Today, Hewitt and Bandow discuss Petraeus' testimony and the various reactions to it. Later in the week, they'll debate the status of post-9/11 security, Osama Bin Laden's latest video and more.'s slander of Gen. Petraeus


Rarely has the left in America shown its true colors in quite so candid a fashion as did today with its ad in the New York Times headlined: "General Petraeus or General Betray Us? Cooking the books for the White House."

Democrats in Congress and across the country need to denounce this George Soros-funded front for its slander on Gen. David Petraeus. Democratic senators especially need to find a microphone and loudly condemn the slander that Gen. Petraeus is a traitor and the lesser alleged offense that he will distort his report. Gen. Petraeus was confirmed by the Senate on an 81-to-0 vote, and no senator then or now has indicated other than complete trust in Petraeus' integrity. Because the antiwar hysterics of and other warrens of the left have grown concerned that Petraeus is leading U.S. troops not to the retreat they demand but to an important victory in one front of the war against radical Islamist forces, that left has gone into full shrieking mode.

Today's ad is just the latest and most obvious chapter in the growing assault on Gen. Petraeus that began as soon as he began to note the progress being made in Iraq. The attacks have accelerated as the good news has accelerated.

The imputation of treachery to this distinguished American warrior is a new low for the left, but also a moment of clarity that Democrats and their allies will have trouble avoiding. To allow such an imputation of dishonor to go unrebuked is to abet it. This is not some foaming blogger posting crazier and crazier squeals at Daily Kos in the hopes of attracting attention to an otherwise largely unnoticed existence, or a professional extremist like Glenn Greenwald or Keith Olbermann whose job in life is to provide the far reaches of the left with assurance that they too have representatives with bylines no matter how lunatic the position defended.

This is, the first and largest of the hard left's aggregation machines, and a conveyor belt of money and volunteers to the Democratic Party. It is all but an official affiliate of the DNC and Team Hillary, and when it calls America's commander of forces in Iraq a treasonous dissembler, all but the worst political cowards in the U.S. Senate ought to react immediately with a sharp and unconditional rebuke of the nutters who fear U.S. victory in Iraq far more than they do its defeat.

Gen. Petraeus is on his fourth deployment to Iraq, and he enjoys a deserved, across-the-board respect from serious analysts no matter their party affiliation or professional association. Only ideologues untethered to any concern for fact or decency can persuade themselves that Gen. Petraeus is an agent of the dreaded BushCo.

Pete Hegseth, executive director of, was quick to react to the slander this morning:

Let's be clear: is suggesting that Gen. Petraeus has "betrayed" his country. This is disgusting. To attack as a traitor an American general commanding forces in war because his "on the ground" experience does not align with's political objectives is utterly shameful. It shows contempt for America's military leadership, as well as for the troops who have confidence in him, as our fellow soldiers in Iraq certainly do.

Gen. Petraeus has served this country for over 35 years with honor, distinction and integrity. And this is not just about Gen. Petraeus. After all, if Gen. Petraeus is "cooking the books," then the entire military chain of command in Baghdad and the staff, military and civilian, who have been working with Gen. Petraeus are complicit, because Petraeus did not write his report in isolation. They are all, apparently, "betray[ing] us."
Hegseth's reaction will be common among the men and women of the U.S. military, and it ought to be universal on the Hill.

Most telling will be the reactions of Sens. Clinton, Obama and Edwards. These would-be commanders in chief are presented with much more than the opportunity for a Sister Souljah moment, though they surely have that opportunity before them. They face a crucial choice: to unambiguously defend the man who is leading the American military's defense of the young government in Iraq and of that country's neighbors and, ultimately, of this country, or to stand silent as an accomplice to this ugly charge of deceit and treason.

I interviewed Gen. Petraeus on July 18 (the transcript is here), and he was immediately attacked by anti-war/anti-Bush vigilantes like Andrew Sullivan for the offense of talking to a journalist from the center-right. Yet when the general gave interviews to journalists of the center-left like Alan Colmes, the center-right audience applauded the general for his availability and read or listened to his answers to Colmes' questions with interest.

This difference in approach to the war and to the general who leads it on the ground in Iraq defines the left as in opposition not to President Bush but to American forces and American interests. It is quite simply impossible to attack the general who leads the troops and enjoys their respect and admiration and not be understood as also attacking those troops and their mission. The attacks on Gen. Petraeus are attacks on the U.S. military whom he represents and represents extremely well. has thrown down an unprecedented attack on an American general's character and honesty. It is a disgusting overreach, one that brings to mind Joe McCarthy's attacks on the Army half a century ago.

Perhaps my debating partner here at Dust-Up will be among the first to ask of "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" and begin what should be a broad rush by the Democrats on the Hill and then across the country to denounce and to refuse their sponsorships and their money. To associate with this repulsive group today is on the same level of standing with Joe McCarthy in 1954.