in any event, the surge is a resounding success" is not putting lipstick on a pig?

In related news, the sun rose in the east at exactly the predicted moment today. This is proof that my endeavors have prevented the world from tilting off its axis.

I’m not sure of the issue here. As both Slarti and CC noted, the key is whether a replacement unit would have normally relieved them. Petraeus specified that the units are being removed “without replacement”.

When the 13th went to Iraq they relieved the 15th MEU, which came home.

You’ll see mention of the 26th, but they only hit Kuwait for a couple of weeks training then went on to Kenya. They never went into Iraq.

The 15th Went to Iraq in November of last year and left in April. They were replaced by the 13th.

The 13th was sent to Anbar in support of the surge. The 13th is right now turning over security responsibilities in Anbar to the Iraqi 2d Brigade of the 1st Iraqi Division. They are not being relieved by an American unit. (The article is fairly pessimistic on how successful the IA unit will be.)

Even that was in progress before Petraeus went before Congress on 9/11. That doesn’t change the fact that it was decided not to replace them, to turn it over to the IA instead. That’s what Petraeus told Congress.

The MEUs have been deployed to Kuwait as a regional strategic reserve. But it looks like they have then been deployed from there to Iraq for some time. As an aside, when you use your strategic reserve as you would any other force that indicates a serious lack of manpower right there as you no longer have a handy reserve to react to a real emergency. So don’t be surprised if word comes that another MEU is being deployed to Kuwait as a strategic reserve. I’m sure some will jump on that as Aha! The 13th is being replaced! Not unless the new MEU goes straight into Iraq. That reserve is critical. It’s that “over-the-horizon” response some folks keep recommending.

As to the questions raised in the article, even by family members, I don’t understand some of them either. The standard deployment for a MEU is 6 months.

The MEU, directed by a single commander, is comprised of approximately 2,100 Marines and Sailors, embarked aboard three ships along with the Marines and Sailors stationed on those ships and the Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON), which commands the three-ship Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). The 13th MEU working with PHIBRON-5 and the USS Tarawa ARG comprises one such Navy/Marine team. The 13th MEU is one of three West Coast based MEUs from Camp Pendleton, Calif. These MEUs are routinely rotated through the Western Pacific/Southwest Asia region and other areas for six months at a time.

So comparing a MEU to “Other Marine units” or “some active-duty Army soldiers” is meaningless. A MEU is an amphibious unit tied to ships. They do 6 month rotations. On the other points, yes, they were already scheduled to return. That schedule was set before they ever left to go to Iraq. The key is that they are not being replaced (in Iraq, they need another MEU in Kuwait).

Not that anyone cares or it matters a damn. Minds are made up and have been. 25 Dems including HRC and Reid voted against the Sense of the Senate resolution reaffirming support for Petraeus and “all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces” and condemning MoveOn for the ad. Half of all Senate Democrats voted against it. Obama made a principled decision not to cast a vote at all.

Unanimously confirmed him in January.

I’m going to call that HRC’s first big mistake this campaign. That is going to hurt her.

Nah. It won't annoy a single person who had a shot in hell of voting for her anyway.

OCSteve, the only mistake is that Congress is spending time on silly resolutions instead of getting something done. Are you also outraged at all the Republicans who voted against Boxer's resolution? Apparently they're unwilling to "reaffirm strong support for all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and to strongly condemn attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, by any person or organization."

Of course he's not outraged, KC -- he defended the Swift Boaters on this very blog! For more on this kinds of double standard, see today's Greenwald. Excerpt:

Writing in National Review a couple of days ago, Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute blatantly violated the New Rule in America which prohibits questioning the credibility of a four-star General in a Time of War, when Ledeen (during a Time of War) attacked recently retired Four-Star General John Abizaid for explaining why a nuclear-armed Iran is less dangerous than a U.S. war with Iran. Said Ledeen in attacking the General:
Abizaid Speaks! Oh Dear... [Michael Ledeen]
General Abizaid has unburdened himself on the subject of nuclear Iran. He thinks Iran is kinda like the Soviet Union, it's deterrable, and while he'd rather Iran not have nukes, all in all we could live with it. . . .

I'm grateful for this bit of enlightenment from the former commander of Central Command, whose failed strategy in Iraq led us to fight more effectively, especially against the Iranians' depredations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It was under Abizaid that the copious evidence of Iranian activity was suppressed, and we, let's say, took it easy on the thousands of Revolutionary Guards killers running all over the country. He now wants to extend that policy to Iran itself. He's got plenty of company in Foggy Bottom, Langley, and the White House.


So Gen. Abizaid, who "failed" in his mission, also "suppressed" the "copious evidence" of Iranian involvement in Iraq. That sounds like Ledeen is accusing General Abizaid of being less than honest -- how else can one characterize someone who "suppresses" evidence? -- and that, as we learned this week, is not allowed. The Commander-in-Chief just explained this morning that such attacks are "disgusting" and constitute attacks on The Troops Themselves.
You will hear nary a peep on this from Republicans and conservatives, trust me, aside from The Usual Suspects darkly insinuating that Abizaid is one of, you know, them and thus not to be trusted.

KinDC: the only mistake is that Congress is spending time on silly resolutions instead of getting something done.

A mistake I agree. Certainly not the only one.

Are you also outraged at all the Republicans who voted against Boxer's resolution?

If procedurally they could pass both? Yes. Assuming it was one or the other? No.

Boxer’s was watered down to avoid directly supporting Petraeus and to avoid mentioning MoveOn. Of course I much prefer Cornyn’s and would hope that all Senators would reject Boxer’s and vote for Cornyn’s.

But you recognize that for anyone who voted for Boxers and against Cornyn's, talking about 'supporting the troops' is a red herring, right?

A resolution that maybe people shouldn't cast aspersions on those who served their country is "watered down" just because it doesn't specifically mention OH NOES TEH TRAITORUSS MOVEON??? Yes, much better to have this bit of bullsh*t Kabuki than a general resolution that slurring people's military service is bad. Obama was, AFAIC, exactly right on this one.

Phil: I’m going to pass on the Swifties. I’ve hit my quota of thread-jacks lately. Besides there’s really no point in discussion if you won’t distinguish between:

-Veterans criticizing another veteran for actions decades past.
-A solitary pundit criticizing a retired General who made a pretty lame statement on strategic policy, which he no longer has any role in.
-Many Senators refusing to explicitly support the General they unanimously put in charge of the war just a few months ago for fear of crossing those of their party farthest to the left.

If that represents a double standard to you (and GG) then so be it. But I thought you guys were the ones with that whole “nuance” thing going on. I thought it was us knuckle-draggers who only understood black or white, for us or against us, etc. ;)

As far as “nary a peep on this”, I don’t read Ledeen and hadn’t seen the bit you posted. But for the record, I find Abizaid’s comment naïve at best, but Ledeen’s remarks are reprehensible and I condemn them.

LB: But you recognize that for anyone who voted for Boxers and against Cornyn's, talking about 'supporting the troops' is a red herring, right?

Sure. It was never about “the troops”. It was about Petraeus, MoveOn, etc.


And now, it’s a new season of Survivor. China this time. Maybe I’ll soak up some culture and be more resistant to just nuking those commie b*st*rds first chance we get. Later.

OCSteve: Veterans criticizing another veteran for actions decades past.

As I know has already been pointed out to you: The Swifties were veterans telling malicious and politically-motivated lies about another veteran. They were not "criticizing Kerry for his actions": they were making allegations up.

That you refuse even to acknowledge that the Swifties were lying because their target was Kerry goes beyond having a double standard, right into the kind of partisan loyalty that sees no wrong in your own.

Veterans criticizing another veteran for actions decades past.

What Jes said.

-A solitary pundit criticizing a retired General who made a pretty lame statement on strategic policy, which he no longer has any role in.

. . . and in the process insinuating that said general might be, you know, pulling for the other side.

-Many Senators refusing to explicitly support the General they unanimously put in charge of the war just a few months ago for fear of crossing those of their party farthest to the left.

Mind-reading foul; and because they supported him then, they're not allowed to withdraw their support if they find he's not performing? Support must be ongoing and eternal, once granted?

The Senators should condemn MoveOn only after they've sent a letter to the FCC stating that Ann Coulter is a hate-monger and her speech is obscene.

Deal?

BTW, did you condemn the nasty way the Rethugs cast went after Murtha? Or was that OK for some reason?

Support must be ongoing and eternal, once granted?

even better:

    MoveOn has the right to free speech. Congress has the responsibility to defend the honor of the man they unanimously endorsed for the difficult task of bringing security to Iraq.
    [my bold]

i'm sure it's in the Constitution somewhere.

I see this thread has Moved On, but that OCSteve has pretty much mooted the original point. Which is good, because who has time to wade through all of the snark?

I'd rather not get into calling Republicans Rethugs. I imagine it would bother the Democrats here if someone came up and started referring to us as the Dhimmicrats, or whatever the current term of abuse is, and I don't see this as any different.

Plus, not all the Republicans did any such thing, and here, we try to restrict those kinds of generalizations.

Phil: Mind-reading foul; and because they supported him then, they're not allowed to withdraw their support if they find he's not performing? Support must be ongoing and eternal, once granted?

I haven’t seen them making the case that he is not performing. Were they seriously expecting him to turn Iraq into a paradise in 7 months? Is that what he promised at his confirmation hearings? Can you point out any of these 25 Senators who have made the case that he is performing badly in the job they gave him? Meanwhile the strongest condemnation of the ad I’ve seen from them is “I wish they hadn’t done that”.


That you refuse even to acknowledge that the Swifties were lying because their target was Kerry goes beyond having a double standard, right into the kind of partisan loyalty that sees no wrong in your own.

BTW, did you condemn the nasty way the Rethugs cast went after Murtha? Or was that OK for some reason?

If we all want to agree that this is black or white that’s fine by me. I’m surprised that you don’t see any differences in the various cases at all. I’m repeating myself, but I see a huge difference between veterans criticizing veterans or even pundits criticizing veterans and Senators not supporting the General they very recently and unanimously put in charge of this war against what amounts to a very public charge of treason.

I’m not the one making the case that criticism is out of bounds or that the appropriateness has to be consistent in every case. But I can work with that. The examples in this thread (Kerry, Abizaid, Murtha) seem to point to it always being inappropriate to criticize veterans. That works for me. I’ll send hilzoy a copy of my DD-214 and once she confirms my veteran status to the group then I’m beyond criticism here. ;)
And of course anything that Andrew has to say on any topic has to be accepted as absolute gospel.

Phil and Jes – You guys seem to be just itching to do the whole Swifties thing. Barring a front-pager addressing it directly it is too much of a thread jack here. I’ll try to do a TiO post on it when I have the time to commit to the fracas that will be sure to follow. Maybe Sunday…

I see a huge difference between veterans criticizing veterans

You're still not acknowledging that this is the Swift Boat Liars and their politically-motivated lies we're talking about.

I'd be surprised if one of the front-pagers didn't deal with the Swifties back in 2004 - indeed, I have a half-memory of a post by Hilzoy on their false allegations. They were exposed as politically-motivated liars three years ago, which is why it's surprising you're still clinging to the notion that they were just "veterans criticizing veterans".

Again, what Jes said. The Swift Boaters didn't "criticize veterans." They made very specific allegations that they failed to back up, that were contradicted by facts, and that were contradicted by their own prior actions and statements. Put more succinctly, they made stuff up.

Did the Senate condemn that? No. Did they condemn the slimy ad about Max Cleland? No. Did they condemn the near-daily accusations of treason by bloggers WHO HAVE MET THE PRESIDENT IN THE OVAL OFFICE? Hell, no.

So why should the Democrats have kowtowed to this piece of nonsense? What makes this so qualitatively different from all the things Republicans have pulled in the last four years? You and I both know the answer: It's OK If You're A Republican.

Still with the Petraeus ad? Sheesh. I may be perpetually outraged, irate, & generally unpleasant to talk to about politics lately but at least in my case it's over things that actually happened to people.

The Senate vote--it's just so fake. Anything but talk about the pile of corpses their policies have created. And the press seems to have the attention span of a 5 year old: the story is whatever someone powerful or influential is yelling about right then.

(I'm not accusing people here of faking their anger at MoveOn--I just think y'all are still, even now, after years of experience with this crew that should have taught you something, far too easily manipulated.)

I so agree with K on this one.

The MoveOn ad is a classic mountain-over-a-molehill turned politically advantageous distraction and evidence of media laziness and rightwing disingenuousness.

It would be one thing if the offending term had originated with MoveOn rather than the troops themselves (making Bush's claim that this disrepects the troops, the very authors of the term, so ludicrous it's beyond laughable). It would also be one thing if there were any reason to believe Petraeus wasn't indeed cooking the books for his chart-a-rama on Capital Hill. But neither of those is the case by all evidence, and so, in need once again of a scapegoat and distraction from their incompetence, the GOP makes MoveOn the issue. They don't have to come up with a solution to Iraq as long as they have a whipping boy with which to distract the voters.

My hope is that MoveOn will take advantage of this attention and resulting ready audience and produce another more damning ad. The troops and the nation are being well served by their efforts. If Patreaus is indeed "using normal circumstances and turning them into some kind of big deal" for political reasons, then he is damn well betraying us all. His uniform and previous service do not make that irrelevant.

And the Post hypes the story, front-paging it in print and on the web, where it's the top Congressional story, with tiny print for the over the failures of the out-of-Iraq bills.

By the way, I meant to say this on the other thread: Hi Edward! Good to see you here.

"Hi Edward! Good to see you here."

Seconded! Nice to see you, old-timer.

Yo Edward_! Hi!

Another yo, from me, sent out during one of the few moments when I can actually post a comment.

Hopefully. I guess we'll see.

Hi back to y'all (formal English really does need a distinctive second person plural pronoun).

I see MoveOn does have another ad, this one targeting Congress...

Let's see the CongressCritters spin this one as unpatriotic. Of course, they'll latch onto the quotes from the military as evidence that MoveOn is anti-troops (for repeating their own words, mind you), but I can't tell you how long over due all this feels to me.

Edward_: "I see MoveOn does have another ad, this one targeting Congress..."

Sadly, that looks like satire to me.

True, RF, but I wonder how many right-wingers have already pointed to it as further evidence that MoveOn is a bunch of unhinged un-American wackos.

so it is...and I was calling W gullible. Just one more reason I have no business being POTUS.

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