What are the odds that the general responsible for turning things around in Iraq these last few months should have a surname that rhymes so perfectly with two words describing the most despicable act a person can commit in a time of war?
And what on earth would MoveOn.org, the Democrats and others on the left have done if that general’s name had been not Petraeus but Jones, or Smith: ‘General Moans’ or ‘General Stiff’ don’t really have the same impact as ‘General Betray-us’ (as Dennis Miller quipped, maybe President Bush should try to find a General Pictory for the next address to Congress).
How, I wonder, would MoveOn and their allies have smeared the great military leaders of America’s past? Perhaps General Patton would have been ‘General Rat-on’; General MacArthur could have been hobbled with the monicker ‘General MacArtful’ (surely he was guilty of spinning US success in Korea?); General Pershing – ‘General perishing’. None of these, of course are as ingeniously evocative as ‘Betray-us’, but in the eyes of the left it would only be necessary that the nickname be catchy, and vaguely negative in its connotations.
I don’t know exactly when the ‘Betray-us’ smear started doing the rounds. I became aware of it a few weeks back, and I didn’t notice it being used when Petraeus was first appointed. I suppose when stories of success began to filter in from Iraq, and the left realised things weren’t going to plan they began to look for a reason. Assured as they were of the rightness of their cause, and of the overwhelming support of the American people – indeed of the entire world! – the only possible reason they could find was that they had been betrayed. And the man responsible for that betrayal could only be General Petraeus, and… Hey!
Perhaps there’s some lefty blogger out there claiming credit for coining the phrase. More likely this infantile piece of wordplay occurred to the Borg-like collective consciousness of the Left with one vast ‘Ah-ah!’. To paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi when Alderaan is destroyed by the Death Star in Star Wars (if you’ll forgive two sci-fi analogies in the same paragraph), it must have been as if millions of people suddenly smirked in triumph at once.
It was one thing for the left to toss the ‘Betray-us’ slur around on the comments boards of the Daily Kos, or in Code Pink theatricals outside Congress; but it was quite another for MoveOn to repeat it in print in the New York Times. Perhaps deep down some at MoveOn actually feared the insult might backfire, but it was just to sweet an opportunity to pass up, and like a mob of cruel youngsters ganging up on the funny-looking kid in the schoolyard, they were simply unable to restrain themselves.
When the ad appeared in the paper, and received coverage on the TV news, it will have been the first time that many people who don’t hold especially strong views on the war, and who don’t spend their days immersed in the blogosphere, had encountered the ‘Betray-us’ line, and they were very likely shocked by it, and at the contrast between its implication and the decent, eloquent man they saw being baited by Democrat (Democratic) senators on TV.
Supporters of finishing the job in Iraq will never win over the Hillarys, the MoveOn types or the Kossacks, and we don’t need to – we need to win over the moderates and the waverers. MoveOn and the New York Times have dropped the ball on this one, and the Republicans, led by Giuliani, Romney and McCain are running with it.
Update: Thanks to Gateway Pundit for linking. If you didn't get here via GP, go check him out for the lowdown on the day's anti-war shenanigans, and the response by Gathering of Eagles.
Update 2: Kevin at Smallest Minority just alerted me to this piece of genius at Redstate.