Tuesday, January 30, 2007

GENERAL IRON MAN: He was turned to steel in the media magnetic field

Heavy boots of lead . . . dah-dah-dah, dah dum-dum dah

The deification of David Petraeus is a symptom of failure and decadence on many levels. How else to explain such irrational and inappropriate praise? Only a national leadership and media incapable of critical thinking could produce it.

One would have to rate the meme of the alleged military genius, David Petraeus, winning in Iraq as akin to stupidly believing an erupting volcano can be stopped by a geologist.

On Sunday, DD sampled the worstbest of the print hagiography on Petraeus.

It's sickening stuff. There's no other way to describe it.

The breakdown.

Petraeus, the physical fitness freak

"A physical fitness buff, Petraeus was accidentally shot in the chest at the firing range in Fort Campbell in 1991. His surgeon was Bill Frist . . . --Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

"He's a fitness fanatic, a PhD in international relations from Princeton, an expert on counterinsurgency tactics and known for his ambition ..." --Toronto Globe and Mail

"Petraeus, a counterinsurgency expert and an intensely competitive fitness nut ..." --Slate

Lickspittle and bootlicking

"IT WAS A different war back in November 2003 ... Petraeus's office was 100 percent USA, with its military issue desk, topography maps, and his battle gear -- a vest, helmet, and boots -- mounted on a wooden cross and standing at the ready. His running shoes -- Petraeus is a marathon runner -- were neatly placed in a corner.

"And in the months that followed the invasion, Petraeus, armed with his Princeton doctorate and his reputation as a 'warrior scholar,' was credited with finding perhaps the best balance of hard and soft power in Iraq ... Petraeus found a way to use his new assignment -- and his intellect -- to influence events on the ground despite being stationed in Kansas. --Charles M. Sennott, the Boston Globe

Compared to T.E. Lawrence, Robert E. Lee, Obi Wan Kenobi and Steven Jobs.

"[Petraeus] looks more like the real Colonel T. E. Lawrence, not the too-beautiful version played by Peter O'Toole in the movies. Like Lawrence, Petraeus is a little bit on the plain side, and he's short like Lawrence, with the slightly stooped posture of a hardcore long-distance runner who simply can't give it up despite his fifty-three years... A Washington Post article in November 2005 described Petraeus's recall from Iraq as akin to Jefferson Davis deciding to pull General Robert E. Lee from the field of battle early in the Civil War...[Petraeus presided] over the Jedi Knights, which is the nickname given to the students of the college's elite School of Advanced Military Studies—sort of the Army's version of Top Gun. These are the guys whom the generals turn to when they want to take down some Death Star." --Esquire

"By naming Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus as the top American military commander in Iraq, President Bush has done roughly what Apple Computer's board of directors did when they brought back Steve Jobs in 1996: turned to a popular figure with a reputation for brilliant innovation to solve seemingly intractable problems." --San Francisco Chronicle

PowerPoint slides of wisdom

"And so Petraeus also has his own version of [T.E. Lawrence's] Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which in his case number thirteen. It's a simple PowerPoint package of thirteen slides of lessons learned in the war." --Esquire, again

A brilliant scholar. Did we say brilliant enough times? Well, he's brilliant!

"Petraeus is regarded as an incisive leader and a 'warrior-scholar.' The 1974 West Point graduate also has a doctorate from Princeton University." --CNN

"You see, David Petraeus is one of a rare breed of senior scholar-soldiers who knows—and can convince others, drawing on extensive historical facts..." --Family Security Matters

"Petraeus is a Warrior/Scholar in the classic tradition..." --typical random dimwit at a newspaper, the name of which I forgot to jot down

"There is no question that General Petraeus, your new military commander in Iraq, is a brilliant scholar and military mind ... " --Westwood Press

"David Petraeus. This man is probably the most brilliant person in uniform, genius IQ and Ph.D. from Princeton." --Bloomington Pantagraph

"Members of his staff, that I know, say that he is the most brilliant man they know..." --The American Thinker

"Petraeus truly is a brilliant talent..." --The One Republic

"A guy like Petraeus is so ferociously creative and brilliant, sometimes that makes the buttoned-down senior military leadership nervous..." --The Guardian

"He's a brilliant general who has already spent years in Iraq." --Robertson County Times


"His cordial relations with the media, and the Newsweek cover story that depicted him as a potential savior for the Bush administration, rankled some of his superiors in the Pentagon..." Eudora News, Kansas, originally from the WaPost. Jeez, it must have killed them to write that.

The hometown newspaper, overjoyed that someone, now a big deal, who lived there a long time ago will go to Iraq

" 'David was always well groomed, one of the guys who had the right personality ...'He was always on time, always had his homework done, always had a smile.'"

"...[A] flip through the general's high school yearbook reads like a U.S. Military Academy admissions brochure: President of the ski club; striker on the 1969 championship soccer team; National Honor Society scholar; actor; linguist.

"In his West Point yearbook four years later, Petraeus was remembered as 'always going for it in sports, academics, leadership, and even his social life.' The accolades have continued. These days, Petraeus is seen as one of the Army's premier intellectuals, with a doctorate from Princeton to bookend his West Point education. His drive and physical toughness — he's an obsessive athlete and survived an accidental M-16 round to his chest...At 5 feet 9 and 155 pounds, the general has been compared to 'an intensely compacted hank of steel wire.'" --The Cornwall Record

Hey, here's a bit of wisdom from Shakespeare's Henry V. Your horse would trot as well were some of the brags dismounted. Make that all of them.

Next week: Tougher than Nick Fury, brainier than Reed Richards.

And we're paying this guy's salary, too?

From the Associated Press, more "no shit, Sherlock" moments on the situation in Iraq.

"The US overestimated the ability of Iraqi forces to take control and underestimated the enemy's persistence, the admiral poised to become the top American commander in the Middle East says," writes AP.

" 'Securing the stability of the country has been more difficult than anticipated,' Admiral William Fallon says in a written statement to the US Senate Armed Services Committee. 'Our ability to correctly assess the political, economic and security situation in Iraq has been lacking.'"

"The admiral's remarks were submitted in advance of a confirmation hearing due late last night."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you know GEN Petraeus? I have served under him... he's a very good leader, he takes care of his soldiers, and he earns the trust we (and others) place in him...and the guy can run too (trust me). Superman... hardly; but he's head and shoulders above the "I know everything, you know nothing" of Rumsfield, the "Too cautious micromanagement" of Gen Franks, or the "blame everyone but me" of Gen Not-my-fault Sanchez.

I find you blog to be unreasonably harsh on someone you probably don't know. He is doing a tough job... and doing it the best he can (and better than most). Soldiers don't get to choose their mission. We don't have the option to say "sorry, sir, too hard/dangerous". Good ones like Petraeus soldier on and do the best they can with what they have. Just like the guys at Bastogne or Point du Hoc or AuShau Valley they suck it up, adapt and overcome.

You may not like the outcome or maybe you just hate war (note: we all hate war) so much you can't recognize that successful military officers can't afford to be whiners, they don't undermine their leaders or their country, and they don't get involved in political games/backstabbing. As Gen Patton once said "We are American Soldiers, we fight where we are told and we win where we fight". You want us that way (or at least you should). Do you want us to take political sides? Really? Didn't think so. Gen Petraeus will serve Obama just as loyally as he did Bush... as we all will. That is who we are. Thank you for your time.

3:21 PM  

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