PUPPETS DON'T MOVE THEMSELVES OR ANYTHING ELSE
I never got involved in the big blog discussion yesterday about Ed Morrissey's contention that General Petraeus "moved the debate, literally" and is thus responsible for the fact that Democrats are now hedging on removal all troops from Iraq by 2013, an argument now taken up by Lorie Byrd at TownHall -- but it's a crock.
Petraeus's testimony changed nothing. The massive edifice built around Petraeus's testimony by the White House propaganda machine had a major impact, because that made the continuation of the status quo in Iraq inevitable before Petraeus ever said a word in D.C.
Petraeus was just a marionette, moving his lips while the White House spoke and pulled the strings, first in Iraq in August, then, once the battle was already won, in Washington. I'm not even sure I'd say Petraeus's constant availability to journalists and members of Congress in August turned the tide, because I'm sure he wasn't the one who crafted the dog-and-pony shows that that caused swooning on the part of even-the-liberals such as Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack.
But right-wingers love manly, martial heroes, creating phony ones (Reagan the saluter, Flight Suit Bush, Rudy the terrorist avenger) when they can't find a real one. So of course they're going to say the general made all the difference.
And, of course, if anything has changed the Democratic front-runners' war pronouncements, it's the fact that they now realize that if one of them is elected, he or she will have to clean up all of the mess in Iraq starting in January '09 -- They'd thought that withdrawal might be set in motion starting this month, the fools.