Sparky Nails It

Sparky nailed it yesterday. Let’s keep our eyes on the (such as it is) prize:

tmw-iraq.jpg (click to enlarge)

Glenn Greenwald reports today on the reality-based world. Not surprisingly, and fortunately for Sparky the Penguin and the rest of us, most Americans seem to live there:

Here is a review of what we learned last week from the right-wing noise machine and their enabling media puppets: Americans trust Gen. Petraeus and do not want his credibility questioned. The week was a big win for President Bush and his Iraq policy. The MoveOn newspaper ad, like 9/11, was Going to Change Everything — it was a devastating event for Democrats, a transformative moment that would embolden Republicans and revitalize support for the war.

A new CBS poll, comparing the views of Americans Before Petraues (B.P.) and After Petraeus (A.P.), demonstrates that all of that was completely wrong:

Most Americans continue to want troops to start coming home from Iraq, and most say the plan President Bush announced last week for troop reductions doesn’t go far enough, according to a CBS News poll released Monday.Sixty-eight percent of Americans say that U.S. troop levels in Iraq should either be reduced or that all troops should be removed – similar numbers to those before Mr. Bush’s speech.

In fact, it is even worse than that, since the percentage of Americans who believe we should either maintain or increase our current troops levels in Iraq was higher B.P. (30%) than it is A.P. (27%). Conversely, the percentage of Americans who want a troop reduction or complete withdrawal increased after the Petraeus Week (from 65% to 68%).More revealingly still, only a small minority of Americans — the depressingly familiar Bush dead-enders — actually believe Gen. Petraeus’ claims that “the surge has made things in Iraq better.” A substantial majority of Americans disbelieves the assertions of The General Who Must Not be Challenged:

The poll also found that despite optimistic assessments of the U.S. troop surge by Mr. Bush and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Americans are unconvinced that the surge is working.Only about one in three (31 percent) said the surge has made things in Iraq better, while more than half (51 percent) say it’s had no impact. Eleven percent [11 percent] say it’s made things worse.

Rudy Giuliani, Sean Hannity and much of the chattering class insisted all week that it was “despicable” for Senators such as Hillary Clinton to suggest that The General’s claims of Progress were not believable. Yet most Americans are similarly “despicable,” as they appear to share that sentiment. A despicable 62% do not believe Gen. Petraeus’ sunny claims about Progress.

In military dictatorships, War Generals have the right to demand that their claims about war be blindly accepted and believed, and that is the unquestioning mentality which Rudy Giuliani embraces and believes we should accord Gen. Petraeus (even in the face of a long history of highly dubious and inaccurate claims about the war) — “Hillary Clinton has no right to be attacking the integrity of an American general who has put his life at risk for this country,” Giuliani decreed. But most Americans, rather obviously, subject the claims of our military leaders to skepticism and scrutiny — the only rational course of action after being told for four straight years that the most disastrous war in American history was going swimmingly.


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