November 17, 2012

NEW YORK –  The US has lost one war and is fast losing a second, yet what really upsets Americans seems to be a juicy sexual scandal; beautiful female general groupies;   US brass in  Tampa, Florida,  living like potentates; the FBI investigating CIA; and the fall of America’s most important intelligence official, former top general,  David Petraeus.

After America’s ugly, dreary election, it’s fun seeing the great and good caught with their pants down.   Petreaus’ slinky paramour, the ambitious femme fatale, Paula Broadwell, is easy on the eyes.  So are voluptuous Tampa temptresses Jill Kelley and her sister who ignited this scandal by sending catty emails to the FBI.

What business has  FBI in monitoring extra-marital escapades of the military brass – provided they are not bedding Chinese or Russian agents?

This combined boudoir farce and inter-governmental feud raises serious questions about the emergence of America’s surveillance state.

We see the FBI reading thousands of Petraeus’ emails and those of another senior officer dragged into the scandal, Marine Gen. John Allen, the US commander in Afghanistan.   This is the same FBI long locked in bitter institutional rivalry with CIA.

Meanwhile, CIA is being transformed from an intelligence gathering and analysis agency into a militarized outfit with its own fleets of lethal drones and combat units that will rival that other top secret military organization, the Joint Special Operations Command – America’s version of Britain’s elite killers, the SAS.

Thanks to legal changes made by the Bush administration during the post-9/11 hysteria,  the FBI,  CIA and National Security Agency can read  emails and text messages of anyone vaguely termed a “threat to national security.”  Anyone who has ever sent a message to the person of interest can also be investigated, and anyone who has sent them email, and so on.

Welcome the era of Big Internet Brother.

There’s an even bigger question.  Every war produces generals glorified into heroes by government, media and their own public relations efforts.  Gen. Petraeus, who commanded US occupation forces in first Iraq, then Afghanistan, continues to be hailed as a “military genius” and “war hero.”

Look again.  Petraeus and his fellow generals used every weapon in the US arsenal against Iraq’s eleven resistance groups (deceptively misnamed “al-Qaida” by Washington), including the mass ethnic cleansing of two million Sunni Iraqis,  death squads, torture, and brutal reprisals.

UN officials assert that some 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, died due to the US-led blockade under Saddam Hussein. At least another half million died from the US 2003 invasion until 2011.  Yet after all this, the US forces were forced pull out of Iraq at the end of what Saddam Hussein vowed would be the “Mother of All Battles.”

Cost of Iraq:  $1.6-2.4 trillion; almost 5,000 US soldiers dead, 35,000 seriously wounded.   Some triumph.  America has yet to accept the painful fact that while it won all the tactical engagements in Iraq, it lost the bigger war.

Petraeus was then sent to work his magic in Afghanistan before returning to Washington to head CIA.  There, the brainy general, who had a knack for self-promotion and public relations,  tried again to crush the Pashtun resistance by massive bombardments, billions in high tech gear,  reprisals that wiped out entire villages,  search and destroy missions.  Torture and executions were as common as during the Soviet occupation.

A disgusted American public now wants out of the endless 11-year conflict, the longest in US history.  Most of the US garrison is supposed to withdraw by 2014.  Petraeus and other senior US commanders had the audacity to publically criticize President Barack Obama’s withdrawal plans.  They should have been dismissed at once, but the president lacked the nerve to stand up to the ever-more powerful military establishment.  The incoming US commander in Afghanistan just said he wants to keep US troops there after 2014.

Cost of Afghan  War:  $1 trillion and rising.  Afghan dead unknown.  US military, some 2,100 dead, 17,000 wounded.

The US military has clearly been fought to a standstill in Afghanistan by medieval tribesmen with AK-47’s, reconfirming its name –  “graveyard of empires.”

As for the military genius of Gen. Petraeus, recall the famous cry of King Pyrrhus,  “one more such victory and we are lost.”


copyright  Eric S. Margolis  2012



This post is in: North America, USA


  1. What I wonder about, how is it that a General has time to send out 30,000 flirty emails and then someone at the FBI has time to read them.

    Sounds to me the boys running the country are bored.

  2. Maybe Americans are tired of 11 years of a failed war effort. But the instant they think there’s a war somewhere else they can win, you bet they will support it, provided it gives them a chance to believe once more that the almighty USA is king of the world. Iran, anyone? North Korea? Will that be one lump or two?

    As for Petraeus, it would seem that the news media are all too ready and willing to flush out any whiff of scandal no matter where it leads and who it destroys with the aim of gleefully proclaiming My my! How the mighty are fallen! Look what we can do! We can bring down anyone we please! And don’t the people just love us for it. A General is brought down to the level of a Kim Kardashian in one fell swoop! And we did it!

    Is this somehow divine retribution at work? Those who play at being God with their weapons of mass destruction and killer drones to wage war and murder people in foreign countries we know almost nothing about (except they have oil) all the while denouncing them as terrorists (by our own definition) and solemnly insisting on the right to murder for any reason whatever, and Americans know, but do not say, this is all hogwash, we don’t know what we are doing over there and we know it is wrong, but what else can we do, these men are sent there to protect the Almighty name of the USA and we must support them as long as we continue to believe the Great Lie that the USA deserves to be king of the world.

    So when someone like Petraeus gets himself hogtied, the hypocrisy and lies that Americans know are really behind the power of this man are all too willingly cashed in for a cleaner conscience of “He did it! And we caught him at it! Now who’s the loser?”

  3. George Rizk says:

    The Iraq war cost $2 trillion! And 5000 dead Americans?

    In an perspective this is a huge amount of money. My question is what amount of money or how big a mistake can a leader make before the dormant population would rise up, and demand prosecuting such stupid leader?

    Say for example, you have a nice profitable factory, and you hired a manager to run it. You come back to see that he had bulldozed the factory because wanted to kill a snake that ran inside the factory. He then tells you that he liquidated all your bank account to go on Las Vegas junket. In addition, this stupid loser guy refuses to even say sorry boss for devastating you and your future.

    Your wife said, we need to sell our house to raise some funds to pay for this manager’s retirement funds.

    At what point you would demand to punish this loser? Bush, Chaney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the gang will continue to draw retirement from us the tax payers. When the general knowledge today that the war was based on lies; do we have enough people with back bone that demand reviewing that huge stupid, and costly decisions?

  4. I think you touched on just about everything…
    Does the statement, “Anyone who has ever sent a message to the person of interest can also be investigated, and anyone who has sent them email, and so on.”, also include contributors to your blog?
    You may have touched on the Benghazi (sp?) incident… deflected a bit of heat… and latest I’ve heard that Ms. Clinton is stepping in to help…

  5. solum temptare possumus says:

    Mr. Margolis:
    “O what a tangled web we weave”! I wonder if King Pyrhhus said this also.
    The American populace grow weary of foreign wars.
    Time for the Military Industrial Corporations professional Spin Doctors to begin planting the seeds of the “Duty of America” to send its soldiers to foreign lands to “Protect our Homeland” and in turn “Save the local population from ‘unspeakable’ attrocities and instill a ‘True Democracy’ such as we live under in the Good ol USA.
    ad iudicium

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