It’s probably not hard to imagine that a four star general over the years of a long Army career would find more than a few people that don’t really like him or his style all that much, so its not surprising that when the opportunity presents itself these people come to the fore as willing accomplices to attempt to smear a person who over the years gave a great deal for his nation in a time of war. This of course doesn’t excuse the general’s actions which resulted from being all too human and giving in to desires that many a person in his position have done before.
The history books are full of generals who let their privates do the thinking for them, so this is nothing new. I personally question the timing of these revelations and this whole thing stinks worse than a cat-house at low tide.
A friend of mine from the Army posted a link to an article in the NY Times Sunday Review today on his Facebook page. Entitled A Phony Hero for a Phony War and written by Lucian K. Truscott IV ( a name folks familiar with WWII might recognize) the article amounts to an assembled mass of disjointed thought, poorly reasoned conclusions and piling-on given full voice on the pages of the NY Times.
Here’s a sample:
FASTIDIOUSNESS is never a good sign in a general officer. Though strutting military peacocks go back to Alexander’s time, our first was MacArthur, who seemed at times to care more about how much gold braid decorated the brim of his cap than he did about how many bodies he left on beachheads across the Pacific. Next came Westmoreland, with his starched fatigues in Vietnam. In our time, Gen. David H. Petraeus has set the bar high. Never has so much beribboned finery decorated a general’s uniform since Al Haig passed through the sally ports of West Point on his way to the White House.
But wait there’s more…
The genius of General Petraeus was to recognize early on that the war he had been sent to fight in Iraq wasn’t a real war at all. This is what the public and the news media — lamenting the fall of the brilliant hero undone by a tawdry affair — have failed to see. He wasn’t the military magician portrayed in the press; he was a self-constructed hologram, emitting an aura of preening heroism for the ever eager cameras.
I personally beg to differ with the author on whether Iraq was a real war or not. Those bullets flying past my cockpit were “real” enough and so were the explosions, rocket attacks, IED detonations and casualties we suffered.
From reading the entire article I can see the author wishes we had fought “total war” as his grandfather did during the great WWII. Unfortunately, or fortunately we can’t and won’t fight that way anymore. Baghdad (where I fought and the majority of the actions during “the Surge” which Petraeus is credited in leading were fought) is a city containing over 4 million people. We could not and didn’t have the forces available to carry out a block by block attack WWII style, even if we had wanted to. As to whether “The Surge” (I can’t believe people are still debating this 5 years later) actually accomplished anything. I can tell you that from my own personal experience, my battalion which in the year 2007 had over 300 direct fire engagements against the enemy, returned to the same area of operations in 2009 and had zero engagements for an entire year. By the time we left in 2007 after 15 months of being deployed there significant acts (attacks on friendly forces, IEDs and indirect fire) had decreased to nearly nothing.
As for the general’s grooming habits, I am pretty sure his aide sets up his uniform, the general probably doesn’t spend a great deal of time fussing over it…unlike one of the generals the author mentioned…Patton.
If you’d care to read the entire article go HERE
I think we can have an open and honest discussion about the way this war has been fought the last 10 years, but basing that discussion on superficial things is not helpful and comes off sounding petty and vindictive. I question the timing of this and other attempts to sully this man while we are attempting to find out the truth behind why 4 Americans were left to die in Benghazi, Libya on 11 SEP 2012.