Slam dunk. Total success. That's about all you can say about the Gen. David H. Petraeus Iraq war hearings last week. Once again, the public saw a highly competent, professional man of true integrity staying calm during the vicious, mean-spirited personal attacks of the Democrat leadership.
At the same time, he clearly exposed their hypocrisy, ineptitude and disingenuousness as they tried to strut their stuff before the cameras.
Oliver North did the same thing to them 20 years ago, and they didn't learn their lesson one bit. It was actually kind of laughable the way they both outclassed them.
First of all, Bush should completely ignore Democrats' constant calls to change course. He replaced Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates and that wasn't enough.
Then he put Petraeus in charge of Iraq operations. That didn't work. Then there was the surge strategy, which was and is operationally successful, but the Dems still weren't happy.
There is nothing at all that Bush could do to appease these radicals and still keep the long-term security of this country intact. They are blinded by their hatred of Bush, still angry that he beat them in two national elections (legally) and they can't get over claiming that we shouldn't have started the war in the first place (wrong again).
What in heaven's name does that have to do with formulating a course of action that will defeat al-Qaida, win this particular battle in Iraq and continue to do everything possible to keep our country safe?
Most people want leaders who will lead us forward with a vision and not dwell in the past. Unbelievably, you see the die-hards who continually write in and chant the same old shallow and tiresome mantra of Bush hatred.
Remember, this was the Congress that had nothing but praise for Petraeus earlier this year. He was called brave, professional, intelligent and a hero.
Members of Congress said he was the perfect man for the position and confirmed him unanimously! Boy, did they back off when they saw that his and Bush's surge strategy actually began succeeding.
They care nothing about what is best for America and instead are only concerned about their own political power. America losing the Iraq war is all they want, and they will do anything to keep us from winning.
They started discrediting the general even before he said a word or issued any report at all. They knew the surge was working and all the statistics pointed to that fact. But they really turned up the heat the moment Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker sat down.
I didn't get to see much of the House battle, but the Senate hearings were sickening enough.
I'm sure there is a website where you can replay the entire hearings, but suffice it to say the process was the same every time a Democrat spoke, especially the Democratic presidential contestants.
They opened their speech by first giving the general brief false praise, then proceeded to huff and puff and declare themselves more patriotic than anyone else in the room.
After that, of course, they stated their unwavering support for our troops (I don't know how they get through that part without choking). And finally, they got down to their real agenda of insulting and demeaning the character and integrity of the leader of these same troops, showing that their actions spoke much truer than the lies they were spouting just before.
Some even came right out and called the general and ambassador liars. Petraeus was interrupted repeatedly and in some cases wasn't even given the opportunity to respond.
The committee members gave speeches; they didn't ask questions. Barbara Boxer arrogantly used the entire time allotted for her self-aggrandizing opportunity and then insultingly told the general, since they were out of time, that he could provide his response in writing.
She knew his response would only make her look unqualified for her committee position and the general would make her look even more incompetent in front of the viewing public. He did this repeatedly to all the armchair generals.
I hope you more mainstream, clearer-thinking Democrats will start taking your party back from some of these power-crazed zealots. Do you really want Clinton, Wexler, Biden, Kerry, Reid, Pelosi, Lantos, MoveOn.Org, Daily Kos and others like them leading this country when they treat honorable men like Petraeus the way they did last week?
If that is the way they treat a heroic, decorated leader of our armed forces, what respect do you think they really have for our troops? I think a potential, future, commander-in-chief should show a little more respect and class.
In comparison, all their patriotism, integrity, class and honor combined would easily fit in the little finger of Petraeus.
Tom Sears is a professor of accounting at Hartwick College in Oneonta. He can be reached at SearsT@hartwick.edu. His column appears every other week.