Tuesday, September 11, 2007



The far left political advocacy group Moveon.org placed a full page ad in the Sunday New York Times, attacking General David Petraeus. The ad’s headline included an offensive play on Petraus’ name, asking if the General would “betray us,” and in the text of the ad discounting both his testimony and his character.

Pundits and politicos alike have been falling all over themselves, in outrage, in calls for Democrats and other anti-war opponents to disavow the ad, and war opponents themselves have made several expressions of regret or “frustration.”

Michael Yon, independent journalist and first person chronicler of war, offers this assessment of General Petraeus and the Times acceptance of the ad, posting at The Tank:

General David Petraeus's first day of testimony was completely accurate, and consistent with my recent experiences around Iraq. Everything he said during the public hearing on Monday was measured, cogent, and demonstrably accurate. That his reputation was attacked in an entirely inaccurate full-page advertisement in the New York Times is a smear on the reputation of the New York Times. That the advertisement was placed by a political organization of poor reputation is beside the point. To the point is that numerous parts of the text were wholly inaccurate to the point that a candid person might call them lies. A more generous person might call the authors ignorant. But again, the authors are from an organization with a naked political agenda and their methods are at times even juvenile. The responsible parties are those at the New York Times who accepted money and prostituted their pages to print tabloid-level rants.

Link courtesy of Glenn Reynolds, who also links to Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee, who notes a reported price for the Moveon.org ad of $65,000, whereas the NY Times full sticker price is published as $167,157. As Owens observes:

If Tapper's numbers are correct, MoveOn.org paid just 38.89% of a full-cost, nationwide ad, or a 61.11% discount off of a full-rate ad. While I'm fairly certain that nobody pays "sticker" prices, 61% off seems a rather sweet deal.

In a semantic (and sublime) twist of irony, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition chose as their Word for the Wise today, “mumblety-peg.” An entry at Wikipedia barely glances at the etymology of the unusual word:

The term "Mumbletypeg" came from the practice of putting a peg of about 2 or 3 inches into the ground. The loser of the game had to take it out with his teeth.

As WFTW (no transcript found) explained, “mumble” serves as an example of onomatopoeia, the linguistic phenomenon of a word resembling the sound it describes. In this case, a participant would “mumble” the peg whilst attempting to pull it out of the ground.

There are not a few partisans making public utterances resembling that of a bunch of mumblety-peg losers. How they manage to pull General Petraeus’ peg out of the ground with their teeth will be entertaining to hear.

For some heavily invested in US withdrawal from Iraq, and the continued discrediting of the Bush Administration and the US military, you can hear the mumbling in the form of “you’re a fine man but your facts are wrong” and “our military is doing a fantastic job, but they’re being badly directed in a lost cause.”

For others, the mumbling will take the form of – I’ve already heard it this morning from a producer of a local news program – “General Petraeus is calling for an immediate withdrawal of Marines.” The implication being, of course, that the General affirms the view of some that we need to get our troops out now.

As if that’s all he said. As if they heard only that which they wanted to hear, “mmmmbbblll mmmbbbllll mmmbbllll withdrawl mmmmbblll mmmbbbll mmmbbllll…” and mumbled away the rest.

No matter the mumbling. Facts are growing plainer by the day, and the American people have confidence in our military as they have of no other entity in Government. They sorely want to win, and will readily acknowledge and accept the pegs that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have stuck in the ground.

Time for the losers to grab those pegs with their teeth. Listen for the mumbling, that way you’ll know who really lost.

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