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Engelhardt writes: "Until recently, here was the open secret of Petraeus's life: he may not have understood Iraqis or Afghans, but no military man in generations more intuitively grasped how to flatter and charm American reporters, pundits, and politicians into praising him."

Former CIA Director David Petraeus. (photo: unknown)
Former CIA Director David Petraeus. (photo: unknown)


The Fall of the American Empire (Writ Small)

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

22 November 12

 

istory, it is said, arrives first as tragedy, then as farce. First as Karl Marx, then as the Marx Brothers. In the case of twenty-first century America, history arrived first as George W. Bush (and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith and the Project for a New America -- a shadow government masquerading as a think tank -- and an assorted crew of ambitious neocons and neo-pundits); only later did David Petraeus make it onto the scene.

It couldn't be clearer now that, from the shirtless FBI agent to the "embedded" biographer and the "other other woman," the "fall" of David Petraeus is playing out as farce of the first order. What's less obvious is that Petraeus, America's military golden boy and Caesar of celebrity, was always smoke and mirrors, always the farce, even if the denizens of Washington didn't know it.

Until recently, here was the open secret of Petraeus's life: he may not have understood Iraqis or Afghans, but no military man in generations more intuitively grasped how to flatter and charm American reporters, pundits, and politicians into praising him. This was, after all, the general who got his first Newsweek cover ("Can This Man Save Iraq?") in 2004 while he was making a mess of a training program for Iraqi security forces, and two more before that magazine, too, took the fall. In 2007, he was a runner-up to Vladimir Putin for TIME's "Person of the Year." And long before Paula Broadwell's aptly named biography, All In, was published to hosannas from the usual elite crew, that was par for the course.

You didn't need special insider's access to know that Broadwell wasn't the only one with whom the general did calisthenics. The FBI didn't need to investigate. Even before she came on the scene, scads of columnists, pundits, reporters, and politicians were in bed with him. And weirdly enough, many of them still are. (Typical was NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams mournfully discussing the "painful" resignation of "Dave" -- "the most prominent and best known general of the modern era.") Adoring media people treated him like the next military Messiah, a combination of Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Ulysses S. Grant rolled into one fabulous piñata. It's a safe bet that no general of our era, perhaps of any American era, has had so many glowing adjectives attached to his name.

Perhaps Petraeus's single most insightful moment, capturing both the tragedy and the farce to come, occurred during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He was commanding the 101st Airborne on its drive to Baghdad, and even then was inviting reporters to spend time with him. At some point, he said to journalist Rick Atkinson, "Tell me how this ends." Now, of course, we know: in farce and not well.

For weeks, the news has been filled with his ever-expanding story, including private rivalries, pirate-themed parties, conspiracy theories run wild, and investigations inside investigations inside investigations. It's lacked nothing an all-American twenty-first-century media needs to glue eyeballs. Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite whose online life started the ball rolling and ended up embroiling two American four-star generals in Internet hell, evidently wrote enough emails a day to stagger the imagination. But she was a piker compared to the millions of words that followed from reporters, pundits, observers, retired military figures, everyone and anyone who had ever had an encounter with or a thought about Petraeus, his biographer-cum-lover Paula Broadwell, Afghan War Commander General John Allen, and the rest of an ever-expanding cast of characters. Think of it as the Fall of the House of Gusher.

Here was the odd thing: none of David Petraeus's "achievements" outlasted his presence on the scene. Still, give him credit. He was a prodigious campaigner and a thoroughly modern general. From Baghdad to Kabul, no one was better at rolling out a media blitzkrieg back in the U.S. in which he himself would guide Americans through the fine points of his own war-making.

Where, once upon a time, victorious commanders had to take an enemy capital or accept the surrender of an opposing army, David Petraeus conquered Washington, something even Robert E. Lee couldn't do. Until he made the mistake of recruiting his own "biographer" (and lover), he proved a PR prodigy. He was, in a sense, the real life military version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay ("the Great") Gatsby, a man who made himself into the image of what he wanted to be and then convinced others that it was so.

In the field, his successes were transitory, his failures all too real, and because he proved infinitely adaptable, none of it really mattered or stanched the flood of adjectives from admirers of every political stripe. In Washington, at least, he seemed invincible, even immortal, until it all ended in a military version of Dallas or perhaps previews for Revenge, season three.

His "fall from grace," as ABC's nightly news labeled it, was a fall from Washington's grace, and his tale, like that of the president who first fell in love with him, might be summarized as all-American to fall-American.

Turning the Lone Superpower Into the Lonely Superpower

David Petraeus was a Johnny-come-lately in respect to Petraeus-ism. He would pick up the basics of the imperial style of that moment from his models in and around the Bush administration and apply them to his own world. It was George W. and his guys (and gal) who first dreamed the dreams, spent a remarkable amount of time "conquering Washington," and sold their particular set of fantasies to themselves and then to the American people.

They were the original smoke-and-mirrors crew. From the moment, just five hours after the 9/11 attacks, that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- in the presence of a note-taking aide -- urged planning to begin against Saddam Hussein's Iraq ("Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not..."), the selling of an invasion and various other over-the-top fantasies was underway.

First, in the heat of 9/12, the president and top administration officials sold their "war" on terror. Then, after "liberating" Afghanistan and deciding to stay for the long run, they launched a massive publicity campaign to flog the idea that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was linked to al-Qaeda. In doing so, they would push the image of mushroom clouds rising over American cities from the Iraqi dictator's nonexistent nuclear program, and chemical or biological weapons being sprayed over the U.S. East Coast by phantasmal Iraqi drones.

Cheney and Rice, among others, would make the rounds of the talk shows, putting the heat on Congress. Administration figures leaked useful (mis)information, pressed the CIA to cherry-pick the intelligence they wanted, and even formed their own secret intel outfit to give them what they needed. They considered just when they should roll out their plans for their much-desired invasion and decided on September 2002. As White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card infamously explained, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."

They were, by then, at war -- in Washington. Initially, they hardly worried about the actual war to come. They were so confident of what the U.S. military could do that, like the premature Petraeuses they were, they concentrated their efforts on the homeland. Romantics about U.S. military power, convinced that it would trump any other kind of power on the planet, they assumed that Iraq would be, in the words of one of their supporters, a "cakewalk." They convinced themselves and then others that the Iraqis would greet the advancing invaders as liberators, that the cost of the war (especially given Iraq's oil wealth) would be next to nothing, and that there was no need to create a serious plan for a post-invasion occupation.

In all of this, they proved both masters of public relations and staggeringly wrong. As such, they would be the progenitors of an imperial tragedy -- a deflating set of disasters that would take the pop out of American power and turn the planet's "lone superpower" into a lonely superpower presiding over an unraveling global system, especially in the Greater Middle East. Blinded by their fantasies, they would ensure a more precipitous than necessary American decline in the first decade of the new century.

Not that they cared, but they would also generate a set of wrenching human tragedies: first for the Iraqis, hundreds of thousands of whom became casualties of war, insurgency, and sectarian strife, while millions more fled into exile; then there were the Afghans, who died attending weddings, funerals, even baby-naming ceremonies; and, of course, tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and contractors, who died or were injured, often grievously, in those dismal wars; and don't forget the inhabitants of post-Katrina New Orleans left to rot in their flooded city; or the millions of Americans who lost jobs, houses, even lives in the economic meltdown of 2008, a disaster that emerged from a set of globe-spanning financial fantasies and snow jobs that Bush and his crew encouraged and facilitated.

They were the ones, in other words, who took a mighty imperial power already in slow decline, grabbed the wheel of the car of state, put the pedal to the metal, and like a group of drunken revelers promptly headed for the nearest cliff. In the process -- they were nothing if not great salesmen -- they sold Americans a bill of goods, even as they fostered their own dreams of establishing a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East and a Pax Republicana at home. All now, of course, down in flames.

In his 1987 Princeton dissertation, David Petraeus wrote this on perception: "What policymakers believe to have taken place in any particular case is what matters -- more than what actually occurred." On this and other subjects, he was certainly no dope, but he was a huckster -- for himself (given his particular version of self-love), and for a dream already going down in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he was just one of many promoters out there in those years pushing product (including himself): the top officials of the Bush administration, gaggles of neocons, gangs of military intellectuals, hordes of think tanks linked to serried ranks of pundits. All of them imagining Washington as a battlefield for the ages, all assuming that the struggle for "perception" was on the home front alone.

Producing a Bedside Manual

You could say that Petraeus fully arrived on the scene, in Washington at least, in that classic rollout month of September (2004). It was then that the three-star general, in charge of training Iraq's security forces, gave a president in a tight race for reelection a little extra firepower in the domestic perception wars. Stepping blithely across a classic no-no line for the military, he wrote a well-placed op-ed in the Washington Post as General Johnnie-on-the-spot, plugging "tangible progress" in Iraq and touting "reasons for optimism."

Given George W. Bush's increasingly dismal and unpopular mission-unaccomplished war and occupation, it was like the cavalry riding to the rescue. It shouldn't have been surprising, then, that the general, backed and promoted in the years to come by various neocon warriors, would be the military man the president would fall for. Over the first half of the "surge" year of 2007, Bush would publicly cite the general more than 150 times, 53 in May alone. (And Petraeus, a man particularly prone toward those who idolized him -- see: Broadwell, Paula -- returned the favor.)

But there was another step up the ladder of perception that would make him the perfect neocon warrior. While commanding general at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 2005-2006, he also became the "face" of a new doctrine. Well, actually, a very old and particularly dead doctrine that went by the name of counterinsurgency or, acronymically, COIN. It had been part and parcel of the world of colonial and neocolonial wars and, in the 1960s, became the basis for the U.S. ground war and "pacification" program in South Vietnam -- and we all know how that turned out.

Amid the greatest defeat the U.S. had suffered since the burning of Washington in 1814, counterinsurgency as a doctrine was left for dead in the rubble of Vietnam. With a sigh of relief, the military high command turned back to the task of stopping Soviet armies-that-never-would from pouring through Germany's Fulda Gap. Even in the military academies they ceased to teach counterinsurgency -- until Petraeus and his team disinterred it, dusted it off, polished it up, and turned it into the military's latest war-fighting bible. Via a new Army and Marine field manual Petraeus helped to oversee, it would be presented as the missing formula for success in the Bush administration's two flailing, failing invasions-cum-occupations on the Eurasian mainland.

It would gain such acclaim, in fact, that the University of Chicago Press would publish it as a trade paperback on July 4, 2007. Already back in Baghdad filling the role of Washington's savior, the general, who had already written a foreword for that "paradigm shattering" manual, would flog it with this classic blurb: "Surely a manual that's on the bedside table of the president, vice president, secretary of defense, 21 of 25 members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and many others deserves a place at your bedside too."

And really, you know the rest. He would be sold (and, from Baghdad, sell himself) to the public the same way Saddam's al-Qaeda links and weapons of mass destruction had been. He, too, would be rolled out as a product -- our "surge commander" -- and soon enough become the general of the hour, and Iraq a success story for the ages. Then, appointed CENTCOM commander, the military man in charge of Washington's two wars, by Bush, he made it out of town before it became fully apparent that his successes in Iraq would leave the U.S. out on its ear a few years down the line.

The Fall of the American Empire (Writ Small)

Afghanistan followed as he maneuvered to box a new president, Barack Obama, into a new "surge" in another country. Then, his handpicked war commander General Stanley McChrystal, newly minted COIN believer, "ascetic," and "rising superstar" (who would undergo his own Petraeus-like media build-up), went down in shame over nasty comments made by associates about the Obama White House. In mid-2010, Petraeus would take McChrystal's place to save another president by bringing COIN to bear in just the right way. The usual set of hosannas -- and even less success than in Iraq -- followed.

But as with Saddam Hussein's mythical WMDs, it seemed scarcely to matter when there was no there there. Even though Afghanistan's two COIN commanders had visibly failed in a war against an under-armed, undermanned, none-too-popular minority insurgency, and even though the doctrine of counterinsurgency would soon be tossed off a moving drone and left to die in the Afghan rubble, Petraeus once again made it out in one piece. In Washington, he was still hailed as the soldier of his generation and President Obama, undoubtedly fearing him in 2012, either as a candidate or a supporter of another Republican candidate, promptly stashed him away at the CIA, sending him safely into the political shadows.

With that, Petraeus left his four stars behind, shed COIN-mode just as his doctrine was collapsing completely, and slipped into the directorship of a militarizing CIA and its drone wars. He remained widely known, in the words of Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution (praising Broadwell's biography), as "the finest general of this era and one of the greatest in modern American history." Unlike George W. Bush and crew who, despite pulling in staggering speaker's fees and writing memoirs for millions, now found themselves in a far different set of shadows, he looked like the ultimate survivor -- until, of course, books and "bedsides" resurfaced in unexpected ways.

In the Iraq surge moment, the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org unsuccessfully tried to label him "General Betray Us." Now, as his affair with Broadwell unraveled into the reality TV show of our moment, he became General Betray Himself, a figure of derision, an old man with a young babe, the "cloak-and-shag-her" guy (as one New York Post screaming headline put it).

So here you have it, the two paradigmatic figures of the closing of the "American Century": the president's son whose ambitions were stoked by Texas politics after years in the personal wilderness and the man who married the superintendent's daughter and rose like a meteor in a military that could never win a war. In the end, as the faces of American-disaster-masquerading-as-success, neither made it out of town before shame caught up with them. It's a measure of their importance, however, that Bush was finally put to flight by a global economic meltdown, Petraeus by the local sexual version of the same. Again, it's history vs. farce.

Or think of the Petraeus version of collapse as a tryout for the fall of the American empire, writ very small, with Jill Kelley and Paula Broadwell as our Gibbons and the volume of email, including military sexting, taking the place of his six volumes. A poster general for American decline, David Petraeus will be a footnote to history, a man out for himself who simply went a bridge or a book too far. George W. and crew were the real thing: genuine mad visionaries who simply mistook their dreams and fantasies for reality.

But wasn't it fun while it lasted? Wasn't it a blast to occupy Washington, be treated as a demi-god, go to Pirate-themed parties in Tampa with a 28-motorcycle police escort, and direct your own biography... even if it did end as Fifty Shades of Khaki?

 

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+41 # fredboy 2012-11-22 10:52
Worked with people like that. Suck-ups, with incredible impact. This time it could have wrecked us. In fact, maybe it did.
 
 
+47 # lisamoskow 2012-11-22 10:55
Well written.

When will Americans learn to look deeper?

When it is too late?
 
 
+33 # indian weaver 2012-11-22 12:09
We The People will never learn to look deeper, no deeper than our TV screens. And it is already too late. Now it's on to the self immolation, internal collapse into the vacuum left by the government who "earns" $billions by waging "war" worldwide, spending our fortunes for outer self gratification while gutting We The Peoples' lives and country and Constitution and Rule of Law, all for an easy buck. To hell with truth, to hell with our armed forces dying and families suffering here and worldwide for absolutely no reason except to make the generals and dumdum dubyas of the american government's world richer. Some of us know who are the real targets and what they deserve, in fact most of the world knows what our generals and president deserves, even as We The People continue to watch TV and believe it. We have joined dumdum dubya as the dumdums of the planet: vicious, arrogant and greedy - anything goes for a fast buck. That's Capitalism for you. Rape the Earth, and me and mine, yours and yours.
 
 
+4 # genierae 2012-11-23 07:44
"We The People will never learn"? indian weaver you are wrong. We are in transition between two worlds. Light is breaking in this dawn of a new age and we the people are waking up from the long sleep of ignorance to behold a new reality. A wave of consciousness is sweeping around the globe and we are approaching critical mass. Soon, very soon, we will leave behind the old, and step into the New. Let us give thanks for what is to come.
 
 
+8 # bingers 2012-11-23 08:36
From your lips to God's ear, but I remember saying the same thing in the 60s and it was far more true then. I have hope, but not much faith it will happen this time.
 
 
-4 # genierae 2012-11-23 11:05
bingers, stop looking backward. In order to see the sunrise we must turn our faces to the east.
 
 
+8 # bingers 2012-11-23 19:25
Quoting genierae:
bingers, stop looking backward. In order to see the sunrise we must turn our faces to the east.


It's not a question of looking backwards, it's a question of knowing history. If you don't know history you end up repeating its' mistakes.
 
 
-3 # genierae 2012-11-24 08:33
Just because things didn't work out in the past doesn't mean that they won't work out now. Why let history influence our enthusiasm for a brighter tomorrow? We use the past to grow and then we let it go. That doesn't mean that we forget it, it just means that we have risen above it.
 
 
+2 # WestWinds 2012-11-25 06:38
"Some of us" are transitioning. Then there is the 49% that voted Mitt Robmey and Ayn Rand... There are those who will dutifully work for WalMarts and keep their heads down. Then there are the police departments who don't have enough money in their budgets to fight crime (for the poor) but enough to all get new riot gear, machine guns and helicopters.. There are those who will transition, but the bulk of the people are still NOT out in the streets, not voicing any objection to the RR wingnutz, still not demanding that the churches cease their political affiliations or else, still not enough joining Occupy, still not enough saying "NO!" to corporate money; still too many politicians who believe in PNAC, austerity and the neocon New World Order, and not enough former politicians saying "NO!" to being part of the cadre of lobbyists in DC (sic) Mordor who shill for the rich and sell out America on a daily basis.
 
 
+1 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-11-23 06:01
Yes, lisamoskow, well written and then some. Kudos plus to the author, for it takes a huge amount of courage and determination to be a truthteller/whistleblower.

I refuse to give up hope, and truly believe that revolution or implosion or call it what you will, is acomin', try as the villainaires will and do to Karlrove, Bushwhack and Kochsuck us, the 99% they so wish to totally enslave.
 
 
+7 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-11-23 14:37
I wrote you this reply, lisamoskow, it disappeared. 2nd try...

Yes, the article is very well written. Thanks to so brave and determined truthtellers/wh istleblowers and commentors, such as we see on this site.

Let's keep hope alive, 'cause it's a comin' - revolution or implosion. The villainiares can and do and will MSD (manipulate, spin, distract) us endlessly, all to keep their power over all and endless profits rolling in. But, more and more we of any and all political persuasions are getting it, no matter how they try to MSD us and dumb us down.

Lots and lots we've gotta do to, before it is too late, to.....

UNDO THE COUP !
 
 
+33 # elbajoeste 2012-11-22 11:43
Journalism at its best. Thank you.
 
 
+34 # Nick Reynolds 2012-11-22 12:04
As usual, Tom Englehardt has it exactly right. What is not sustainable is the blindness of the American people. People are too quick to believe what they want to believe. Democracy won't work unless it's enlightened, whatever that is. But living a fantasy is not enlightened. Turn off the TV.
 
 
+46 # RMDC 2012-11-22 12:16
Yes this is good. But there's a serious side to it all. Patraeus was and still is a sociopathic killer and torturer. the Surge he brought to Iraq killed more an a million people, tortured millions more, drove into exile another 2 million. About a third of the population had their lives destroyed by this psychopath. He has no feeling for anyone. He sucks the asses of politicians like most generals do and then does their killing and torturing for them.

When Patraeus first came on the scene, he was presented as a genius, a Princeton Ph.D. who'd just written a brilliant study of counterinsurgen cy war. I read that book and it was not brilliant. It was a mish-mash of sociology and anthropology plagiarized from 20 year old text books, some political blather about jobs! jobs! jobs! and a constant hint that when none of the anthropology works the US will have to "exterminate the brutes." this is just what counterinsurgen cy doctrine has been saying for 200 years, only at the start it was colonization policies.

I'm glad this motherfucker is gone. I hope he's never seen again. I would prefer war crimes trials and a public hanging, but this is the US and no war criminal is ever prosecuted. Good by asshole. don't come back.
 
 
+4 # Texas Aggie 2012-11-22 20:33
Pray to the gods that you are right, but remember that Oliver North is still around although in a minor role. So it isn't beyond possibility that this miscreant will last forever as well.
 
 
+3 # dovelane1 2012-11-24 03:14
RMDC - Please stop beating around the bush, and tell us how you really feel. ;-)

And then tell us again. And again.

Even then, there are those who will deny everything written here. They just won't believe in the possibility they were brainwashed, hoodwinked and manipulated, and they aren't good judges of character.
 
 
+24 # MainStreetMentor 2012-11-22 12:27
ANY ex-enlisted man from ANY branch of the US Military can tell you from first-hand knowledge stories of antics of many of those in “high-command”. A few of the adjectives that would occur in such a revelation: opulence; excesses; pandering; favoritism … and that’s just for starters. These are the military individuals who hold the “keys” for private enterprises entryway door to government and military/indust rial complexes, complete with “kick-backs”, “favors” and lobbying jobs. ALL of which require you and I, the taxpayers, to pay-through-the -nose. It’s true not ALL of the “high command players” are involved, but, it only takes one or two. Prima donnas are rarely highlighted by truth and honest sincerity – and there have been a LOT of them within the ranks of the military.
 
 
+11 # abdullahiedward 2012-11-22 22:36
I had a college friend who served in Vietnam who, on his deployment back to the US was in my house within 24 hours after leaving Dana. He related the following to me about how senior officers made "Battle front Combat" visits to the "front lines", for which he would be paid extra "hazardous duty" pay. First the Air Force would do a flyover and drop a 500 lb bomb on to the selected landing zone for the visit; then a Huey helicopter with a "Puff the Magic Dragon" machine gun would come in, hover very low over the center of the bombed out area and begin firing 1,000 rounds/minute into the perimeter of the area to ensure that anything the bomb didn't kill they did; then troop carrying helicopters would fly in and off load enough troops to man the perimeter at a range of no more than 5 meters between man; then another Huey would fly in and drop a fully equipped 50 ft Mobile Home, complete with an outdoor awning and barbecue grill a fully stocked liquor cabinet and plenty of cold beer; then a chef/cook would fly in and begin grilling the Angus Steaks that had already been flown in from America; then the General and his entourage would fly in, eat the steaks, drink the beer top it off with a few good brandies and cigars (probably Cuban), play a few hands of Poker, then fly back to their base, their "battle front" visit and their Poker Game over. Is it any wonder our last few military adventures have been so disastrous?
 
 
+1 # bingers 2012-11-23 08:38
Kind of like the oxymoron "military intelligence."
 
 
+40 # universlman 2012-11-22 13:00
This well told account of the missteps of the military brass is only half the story of our recent decline. Besides flubbing the art of war, the Bushies overlooked the role that science has played in our past accomplishments .

This bunch has attacked alternative energy research, environmental health concerns, medical research involving embryos, and global warming as harmful, wasteful or anti-business. Like the Petraeus’ clay feet, ignoring the facts and value provided by science will forever cost us.
 
 
+24 # Robert B 2012-11-22 13:08
Brilliant writing. Thanks.
 
 
-23 # jky1291 2012-11-22 13:46
This 20-20 hindsight self serving diatribe by the author clearly indicates the value of self reflection. Just saying. All negative responses welcomed and appreciated to validate the observation.
 
 
+15 # Texas Aggie 2012-11-22 20:35
You'll notice that there were other people pointing out Petraus" faults at the time but they were universally ignored or criticized. So this isn't hindsight. It's repetition of what people were saying before that didn't get into the public's notice.
 
 
0 # dovelane1 2012-11-24 03:25
jky - Sorry. I hit the thumbs up instead of the thumbs down. In your case, this appears to be what is called "selective perception." As Texas Aggie mentioned, the information was out there.

In the media storm created by Bush and co., I'm sure the info was mostly ignored. In so many cases, it gets to be a bandwagon phenomenon. Everybody wants to jump on - until it loses a wheel, and then everyone jumps off and goes looking for the next one to jump on.

When most of the insiders, most of the "peer" group, are saying the same thing, it takes courage to stand up and say something different. that's why whistle-blowing takes so much courage, and why so few people do it.
 
 
+20 # abdullahiedward 2012-11-22 13:52
Initially, when I saw the topic of discussion, I wasn't even gonna read it. Now I'm glad I did and hope thousands of others will too. I don't know why Americans have allowed themselves to be enamored with this guy all these years. All he did in Iraq that was not even reported accurately was to puts walls everywhere between one neighborhood and another and set up and apartheid type pass system in which you, as am Iraqi, couldn't go from one neighborhood to another unless you had an official pass to do so. Tactically it might have been a good idea but humanely it was atrocious. Don't think many Iraqis are gonna remember this character well.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2012-11-23 11:59
And of course the green zone - apartheid taking 10 square kilometers (3.9 sq mi) of the Baghdad -
All what USA did is permanent civil war - goal of USrael to destroy Middle East.
 
 
+26 # George D 2012-11-22 14:19
Wuh Oh Tom. Now you've done it. You've gone and told the truth. And if there's one thing that Americans these days can't handle, it's the truth; Especially when it's about our "beloved military" who we were conditioned during the Bush years to adore as our "freedom saviors" abroad.

This was a well written piece and will go promptly into the trash bins of history, precisely because it does tell an unpopular truth. I'll consider it "fighting the good fight" at this point because I'm fairly certain that most people will find it to be blasphemous.

The take away from it all is that Americans really are "Goobers" and will wave their flags and root for that ball team claiming "victory for our side" as they stuff their fat asses with chips and guzzle their beers and sodas on the couch; Never actually doing anything themselves. If they had to actually "fight" to "win" anything, they would know that it doesn't happen with ease and reality really does bite.

So; Now what? Now that we have all been "conquered" by the Bush Buffoon Dynasty and half of the Goobers think FOX is actually a news agency and not just a propaganda machine, what's next for America? I have an idea that it's going to be a total economic collapse that will rob the middle class of everything they accumulated for generations.

Happy Thanksgiving!
 
 
+13 # mdj 2012-11-22 16:53
Well written and tragically true. How can we still have people who support and defend the 8 years of Shurb, baby bush. All of them should be in prison for war crimes. Americans are the victims but as long as we want our leaders to be "reality TV " stars, we deserve to be.
 
 
+31 # NAVYVET 2012-11-22 17:16
We veterans who were agitating for peace since BEFORE the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iran took one look at this guy and renamed him "Betrayus".
 
 
+11 # reiverpacific 2012-11-22 17:34
John Mortimer, in one of his two autobiographies "Clinging to the Wreckage", who attended the requisite (at the time) British "Public" (Fee-paying) schools from Harrow through to Oxford University with many of the country's and dying "Empah's" burgeoning leaders and their spawn and emerged as a "Rolls Royce Socialist", concluding that none of his peers were "suitable for their hereditary roles in leading the country", or words to that effect.
All their carefully cultivated "proper" behaviors, military officerships, social elitism and ingrown cronyism produced much other than spoiled, ignorant and blinkered twits who couldn't accomplish anything without common sense guidance from wiser but subordinate heads, depending of course on their agendas.
Is this so very different?
 
 
+2 # abdullahiedward 2012-11-22 22:04
Hear Hear!!!!
 
 
-1 # FDRva 2012-11-23 02:01
So Petraeus main skill was as a flatterer--not a military strategist.

No wonder both W Bush & Obama adored him.
 
 
+8 # DakotaKid 2012-11-23 09:14
Rare to see something written with such passion, so much truth, and so beautifully crafted... Proves once again the bigger they are, the harder they fall. And that goes for nations as well as generals.
 
 
+5 # Activista 2012-11-23 11:53
On Wednesday, the Kurds sent troops into the disputed town of Khanaqeen, claiming that it was a routine redeployment.
Baghdad's military spokesman Col. Dhia al-Wakeel said that Kurdish regional forces known as the peshmerga, backed by rocket launchers and artillery, reinforced troops already in Khaniqeen and the nearby oil center of Kirkuk on Thursday, "despite efforts to produce calm."
Another war in "liberated" Iraq? Of course US media is quiet - and arms dealers are making profit. Thank you generals.
 
 
0 # Activista 2012-11-23 12:15
The Fall of the American Empire and censorship growing - almost the same as The Fall of the Soviet Union Empire ...
It would be great to produce shorter and more up to date what present NEOCONS (including Obama, Clinton ..) are doing - defense cost is raising - economy is failing .. and only ONE congressman (retiring) I know noticed.
 
 
+9 # AUCHMANNOCH 2012-11-23 15:40
The average length of an empire is 220 years. Rome lasted about 800 years and the British Empire about 160. Before that Chinese, Indian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian Empires had lasted for many hundreds even thousands of years. Time is speeding up and it looks like the American Empire won’t see a hundred years. It is already exhibiting the classic signs of the Roman Empire and others in their declining years . A concentration of wealth and political influence in elite families comprising 1% or less of a population who engage in corrupt and insider trading practices, the contracting out of wars to mercenaries, for example in Americas case the ‘Coalition of the Willing, Haliburton, Blackwater, Israel etc. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Nothing remains. Vanity vanity all is vanity.
 
 
-1 # Wordslinger 2012-11-24 08:00
It's simply a matter of perspective. If you recognize that the U.S. government and its hired guns have been your enemy from the get-go, Petraeus's tragedy brings the same laughter as any Greek comedy! Fuck Petraeus .. Fuck Washington
 

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