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Copyright 2012 John T. Reed
Yesterday, I heard Sean Hannity say that General Petraeus is one of the most decorated generals in our history. Rush Limbaugh repeated it today.
That’s total bull. His only bravery medal is a bronze star with a V device for valor. Now I do not have one of those and I do not mean to demean everyone who does, however, you certainly do not get the title of “most decorated general in America” when your only bravery medal is one bronze with a V.
I wrote a web article about military medals which, in general, are an outrage and a scandal. One super young high school student who wanted to go to West Point throughout his childhood, in spite of his parents’ efforts to talk him out of it, finally changed his mind when he read my article on medals. He is now a sophomore at a private civilian college.
In another article about Petraeus’s testimony before Congress back in his military days I discussed all the medals of General Petraeus. Short version: all his medals except the V are either attendance medals or good bureaucrat medals. And the award of the V is dubious.
General Dwight Eisenhower, who was Supreme Allied Commander of the victorious World War II campaign in Europe, only wore 3 rows of medals at most. In his official portrait, he wore one row. Petraeus wears so many rows they run all the way up to his shoulder. The implication is he is that much better than Eisenhower.
That, in my opinion, is misleading and therefore dishonest.
Petraeus testified before Congress after the Benghazi incident that the battle there was caused by the YouTube anti-Mohamed video. That was false. One theory is Petraeus knew then that his affair had been uncovered and was hoping to keep his CIA job by lying to Congress to help his boss—Barack Obama—so his boss would owe him and not fire him.
This morning, Rush said that retired General Jack Keane, a mentor of Petraeus, said Petraeus will testify truthfully when he goes before Congress regrading Benghazi because he’s a “man of honor.”
No, he’s not. He’s an adulterer. By definition adulterers are dishonest and have also broken a promise.
But the more substantial evidence that Petraeus is almost certainly not a man of honor is his rank, which, by the way, is identical to General Keane’s rank: four stars.
Here are three paragraphs from my article on Petraeus’s Congressional testimony of several years ago—back when Hillary was a senator accusing him of lack of integrity. It was the “General Betray Us” testimony—a phrase that has now taken on a new meaning.
I saw a poll on O'Reilly that said 97% of the public believe Petraeus. I find that disquieting. I did not spot a lie or suspect one in his testimony. However, this guy is a four-star general in the U.S. military.
As I said in my article, "Is military integrity a contradiction in terms?" you do not get to be a four-star general in the U.S. military by refusing to sign false documents or permitting your subordinates to refuse to sign them. If and when false documents had to be signed by Petraeus or his subordinates earlier in and throughout his career, those documents got signed.
Have I ever seen him or one of his subordinates sign a false document? No. Do I have evidence that he or one of his subordinates ever did sign? No. Do I nevertheless suspect he signed or suborned signing false documents? Yes. To understand why, read, in my military integrity article, how ubiquitous and routine the signing of false documents is in the U.S. military. Am I sure he did so? No. What percent probability would I estimate? 99.9%
Same applies to the other four-star general who is vouching for Petraeus’s honor.
To become even a major—Mrs. Broadwell’s Army reserve rank—you need to “play the game.” You need to “play the game” every minute of your career or you are toast. Therefore, both Keane and Petraeus “played the game” for more than 30 years each. They could not have reached the highest rank in the U.S. Army—4 stars—had they ever deviated for a minute from “playing the game.”
What is interesting about Petraeus being called to re-testify about his apparently dishonest prior Benghazi testimony is the question of whether he will continue to “play the game” now that his former boss not only has no career leverage over him, but indeed knifed him in the back by firing him. I see three possibilities:
1. Petraeus continues to “play the game,” including lying under oath again, because it is all he has ever known since he graduated from West Point in June 1974.
2. Petraeus gets a lawyer and takes the fifth to minimize his chances of going to jail. Public esteem seems to be his main driving force. Taking the fifth will lower public esteem, but it may keep him out of jail so he may see it as the best of poor choices.
3. Petraeus decides after a life of “playing the game” and his recent betrayal of his family in the affair, to finally live up to the ideals that attracted him to our common alma mater, West Point, when he was a teenager. Here is a recitation of those ideals in the form of several things we had to memorize immediately after entering West Point—in July of 1970 in Petraeus’s case:
Cadet Honor Code: A cadet does not lie, cheat, or steal.
A cadet’s three answers: Yes, sir. No, sir. No excuse, sir.
West Point motto: Duty Honor Country
Pertinent Alma Mater song lyrics: Let honor be e’er untarned, To keep thine honor bright
Cadet Prayer: O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of human hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural.
Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretence ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy. Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer. Help us to maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied and to show forth in our lives the ideals of West Point in doing our duty to Thee and to our Country. All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and Master of all. Amen.
If Petraeus can read what I just reminded him of, then go tell another bunch of lies under oath, or even take the fifth, he needs to turn in that ring he’s wearing, the one that says “Duty, honor, country” on it. His wife may make him turn in his other ring, the one he was wearing when he was having sex with Mrs. Lieutenant Colonel Broadwell under his desk.
Petraeus testified today, behind closed doors and not under oath after sneaking in through the truck dock back door of the Congress.
There were two points of interest.
1. Why did he tell Congress on 9/14 that the Benghazi attack was a You Tube motivated demonstration gotten out of control?
2. Why did he tell the White House the same thing?
Answers from this “man of honor?”
1. He denies having told Congress that it was a demonstration, not a terrorist act. Congressman Peter King says that’s a lie and that is consistent with what King has been saying since 9/14.The “man of honor” compounded his original lie by talling another lie about having told the first lie and compounded that compounding by insulting the intelligence of the Congress to boot. My conclusion, David Petreus is just another lying, ass-kissing politican providing more evidence in support of my web article that is titled “The 30-year marathon, single-elimination, suck-up tournament” or “How America chooses its generals.”
2. He says the White House lied when they said their various announcements blaming the You Tube video were based on the intelligence they had at the time. They deleted references to al Qaeda leaving only the You Tube story that was less likely to make Obama look bad. I believe that. Petraeus backed up Obama’s lies before because he wanted to keep his CIA job and knew his affair had been discovered. Once Obama threw him under the bus—one wonders how there is still any room for more people there—Petraeus no longer had any careerist motive for continuing his 38 years of going along to get along. Obama stabbed him in the back with regard to firing him from the CIA, so Petraeus stabbed Obama in the front by calling him a liar in Congress. A little parting poetic justice from a guy who played “good soldier,” which means lying and covering up when needed, for 38 years only to find that the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow was ashes in his mouth.
What have we learned here, young people?
Stay out of politics and the U.S. military is politics.
And the next time a four-star general uses the word “honor” to describe himself, laugh appropriately.
John T. Reed
I appreciate informed, well-thought-out constructive criticism and suggestions.
Link to information about John T. Reed’s Succeeding book which, in part, relates lessons learned about succeeding in life from being in the military