Thursday, January 25, 2007


As a follow up service to anyone with sense who is put off by the Petraeus worship (see previous post) on NPR, take a look at this post on "Bush's New Generals" from Helena Cobban. Also for those troubled by NPR's love of counterinsurgency check out her more recent post on the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of counterinsurgency. If you've never read Cobban's Just World News, I'd recommend it.

1 comment:

Porter Melmoth said...

The current climate of Petraeus-worship calls for a meditation on the role of the 'savior-military man', who often appears in the 3rd or 4th acts of an unpopular war. I suppose theses will be written on our current dilemma, but just some random comments in the here and now are all I can muster right now. We are indeed war-weary, but what better thing to pop up right now than a hero to enter at an opportune moment to resolve epic disaster with epic heroism! Even the legendary-Greek spelling of his very name: PETRAEUS - has greatness about it - not Patroclus, not Pericles, but PETRAEUS - a valiant warrior's name! Fall in! Follow him - even over the edge! This is the man who can ride in with the cavalry, to save a hopeless situation, and even if it remains hopeless, to at least put a gallant face on it (but in reality, rather more like the Crimean War than the 300 Spartans, I should think . . .). The thing is (and I like bold romantic tales of heroism as much as the next fellow), there is an element of the Charge of the Light Brigade here (if anyone remembers it). That is, an existential errand has to be accomplished, to save face, primarily. All the great generals in history have been melancholic men, who do their duty despite the odds, with reticence, but grim determination. When, given the situation, they have been replaced by hotshots in search of glory, hero tales will result, but little else. If I have to eat my words, that will be fine, but I can't help but assimilate one man's name with that of PETRAEUS: George Armstrong CUSTER.