Petraeus: The Problem with Heroic Hagiography

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

DCIA_David_PetraeusThis week I read a story at my favorite investigative journalistic website http://whowhatwhy.com . It concerned the back story about the abrupt fall from grace of CIA Director General David Petraeus, which occurred when it was discovered that his biographer was also his mistress. I’ll provide a link to the story below and a brief synopsis of its conclusions, but it is less the reality of Petraeus’ fall, than the rise of military “heroes” that interests me. A theme that is closely woven into human history since the beginnings of civilization is the myth of the great military leader who rises up to gain command and “saves” the country from evil, external enemies. As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars became a harsh reality of our existence after the trauma of 9/11, one military figure appeared to capture our attention and become invested with the intelligence and the courage to fight our “enemies” and protect the American Way of Life. David Petraeus became that “hero”, was generally given bi-partisan deference and credited with wisdom and talents far beyond his peers. While our governmental system is based on civilian leadership of our military, in the person of the President and his appointees, it seemed that throughout the prosecution of these two ill-starred conflicts the Bush and then Obama administrations deferred to a position of “what would Petraeus do?”

It has been said that history is the chronicle of the winners and I believe there is some truth in that. In the Torah (Pentateuch to Christians) we see Moses, Joshua and David winning great victories for the Hebrews, often the underdogs. They are credited with having God on their side and so their victories are less those of strategy and more those of being “chosen” by God to carry out his will. This is indeed a recurrent theme throughout all civilizations and ethnicities when it comes to warfare. The mythology that grows around warfare is not one army’s defeat of another, but how individuals from the victorious army won through an almost “divine” intervention that gave them the skills to succeed.

The heroic portrayal of “saintly and heroic” individuals is called hagiography. While originally it referred to the glorification of “Saints”, the realities of the false histories produced through the ages of heroes proven to have “clay feet”, has added a more jaded and more prevalent definition of the word. “as a pejorative reference to the works of biographers and historians perceived to be uncritical or “reverential” to their subject” Hagiography exists as a style of propaganda that is used in the creation of mythology that informs a given society. A brief stroll though history will give you an idea of where I’m going with this premise.

Early works that created a mythological view of the military “great man” as the shaper of history can be seen in still pertinent writings of “poets” from two widely different cultures. In Greece we have the works of the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” attributed to the poet Homer. This greatest of Greek poets is said to have lived about 850 BCE and he writes of a golden era of heroic Greek history, thought to be the 12th Century BCE. Thus his writings are of a similar era to the “Torah” and from the study of mythology would seem to be part of a common thread in the development of civilization. In the “Iliad” we have the story of the Ten Year Trojan War. While there is indeed some evidence that this “War” actually took place in some form, obviously the “Iliad” is not to be construed as an accurate retelling of history. What is of significance, however, is that it became a formative tale of the Greek people and its heroes shaping the mythology of the burgeoning Hellenist civilization. The central Hero of the Iliad is Achilles. Achilles was so powerful a fighter that his absence, pouting over a slight, throughout most of the siege of Troy, prevents the massive Greek army from overcoming the Trojans. The Trojans greatest hero is the noble warrior Hector. Hector’s killing of Achilles best friend draws Achilles to battle, where he kills Hector and thus the ill fate of Troy follows. To simplify the mythological implications from this epic tale we can say it is the example of a “Great Man” shaping history for mere mortals.

From India, thought to have been written in the 8th Century BCE, comes another great epic story that through its mythology shaped the sophisticated civilization there. “The Mahabharata” also gives an heroic account of a epic war that ended an dynasty and a age, shaping future history. Like the Greek works it is the battles of “Great Men” who shape the climax of this warfare and provide great victories.

“The Mahabharata (Sanskrit Mahābhārata महाभारत, IPA: [məɦaːˈbʱaːrət̪ə]) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana.[1]

Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas and the Pandava princes, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four “goals of life” or purusharthas (12.161). Among the principal works and stories that are a part of the Mahabharata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Ramayana, and the Rishyasringa, often considered as works in their own right.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mahabharata

While I’ve actually read the “Bhagavad Gita” I claim no great understanding of the work except that it does glorify its larger then life heroes”. My knowledge of the Indian Cultural history is certainly not scholarly, but I can say that it is one of humanity’s greatest and oldest cultural heritages. We in the West never give it enough credit. My point though in mentioning these two magnificent works is that around the 8th Century BCE, throughout humanity a reshaping of how we humans viewed ourselves took place and transformed the foundational mythologies of human civilization into the one that is common today. At its base are “great/heroic” men, whose deeds shape our lives and whose fame derives from the wars they participate in. The use of this mythological meme is such that through history the mythology surrounding the “great man” has allowed those perceived as that type of  ”hero” to grasp, or come close to grasping power in our world.

A smattering of great names from history will reveal this tendency to mythologize the “great man” and allow the reader to see how similar this plays out throughout our world. Julius Caesar used his fame as a military leader to vault himself to the top of the Roman Empire. Constantine the Great followed a similar path. William the Conqueror, Henry V, Napoleon Bonaparte were the recipients of hagiography in their own and later times reinforcing this heroic image. In America, George Washington, became our first President because of his generalship. Andrew Jackson won “The Battle of New Orleans” two weeks after the war had ended. William Henry Harrison, a man with little else to recommend him used the “Battle of Tippecanoe” to attain the Presidency. U.S. Grant used his victory over the South to become a rather undistinguished President. Teddy Roosevelt made his name as the head of the “Rough Riders” in the Cuba. Dwight Eisenhower’s leadership of the allies in World War II and the hagiographical reverence that followed made him President. In truth not every military hero actually succeeds in attaining the high offices they seek and we can see Douglas McArthur, a hagiographic hero if there ever was one, ending his political rise in ignominy.

Whether successful in grabbing power, or not, the same old theme seems to play out repeatedly in human history. The theme is the glorification of military leaders making them potential political leaders. My view of this is that it rarely coincides that a military leader would make a great civilian leader, but that the ages of historical mythmaking have conditioned much of humanity to think that these “heroes” are those best suited to lead us all. A common thread in this today, is the compulsion of the mainstream media, historians and biographers to produce hagiography’s portraying these leaders as for more heroic than they actually are. With our modern media this glorification of people has accelerated far beyond the accomplishments they have actually had. We saw this especially clearly after 9/11. Such was the anger and fear engendered within the people and the “press” that we all longed to avenge ourselves against the “enemy”, which began as Osama Bin Laden, but morphed into other countries, one of which had no involvement whatsoever. While we expect wisdom and insight from our pundits and our press, we instead had them play stenographer to whatever Administration source fed them the propaganda of revenge. In a “good” vs. “evil” drama, portrayed simplistically as “The War on Terror”, the old human tendency to ennoble “heroes” to give substance to the “plotline” ran rampant. Thus Rudy Giuliani, a highly flawed individual whose popularity was at its nadir before 9/11, became “America’s Mayor” although all he really did was his expected job and in truth he did that badly. This brings me to General David Petraeus.

David Petraeus is by my estimation a brilliant man. He is charismatic, articulate, an adept writer and certainly an intellectual thinker. His military record is an outstanding one. His academic background is definitely distinguished and probably marked him early on as a coming force in our military establishment:

“Petraeus has a B.S. degree from the United States Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1974 as a distinguished cadet (top 5% of his class). He was the General George C. Marshall Award winner as the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College class of 1983. He subsequently earned an M.P.A. in 1985 and a PhD degree in International Relations in 1987 from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He later served as Assistant Professor of International Relations at the United States Military Academy and also completed a fellowship at Georgetown University. “  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Petraeus

In his military career he had experience all over the world, wherever there was a conflict that had U.S. involvement. While a review of his career history shows that he was no doubt well-known in military and government circles, it was the second Iraq War that catapulted him into the spotlight of public recognition and made him a hero in the eyes of most of the public and especially our mainstream media.

“In 2003, Petraeus, then a Major General, saw combat for the first time when he commanded the 101st Airborne Division during V Corps’s drive to Baghdad. In a campaign chronicled in detail by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Atkinson of The Washington Post in the book In the Company of Soldiers, Petraeus led his division through fierce fighting south of Baghdad, in Karbala, Hilla and Najaf. Following the fall of Baghdad, the division conducted the longest heliborne assault on record in order to reach Ninawa Province, where it would spend much of 2003. The 1st Brigade was responsible for the area south of Mosul, the 2nd Brigade for the city itself, and the 3rd Brigade for the region stretching toward the Syrian border. An often-repeated story of Petraeus’ time with the 101st is his asking of embedded The Washington Post reporter Rick Atkinson to “Tell me how this ends,” an anecdote he and other journalists have used to portray Petraeus as an early recognizer of the difficulties that would follow the fall of Baghdad.

In Mosul, a city of nearly two million people, Petraeus and the 101st employed classic counterinsurgency methods to build security and stability, including conducting targeted kinetic operations and using force judiciously, jump-starting the economy, building local security forces, staging elections for the city council within weeks of their arrival, overseeing a program of public works, reinvigorating the political process, and launching 4,500 reconstruction projects in Iraq. This approach can be attributed to Petraeus, who had been steeped in nation-building during his previous tours in nations such as Bosnia and Haiti and thus approached nation-building as a central military mission and who was “prepared to act while the civilian authority in Baghdad was still getting organized,” according to Michael Gordon of The New York Times.[63] Some Iraqis gave Petraeus the nickname ‘King David‘, which was later adopted by some of his colleagues. In 2004, Newsweek stated that “It’s widely accepted that no force worked harder to win Iraqi hearts and minds than the 101st Air Assault Division led by Petraeus.”

The General’s counter insurgency work in Mosul brought him media fame. He was a perfect candidate for hagiography given his brilliance, charisma and eagerness to give interviews. He appeared on “60 Minutes”, was featured in “Time” magazine and received many accolades from the adoring media pundits. As we remember the morass in Iraq, with its frequent bombings, deaths and terrorist activity, our media needed to find a hero to justify what was becoming an obvious debacle. The Bush Administration also needed a heroic figure to distract from the fact that this War was an inappropriate response to 9/11, which had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s and thousands of our troops. When it became apparent that there were no “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, we then received a justification from another hero “created” by another dubious war, Colin Powell and his famous “Pier One” rule: “If you break it, you buy it”. So Petraeus led the “surge” and we declared victory, while Iraq remained in chaos. Petraeus fame grew, ably assisted by his canny way of dealing with the media and the media’s tendency to produce hagiography, rather than reality.

As we now know, Petraeus’ downfall came from a scandal that flared when it became public knowledge that his female biographer, Patricia Broadwell, also became the lover of this married “hero”. That scandal had such an impact that if you now Google Petraeus, you find literally dozens of pages referring to the affair and little else detailing the other aspects of his career. So in the wake of the scandal this comes from the Wiki entry linked above, which deal with Petraeus’ efforts at self promotion:

“Petraeus had a strategy to influence military conditions by using the press relations effectively in the theater and in Washington, according to critics who assessed the general’s military career after his fall from power. On November 13, 2012, Lawrence Korb, Ray McGovern, and Gareth Porter appearing on Al Jazeera English assessed the general’s extensive military-media strategy linking his writings on counterguerrilla operations and subsequent military media efforts to his downfall with a female biographer. Critics observed that the Petraeus media strategy would prove damaging for American policy in the future because of the omissions and distorted interpretations that Washington policymakers, other experts, and the American public accepted from the highly effective Petraeus media contacts.

Military historians have noted the absence of field records for the Iraq and Afghanistan military campaigns, but have not personally been critical of the commanders in theater. One additional aspect of Petraeus’ career that has come under increased scrutiny since his affair came to light has been his lack of a direct combat record in relation to the many awards he received. In particular, his Bronze Star Medal with Valor device has been mentioned in several media reports and questioned by several former Army officers.”

As we know Petraeus’ career led him to become the Director of the CIA and prior to that:

 

“On October 31, 2008, Petraeus assumed command of the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) headquartered in Tampa, Florida. Petraeus was responsible for U.S. operations in 20 countries spreading from Egypt to Pakistan—including Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.”

 

“On June 23, 2010, President Obama announced that he would nominate Petraeus to succeed General Stanley A. McChrystal as the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. The change of command was prompted by McChrystal’s comments about the Obama administration and its policies in Afghanistan during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. The nomination was technically a positional step down from his position as commander of Central Command, however the President said that he believed that he was the best man for the job.”

Both these positions allowed Petraeus much press exposure and that exposure was overwhelmingly laden with praise and with deference. Finally this led to:

“On April 28, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that he had nominated Petraeus to become the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate 94–0 on June 30, 2011. Petraeus was sworn in at the White House on September 6[ and then ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia on October 11, 2011.

Sometime in early 2012 the FBI became aware of Petraeus’ affair with Mrs. Broadwell. The information finally reached the Administration’s Executive level in the fall. Petraeus met with President Obama and gave his resignation on November 8, 2012. The rest is history, so they say, but do we understand the true history. Do we know that this was only about an extramarital affair, with a woman who went overboard in jealousy, or was there more threatening things in this story for the U.S. Government?

The WhoWhatWhy.com article this week is titled: “Petraeus: The Plot Thickens” written by: Douglas Lucas and Russ Baker. http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/02/05/petraeus-the-plot-thickens-1/

 The story begins with:

“Was the ambitious General David Petraeus targeted for take-down by competing interests in the US military/intelligence hierarchy—years before his abrupt downfall last year in an adultery scandal?

 Previously unreported documents analyzed by WhoWhatWhy suggest as much. They provide new insight into the scandalous extramarital romance that led to Petraeus’s resignation as CIA director in November after several years of rapid rise—going from a little-known general to a prospective presidential candidate in a stunningly brief time frame.

Among other revelations the documents show that:

 -Petraeus was suspected of having an extramarital affair nearly two years earlier than previously known.

 -Petraeus’s affair was known to foreign interests with a stake in a raging policy and turf battle in which Petraeus was an active party.

 -Those providing the “official” narrative of the affair—and an analysis of why it led to the unprecedented removal of America’s top spymaster— have been less than candid with the American people.

 According to internal emails of the Austin-based private intelligence firm Stratfor, General David Petraeus was drawing attention to his private life much earlier than previously believed. Because it was his private life that resulted in his being forced out as CIA director, alterations in our understanding of the time frame are significant.

Until now, the consensus has been that Petraeus began an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, in the fall of 2011, after he retired from the military and took over the CIA”.

After providing the background of the affair and of the publicly known “evidence” the article goes on to say:

“But documents—researched by WhoWhatWhy and published for the first time as part of an investigative partnership with WikiLeaks—suggest otherwise. These documents characterize Petraeus as having regular dinners in early 2010 with Abdulwahab al-Hajri, then Yemen’s ambassador to the US, and note that Petraeus brought to at least one of those dinners a woman “not his wife”—whom the Yemenis believed was “his mistress.” It’s possible—although not confirmed—that this woman was Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’s biographer and mistress, who sent allegedly threatening emails that spawned the strange FBI investigation that precipitated the former Army general’s resignation on November 9, 2012.”

There are some very significant details revealed above. The first is that if the affair was carried on when Petraeus was still in the military then he was guilty of an offense that should lead to a Court Martial. It is against military law to commit adultery and many an enlisted man has actually been court martialled and imprisoned under that law. More importantly though is the allegation of Petraeus including a woman, possibly Broadwell, in what were essentially diplomatic talks held in a social situation. The story goes into many key situations in which Yemen is involved as a foreign policy broker.

The details provided in this article are much greater than the snippets I provide above. I would suggest that people read it in its entirety to see the possibly grave implications in this story that go the heart of U.S. foreign and military policy.  Implications of this go to the known wish of some in the Republican Party who saw Petraeus as a “can’t lose” Presidential candidate and to the internecine warfare that goes on in behind the scenes in our government and whether Petraeus was “taken out” by elements of the Military.

To my mind the Petraeus story is yet another instance where hagiography becomes propaganda and then morphs into mythology. While Petraeus indeed had some successes in the positions he occupied, none of those “successes” were remarkable and many of them were examples of hagiography by the mainstream media, gone wild. Why this military man would actually be considered as Presidential material escapes me, except from my knowledge of this being a repeated theme in world history. Humanity’s history is one of warfare and brutality and yet we glorify those who lead it and make them into almost “Olympian Heroes”.  As long as we lionize and overprize those with skill at killing people en masse then we will also remain a species at war with itself.

Submitted by: Mike Spindell. guest blogger

114 thoughts on “Petraeus: The Problem with Heroic Hagiography

  1. “For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.”
    – Gen. George C. Patton [even if he didnt say it, it is still applicable]

    Former Secretary of State James Baker once said, “Someone asked me what was the most important thing I had learned since being in Washington. I replied that it was the fact that temporal power is fleeting.” Baker went on to observe that once driving through the White House gates he saw a man walking alone on Pennsylvania Avenue and recognized him as having been Secretary of State in a previous administration. “There he was alone – no reporters, no security, no adoring public, no trappings of power. Just one solitary man alone with his thoughts. And that mental picture continually serves to remind me of the impermanence of power and the impermanence of place.”

  2. Petraeus, or so I understand, took a page from the British in Malaysia during their communist insurgency. I think the press and the people make too much of the man. His marriage was dedicated to his career, his design for “his” insurgency strategy was probably based on some old dead Brit’s plan in Malaysia.

    All in all, I think self-promoting opportunist is an apt designation for the man. Apparently he didnt even have enough character to honor his contract with his wife. I think we are lucky he did not advance farther than he did. Vanity, ambition and lack of character are a recipe for disaster. It played out in the microcosm of his life. Thank providence he was not inflicted on the American people as president.

  3. http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/articles/20130207_3

    “…the National Security Agency (NSA) carried out electronic surveillance of the personal and official phone calls of then-Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq (MNSTC-I) commander General David Petraeus as early as 2004. In addition, NSA maintained surveillance of the personal phone calls of Petraeus’s wife Holly.

    The NSA discovered in 2004 that Petraeus was having an affair with Paula Broadwell, the rising Army officer star who was a specialist on counter-terrorism and the Middle East. ….”
    .
    .
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    “The stated NSA policy on eavesdropping on phone calls of “U.S. persons” is spelled out in United States Signals Intelligence Directive No. 18 (USSID 18). While Petraeus’s official government phones and email accounts in Iraq and other military commands where he was present are fair game for monitoring for operational security, or OPSEC purposes, his personal phone and email accounts were off-limits to NSA eavesdroppers. Holly Petraeus’s private communications were completely off-limits and were those of Broadwell while she was using her private phone and email to communicate with Petraeus or anyone else.

    However, after 9/11, the NSA believed it was no longer bound by the constraints of USSID 18 and it began conducting wholesale eavesdropping on politicians, senior military officers, journalists, business executives, and others in order to place in storage any embarrassing information that could later be used to blackmail or apply pressure on a targeted individual. The George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations have used stored raw NSA intercept information to apply such pressure and conduct such blackmail, according to our sources.

    The NSA eventually turned over transcripts of Petraeus’s private phone calls and emails to the FBI long before he became subject to a national security investigation in October 2012.”

  4. Evolution, Revolution and the US Senate Confirmation of Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen

    Wednesday, 06 February 2013 09:23

    By Mikey Weinstein

    http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14375-evolution-revolution-and-the-us-senate-confirmation-of-lt-general-robert-l-caslen

    “Since receiving word a little over a week ago of President Obama’s nomination of Lt. General Robert L. “Aroma of Jesus Christ” Caslen to become the next Superintendent (i.e. “Commander”) of West Point, I have been voraciously digesting volumes of information in order to determine what position I should take on his pending Senate confirmation. West Point faculty, staff, cadets, concerned parents of current West Point cadets, and even near-term future cadets (entering in a few months with the Class of 2017) have been stridently begging and beseeching me to use the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s (MRFF’s) hard-won military influence and take immediate action in order to ensure that this man, who once publicly demonstrated that his personal mission of Christian proselytizing and evangelism was significantly superior to his sworn oath of commission to the United States Constitution in the scandalous Christian Embassy video (Caslen appears from approximately 4:04 to 4:14 in the linked video), would never again be given the chance to produce another religiously hostile and toxic environment for those who don’t share his faith as the most senior ranking officer at West Point.

    You see, Lt. General Caslen is a devout, evangelical Christian. Was it that fact alone that has caused so many in the last few days to petition me for MRFF’s expeditious and aggressive intervention to prevent his U.S. Senate confirmation? No, not in the slightest. MRFF is truly honored to enjoy a plethora of evangelical military MRFF clients, MRFF donors, and even treasured and beloved MRFF staff who share Caslen’s evangelical version of the Christian faith. Indeed, it was never Caslen’s chosen denomination of Christianity, nor his professed personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which was the gravamen of our unconstitutional charges and effusive outrage. Far from it. What WAS the source of this “anti-Caslen” fury was the time, place, and manner in which the General chose to promote and practice his faith. He chose wrong on all three categories – egregiously so. Well, that was then and this is now. ” continues…

  5. West Point Think Tank Buries the Dynamite

    Saturday, 26 January 2013
    by Mikey Weinstein

    http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14155-west-point-think-tank-buries-the-dynamite

    Excerpt:

    The United States Military Academy at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) is often referred to as a “think tank,” whose primary mission is to inform and shape counterterrorism policy and strategy. CTC’s recent study on domestic right-wing terrorist groups clearly reveals that more taxpayer-funded “tanking” than thinking goes on at the CTC. Indeed, after carefully reviewing the study myself, I am confident that the ladies and gentlemen that worked on this project have gone down in flames in the attempted accomplishment of their mission.

    The CTC attempts to aim a blinding spotlight at the Racist/White Supremacist Movement, the Anti-Federalist Movement, and the Christian fundamentalist Movement and their potential for violence. While exorbitant amounts of money and time were wasted on the CTC’s flimsy, tissue-thin report, it fails to focus so much as a dim penlight on a far greater threat to the liberty of our brave military personnel. Allow me to fill in the blanks for you.

    We at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) consider the report pathetically cold consolation to the countless members of our military whose Constitutionally-guaranteed civil and human rights are unceasingly violated by vicious attacks from a far greater and more sinister enemy within. continues…

  6. Eisenhower’s affair with Kay Sommersby certainly didn’t prevent him from becoming President, but the difference is that corporate media actually helped to expose Petraeus, and if they had done their job in exposing the fact that 9/11 was an inside job, there wouldn’t have been any excuses for the illegal Bush wars and resultant war crimes, to say nothing of the
    waste of so many lives and the destruction of two countries — all to benefit Israel, U.S. military, defense contractors, private security firms like Blackrock, and of course the energy industry and companies that profit by rebuilding what we’ve bombed, and the construction of the largest embassy in the world…to provide a place to watch over the financial interests of certain American special interest groups.

  7. David Petraeus did NOT distinguish himself in combat. If you look at the photos of him with all those rows of ribbons, they are not topped with the CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge). That is the bar depicting a Revolutionary War Kentucky rifle on a blue background. It is awarded to heroes who actually….you know….served in combat. The only combat related ribbon amongst all that fruit salad is a Bronze Star, and that was a unit citation that Petraeus commanded from a desk. A unit citation is not an award for individual heroism, but is given to a whole unit. I am not going to post a link, but just put his name into the Google Images search. Makes me want to lose my cookies.

    Compare that man with Audie Murphy. The rules are that you either wear three rows of flash, or all of them. Real heroes tend to be modest.

    Here is a picture of Lt. Audie Murphy, and note he IS wearing his CIB above his ribbons. And then there is that little matter of the blue watermarked ribbon around his neck. General David Petraeus could not find a tall enough stepladder to climb in order to kiss Audie Murphy’s butt.

  8. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, Nimrod was “the first Petraeus” (and the first of all the others created by “Heroic Hagiography”):

    As he was the first hunter he was consequently the first who introduced the eating of meat by man. He was also the first to make war on other peoples.

    (Nimrod, Jewish Encyclopedia, emphasis added). A Hebrew historian says of Nimrod:

    He also gradually changed the government into tyrannyto bring them [the people] into a constant dependence on his power

    (The Antiquities of the Jews, by Titus Flavius Josephus, 1:4:2:113-114, emphasis added). Thus, Nimrod is the model myth for all “warriors”, all military aficionados.

  9. One more thing about Audie Murphy for any readers too young to remember him. He was too young to join the Army so lied about his age. He was also only 5’5″ tall. The Army did not correct the wrong birthday after his death, so that is the one on his tombstone in Arlington National Cemetery.

    Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier in the history of the US military. And yet, look at his picture I posted at the link above.

    Then look at David Petraeus who never actually was shot at. As they say in Texas, all hat and no horse.

    Here is the link to Audie Murphy’s page on the site of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
    http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/2907/murphy-audie-l.php

  10. It is interesting how one person is elevated to near legend status and then, upon a fall from grace, none of the past achievments are remembered.

    Usually politicians give a welcome embrace to such people in order to equate themselves in the glory and then they become the prosecutors of the same person to have the glory in shooting them down, because they are the righteous and to project they are beyond reproach; often because they have checkered pasts themselves and don’t want that revealed.

  11. ” … often because they have checkered pasts themselves and don’t want that revealed.” (Darren Smith)

    Which is the only reason Petraeus has not been Court Martialed or prosecuted for the security breach he covered up when accepting the post as Director of the CIA.

    Also why so many of his buds in the CIA and his former bosses in the Executive have not been prosecuted on the torture issue.

    It’s the Jerry Ford school of thought … We must spare the
    citizens from the trauma of actually facing the reality that is their leadership. They like to tell themselves we’re just too weak to handle it.

  12. The Hero General who receives the least scrutiny, as war hero, war strategist, civilian leader, President of the United States, is Ike. He had his Kay Southerby or however one spulls it and that got brushed back under the covers. He chose an evil Canival for Vice President and imposed him on us and that is forgotten. We should give him credit for his role in the interstate highway system and his late observation on his last day in office about “The Military Industrial Complex”. Another war hero who does not get enough credit for his war strategy and not enough for his job as President was Grant. It was trying times, both in the war and in the Presidency after that first Johnson character from Tennessee (Lincoln’s VP) left the Presidency.

    Generally, you dont want a military type to be President. (no pun intended) You want someone who can work Congress and who has great knowledge of law, politics and the world.

    Petreaus is like a dog in the dogpac who thinks all the females are his. When he was a kid they called him Stump Humper. No kidding, I learned that on the internet. Some guys just can not resist a very good looker like his biographer. Jeso, look at some of her photos. There you are off in Afghanistan eating in tents and this fox comes along and sits there asking about your childhood all day long looking in your eyes and flirts and what all and the next thing you know your thing is getting you in trouble. The Soviets would have paid a fortune to get her into Ike’s stable. Kay was not enough. People were more tolerant in Ike’s day. We all knew about Kay. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Not now though. Its scandal scandal bo bamble.

  13. Another good article Mike. It is amazing how fast and how far Gen. Petraeus has fallen. I am surprised that he resigned so quickly with just the news of the affair. Especially in Washington. Where there is smoke there may be some fire!??

  14. Darren,

    David Petraeus was all mystique, and no substance. As I pointed out above, none of that fruit salad on his chest was for actual military achievement in combat. He has been a desk jockey and theoretical soldier all his career. I doubt seriously he has ever been shot at or fired a shot in defense of his country. He is a politician who pulled all the right strings and kissed all the right butts to be awarded all those ribbons for having good table manners and not being late for work.

    At least, Generals such as Colin Powell and Wesley Clark actually EARNED their stuff. Fully certified as, “Been there, done that, got the cap and t-shirt.”

  15. “At least, Generals such as Colin Powell and Wesley Clark actually EARNED their stuff. Fully certified as, “Been there, done that, got the cap and t-shirt..”

    Colin Powell went to the U.N. and lied us into invading and starting a war in Iraq.

    Wesley Clark has a lot of blood on HIS hands for the destruction in Yugoslavia and thousands of innocent lives lost there…at the behest of
    the liberal (sic) Bill Clinton.

  16. Here is an interesting contrast. Ike was the supreme commander of the forces that beat back the worst elements of European fascism. The other is an ass clown who managed not to lose to a third world, 18th century group of thugs. Look at how they present themselves:

  17. All biographies are propaganda. They always have been. Wonder who Obama’s propagandist will be.

    This is the reason I have always chosen not to put people on pedestals.

    Except John Wayne. He was a self-avowed flawed individual.

  18. Otteray and Frankly:

    There is certainly something to be said about being a pogue / deskjockey. Somehow these guys seem to get into positions of leadership quickly. (at least in the LE world)
    or at least in my cynical point of view.

    There are some agencies that promote the ones who do the most arse kissing, make the least number of arrests, take the fewest risks, back down the fastest, stab the most backs, and take as many busywork training classes they are offered; doing everything else but the job at hand.

    Maybe it is to some degree this way in the military. I don’t know since I haven’t been in the military.

    The diptych of the two generals certainly says a lot.

  19. bill,
    Get the facts straight. I know this is going to be hard for you to understand, but I did not make any reference at all to any activities later in life. Those two guys were real soldiers who could wear the actual combat medals they earned. They did not get them for riding around in the back of an armored limousine.

    Compare this official photo of General Clark with that of Petraeus. Note the CIB. Those ribbons Clark are wearing include a Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, Silver Star and Bronze Star. Among others.

    Look at this official portrait of Colin Powell. His has a CIB, Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Soldier’s Medal. Among others.

    Then there is Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Arguably the best fighter pilot of the Vietnam war. Put his own a$$ on the line when it counted, and managed to shoot down Major Toon, the best pilot the enemy could throw against him. That had nothing to do with his later politics or the crimes to which he pleaded guilty. Despite his many other faults, Duke did not flaunt his medals either.

    How is that for missing the point, bill?

  20. Bill

    I have to agree with Otteray quite soundly on this. There is something quite clear about military honours that you do not really project with your comment

    Here is a lesson for you in that.

    I was briefly in the Soviet Union in the mid-1980’s. During this time it was a frequent event back then to see older men and women wearing military medals on their coats. From there age it was apparent they were WWII veterans. The interpreter told me these were worn because it was a great honour to have served in protecting their nation from invasion and there is much respect bestowed upon these vets. It is not from pride that they wore these medals it was more of their society granting them the privelidge of doing so.

    I later had a rather lengthy conversation with some young men who were late teens and early 20’s. When the topic of Afghanistan came up, which was at the time a grueling war that was being waged by the Soviets and these men had much trepidation about going there, since many had known others who had fought there. You could see how much of a worry this was in their faces. The conversation then progressed to the American Analogue, Vietnam.

    When I told the Russians about how many American troops later in the war had to face the indignity of having protesters meet them in airports and accuse them of crimes the Russians were bewildered. At first they could not comprehend why this was happening. It then shifted to anger against the protesters. The Russians were quite upset about how anyone could treat so badly someone who served their country on the battlefields. And this was talking about soldiers of their strategic enemy, the United States. These people knew what Honour was about. And during that time it was readily apparent what the Russians had gone through. Just outside Leningrad I walked through cemeteries of mass-graves that were a hundred yards in each direction. I saw vacant lots in central Moscow that were forty years after the war sealed off because of Unexploded Bombs that were still dangerous. So having seen all this and could understand why they were so untrusting of foreign armies but they still retained in their culture the ability to treat an American soldier with the courtesy and respect he has earned it bought me a great deal of respect and admiration for them. We should at least be as courteous to our own.

  21. Colin Powell helped cover up the My Lai Massacre (and gang rape/mutilation of a bunch of women civilians).

    Not a war hero in my book. BTW, neither was McCain – who is considered by many to be guilty of treason – and Poopy Bush bailed out of his aircraft and left his comrades to perish when their plane crashed into the Pacific.

  22. Darren,
    bill still does not get it. Guess he never rescued anyone from a mine field, or been shot. Wonder what his beef will be with Audie Murphy or Sergeant York? They were not peacocks either.

  23. I guess O.S. is unfamiliar with the Bible’s teaching that “all we, like sheep, have gone astray and come short of the glory of God”.

    If you want Peacocks, go to the zoo. Then tell me about Colin, McCain, Clark,and Poppy Bush. Junior too. And let’s not get started with all of the Chickenhawks like WILLIARD MITT ROMNEY and his five sons.

  24. Otteray

    Yes and he never will either. Bill wouldn’t last five days working the road, five minutes in combat, or five seconds in a POW camp.

    I’m sure he would find fault in everyone else but himself.

  25. bill,
    I guess you are unable to stay on topic. Distracted by every shiny new thing. We were talking about David Petraeus strutting around with a huge mass of fruit salad on his chest, when he is an armchair general who got all that by politicking. An embarrassment to the uniform, really. Powell, Clark and many others EARNED their ribbons and badges the hard way, by getting shot at, blown up and still saw no need to strut around showing off. They knew who they were, just like Eisenhower. They had nothing to prove to anybody. THAT is the point.

  26. Darren,
    He would not even make it following my twenty-something daughter around. And she is only 5’3″ tall. We had bad weather two weeks ago with snow, sleet and freezing rain. I took her to work in the Jeep because I was afraid for her to drive her little Ford sedan. Only five officers were able to make it in for the night shift. There was her and four male officers assigned to run the four-story jail that night, with almost four hundred inmates. bill would have needed a fresh underwear dispenser if he had followed her around. They all thought they were going to have to pull 24 hours, but enough officers came in the next morning to relieve them they could clock out.

    Ol’ bill would have had an interesting evening. They only had one incident with a shank, thank goodness.

  27. Darren,
    Otto Scribble obviously thinks he’s the cat’s meow, but you’ll notice that he, like his playmates, conceded all of my points. Facts are stubborn things.

    Now, wait for his/her next insult. Right-wing cowards just can’t handle the truth.

  28. bill, I did not concede anything. Once again you demonstrate your reading comprehension problems. If I had conceded anything to your verbal diarrhea, I would have said so. You, on the other hand, seem to have difficulty admitting there is a difference between those who have real military combat experience and those who sat and got calluses on their asses while men far better than them died so they could get meaningless ribbons for being able to use the right fork at formal dinners.

  29. Otteray

    Your dughter is five times what bill pretends to be. bill would be an officer safety risk if he was assigned to anything other than an evidence clerk.

    He would go into a jail setting wearing every conceivable piece of equipment on his leathergear, and would put up some big act about how he was the toughest super deputy in the county. As long as there was another deputy around, he would treat the inmates like dirt and berate them at every opportunity. As soon as all the other deputies left the booking area (to take care of something or whatever) he would be nervous as hell as the inmates looked at him through the safety glass and bars. He would be the first one they would go after.

  30. bill wrote:
    Darren,
    Otto Scribble obviously thinks he’s the cat’s meow, but you’ll notice that he, like his playmates, conceded all of my points. Facts are stubborn things

    ~+~

    I did not notice anything of the sort that would show that Otteray conceded to what you had said. It looks as though we are going to be in for another round of bantering.

    On another note, Otteray is quite accomplished in his credentials and his achievements in life. I would recommend that you not try to attack him on issues of personal credibility versus your own. It’s not likely to serve you very well.

  31. Earlier I posted this:
    “However, after 9/11, the NSA believed it was no longer bound by the constraints of USSID 18 and it began conducting wholesale eavesdropping on politicians, senior military officers, journalists, business executives, and others in order to place in storage any embarrassing information that could later be used to blackmail or apply pressure on a targeted individual. The George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations have used stored raw NSA intercept information to apply such pressure and conduct such blackmail, according to our sources.”

    This turned up on my fb page:

    We need more of Sheriff Andy these days.

  32. An Army officer that covers up a massacre may be your idea of a hero, but I don’t think so. An Army General that oversees the ethnic cleansing of a population of people that never attacked the U.S., is not a hero of mine, but you think he IS.

    A Navy pilot who gives the enemy U.S. defense secrets is not a hero to me, but by your silence, he IS to you.

    I could go on, but objective people get it, even if you play dumb.

    You have some very peculiar notions of who you consider to be U.S. military
    heroes.

  33. Darren,
    Thank you. She is quite a young woman. She would be willing to ride the Devil himself if somebody would help her get a saddle on him. She came home the other morning to tell me of an incident that happened the night before. She was the sole officer in a cell block with 87 male inmates, whom she described as all being “a big bunch of raging hormones.” One of them sidled up behind her and tried to cop a feel of her butt. She said she came close to, “Going all Donkey Kong on him.” He never actually touched her, which is a good thing for him.

    One inmate grabbed one of the booking officer’s boobs a few days ago. He is now facing assault on an officer charge. I saw his photo. He looked as if he had been in a car wreck.

    Wonder how bill would handle it if an inmate tried to cop a feel of his butt? LOL.

  34. Darren sez: “….. It looks as though we are going to be in for another round of bantering.”

    *********************************

    Darren, is that a typo or what? Did you mean “bantering” or “battering.” I am fine with either one, but just curious.

    Have you noticed that when poor bill runs out logical arguments, he devolves into ad hominem attacks? Sad, really. Come to think of it, he runs out of logical arguments in the part right after where he types his name.

  35. “Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight”

    Achilles to Agamemnon:

    What cause have I to war at thy decree?
    The distant Trojans never injured me.

    Hither we sail’d, a voluntary throng,
    To avenge a private, not a public wrong:

    Is this the pay our blood and toils deserve;
    Disgraced and injured by the man we serve?

    Thine in each conquest is the wealthy prey,
    Though mine the sweat and danger of the day.

    — Homer, The Illiad, Book I

  36. C’mon, guys, You’re talking about two different things and you know it.

    Darren and OS are talking about actual military action and how the ribbons were earned.

    Bill is talking about their entire careers.

    Darren and OS, can you agree that Bill is correct when looking at the entire careers?

    Bill, can you agree that Darren and OS are correct when looking at just the justification for their chest hardware?

    Geesh. Glad you guys aren’t armed.

  37. Mike,

    “Why this man would actually be considered Presidential material escapes me,” . . .

    I think the answer is Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Seemingly it doesn’t take much to qualify.

    What I am really curious about is why he is such a dead letter. Quietly enjoying that $200,000. a year retirement without ever having to appear and and explain anything in front of a congressional committee. Seems that he is being given a pass because there is a lot that Washington doesn’t really want to know.

  38. “All-in.” What an appropriately ironic title for the official hagiography of General David Petraeus, the human embodiment of Parkinson’s Law and the Peter Principle. With apologies to Homer, I would put it this way:

    “All In” on a Bad Hand

    Shrub had an urge to waste and splurge,
    But now we moan a mournful dirge.

    Procrastination has its aims,
    Yet never offers truthful claims.

    Again we stay to stall for time,
    ‘Till Shrub can cover up his crime.

    Like Vietnam in desert sands,
    Iraq once more has tied our hands.

    The violence goes down, we say;
    So that just means we have to stay.

    The violence goes up and so
    That just means we can never go.

    We train them to dependency
    So that they’ll never once break free.

    We’ve given them vast wounds to nurse,
    And English, so they’ll learn to curse.

    Thus, mission-creeping with a “surge,”
    We flog ourselves with our own scourge.

    But Dick says Shrub the burden bears:
    Deciding stuff while chaos flares.

    This propaganda catapult
    Continues to our minds insult.

    His lies he’s never once un-spun,
    Or failed to twist the Truth for fun.

    So now he waits for greater fools
    To buy his worthless quagmire jewels.

    We’ve gone “all in” on Shrub’s bad bet.
    How stupid can one nation get?

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2008

  39. Otteray writez
    Darren, is that a typo or what? Did you mean “bantering” or “battering.” I am fine with either one, but just curious.
    ~_~
    Actually I intended to write the former, it having a bit of civility to it, but I suspect it will turn to bettering in time.

  40. BK,
    bill kept introducing the straw man fallacy. I want him to stay on topic. That is, people with real military accomplishments see little need to for either sycophants or preening. What they do later in life is irrelevant to deliberately going into the middle of a minefield to rescue a comrade, or shooting down the top enemy ace. American tank commanders often have a picture of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel somewhere in their gear. Fighter pilots of every nation often drink a toast to a portrait of Baron Manfried von Richtofen in their officer’s club.

    Besides, bill is deliberately misrepresenting the later in life commands of both Generals Clark and Powell. I cannot speak for Darren, but I do not cooperate with dishonesty in argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

  41. OS&Darren,

    Bill is merely an ideologue and bigot with an overweening sense of self-importance and a need to follow his particular party line script. He is therefore lacking the abilty to debate either of you, or anyone else for thst matter who is capable of independent thought.

  42. Leximanifesta,

    My guess is they leave him alone because he knows from the CIA and some of his other assignments, where the bodies are buried.

  43. Off Topic but a bit funny: (not for the victims, the suspects)

    The Justice Department announced that 16 folks would be sent to prison for hate crimes against Amish folks. The defendants, who range in age from 23 to 67 and all lived in Ohio, were found guilty of “forcibly remov[ing] beard and head hair from practitioners of the Amish faith with whom they had ongoing religious disputes.”

    // now for the joke //
    The list of guilty reads: “The defendants all reside in Bergholz, Ohio, unless otherwise noted. Samuel Mullet, 67, received a 15 year sentence. Johnny S. Mullet, 39; Lester Mullet, 28, of Hammondsville, Ohio

  44. Trying to stay on the topic of General Betray-us and his carefully crafted career of self-serving public-relations flogging:

    “I think no commander ever is going to come out and say ‘I’m confidant that we can do this.’ I think we say you assess, we believe this is, you know, a reasonable prospect.” — General David Petraeus, Commander of the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan (since promoted to head of the CIA), regarding his mission objectives and his prospects for achieving them.

    Which leads to the subject of moving-target management-speak as the official chosen substitute for military leaders speaking understandable English:

    “The inflated style is itself a kind of euphemism.” George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

    or, as I like to put it:

    The Inflated Style as Euphemism

    The general has started talking funny
    Like, never stating what we can achieve.
    Instead, he babbles jargon for the money
    Which means he never plans for us to leave.

    We’ve been there now so long that few remember
    How many times we’ve heard the same old song.
    Our plans, those scruffy foreigners dismember
    While we proclaim that we’ve done nothing wrong.

    The president has donned his bomber jacket
    To have his picture taken with the troops:
    For conquerors, cheap tools that serve the racket;
    For statesmen, simple patriotic dupes.

    Our presidents and generals have blundered
    And now can only stall for yet more time
    While citizens back home whom they have plundered
    Refuse to see the nature of the crime.

    We went to “war” with tax cuts for the wealthy
    And exhortations to consume and spend.
    Now broke and begging from the thieving stealthy,
    Our leaders promise this will never end.

    Our presidents and generals stage dramas
    And wave the bloody shirt while spouting gas
    To keep us safe from peasants in pajamas
    And poppy farmers smoking hash and grass.

    We did this once before in Southeast Asia
    As names upon a granite wall attest.
    The country, though, prefers its euthanasia:
    The laying of all memory to rest.

    So let us listen raptly to the latest
    Inflated euphemism coined to quell
    The slightest thought that we might be the greatest
    Bullshitters of whom history can tell.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2010

  45. The God Substitution… The Belief Imperative.
    Someone must know. Some Entity must have the answers. I a frail and fallible human being certainly do not.
    ……Except when I think I do. ….Alleluia and Alas, The condition of an omniscient Dave B. never lasts long. Reality tends to face both my feet firmly back on the ground…. sometimes along with my face. LOL.
    Fortunately for me, my false ego has been crushed so many times, I have learned to value and cherish the wisps of my true value that has stood the whims of time.

  46. Darren Smith 1, February 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    … When I told the Russians about how many American troops later in the war had to face the indignity of having protesters meet them in airports and accuse them of crimes the Russians were bewildered. At first they could not comprehend why this was happening. It then shifted to anger against the protesters. The Russians were quite upset about how anyone could treat so badly someone who served their country on the battlefields. And this was talking about soldiers of their strategic enemy, the United States. These people knew what Honour was about.
    =======================================
    You evidently did not get what Mike S meant by “Heroic Hagiography”.

    Vietnam and environs was the scene of greatest mass murder of civilians since WW II.

    General Smedley Butler knew what honor is, and that it does not originate in war.

    Most often it is pabulum poured on guilt:

    The [book] title [“kill anything that moves”] is taken from an order given to the U.S. forces who slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese civilians in the notorious My Lai massacre of 1968. Drawing on interviews in Vietnam and a trove of previously unknown U.S. government documents — including internal military investigations of alleged war crimes in Vietnam — Turse argues that U.S. atrocities in Vietnam were not just isolated incidents, but “the inevitable outcome of deliberate policies, dictated at the highest levels of the military.”

    Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by “a few bad apples.” But as award‑winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of orders to “kill anything that moves.”

    Drawing on more than a decade of research in secret Pentagon files and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time how official policies resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded. In shocking detail, he lays out the workings of a military machine that made crimes in almost every major American combat unit all but inevitable.

    (The Virgin MOMCOM – 6, emphasis added). Mike S did not cite to the latest books (2012) that perused the National Archives and revealed that millions of civilian men, women, and children were murdered by U.S. troops.

    I care not to call “shame” “honor.”

    Citizens who protest Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan war crimes are patriotic Americans who do not buy into the heinous propaganda.

    And most certainly do not look to Russians to figure out American constitutional rights for them or what they should or should not do when condemning war criminals.

  47. There is a lot of back and forth here about too many ribbons and not enough broth. Which i agree with. But the main thing here is this guy gets put out to pasture with no flock to fleece anymore (and he was not even a preacher), for merely succombing to one of the most tantalizing sex objects anyone of you would ever encounter much less be begged upon to pork. So, I say, “pork em if ya gottem and dont blame me for that one.” Which should have been his one line defense.

  48. I am sick of seeing these weenies with ribbons all over the princely uniform, and the big hats, and the glitz, when they could not fight their way out of a bar in a rich suburb of Washington DC much less get dirty in a fox hole and shoot at real people in a place like Nam. A schmuck like this reminds me of McClelland in the Civil War when we needed Grant and Sherman. Thank dog that Lincoln found the latter two.

  49. BK,
    I did not just ride in on the last watermelon truck. I know what bill thinks he is trying to do, but Darren and I are just playing our own little game of “Poke the corpse with a stick to see if he is still alive.” Not sure where Gene is. He likes to play that game too.

  50. I venture to say that those drowned in propaganda, who have commented up-thread, are not aware that as recent as the past year, our war criminals have overthrown another democratically elected government:

    One has to wonder if U.S. citizens who train terrorists to overthrow an elected democratic government are included in this media fantasy:

    General Carter Ham, the AFRICOM commander for the Pentagon, admitted last week that the US had helped trained the Mali rebels, including Captain Amadou Sanogo, who led the military coup which overthrew Mali’s constitutionally-elected government.

    In describing the statement Ham made at the Ralph Bunche center, Veterans Today editor Gordon Duff is highly critical of Ham’s support for widening US military involvement in the region, including the recent establishment of drone bases in Niger.

    Duff is extremely concerned that the US lacks the intelligence resources in Africa to prevent the horrendous “collateral damage” nightmares drones have caused in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

    He goes on to describe Mali as a “domino” in a misguided and poorly thought out destabilization effort aimed at creating a generation of warfare.

    (US Trained Mali Rebels). Have these media Luddites forgotten how the existence of WMD in Iraq was faked with fantasy (“we create our own reality” – Karl Rove) in the Bush II Administration?

    (Journalism: Facts vs. Fantasy, emphasis). The Karl Rovers among us have a simple holy-detector which goes like this: “If the U.S. does anything it is the right thing to do.”

    The morphing capacity of that contagious virus is evident: “the king can do no wrong”, “the Pope can do no wrong”, and “U.S. warriors can do no wrong.”

    That is the “Heroic Hagiography” in a nutshell.

  51. Everything in moderation. Including moderation. This WordPress censorship apcray is outta hand. Cant say astardBay, itchBay, ukcFay, … well I can understand the last one. For those of you who do not know PigLatin the trick is to drop the first letter and append it on the end of the word with some sort of ay. A female dog is a itchBay and a kid without a dad is an astardBay. A woman who complains all the time and happens to be a dog is an itchinBayDog and I dont want to get bit for saying it. Ouch!
    Her real name is LuLu.

  52. Dredd,
    Forgive me if I misread your comment; it is early, the coffeepot is still gurgling and my serum coffee level is dangerously low.

    As I read what you write, you seem to be lumping all Vietnam vets into the same bin, and praising those who mistreated them when they returned from that stinking hellhole. It is important to separate the soldier from the war. Young men have been dying and wounded for the ambitions of old men for centuries.

    Those who abused returning vets are not “patriots.” They are no better than the Westboro “Church” crowd.

    Ever listen to the words of Eric Bogle’s haunting song, And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda? He sings of an Australian farm lad who went off to war with the ANZACs at a place called Gallipoli in WW-I.

  53. ConLawDog 1, February 10, 2013 at 6:46 am

    I am sick of seeing these weenies with ribbons all over the princely uniform, and the big hats, and the glitz, when they could not fight their way out of a bar in a rich suburb of Washington DC much less get dirty in a fox hole and shoot at real people in a place like Nam. A schmuck like this reminds me of McClelland in the Civil War when we needed Grant and Sherman. Thank dog that Lincoln found the latter two.
    ========================================
    The general generally had it right when he said:

    A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.

    (Napoleon Bonaparte). I don’t think he was aware of the propaganda toxins that cause them to do that however (The Greatest Source Of Power Toxins?). Our military elites are perplexed that soldiers kill more of themselves than the enemy has this past decade of “wars to protect us from our enemies.”

  54. It may be too early in the morning to post this, but this is Eric Bogle’s most famous song. It is iconic. He mentions that Private Willie McBride will be 19 forever. That is the same age as the average soldier in Vietnam. What does a teenager know about the politics and ambitions of wealthy turkey-necked old chickenhawks who never get outside the Beltway?

  55. Otteray Scribe 1, February 10, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Dredd,
    Forgive me if I misread your comment; it is early, the coffeepot is still gurgling and my serum coffee level is dangerously low.

    As I read what you write, you seem to be lumping all Vietnam vets into the same bin, and praising those who mistreated them when they returned from that stinking hellhole. It is important to separate the soldier from the war. Young men have been dying and wounded for the ambitions of old men for centuries.

    Those who abused returning vets are not “patriots.” They are no better than the Westboro “Church” crowd.
    ==========================================
    You misread a first time information book I quoted from.

    The book is based on military documents in the National Archives that had never been perused before.

    The first time … the first time … the first time …

    If you keep on believing the world is flat after scientists finally prove it is not is your right, but it is also your wrong.

    Those who know the science have an equal right to condemn the flat earthers who will not look at the new evidence because they feel secure in their “Heroic Hagiography” nutshell.

  56. Dredd,
    In every large group of people, there are psychopaths. According to those who served with him, Timothy McVeigh seemed to enjoy machine gunning Iraqi soldiers who were trying to surrender. It has happened before and will happen again in every war fought. I wish those who start the damn wars that kids have to fight would be required to go and serve. They would be fragged before the first week was out. And deservedly so.

    Heroes? We got ’em, but you will not find very many of them inside the beltway. You will find them drinking themselves to death, committing suicide in disproportionate numbers compared to the rest of the population and in prison. Or simply live out the rest of their lives in desperation and poverty because the demons in their heads from what they saw when they were 19 and 20 years old will not go away.

  57. Otteray Scribe 1, February 10, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Dredd,
    In every large group of people, there are psychopaths.

    Heroes? We got ‘em, but you will not find very many of them inside the beltway …
    ============================================
    I prefer to consider an astute observer’s take on it, which fits the “Heroic Hagiography” hypothesis Mike S presents better than “the lone gunman” mantra does:

    Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

    You mentioned “inside the beltway” so:

    Robert McNamara: I was on the island of Guam in his [General Curtis LeMays’] command in March 1945. In that single night, we burned to death one hundred thousand Japanese civilians in Tokyo. Men, women and children.

    Interviewer: Were you aware this was going to happen?

    Robert McNamara: Well, I was part of a mechanism that, in a sense, recommended it. [regarding his and Colonel Curtis LeMay’s involvement in the bombing of Japan during World War II] LeMay said if we lost the war that we would have all been prosecuted as war criminals. And I think he’s right. He … and I’d say I … were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side has lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?

    (On The Origin of The Bully Religion – 2). That was “the good war” as described by “Heroic Hagiography“, the subject of this Mike S post.

    Two Vietnam vets are now “inside the beltway” as Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State.

    They are both mentioned in the “Kill Anything That Moves” video clip I posted up-thread.

  58. Mike S has given us a word, “hagiography”, to use in place of “propaganda.”

    Since the latter is a word we have by now become somewhat calloused to, I was intrigued, so I looked the word up.

    My initial reaction to Mike’s use of the new word was “what does sainthood, which hagiography has primarily been applied to heretofore, have to do with soldiers?

    Then, remembering the recent book “The Spiritual-Industrial Complex“, I was taken immediately to the light at the end of my tunnel vision:

    Today’s religious Right equates secularism with totalitarianism, and it opposes these twinned forces internationally and within the culture of the United States. Jonathan P. Herzog’s well-researched study demonstrates that the Right’s theological partisans are marshaling a system of beliefs initially forged by a coalition of conservatives, liberals, and moderates in the early Cold War. With assistance from clergy and interfaith groups, leaders in a variety of secular institutions promoted the idea that America was a covenant nation engaged in a holy war with a communist enemy whose belief system was a rival faith to Judeo-Christian democracy.

    (The Virgin MOMCOM – 6, quoting The Journal of American History review of the book The Spiritual-Industrial Complex). There it is — since “America … a covenant nation engaged in a holy war” then those who partake of holy wars are holy soldiers or holy warriors — the prime subject of “hagiography.”

    You can peruse the comments up-thread to see who are evangelists in the militant religion.

    Oh you can pooh pooh it to your heart’s content delusion, but it is all around you to the point of being obvious:

    Since receiving word a little over a week ago of President Obama’s nomination of Lt. General Robert L. “Aroma of Jesus Christ” Caslen to become the next Superintendent (i.e. “Commander”) of West Point, I have been voraciously digesting volumes of information in order to determine what position I should take on his pending Senate confirmation.

    (Truth Out Org, Evolution, Revolution …). This appointment of a military evangelist is not unexpected:

    One of the most elite educational institutions in the world, the Air Force Academy has, from its inception, attracted the best and the brightest, producing leaders not only in the military but throughout American society.

    In recent years, however, the Academy has also been producing a cadre of zealous evangelical Christians intent on creating a fundamentalist power base at the highest levels of our country.
    With God on Our Side is shocking exposé of life inside the United States Air Force Academy and the systematic program of indoctrination sanctioned, coordinated, and carried out by fundamentalist Christians within the U.S. military.

    (McMillian Book Review). The religious zeal in the military is one source of “hero hagiography”, a.k.a. propaganda, however, it is only one such source.

  59. “Mike S has given us a word, ‘hagiography’, to use in place of ‘propaganda.'” – Dredd

    Not in place of but as a supplement to as ‘hagiography’ is simply a very specialized form of propaganda. As a general rule, there are two kinds of propagandists, “true believers” and “messengers for money”, either of which may be zealous.

    Mike, I’m going to be adding this column to the ‘Related articles of interest’ section on the propaganda series. Good job.

  60. Gene H. 1, February 10, 2013 at 9:50 am

    “Mike S has given us a word, ‘hagiography’, to use in place of ‘propaganda.’” – Dredd

    Not in place of but as a supplement to as ‘hagiography’ is simply a very specialized form of propaganda. As a general rule, there are two kinds of propagandists, “true believers” and “messengers for money”, either of which may be zealous.

    Mike, I’m going to be adding this column to the ‘Related articles of interest’ section on the propaganda series. Good job.
    ====================================
    Trivial point, and off the mark a bit.

    supplement:

    “augment means to add more of the same thing; supplement means to add something, usually to make up for a deficiency”.

    Since there was no deficiency in Mike’s use of “hagiography”, thus there was no deficiency to make up for.

    Using one word in place of another word is a fundamental practice of writers who recognize how a mental daze forms when writers overuse a particular word.

    Or a particular dictionary.

  61. Not trivial at all but apparently you missed the mark that ‘hagiography’ is supplementing the word ‘propaganda’ as the verb ‘to’ goes to the object ‘propaganda’.

    Learn to read.

  62. One of the most active sources for military evangelism and “Heroic Hagiography” says of itself:

    Christian Embassy seeks to help diplomats, government leaders and military officers find real and lasting purpose through faith and encouragement.”

    We provide safe places and practical resources to help national and international leaders working in D.C., their spouses, and staffs to integrate their faith and their work.

    The Pentagon

    Wednesday Morning Prayer Breakfast Meetings

    Our weekly Wednesday morning breakfast meetings are enjoyable, informal events open to military and civilians of all ranks and grades. Start your day with an encouraging talk from a keynote speaker about how to integrate faith, personal beliefs and work. Join us each Wednesday from 0700 to 0750 in the Pentagon Library Conference Center (PLCC). Check the video monitor at the information desk for the conference room number for the week. No reservations are required.

    Small Groups

    For more information contact Christian Embassy at 703-525-1770.

    Bible Studies

    To see past and present Bible studies used in the Pentagon click here.

    (The Christian Embassy, emphasis added). Ah yes, bringing Jesus Mithras to the hoi polloi of the world through high quality and godly WMD.

  63. Otteray Scribe 1, February 10, 2013 at 6:47 am

    BK,
    I did not just ride in on the last watermelon truck. I know what bill thinks he is trying to do, but Darren and I are just playing our own little game of “Poke the corpse with a stick to see if he is still alive.” Not sure where Gene is. He likes to play that game too.
    ———————————————
    Mike Spindell 1, February 10, 2013 at 10:26 am

    “The Inflated Style as Euphemism”

    Michael Murry,

    Brilliant!
    ============================
    Wasn’t it Gene H who said this guy Michael Murry does bad poetry at his bad blog?

    You aren’t being epiGENEic are you?

    Maybe just a little poke and hope? ;)

  64. First of all I have to thank all of you who have commented. The aim of any blog here must be that in addition to informing it must promote intelligent (though as we know with JT’s wry side some promote humorous) discussion.
    This thread certainly has done that in a way that makes me both happy and engrossed. Certain trains of thought expressed in the comments make me feel I should further clarify my own perspective.

    While Dredd as usual has provided much supplementary evidence, which not only informed me, but added to the discussion, in my own mind I do not see hagiography as propaganda. This is how I construct the equation in my own mind. Hagiography is a tool of propaganda and also precedes propaganda. Thus hagiography creates propaganda and propaganda then constructs mythology. As for the definition of hagiography I used this:

    “Hagiography (pron.: /ˌhæɡiˈɒɡrəfi/), from the Greek (h)ağios (ἅγιος, “holy” or “saint”) and graphēin (γράφειν, “to write”), refers to the biographies of saints and ecclesiastical leaders. The term hagiology, the study of hagiography, is also current in English, although less common.

    Christian hagiographies focus on the lives, and notably the miracles of men and women canonized by the Roman Catholic church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Church of the East. Other religions such as Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism also create and maintain hagiographical texts (such as the Sikh Janamsakhis) concerning saints, gurus and other individuals believed to be imbued with sacred power.

    The term “hagiography” has also been used as a pejorative reference to the works of biographers and historians perceived to be uncritical or “reverential” to their subject, and is arguably the more common usage in a non-specialist context.”

    We’ve also had a lively discussion regarding whether we ca call people in our military heroic, when many have in fact done evil things that by any definition constitute war crimes. Here is my view on that.

    Our country has developed a mythology of freedom and America exceptionalism. We are all inculcated with this mythology by dint of growing up here. From my early youth I’ve always been a rebel of sorts, disdainful of the mythology I was being inculcated in, unruly at school and challenging my teachers educational viewpoints. This was both a product of my own reading and of parents who were way ahead of the curve when it came to political and sexual views.

    While I was on the one hand a beatnik in sympathies, I was not immune to the American mythology of the “Cold War”. As a movie lover I was inordinately influenced by Westerns like “High Noon” and “Shane”, portraying a lone hero who without aid battled and won against evil men. My love for America was and is boundless these many years later, even with my knowledge of what a toxic environment this country has always had. My premise is that I, an alienated boy, with an unconventional upbringing and mind, felt these patriotic stirrings produced by propaganda caused mythology.

    What is then the effect upon a young man, fully acculturated, who has no cause/education to suspect he is being fed a whole lot of propaganda and its end result mythology. He patriotically enlists to serve his country in the battle against those who he has been taught want to destroy it. At an impressionable age he is inducted into a military that reinforces the idea of following orders and following the chain of command. He is welcomed into a fraternity whose motto is that your fellow soldiers are your “brothers” and that those you oppose are the enemies of the “American Way of Life”. He is put in horribly life threatening situations and many times, with the approval of authority, his team does unspeakable acts. To me the responsibility for those acts should fall squarely on those that put these young men in harm’s way, in unjust wars, whose propaganda has inculcated them that they are defending “freedom, justice and the American Way”.

    Viewed this way we can then understand that some stand above the others and perform heroic and self sacrificial deeds, even when we know the deeds are in a false cause. Even as a Jew, what personally bothers me about the Nuremberg Trials is that we condemned some for “following orders”, while our own system would condemn our own soldiers for following their moral compass, rather than their orders. Bradley Manning, for instance. I respect those who served in Viet Nam, even as I condemn who led us into that ill starred, illegal war. They knew not what they did, until the folly of battle finally gave many clarity, but too late for their innocence to remain intact.

    I think it is valid to compare Petraeus lack of combat, with men like Powell, who at least had their lives on the line. Truly though they are cut from the same cloth though. Those who rise through the military hierarchy quickly, are adept at “playing the game” and kissing the asses of those above them.
    Petraeus singular gift was his ability to get favorable press coverage, which translated into hagiography advancing his career. Given what we now know of his record he is an example of the “Peter Principle”, but then so many who rise to power are also examples.

  65. Yes, it was, although I’ll stipulate that one was better than usual. In general, poetry about politics is dreadful. It’s an emotive form for a subject that merits rationality in analysis and discussion over emotionalism. A bit like dancing about architecture.

  66. “Wasn’t it Gene H who said this guy Michael Murry does bad poetry at his bad blog?”

    Dredd,

    It is common knowledge that I consider Gene a friend. To me friendship entails affection and respect. I do not see it as entailing complete agreement, or even always defending ones’ friend. This is especially true with Gene, who has the skills to defend himself.

    I don’t always agree with Michael Murry’s views and I don’t always like his poetry, but I understand and have sympathy for where he is coming from and I found this particular poem brilliant and apt. :)

  67. Mike,

    “Hagiography is a tool of propaganda and also precedes propaganda. Thus hagiography creates propaganda and propaganda then constructs mythology.”

    I submit that you may want to reconsider this statement in light of the nature of some of the first propaganda the world ever saw on a mass scale: the self-propagated mythology of the Pharaohs as God-Kings. A form of “concurrent” might be a better choice than “precedes”.

  68. Dredd,
    Forgive me if I misread your comment; it is early, the coffeepot is still gurgling and my serum coffee level is dangerously low.
    =============================================
    This dood walks in to The Gene Hicks store for a couple, then takes a seat.

    Whereupon this dood, at the table next to him, does a yo poem:

    Eugenics
    you gene hicks
    eubonics
    you bon hicks
    eww bon gene homey
    kook kook acheww

    Whereupon, the proprietor of The Gene Joint jumps up on the table to rap:

    So, after retiring
    to pursue my dreams
    of living in Ely,
    and guiding,
    and the continuous
    phone calls from past
    customers asking if
    they could purchase
    some coffee from me,
    I decided to start
    selling my personal blends.
    I sold my first bag
    for profit in 1999, and
    the demand for it continues to grow.
    I hope you
    like it
    as well!

    (Gene Hicks Link)

    Whereupon this other dood says:

    “yo this is
    business as
    usual yo
    the perfect blend”

    Forgiven. See you at the sto … ;)

  69. Dredd, you are a persuasive devil. Now I am going to have to get out the plastic and spend money. I am easily tempted when it comes to coffee.

    This is what I usually get for use at home…see link below. Comes from spending some of my formative years living in Louisiana. As a kid, I remember clearly old gentlemen sitting outside at sidewalk cafes, drinking unbelievably strong coffee from tiny demitasse cups. Spinning tales and gossiping in French. It is easier for kids to pick up a language than adults. I would listen to them and found Cajun French rather easy. But some of the stories I overheard would have caused my mom to wash my mouth out with soap if I repeated them.

    http://www.communitycoffee.com/

  70. OS,

    Community does make excellent coffee although I have a bit of a peeve with them. They discontinued my beloved long-time favorite “In-between Roast” and the closest I can get is to mix their “Breakfast Blend” with their “Cafe Roast”.

  71. Gene,
    We are on the same page. I have no idea why they discontinued the medium blend. Ticked me off to no end. As you said, the Breakfast Blend is the closest, but it seems to have slightly less flavor than the now defunct medium blend. I had not thought of mixing Breakfast with Cafe. I will try that next time I go to the store. We have one supermarket in town that stocks Community Coffee. Otherwise I would have to resort to the plastic and order direct.

  72. OS,

    Without “In-between Roast”? I’d have never made it through law school. 2-3 pots a day. Whenever I’ve lived where I can’t buy Community, I get relatives to ship me care packages. :D I’ll drink other coffees, in particular I’m fond of Ethiopian Harrar although in a dark roast it sometimes gives me heartburn, but CC is my favorite daily drinker. I like Lion brand Kona too but I no longer have my Hawaiian connection to get it on the cheap. Every so often I’ll go on a chicory binge, preferring French Market over Cafe du Monde although I’ll drink both. I’d just as soon do without than drink Folgers anything although I will drink Maxwell House in a pinch. But don’t get me started on that swill McDonald’s sells. My dad loves it. I think it tastes like a burnt ashtray.

  73. OS, didn’t realize you were checking for life. noble cause, carry on.

    Great thread. Thanks for the topic and the comments.

  74. hmmm, is “checking for life a noble cause” on a thread that includes a lot about killing innocents in war with those ordering it knowing they are committing war crimes?

  75. BK,
    My very bright granddaughter says I have a dark sense of humor. It is self defense I guess. She says that listening to (now retired) Lt. Joe Kenda is really spooky, because she says if she could not see his face in the video, she would think it was me talking. She says the only difference is that he does not seem to have my dark humor. Gene and I have spent time together. Wonder if Gene sees whatever granddaughter is seeing?

  76. I never liked Petraeus, but that’s my own thing, who cares? Getting all worked up because he had an extramarital affair? How ridiculous. That’s for his family, his mistress’s family, and military wives’ clubs to carry on about; WTF would I ever care about something like that?

  77. Gene, between growing up surrounded by Ozark hill people and south Louisiana Cajuns, is it any wonder I managed to pick up an accent? Heh!

  78. Malisha, For the most part I agree with you but the military has court martialed many lower level officers for adultery. Patraeus’ affair began, not after he retired, but while he was on active duty. He should have been court martialed. He also presented a security risk. He took a woman, presumably Broadwhatever, to a meeting she shouldn’t have been at for security reasons. His hubris knows no bounds.

  79. Mike S and Rafflaw,

    Thank you for the kind comments. Mike set me off with his mention of poetry, Homer and The Illiad in connection with militarist mythology — what I like to call The Sacred Symbol Soldier. “We are a symbol using class of life,” wrote Alfred Korzybski, “and those who rule the symbols rule us.” Thus the ruling of the American citizenry depends more than ever upon who gets to define and propagate a particular symbolic mythology exploiting the American “soldier” and his “heroism.” For my part, I wish to help deconstruct this insidious mythology, any way I can. I don’t want the military running America any more.They’ve done a really lousy job, just as they have in so much of the world over the past sixty years.

    By 2005, President George “Deputy Dubya” Bush’s insane invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq had predictably become disasters and my younger brother (a former Army draftee) challenged me to write some anti-war verse that he could show to his high school English students as examples of particular poetic arrangements. As well, he said that he and many of his colleagues needed materials in the words of living veterans that they could use in counter-recruiting campaigns to thwart the U. S. military which aimed to drag their inexperienced students off to death and maiming in some nameless wasteland halfway around the world. So I said I would do what I could to help. Also, my wife understood immediately the cause of my sudden bouts of insomnia and angry outbursts for no apparent reason at odd times of the day. “Turn the pain into creative power,” she told me, simply. As I had read of other Vietnam Veterans reporting similar symptoms and joining poetry workshops as a form of therapy, I decided to follow suit. Nothing will ever erase the memories, but I know better what to do with them now.

  80. Otteray Scribe 1, February 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    … Here is a picture of me. Now everyone will recognize me on the street when they run into me.

    ===============================
    Quite a handsome lad.

  81. Mike S,

    To my mind the Petraeus story is yet another instance where hagiography becomes propaganda and then morphs into mythology.”
    ================================================
    Gene H challenged the notion to some extent:

    Mike,

    “Hagiography is a tool of propaganda and also precedes propaganda. Thus hagiography creates propaganda and propaganda then constructs mythology.”

    I submit that you may want to reconsider this statement in light of the nature of some of the first propaganda the world ever saw on a mass scale: the self-propagated mythology of the Pharaohs as God-Kings. A form of “concurrent” might be a better choice than “precedes” …

    I am contemplating the issue and will comment later.

    Why it intrigues me about the sequential progression you asserted is an interview of the linguistics (not languistics) genius Chomsky which I was reading when I passed back through this thread.

    Language is far more than what is reduced to dictionaries, even though dictionaries are invaluable.

    Later.

  82. Otteray Scribe 1, February 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Dredd, you are a persuasive devil. Now I am going to have to get out the plastic and spend money. I am easily tempted when it comes to coffee.
    ===============================
    I must issue a disclosure: I am not involved in any way with Gene Hicks.

    If you buy anything from that place you have assumed the risk on your own.

    My poetry, rap, and poetry and rap and … oops … they do have good java bro … :)

  83. Mike S.

    I had intended to mark my first two comments as “OT”, but didn’t… Sorry to have veered off the track. Thanks for the redirection to the appropriate thread.

  84. The resignation of the Pope may just involve some reflection on Heroic Hagiography.

    One reason is that “The Prophecy of The Popes” predicts that the next Pope will be the last one because it will end with the destruction of Rome itself.

    The prophecy is an ancient one attributed to a Saint (ah hagiography) circa 1143:

    Saint Malachy (Middle Irish: Máel Máedóc Ua Morgair; Modern Irish: Maelmhaedhoc Ó Morgair) (1094 – 2 November 1148) was an Irish saint and Archbishop of Armagh, to whom were attributed several miracles and a vision of the identity of the last 112 Popes (see Prophecy of the Popes). He was the first Irish saint to be canonised by a pope.

    (Wikipedia). One wonders if hagiography existed when he was sainted and whether the prophecy of the last Pope, which is the next Pope, was considered.

    I mean, think about it, Pope anoints a saint, and that saint prophecies about the last Pope hundreds of years in the future.

    Wiggy stuff.

  85. Hagiography is a tool of propaganda and also precedes propaganda. Thus hagiography creates propaganda and propaganda then constructs mythology.” – Mike S

    Here are some fact scenarios wherein that statement seems to be valid to me.

    1) (“Hagiography is a tool of propaganda”) A propagandist is working on a PR project involving Bishop X. They run into a snag because of some of the public record. The only way around it is the sainthood of Bishop X. The propagandist decides to include some text or other information that is not historically supportable, yet the material moves the sainthood process along because the sainthood of Bishop X has a very good PR goal — because Bishop X is extremely popular within the believer and other communities.

    2) (“Hagiography … also precedes propaganda”) A hagiographer is working on the sainthood of Bishop X. Everything is going fine until the hagiographer runs into a snag, because of some inferences in the public record. The only way around it is some propaganda to cleanse or gloss over the blemish in the public record. The hagiographer engages a propagandist to include some text or other information that is not historically supportable, yet the material will move the sainthood process along to the final goal. This propaganda effort is determined to be doable because Bishop X is extremely popular within the believer communities, and the press is lazy and weak at the moment.

    3) (“propaganda then constructs mythology”) In either 1 or 2 above, the result is myth because one definition of myth is: “any invented story, idea, or concept” …

    Basically, the sequence does not have to be one or the other (hagiography, propaganda) going first in a sequence.

    Under various circumstances, either one can go first, the other second.

    Either way, it leads to myth.

  86. Speaking of medal-encrusted military uniforms — a sure sign of Commendation Accumulation Syndrome run amok — just think of the really cool new one here.

    Still, it seems to me a bit odd for the U S. Government to hand out medals for engaging in robot assassinations that the U. S. Government “neither confirms nor denies” ever happened.”

  87. Michael Murry,

    I skimmed an article about this yesterday, but wasn’t aware of the following:

    “In an Orwellian twist, in military hierarchy the medal will rate above the Bronze Star, given for heroic acts performed under fire by those who are, like, actually there.” (from the Common Dreams link)

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