On Tuesday, National Review Online’s Jonah Goldberg approvingly linked to a column by the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen, in which Cohen slammed Democratic presidential candidates for not criticizing MoveOn.org’s Gen. David Petraeus ad in the New York Times. Goldberg said Cohen had a “pretty good” take on the Democrats’ “spinelessness regarding Petraeus.”
In a September 11 2007 editorial, the National Review Online also took “the Left” to task for questioning the “honesty and patriotism” of Petraeus. As editor-at-large, Goldberg presumably approved of, if not contributed to, the editorial’s position.
But Goldberg hasn’t always been so critical of those who question the integrity of American generals. As Attaturk pointed out yesterday, in January 2004, Goldberg uncritically posted an e-mail from a then-active duty reader that savagely bashed generals as “a gigantic pain in the ass” who are “dishonest”:
[General Wesley Clark] acts just like the vast majority of general officers that it has been my displeasure to deal with during my 16 years in the U.S. military. Generals are, for the most part, a gigantic pain in the ass and we usually accomplish our military objectives despite their chaos-inducing presence. There are a few good generals here and there but most of them are an embarrassment. [...]
- Generals are ambitious in the same way that wolverines are aggressive. It’s their defining trait. [...]
- Generals are dull. I don’t mean this in the cant-tell-a-good-joke kind of way. I mean the anti-intellectual, zero-curiousity, hasn’t-read-a-real-book-in-years kind of dull. [...]
- Generals are arrogant. Generals truly believe that they are completely right 100% of the time and woe to those underlings who demonstrate that this isn’t so. This trait is what makes generals so dangerous. They will ignore sound advice and do the stupidest things imaginable, all because “Well, I’m a general, dammit, I know what I’m doing and. . . ugh, what was the question again?” Generals can be damn near unreasonable when they get their minds made up and it’s almost impossible to get them to see an alternative way of doing things. [...]
- Generals are dishonest. This is a tricky charge to throw out, but it’s the sad truth. I’ve seen more out-and-out lies from general officers than any other people in the military. In a weird way, they are just like professional politicians in this regard.
Apparently, it’s never appropriate to attack a general unless you’re Jonah Goldberg.