The brouhaha over MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad is ridiculous. This is one of the better responses to it I have encountered.
It's all phony, of course. The war's backers are obviously delighted to have this ad from which they can make an issue. They wouldn't trade it for a week in Anbar province (a formerly troubled area of Iraq that is now, thanks to us, an Eden of peace and tranquillity where barely a car bomb disturbs the perfumed silence — or so they say). These days, mock outrage is used by every side of every dispute. It's fair enough to criticize something your opponent said while secretly thanking your lucky stars that he said it. The fuss over this MoveOn.org ad is something else: it is the result of a desperate scavenging for umbrage material. When so many people are clamoring for a chance to swoon that they each have to take a number and when the landscape is so littered with folks lying prostrate and pretending to be dead that it starts to look like the end of a Civil War battle re-enactment, this isn't spontaneous mass outrage. This is choreography.
It's upsetting that real discourse is rarely done anymore in modern politics, although I suppose the cynic would say, "Is it really any different now than it was?" Maybe not, but I still get tired of partisan games. Why can't we just have a civil discussion about important issues?