President Bush may have been most emphatic though when it came to the topic of “those left wing ads” attacking General Petraeus. The president brought the infamous New York Times MoveOn ad up without prompting, saying of his reaction to it: “I was incredulous at first and then became mad.”
“It is one thing to attack me — which is fine,” the president said. But the president’s view the attack on Petraeus as “an attack on men and women in uniform.”
The ad really did make me wonder about the intelligence of the folks behind it, but that was nothing compared to the baffling stupidity displayed by Bush in saying this and Lopez in just passing the remark on without comment. The ad was, very clearly, on attack on General Petraeus and there’s just no possible way a reasonable person could construe it as some kind of generalized slander against the troops.
Meanwhile, Bush’s disingenuousness in saying “It is one thing to attack me — which is fine” is just staggering. For years, the man took the view that criticism of his policies amount to criticism of the idea of freedom, that to disagree with his Iraq policy was racist and unpatriotic, and all the rest. Eventually, years and years of fruitless, bungled, unnecessary warfare caused him to become so unpopular that this line of counterattack became unviable. Thus, he hit on the strategy of finding a well-regarded media-savvy general and, in essence, appointing him front man for administration. For months and months and months the administration indicated that to question its policy was to question the Great Man Petraeus. So, naturally, people came to criticize Petraeus.
If he doesn’t like seeing a politicized officer’s corps, he shouldn’t have been hiding behind the generals in the first place.