“What is striking,” sagely observes Charles Krauthammer, “is how much of the debate in Washington about Iraq has to do not with the war but with the words.” In reality, the most striking thing is that Charles Krauthammer, America’s Worst Columnist, continues to be published weekly in The Washington Post. Take, for example, this feeble effort at a gotcha. He notes that the Senate unanimously confirmed David Petraeus and then asks, “If you really oppose the surge, how can you not oppose the appointment of the man whose very mission is to carry it out?”
I promise that Jonah Goldberg could do better than this in his sleep. After a cup of coffee he’d probably even find a way to paint surge opponents as Nazi sympathizers.
To answer Krauthammer’s question, nobody opposed Petraeus’s appointment because there was no reason to oppose it. The “surge” is the president’s plan and whichever general was in command in Iraq would be ordered to carry it out; someone has to be in command of the troops in Iraq even if the troops’ mission is to withdraw; and just about everyone seems to think Petraeus is a good general. What’s more, the president is always granted very broad deference in these kind of decisions.
What’s striking is that Krauthammer obviously knows all of this and is just using his column as an opportunity to write in bad faith. The president is extremely unpopular since at this point everyone knows that he’s inept, lazy, corrupt, etc. Petraeus, by contrast, gets good press. So the idea is to paint this as Petraeus’s war rather than Bush’s. Hence, war opponents should oppose Petraeus’ appointment and the argument will be made even though it makes no sense.