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Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:04 AM

A Phony Hero for a Phony War

By LUCIAN K. TRUSCOTT IV
Published: November 16, 2012

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.

“What’s wrong with a general looking good?” you may wonder. I would propose that every moment a general spends on his uniform jacket is a moment he’s not doing his job, which is supposed to be leading soldiers in combat and winning wars — something we, and our generals, stopped doing about the time that MacArthur gold-braided his way around the stalemated Korean War.

And now comes “Dave” Petraeus, and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. No matter how good he looked in his biographer-mistress’s book, it doesn’t make up for the fact that we failed to conquer the countries we invaded, and ended up occupying undefeated nations.

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.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/opinion/sunday/a-phony-hero-for-a-phony-war.html?_r=0

46 replies, 5451 views

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Arrow 46 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Phony Hero for a Phony War (Original post)
rug Nov 2012 OP
jsr Nov 2012 #1
clydefrand Nov 2012 #4
Fumesucker Nov 2012 #2
leveymg Nov 2012 #3
OldDem2012 Nov 2012 #6
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #19
loudsue Nov 2012 #34
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #39
orpupilofnature57 Nov 2012 #5
NoPasaran Nov 2012 #7
leveymg Nov 2012 #8
orpupilofnature57 Nov 2012 #9
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #13
leveymg Nov 2012 #16
KansDem Nov 2012 #29
Zynx Nov 2012 #15
tabasco Nov 2012 #25
byeya Nov 2012 #10
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #11
Spazito Nov 2012 #12
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #14
Zynx Nov 2012 #17
johnq45 Nov 2012 #18
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #20
nineteen50 Nov 2012 #21
judesedit Nov 2012 #22
joseph abbott Nov 2012 #45
The Wizard Nov 2012 #23
ProudProgressiveNow Nov 2012 #24
Apache Crew Chief 65 Nov 2012 #26
Apache Crew Chief 65 Nov 2012 #27
Octafish Nov 2012 #28
beac Nov 2012 #30
PufPuf23 Nov 2012 #31
EmeraldCityGrl Nov 2012 #35
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #32
RobertEarl Nov 2012 #38
11 Bravo Nov 2012 #33
EmeraldCityGrl Nov 2012 #37
11 Bravo Nov 2012 #40
EmeraldCityGrl Nov 2012 #41
11 Bravo Nov 2012 #42
spanone Nov 2012 #36
joseph abbott Nov 2012 #43
rug Nov 2012 #44
Apache Crew Chief 65 Nov 2012 #46

Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:05 AM

1. Best Title Ever.

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Response to jsr (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:19 AM

4. But, on the other hand, Generals

have low ranking enlisted men to take care of things like that.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:09 AM

2. Hackworth's term for them was "Perfumed Princes"

I think Petraeus was bathing in the stuff.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:15 AM

3. Smedley Butler and Omar Bradley were my kind of Generals

Cared more about their troops than about the shine on their own medals. Bradley saw it clearly:

Wars can be prevented just as surely as they can be provoked, and we who fail to prevent them, must share the guilt for the dead.
- Omar N. Bradley

In Butler's case, he just came out and said it:

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Response to leveymg (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:23 AM

6. The legendary Chesty Puller was another good one. nt.

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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #6)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:20 PM

19. Of course, while both were good generals, they were the exact opposite.

 

Butler, who stopped the attempted coup against FDR, came to realize in a manner consistent with his book title that "War is a Racket."

Puller never did.

If we are going to mention good generals, it's also worthwhile to mention Dwight D. Eisenhower. He, like Butler and unlike Puller, publicly let it be known that he disapproved of war profiteers.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #19)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 08:53 PM

34. Eisenhower was a great general and a great president. The democratic party today is WAY to the

right of his politics.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #34)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:06 PM

39. Agreed.

 

My favorite Eisenhower quote is the comment that he gave during the Nixon-JFK contest when a reporter asked him for an example of Nixon's contribution to the Eisenhower Administration:
"If you give me a week, I might think of one."

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:21 AM

5. Betray us was a fixture of ShrubCo, enough said .

Good ridden to bad rubbish.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:27 AM

7. MacArthur our first military peacock?

Gee, I wonder how Winfield Scott---"Old Fuss and Feathers"---got his nickname.

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Response to NoPasaran (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:32 AM

8. How can anyone forget the original Golden Boy, General "Thine Name is Vanity" Custer?

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Response to leveymg (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:10 AM

9. Crazy Horse a real General,, helped him with that Narcissistic fibrosis problem.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:25 AM

13. Q: What were Custer's final words?

 

A: Where the fuck did all those Indians come from?

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #13)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:39 AM

16. "Oh, shit, that jacket just came back from the dry cleaners."

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #13)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:33 PM

29. "Wait! I remember now! We were supposed to ride to 'Big Littlehorn!!!'"

DAMN!!!


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Response to NoPasaran (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:38 AM

15. You mean that this man was interested in his public image?



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Response to NoPasaran (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:57 PM

25. Winfield Scott was a very good general.

One of the best we've ever had.

Not to be mentioned on the same page with ass-kissing yes-men like Powell, Betrayus and Westmoreland.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:13 AM

10. Great post - thanks

 

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:23 AM

11. Petraeus' superior at CentCom, Admiral Fallon, reportedly referred to

 

Petraeus as a 'ass-kissing little chickenshit'.

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2007/09/12/16179/webb-fallon/

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:24 AM

12. I find it fascinating the media is now comfortable pointing out that Petraeus was a....

self-serving peacock, the same media that fostered his self-promotion, the same media that put him on the pedestal they are now pointing at with contempt.

They knew who and what he was from the beginning yet they propelled the propaganda with no guilt.

They are as hypocritical as the man they are now calling a self-constructed hologram.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #12)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:26 AM

14. Good point. Truscott is a great novelist and has been calling out

 

the bullshit almost from the start. I saw highly critical op-ed pieces by him back in 2005, IIRC.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:41 AM

17. Truscott is the grandson of one of Patton's division commanders.

Patton pushed Truscott's division to the breaking point just for the sake of one-upping Montgomery.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 11:47 AM

18. Petraeus............................

 

Is who they found at the bottom of the barrel when all of the decent Generals retired when they wouldn't go along with the Bush/Cheney agenda! Remember?

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Response to johnq45 (Reply #18)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:25 PM

20. Yep. Gen Colin let'-cover-up-the-My-Lai-Massacre-and-lie-about-WMDs Powell had already retired.

 

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:26 PM

21. It is all part of

America's worship of all things military bodes well for this empire. We need to get away from a corporate military and back to a civilian military, reinstate the draft.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:28 PM

22. Undefeated nations that had nothing to do with 9/11. If you killed my family, I'd fight like hell,

too. These preemptive wars were started by us to steal oil and nothing more. The loss of life was collateral damage to the greedy moneybags that love war for profit.
Anyway, the boots on the ground are the heroes in any war. Helicopter pilots, medics, truck drivers are super vulnerable, too. You may find some good officers, but few are as valiant as the men in the infantry and their support. Petraeus let his gold braid blind him to reality. He's just a man.

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Response to judesedit (Reply #22)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:12 PM

45. Not oil, but revenge

Look, Bush sought revenge for 9/11 by fighting Afghanistan and the Taliban. He used the nation's enthusiasm for a personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein for trying to have George Senior assassinated.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:49 PM

23. Don't forget

Former supreme NATO commander Wes Clark. He repelled down and embankment to save a member of his party that went off the road. When he got there the soldier was dead and Wes removed the dead man's wedding ring so as to return it to his widow personally. It's called leadership.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:52 PM

24. K&R nt

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:02 PM

26. Family Members include on Veterans Day

We have our heroes returning in flag draped coffins as we have an umbrella of protection for all America by our valiant heroes who stand on the wall. I never asked the grieving family when I perform honor duty for fallen veterans if he was a Republican Democrat or independent all that is needed to know is that he was an American.

Greed does not stand on the wall or come home in a flag draped coffins and we never provide an honor guard for greed.

Working on a project, with my Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, I would like you to consider amending Veterans Day with a clause to include family members of veterans. I volunteer at Loma Linda veteran’s hospital I also volunteer in my community supporting veterans and family members. In my opinion family members are serving alongside their loved ones enduring all forms of agony and anxiety as members of our military have been doing multiple tours since 9/11. If you have reason to feel that this is appropriate venture to support ask your Congress representative to support my Congresswoman Grace Napolitano.

Hector F. Elizalde
Veterans/Military Liaison
Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano
38 District, California
562-801-2134”

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:06 PM

27. This Combat Disabled Veteran Share Veterans Day

We see a country at war for nearly 12 years would you agree. Our military have been redeploying to the point that we have the highest suicide rate on record and our troops are at its breaking point.

My initial commitment to our troops and family members came about on the fact that I was called a baby killer when I came home many years ago. I did not want these current military personnel receiving the same labeling upon their return home.

I currently volunteer at Loma Linda veterans hospital and witness the cost of war personally on the toll of our troops and their family members. My crusade takes me into my community assisting veterans and their family members up close and personal the anguish of family members repeated deployment.

I have no idea how many family members you have encountered within your community and have wept and have witness the 21 gun salute honoring the deceased. In my community we have flags displayed along the streets honoring our troops with their names and branch of service and we also have the ones who have given their all for our country.

This combat disabled veteran feel more than confident enough to share Veterans Day with family members of veterans.


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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:16 PM

28. ''A Russian Field Marshall''



As compared to



Please scroll down to Boompa's info (from 2009 -- where someone like Andy Sullivan's researchers might've found a reference to a now-popular angle):

http://www.city-data.com/forum/politics-other-controversies/794959-more-us-soldiers-slated-die-obamas-8.html

PS: Thank you, rug, for the outstanding op-ed from the descendant of Gen. Truscott -- a soldier who led from the front.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #28)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:45 PM

30. And even after he retired from the military he just couldn't give up his peacock ways:

Even when he was the C.I.A. director, Petraeus’s ego was so wrapped up in being a shiny military idol that, according to The Washington Post, he recently surprised guests at a D.C. dinner when he arrived to speak wearing his medals on the lapel of his suit jacket.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/opinion/dowd-reputation-reputation-reputation.html?_r=0

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Response to Octafish (Reply #28)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:55 PM

31. Petraeus didn't have room for his Mile High and

Under the Desk Exemplarary Service medals? Sheez.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #28)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 08:56 PM

35. Oliver Stone calls it his "fruit salad."

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 03:41 PM

32. K&R I'm glad somebody else noticed this.

 

I was stunned when the President retained this fool.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #32)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:05 PM

38. well

Obama WAS stuck with Betrayus and now he's not. Chess, anyone?

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:01 PM

33. He's a good man. (And his grandfather was one of Ike's favorite Generals.)

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Response to 11 Bravo (Reply #33)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:01 PM

37. Iraq was a complete failure as is Afganistan.

I presume you know him well enough to make the statement "he's a good man."
As a general he has two failed wars on his watch. The hero worship in this culture
has to end. It's killing and mutilating our sons and daughters and bankrupting the
nation.

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Response to EmeraldCityGrl (Reply #37)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:22 PM

40. I was speaking of Lucian K. Truscott IV.

I have met him, and I do believe him to be a good man. He is also one Hell of a writer. OK?

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Response to 11 Bravo (Reply #40)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 09:51 PM

41. oops!

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Response to EmeraldCityGrl (Reply #41)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:01 PM

42. We're good!

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 08:57 PM

36. k&r...

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:05 PM

43. Phony War?

I'm sure the war in Iraq seemed pretty damn real to those who did the actual fighting. Not all of them are republicans, you know.
At any rate, Patreaus was never a hero. All the man did was have a plan to get troops out without having to dump choppers into the ocean.
Iraq is deadlier than Afghanistan today.

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Response to joseph abbott (Reply #43)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:07 PM

44. Yes, phony war as in phony reasons for the war.

I expect those there would rather have not been.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 06:04 AM

46. Again and Again By Jim Van Doren Dustoff Medic Vietnam 65-66

AGAIN AND AGAIN
I have this recurring nightmare:
Even though we were scheduled to be "2nd Up", we've flown into the same hot LZ again and again today, under fire, to rescue the wounded - a dozen at a time. On our 5th mission this day, 11 Nov 65, I recognize the soldier I'm loading. God, no! It's the medic who's been bringing me his wounded - again and again - all throughout the battle.

We've loaded everyone we can cram onto the Huey and lift off; now I can triage my patients. God, no! The medic's gut-shot, and I can't save him! I have other wounded aboard I can try to keep alive until we get them to the field hospital; maybe the Chaplain can help those I can't.


Then I wake up again, in a hot sweat again, and apologize again to my wife for kicking her out of bed with my thrashing - again. My war is long over, we remember, and I go back to sleep.
But it's not over. Now I'm being deployed overseas, again. I've lost more buddies than I've saved, so I've stopped counting. I don't know if I can keep any of them alive anymore; I know I can't keep them from being wounded, and that drives a cold stake through my heart. But I have to go - again and again - because they will need me - again and again. God, no!
Then I wake up again, but this time I don't go back to bed. After half a pot of coffee I realize the second nightmare is not mine - It's that of the medics I may never know, who have been deployed - again and again!
But I DO know them, and their buddies - and so do you. God, no!
Jim Van Doren
Dustoff Medic
Vietnam, 65-66


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