September 11th, 2007
11:46 AM ET
11 years ago

Lawmakers seek to condemn Petraeus 'betray us' ad

Gen. David Petraeus listens to opening statements Monday before testifying at a congressional hearing.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced a Senate resolution Tuesday condemning's recent attack on Gen. David Petraeus in a New York Times advertisement. The move comes the same day the top U.S. general in Iraq is set to testify before key Senate committees.

The measure was offered as a nonbinding amendment to the transportation appropriations bill currently on the floor, and but was ruled “not germane” and will not be put to a vote.

Before the ruling, Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, gave a speech critical of the ad, calling it “a poor choice of words,” but he defended the group’s right to place the ad. He added that Democrats should not be held accountable for all the words and actions of anti-war groups.

The resolution follows a similar one introduced in the House Monday by Minority Leader John Boehner, who called the liberal advocacy group's advertisement "despicable" and said it should be "condemned by all members of Congress, including the Democratic leadership."

The ad in question displayed a large black-and-white picture of Petraeus with the caption "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" Below the picture, the ad alleged the general would likely be untruthful in his testimony on Iraq for political reasons.

Several Democrats joined Republicans in condemning's ad Monday, but the group’s executive director said he stood by it.

"Every major independent study and many major news organizations cast serious doubt on Petraeus' claims," said Eli Pariser, executive director of Political Action Committee.”

- CNN’s Ted Barrett and Deirdre Walsh

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soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. steve san diego, ca

    The little lawmakers don't like the MoveOn ad.

    Too bad.

    September 11, 2007 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. John Thomas, Edina, MN

    So much for free speech. This is literally the definition of a police state. Our country is going down the tubes, quickly.

    September 11, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. spinstopper

    The Democratic leadership has a problem with the way the ad was worded, but not with the substance of the ad..

    I wonder if Richard Durbin will defend the right wing activist rights to produce these attack ad too? Or is this just more hypocrisy from the worst rated Congress in history??

    September 11, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. New York, New York

    Thus the add is one hundred percent true, it is disrespectfull to refer to a commanding general a ¨betrayer¨. Specially, a man with such a training and respect for honor and country, even more in times of war. I know he is not betraying us, but I seriusly believe he will not give us a full and clear picture of the reality in Irak, for political reasons.

    September 11, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. ReadBtwthlins

    "Every major independent study and many major news organizations cast serious doubt on Petraeus' claims," said Eli Pariser

    Oh.., if we read it in a major news organzations, then it must be true... Right Eli?

    But wait, didn't every independent study and major news organization say Saddam had WMD before the war??

    September 11, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. ReadBtwthlins

    Every major independent study and many major news organizations claimed that Saddam had WMD.

    Every major independent study and many major news organizations claim that the surge in Iraq is working.

    Every major independent study and many major news organizations claim that is an anti-American organization.

    When do we see these attack ads Eli??

    September 11, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. James, Phoenix AZ

    Disagree with the war, disagree with the recommendations of General Petreaus, disagree with the interpretation of the data... fine.

    Character assassignation of a respected General leading the effort of our men/women in Iraq (because Moveon.Org has a political agenda) is WAY over the line.

    Let the defenders of this despicable group come forward. Let the recipients of Moveon.Org campaign donations be known so outraged Americans can cast their vote against this campaign garbage.

    September 11, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Ronald, Westport CT

    What the Bush administration and Petraus are proposing is preposterous. The Bush administration has caused our countrymen to die for a lie. That in my book, is called treason. Now, Petraus in proposing to continue this war. That is justifying and condoning treason. The MoveOn ad was right on.
    The America I know does not invade sovereign countries for no reason.
    The America I know does not occupy sovereign countries for more than 4 yrs.
    The America I know lets countries stand on their own two feet and work out their differences. So, if the Iraqis need to have a civil war, so be it.
    Can you imagine if some country had invaded the US looking for weapons of mass destruction, and then not found them, then changed their mission to regime change, then changed the mission to installing a democratic government?? How would Americans feel about that.

    September 11, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Kris, Toronto

    Actually, ReadBtwthlins, the UN inspectors (you know, the experts that were in charge of finding WMD in Iraq for years) stated repeatedly that there were none there, but they'll keep looking anyways. King George says "f u" and invades anyway. They find no WMD.

    Now there are almost 4000 dead Americans (more than 9/11), over 30 000 maimed and you're fighting a war on a credit card. All because you were lied to. How does that make you feel?

    September 11, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. DJ, Los Angeles

    Political activists should not seek to make Petraeus a scapegoat.

    It is ridiculous to focus so much negative energy on him. Petraeus simply follows orders from a chain of command and of course the President.

    MoveOn and other groups need to ask the more important questions on whether or not Bush/Cheney manipulated pre-war intelligence to build a case for invasion of Iraq.

    September 11, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. John, Kansas City, MO

    The letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid said "The ad is distasteful and frankly, below the level of respect that America's commanding general in Iraq has earned. No matter whether any senator supports or opposes the war in Iraq, we should all voice recognition and appreciation of Gen. Petraeus' long and distinguished record of service to our country." Swift Boat ads anybody? Republicans should be ashamed of themselves...they can't have it both ways. Either it is okay to attack the reputation of a serviceman or it isn't. Besides, unless the Bush Administration changed something while we weren't looking, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;..."
    and they want to pass a Senate resolution to do what?

    September 11, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. John Thomas, Edina, MN


    Don't be such a nitwit. The media was reporting WMDs because that's what the CIA told reported. Or, does the media conduct intelligence activity now?

    Thanks for admitting, though, that the neo-con agenda was based off of a lie!

    You keep on eatin' those lies up–gotta feed that ignorant appetite, right?

    September 11, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    May be has the wrong wording in their campaign. But, the reality is that Gen Petraeus is Bush's talking point with a military expertise. He appears to be convincing to general americans who don't read and don't want to admit that the its a failed war and failed strategy.
    One funny thing about the improved security situation that Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker described: Iraqis don't seem to have noticed.

    In a poll of Iraqis commissioned by ABC News, the BBC and the Japanese network NHK - released yesterday before Petraeus's testimony - 31 percent of Iraqis said security in their local areas had worsened over the past six months, as opposed to just 24 percent who said it had improved. A full 61 percent said security had worsened in the country overall, against only 11 percent who said it had gotten better. Only 22 percent said things in general were going well in Iraq (down from 44 percent in November 2005), and just 23 percent thought things would get better over the coming year (as opposed to 69 percent in 2005).

    Some 63 percent of Iraqis polled said the U.S. invasion was wrong, 47 percent said that coalition forces "should leave now" and 57 percent said attacks on U.S. forces were "acceptable."

    It is as simple as that. When Iraqis don't want us, why the hell we are there at the first place. This White House wants to buy the time till 2009 and we are falling into the trap by Gen Petraeus's smooth talking.

    September 11, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. Rodney Dallas TX

    I must say....sometimes it's an embarrasment to be from TX. Our Senator trying to take away our freedom of speech. Glad to say I certainly didn't vote for him.

    September 11, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Rodney Dallas TX

    "Thus the add is one hundred percent true, it is disrespectfull to refer to a commanding general a ¨betrayer¨. Specially, a man with such a training and respect for honor and country, even more in times of war."

    Who do you think this man's boss is? George W. Bush. Of course he is betraying us because his boss is betraying us. He will do whatever it takes to make Georgie happy.

    September 11, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Fred Pelle, Rogersville, TN

    There have many "poor choice of words" from the left and the right, including gross distortions of the truth on every major issue in these early days of the 2008 campaign.
    Hopefully, the American people will arise and discern who among the presidential candidates and current leaders are living lives of principle and integrity. It is our only hope for the future.

    September 11, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. CorruptUsr

    I guess Eli missed this independent study..

    He said the Iraqi children treat them like "kings". It helps keep the soldiers going and makes it worth it to know that your helping provide a future for these kids. –CNN

    September 11, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. Christian, Tampa FL

    It wouldn't matter if MoveOn said "Petraeus smells like a camel." The Congress has no business trying to censure an act of free speech and free press. Was it a tasteless ad? Probably, but that's for the public to decide, not for lawmakers.

    Plus, why should Democrats be asked to basically apologize for the ad? Are Republicans going to apologize for the statements of right-wing groups? No.

    September 11, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Tom, Austin, Tx.

    "A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible." – Woodrow Wilson

    Pretty much says it all with regard to what Bush and his lackeys, flunkies and cronies have done to our country.

    September 11, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. ZacaryQuack

    The New York Times deserves the same smack down as They are both politically bias organizations. And you can bet that the NYTimes knowingly, even eagerly accepted's political blood money because it fit their anti-American agenda too. The old gray lady just ain't what she use to be. And I cheer its continued downfall..

    September 11, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. jeff, palm bay florida

    today marks the sixth aniversary of the attack on american soil by al-qaeda....6 years of worry and wondering if it can happen thoughts are with those who lost someone on that dreadful day. as we move foward in this life and kharma blesses us with the means to remember those that were lost, we look to the future. osama bin laden is still free and releasing video tapes threatening this country again and again. how long will the american people take to press our government into looking for the individuals that planned this act? i guess it has been proven, time and time again, saddam hussein had nothing to do with this? and yet the majority of our troops and military might are in iraq.....and osama still plans acts against us. i believe america has become to complacent and no longer cares what happens in the world, as long as it doesn't affect our daily lives. well, i believe until bin laden is killed, capture is not an option, america has a REASON to care about what happens in the world. these people have proven time and time again, although it may take time to plan, they can hit anywhere in the world and yet there is still only a token force looking for bin york, madrid, england, the uss cole, all hit by al- qaeda....look, you are mostly all americans with the right to vote, the right to petition, voice your opinion.and the right to SERVE in the military.......i have served and am willing to go back in, but medical reasons keep me out, yes, at 42 years old, I TRIED TO GO BACK IN! the republicans AND democrats ( i am a democrat, but this applies to both) in congress and all through the chain of government, up to the president, i believe there are less that 5 people in the upper levels of government that have immediate family serving in the military...when are they going to have their sons and daughters sign up for service? my brothers and sisters in the army and marine corps are the "ground pounders" that are getting killed every day and for that, i shed tears. i have seen death, in and out of the military, but let me tell you........death comes in many different ways.when in the military, especially in the infantry units, there is a bond stronger than family and you would give your life to save that of a fellow soldier, not thinking twice about it. there are always people debating about policy, terrorism, supporting the troops, supporting and not supporting the war.....the soldiers getting killed in iraq and afghanistan are only the newest to die for you to have the right to DO that debating.....those deaths go back to 1776 and earlier, each dying to try and uphold our rights. but it seems the ones dying now are mostly from poor and lower middle class families, because they see the military as a way to improve themselves and IF THEY LIVE THROUGH IT, maybe get a college education. now, look at england where the royals serve in the military, and on that i believe they SHOULD be able to go to iraq, but it's kind of like the rich here, they are to good to go and possibly die for the freedoms the countries enjoy. is their life any more important than yours? i think not. so, why don't we enact a draft, requiring ALL THOSE WHO CAN SERVE, to be required to serve at least a 2 year tour in the military? let people put their money where their mouths are. PAT TILLMAN was a fine example of someone who took the initiative and WANTED to do more than speak about it, HE JOINED and died. BUT, a draft and fairness will probably never happen.....the bush daughters can't serve in the military? why not? if the cause is so important, why isn't the burden of death shared by the rich...AND the poor? our country suffers from a crumbling infrastructure, lack of health care, katrina victims still suffer, the homeless problem grows......and yet we still send billions to iraq. when are we going to get paid back for "freeing" the iraqi people? instead of passing resoloutions, the iraqi government took a month long vacation, while our soldiers die, FOR THEM to take that vacation....and you ever wonder? how much do those in the iraqi gov't get paid? do they have health care? constant running water and electricity? yet the poorest iraqis live on a few dollars a month, WHEN THEY CAN GET WORK? on this day of rememberance, take a long hard look at our country, iraq, afghanistan, the world...and remember, 6 years later, our country is on the brink of a recession, there is still genocide in darfur ( hussein was a bad man to) yet there is no oil in darfur....i finally watched michael moore's "faranheit 9/11" and think......are we ever going to get bin laden? are we ever going to truly be free? and remember, we are NOT A DEMOCRACY......we are a republic. and yet we forcefully spread "democracy". use this day to remember those that lost their lives and question.............are we really looking for the people that CAUSED this day of sorrow? i don't pray but wish for those that lost someone, kharma give you the vision to question our policy and governments view for america. doesn't seem to be working and after 6 years, osama is still out there.

    jdazednconfused / writer and blogger

    September 11, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. CL in TN

    Oh, sure. Censure the Democrats. When the Republicans can say anything they want. Remember the SWIFT BOAT. The General will go along with his boss (Bush) as most people do. The plan is to keep everything on course and let the next administration handle it!!

    September 11, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Lyons Steve

    Character assassignation of a respected General leading the effort of our men/women in Iraq (because Moveon.Org has a political agenda) is WAY over the line.

    Actual assassination of American soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians is WAY over the line.

    Petreus doesn't deserve any respect when he lies his butt off to support the fascism of our Worst. President. Ever.

    You have to EARN respect, sonny. Petreus is another disgusting war liar.

    September 11, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. JA Lineberry, Huntington WV

    If you condemn an ad, it doesn't mean you are calling for censorship. You are just going on record as being in disagreement with it. Those of you who are exclaiming, "Police State!" are overreacting and must have misread the article.

    Petraeus seems to me to have offered up the most honest assessment from a military official yet.

    September 11, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Just for the record, many of you fine folks who have never put on a uniform, or have never been to or served in Iraq, are calling a highly decorated General a liar and a lackey, who has stated clearly that he wrote this entire report himself?

    Just want to make sure, and I also wish nobody would say bleep about Moveon's ads, they actually help the Republicans when they open their mouths. Free speech baby.

    September 11, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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