Update 10:45am Eastern.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this morning called on the Democratic leadership in Congress to condemn the full-page advertisement that appeared this morning in the New York Times suggesting that General David Petraeus is a traitor.
“Every American, including a Washington special interest organization like MoveOn.org, has the right to voice their opinion on the Iraq war. But to suggest that the four-star General leading the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq has ‘betrayed’ his country is abhorrent.
“General Petraeus has dedicated his life to securing American liberty and protecting his fellow countrymen. He and all who serve under him are fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq to help ensure that we do not have to fight them here at home.
“This is an important moment for the Democratic leadership, which as the New York Times Magazine reported yesterday, has been working closely with MoveOn.org to coordinate opposition to the conflict in Iraq – will Democrats in Congress stand by and say nothing as their liberal allies attack the patriotism of our military commander in Iraq or will they condemn this disgusting personal attack on his character and integrity?
“There should be a full and honest debate on the war on terror. Americans can have that debate because the brave men and women in our military have fought and died to defend that right over the years. But hateful, personal attacks that call our military leaders traitors should be condemned. It is my hope that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will disassociate themselves from this attack, condemn it, and cease further coordination with MoveOn.org.”
NOTE: The Politico newspaper reported Friday: “‘No one wants to call [Petraeus] a liar on national TV,’ noted one Democratic senator, who spoke on the condition on anonymity. ‘The expectation is that the outside groups will do this for us.’
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole issued the following statement today in response to a full-page ad in this morning’s New York Times by the extremist group MoveOn.org:
“It is bad enough that MoveOn.org has been trying to bully Members of Congress into a course of action that most experts believe would lead to catastrophe in Iraq and the death of tens of thousands in a regional sectarian war. But comparing an American general, who has spent his life serving and defending our country, to traitors like Adam Gadahn, Jose Padilla and John Walker Lindh goes too far.
“Moveon.org owes General Petraeus and every American in uniform an apology.
“This is a critical time for the future of our country and we ought to be working together to find a real solution, instead of turning the Iraq war into a political, partisan game. Democrats ought to reflect on whether or not they want their party associated with the tactics of an organization that spends its time, resources and credibility attacking the character of the men and women who defend its right to engage in such egregious activities.”
Congressman Bill Shuster, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on Move-on.org’s attack ad against General David Petraeus:
“Move-on.org’s ad is an outrageous affront to our military commanders and to the men and women under their command. General Petraeus is regarded as a respected, resolute and responsible leader who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. His perspective on our progress in Iraq should be welcomed with an open mind.
In running this despicable ad, Move-on.org and their facilitators at the New York Times have carried the anti-war fringe to a new low. I call on my Democratic colleagues to put an end to this political theater and reject the ad immediately.
It is well known that Move-on.org holds significant power over Democrats in Congress. If their leadership fails to reject this ad, it will prove to the American people exactly whose interests they are serving in Congress and whether they are more invested in our defeat than our victory in Iraq.”
MoveOn.org calls Gen. David Petraeus a traitor. Pete Hegseth reports:
…as General David Petraeus provides his Iraq assessment to Congress–the antiwar group MoveOn.org is running a full-page advertisement in the New York Times under the headline: “General Petraeus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House.”
Let’s be clear: MoveOn.org is suggesting that General Petraeus has ‘betrayed’ his country. This is disgusting. To attack as a traitor an American general commanding forces in war because his ‘on the ground’ experience does not align with MoveOn.org’s political objectives is utterly shameful. It shows contempt for America’s military leadership, as well as for the troops who have confidence in him, as our fellow soldiers in Iraq certainly do.
General Petraeus has served this country for over 35 years with honor, distinction, and integrity. And this is not just about General Petraeus. After all, if General Petraeus is “cooking the books,” then the entire military chain of command in Baghdad, and all the staff, military and civilian, who have been working with General Petraeus are complicit, since Petraeus did not write his report in isolation. They are all, apparently, ‘betray[ing] us.’
MoveOn.org has been working closely with the Democratic congressional leadership –as an article in today’s Sunday New York Times Magazine makes clear. And consider this comment by a Democratic senator from Friday’s Politico: “‘No one wants to call [Petraeus] a liar on national TV,’ noted one Democratic senator, who spoke on the condition on anonymity. ‘The expectation is that the outside groups will do this for us.’
So, veterans who served in Iraq ask the Democratic leaders in Congress: Does MoveOn.org speak for you? Do you agree with MoveOn.org? Or do you repudiate this despicable charge?
Let’s have answers.
Sen. Harry Reid
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2803
Phone: (202) 224-3542
Fax: (202) 224-7327
Rep. Nancy Pelosi
235 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0508
Phone: (202) 225-4965
Fax: (202) 225-8259
Rep. Steny Hoyer
1705 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-2005
Phone: (202) 225-4131
Fax: (202) 225-4300
FNC’s Wendell Goler reports that WH spokesman Tony Snow this morning called the ad “boorish and childish and unworthy.”
Byron York weighs in:
In recent years, MoveOn has sought to portray itself as the voice of what Pariser often calls the true American majority. For example, in the summer of 2004 MoveOn teamed with filmmaker Michael Moore to promote Moore’s movie Fahrenheit 9/11. The week before the film premiered, Pariser asked members to sign a pledge to see it during its first weekend; the point, he explained, was not simply to show support for Moore’s picture but to create the impression in the press that Fahrenheit 9/11 was the leading edge of a wave of anti-Bush anger sweeping the country. “We launched this campaign around Fahrenheit 9/11 because to the media, the pundits, and the politicians in power, the movie’s success will be seen as a cultural referendum on the Bush administration and the Iraq war,” Pariser told MoveOn members. “Together, we have an opportunity to knock this ball out of the park.”
Several leading Democrats, including then-Sen. Minority Leader Tom Daschle, showed up at the movie’s Washington premiere. But the connection with MoveOn worried other Democrats. “You’ve got to reject Michael Moore and the MoveOn crowd,” Al From, of the Democratic Leadership Council, remarked, calling MoveOn’s members “elites, people who sit in their basements all the time and play on their computers.” Other critics noticed that MoveOn attracted a membership that was mostly white, well-to-do, far-to-the-left, and not entirely representative of the Democratic party as a whole.
Now, with the “General Betray Us” campaign, those Democrats again face the question: Do they dare to cross MoveOn? Not long after the 2004 elections, Pariser famously said of Democrats, “Now it’s our party. We bought it, we own it, and we’re going to take it back.” The next few days could be crucial in determining whether he was right or not.