Smith Shows True Loyalties on MoveOn.org Ad

By Dean Powers of Portland, Oregon. Dean is an editor and contributor at OpEdNews.com and a former intern at The Nation.

After months of rebranding himself as a changed Republican, one who thinks our presence in Iraq may "even be criminal," Senator Gordon Smith proved he is still a company spokesperson on the Republican Party's leash.

Last Thursday, as Oregonians grappled with concerns about the future direction of our country, Smith critiqued a political ad that ran almost an entire month ago in the New York Times. The ad was paid for by the group MoveOn.org. It raised a simple question: "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"

"It was stupid on [MoveOn.org's] part and disgraceful," Smith said last Thursday.

It took Republicans nearly a month to collectively choke and turn red in apoplexy over the advertisement, but when they finally summoned up their Oscar-worthy indignation...boy oh boy. Can you believe the audacity of MoveOn.org? To call a decorated veteran a traitor and drag his honor through the mu-…wait a second!

Aren't Republicans the kings of smear? Let's check. Yes.

In 2002, current Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss compared triple-amputee, Vietnam Veteran and Democratic incumbent Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden. The comparison won him Cleland's senate seat. In 2004, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth tarred and feathered decorated war veteran John Kerry as a phony, traitor and chicken. The efforts were encouraged and approved by our sitting president, who never served in a foreign war.

Okay, Smith. If you're a man of principles, surely you find the attacks by your colleagues "stupid" and "disgraceful," right? Apparently not. The very same day that Gordon Smith pretended to be disgusted by the "attack" on General Petreaus, he joined his Republican colleagues in voting against a separate amendment that condemned "attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, by any person or organization."


Can you believe that? Gordon Smith said one thing (a talking point) and then voted to ensure the opposite: that Republicans can attack common, ordinary soldiers who happen to disagree with the Republican Company agenda (and believe me, they have). The message is clear: Smith would support slandering Petraeus if the four-star General was a Democrat criticizing the Iraq War, and soldiers are only safe from defamation as long as they continue to serve as props for phonies like Smith and President Bush. Meanwhile Republicans clearly believe they are above the ethical standards to which they hold others. This is the Republican mentality. This is why America has to deal with Republican scandal after scandal.

In other news from last week, Smith allowed his Republican colleagues to filibuster an amendment that would have given military members more time with their families. Why? Politics. Yeah, Smith voted for it, but only because Republicans could block the amendment without Smith's vote. Why couldn't Smith convince some of his Republican "buddies" to vote with him? Because he's taking their orders, not giving them ours.

Here's how Smith explained the inexplicable: "Sen. Gordon Smith…said he thought Petraeus' testimony last week and the MoveOn.org ad were the two biggest factors in keeping Republicans from breaking ranks with the president" on several amendments including the one giving troops equal time at home.

You want to disparage MoveOn.org for their advertisement? Fine. But don't put the discipline on our troops. The Republicans find fault with some political organization and use it for a justification to respond by punishing the men and women serving in Iraq. Smith stood idly by as his colleagues voted "no" on the bill that would give troops more time with their families, claiming powerlessness.

Smith made an impressive about-face in his stance on the Iraq War last year. I was always suspicious because it came several days after the whooping Republicans took in the 2006 elections, but I wanted to believe him. Not anymore. This is clear proof that Gordon Smith will say anything to win an election, but his actions are always the same: he takes orders from the Republican Company. This is what got us into this mess in the first place. We need a senator who takes orders from Oregon.

Comments

  • Beth (unverified)
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    [Off-topic copy-and-paste press release from Gordon Smith deleted. Also, this IP address has recently posted comments and claimed to be named, in order - Beth, Sharon, Wendy, Neil, Dan, Richard, Ginger, Pat, Sue, Charles, Rebel, Rose, Dolly, Becky, and Melody. Good bye, anonymous pro-Smith troll. -editor.]

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    Questions for Gordon Smith: 1. Can you name one issue or point made in the MoveOn.org advertisement that was false or incorrect? 2. How many soldier and/or civilian deaths is this ad responsible for? Compare and contrast that with your support of the Boosh policy in Iraq.

    Oh, and stop dumping illegal, untreated, toxic waste from your vegi factories into Oregon streams and rivers.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Yes, Smith deserves our scorn (though i doubt even his staffers lurk here). Unlike the "Democratic" congress, i've learned to walk and chew gum at the same time (as opposed to riding my bike and snapping photos - CRASH!). So i have enough time and energy to give the "Leadership" a lump of coal as well for even letting the Senate vote on such a ridiculous non-controversy.

    Rush Limbaugh used the EXACT SAME critique "Sen. Betrayus" against war vet Chuck Hagel. (From the 'Pedia: "While serving during the Vietnam War, he received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.)

    Should Harry Reid schedule a censure vote on this now? KPOJ is running a poll on this question today.

    Dean, thanks for a good post outlining further Republican hypocrisy. I write and call Smith (but don't expect that to move him). I do expect our Democratic leaders in Congress to at least acknowledge the will of the people they pretend to represent. Speaking of which, where's Wu been recently?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Smith has claimed to be a student of military history. If so, he should be aware that some generals come up short on honor, courage and other qualities we would like to attribute to them. Accordingly, blind acceptance of anything any general says is not acceptable, especially for anyone with responsibilities of a senator or representative.

    One of the first actions General George C. Marshall took when he was given full command of the military in World War II was to fire 30-some generals whom he regarded as incompetent. The famous General "Blackjack" Pershing knew early in the morning of 11/11/1918 that an armistice was to be signed at 11:00 am that day to end World War I. Nevertheless, he ordered his troops to continue fighting up to almost the last minute so that many died or were wounded needlessly just before the armistice was signed. Ref: Joseph Persico's "11th Hour, 11th Day, 11th Month" for details related to the preceding and other madness perpetrated by generals.

    If they had not been on the winning side, several generals in the Allied forces in World War II would have been tried as war criminals. In some degree of innocence the American and British lawyers preparing for the Nuremberg trials listed a number of war crimes to be charged against the Nazis. Washington and London deleted some of them because the Nazis could all too easily have accused the Allies of doing the same thing.

    With the likes of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and the Pat Tillman Affair in recent history, it should be clear that of the West Point code of "duty, honor and country," honor gets short shrift in favor of pleasing the superior in rank who signs promotion recommendations.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    I imagine that having made the election-year decision to start voting like a Democrat on war-related issues, Smith thought this would be a good place to earn back some favor from the wingers in his base.

    where's Wu been recently?

    Wu seems to have his cloaking device fully engaged ... but keep a look out, the election nears.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    No surprise here. His staff refused to meet with a MoveOn contingent in the fall of 2002 - I was the volunteer media coordinator. We had more than 10,000 Oregon signatures to "let the inspections work." Hardly a radical notion and we of course were proven f'ing correct. I called numerous times to get an appointment with Smith or his staff and they refused. Believe me, I was polite. Finally I said, "well, I guess I'll just have to drop them off with the receptionist." That was going to be the plan until I got three tv stations there. Suddenly the staff was available - all over it. What a bunch of wankers.

  • (Show?)

    Remember the 2004 R-National Convention where Republicans wore wore bandaids over Purple hearts? In doing so, the Republican delegates mocked every member of the Armed Services who'd ever been awarded a Purple Heart. That's a lot of mocking because the very first Purple Heart was awarded by Goerge Washington.

    Smith cannot claim any moral high ground. He's supported the Bush con job. Smith belongs to the party of fiscal irresponsibility.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    There is another factor to be considered here and that is that Smith sees Petraeus as a fellow member of the ruling class and power elite so that this event has become another circling of the wagons event.

    The same thing occurred with General Colin Powell's infamous speech before the U.N. Security Council on February 5, 2003. He was given the task of lying about Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction because his masters knew that many people would pay more attention to the image of the man Christopher Hitchens accurately called the most overrated man in Washington and not check the facts.

  • paul (unverified)
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    Democrats need to pick their battles more carefully. The MoveOn ad is going to get us nowhere. There are lots of reasons to criticize Smith, but on this one, he has 71 other Senators, including 20 Democrats, who voted with him.

    The MoveOn ad was analyzed by the Washington Post, no standard bearer for conservatives.

    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2007/09/general_betray_us.html

    According to their analysis, the ad contained "Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions."

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    the Washington Post, no standard bearer for conservatives.

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

  • Larry McD (unverified)
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    "Stupidity is not illegal in this country. Hell, if it were half our generals would be in jail."

    It's a quote Merle Miller attributed to Harry Truman and it has never been more true... especially since George III and Rummy started purging the senior ranks of independent thinkers.

    I agree Paul that Democrats need to pick their battles more wisely... I just wish to heaven the ones in the Senate would have the bones to actually engage in one.

  • Brian Ahier (unverified)
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    Why pick on Smith? Half the Deomocrats in the Senate also condemned the MoveOn ad.

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    Looks to me like the Post's analysis largely corroborates exactly what the ad said. Note the litany of "well, true, but..." responses. The only thing that's truly not factual is that "everyone knows it's unwinnable." Obviously that was not intended as a factual presentation in the first place; does anyone expect them to have ASKED everyone?

    The goal of the surge was to reach specific Iraqi benchmarks. Only three (not 11, half-credit means not credited) of 18 were reached. So the Post essentially is saying that despite the obvious fact that the surge cannot be called a success even by the military, one can't say that the surge has failed. Nice logic.

    And if you didn't know it, the Post has backed the war most of the way, so it's not like they have any bonafides on the subject. They and the Times are on the hook for bringing us death and destruction, just like the administration and Congress.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Democrats need to pick their battles more carefully. The MoveOn ad is going to get us nowhere. There are lots of reasons to criticize Smith, but on this one, he has 71 other Senators, including 20 Democrats, who voted with him.

    Because of his rank, what a general says is not necessarily so. Similarly, being in the majority doesn't make it right. Smith had 75 other senators vote with him to authorize Bush to wage war on Iraq.

    However, a valid criticism can be made against the title of the ad. For openers, the provocative title got more attention than the text of the ad which was very unfortunate. How many people were offended by the title and attacked MoveOn without reading the rest of the ad? The title was raw red meat for the spinmeisters among the right wing media. The venerable Dr. Samuel Johnson once said of writing that if a writer comes up with a phrase that he takes a delight in he should immediately strike it from what he has written. I suspect the person who conjured up the title of the ad was particularly pleased with himself and his literary Molotov cocktail. Too bad he didn't follow Dr. Johnson's advice and replace the title with something more mature and effective.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    It was an ad, not a history paper. The title is SUPPOSED to be eye-catching.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    It was an ad, not a history paper. The title is SUPPOSED to be eye-catching.

    The ad was supposed to be effective. The title made sure it wasn't. Too bad, because the text made valid points. People who find 200 or 300 words of text beyond their attention span and comprehension should stick with the comics page and ignore blogs for grownups.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    The ad was very, very effective. The corporate media has been talking about it for days and days, and MoveOn has raked in mega bucks. Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, and so many other right wing wackos have said far worse. I heart MoveOn and as a student of nonprofit organizations, they are incredible. How many organizations do you know of that are run completely virtually, have 3 million members, and can initiate tactics so quickly? They are tops.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The ad was very, very effective.

    One of the intentions of the ad was to introduce the "betrayal of trust" theme. How many people did you hear or read about discussing this theme? The discussion of the ad was dominated by a charge of insulting a member of the military and the military itself.

    Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, and so many other right wing wackos have said far worse.

    "Worse" is the comparative for "bad." In other words, you consider what MoveOn said was bad. If what MoveOn said was good, what AC and PR said couldn't have been worse. Or, was this an example of sloppy writing based on equally sloppy thinking? Like "incredible." What exactly did you mean by "incredible"? This word is used so often by people with limited vocabularies to mean so many things that it has become virtually meaningless.

  • paul (unverified)
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    Bill

    Agreed re: the majority. I simply question the premise of this posting.

    The same charge can then be leveled against Baucus (D-MT) Bayh (D-IN) Cardin (D-MD) Carper (D-DE) Casey (D-PA) Johnson (D-SD) Klobuchar (D-MN) Kohl (D-WI) Landrieu (D-LA) Leahy (D-VT) Lieberman (I-CT) Lincoln (D-AR) McCaskill (D-MO) Mikulski (D-MD) Nelson (D-FL) Nelson (D-NE) Pryor (D-AR) Salazar (D-CO) Tester (D-MT) Webb (D-VA

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Anyone or any organization supporting MoveOn.org's attack of an active duty general leading our troops is beneath contempt. Why don't those of you who rationalize this go back to your prior generational for-fathers and mothers. You know, the ones who spit upon returning vets during Vietnam.

    You make my stomach churn.

  • Steve Buel (unverified)
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    Kurt, Thousands of American soldiers died to protect freedom of speech. I don't plan to spit on those soldiers. I plan to uphold what they died for. A general, particularly the way we have politicized the army, is no more above criticism than your local school teacher, who has spent his or her life dedicated to children, or your duly elected public officials, or the nightly news anchor. I am tired of the group of people in this country who just buy what they are told without questioning it. You probably think Iraq was involved in 9/11 and we will someday find those pesky weapons of mass destruction if we keep looking.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Steve, I am of a strong generational belief that you should verify everything you can. Political discourse can, and should be, about criticism without attacking active duty military members. The ad did that. Anyone with intellectual honesty should be able to agree that it crossed the line.

    No, I never thought Iraq was involved in 9/11, it really was more of an invention after the fact when WOMD were not found. Saddam's WOMD are somewhere in Syria ;-); either that or now in ashes after the recent Israeli air-strike deep in that country.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Saddam's WOMD are somewhere in Syria ;-); either that or now in ashes after the recent Israeli air-strike deep in that country.

    This is one of the most preposterous and sophomoric claims about Saddam's alleged WMDs. The man was obviously one of the more evil people on this planet, but he wasn't insane. He knew that the US and British forces were going to attack, so why on earth would he remove weaponry from Iraq to Syria instead of keeping it in Iraq where he could have inflicted serious damage on the invaders?

    Saddam Hussein was reported to have been a student of the Battle of Stalingrad. Stalin didn't get rid of his armaments when the Germans were attacking. He did all he could to get more. Given the Russian success at Stalingrad, it would have been conceivable for Saddam to have thought he could have pulled off something similar if he had sufficient weapons.

    Your reasoning on this issue helps to explain why you think any general on active duty is beyond reproach. You might want to consider that General Eric Shinseki has been proved right in his estimate of needing hundreds of thousands of military personnel to maintain control of Iraq after the fighting was over. He had the courage to speak truth to power and was summarily dismissed by Rumsfeld and Bush. Other generals disagreed with him and went along with the invasion. Either they were less intelligent than Shinseki or lacked the courage to speak truth to power, or both. Instead, they ordered their troops into a war zone without adequate armor and other vital supplies. It would seem to me some criticism of these generals on one or more of these points is valid.

  • Steve Buel (unverified)
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    Kurt, I have always respected our soldiers, but if we are going to put soldiers in uniforms off limits for free speech criticism does that include the German soldiers who broke down doors to send Jews to concentration camps, Japanese soldiers who were so brutal during the Bataan Death March, Sudanese soldiers who rape and pillage today, and other soldiers who committed atrocities? Or are we just talking American soldiers? If so I guess our wars are always just and honorable -- if you think that is the case you need to read a little history. Seems like a slippery slope you are going down, kind of like jumping off the peak of Mt. Everest in a tobaggan.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Kurt, I have always respected our soldiers, but if we are going to put soldiers in uniforms off limits for free speech criticism does that include the German soldiers who broke down doors to send Jews to concentration camps, Japanese soldiers who were so brutal during the Bataan Death March, Sudanese soldiers who rape and pillage today, and other soldiers who committed atrocities?

    This is where hypocrisy and victors' justice as applied at Nuremberg and Japan come into play.

  • Michael Meo (unverified)
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    Again and again rationalvoices in these comments havepointedout that at least half of the Democrats in the House, especially and in particular at least half of the Democrats representing the Northwest, voted just as Gordon Smith did.

    Dead silence from the puppy dogs here.

    The post is public relations, with little rational content; like most of the stuff on this site.

  • Steve Buel (unverified)
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    <h2>Michael, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says that about 95% of the Republicans in Washington D.C. are corrupt. But 85% of the Democrats are too. Still got to go with the Dems he says.</h2>
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