Thursday, September 20, 2007

General Petraeus: REMF, Ass-kisser, Jinxed

Petraeus' Distinguished Career Sucking Ass (Theirs) & Covering Ass (His) (Also a lesson on the Military)

GNB Comments (Tyler)

Not a good sign................ especially as his actual combat record is rather paltry, shall we say.

lol whut?

I don't like the guy going up there and lying for an agenda, but I hate to have to keep playing Devil's Advocate because some of you fools don't know how to actually research shit instead of trying to sound pithy.

If you guys want to rewrite history, do it on someone else's watch. Otherwise, you're no better then the LGF idiots who turn on people because they're not "true believers".

I still insist we're better then that.
We old fucks with more experience in the shit than you do are -- as usual -- right about this and you're very very wrong. Time for the schooling.

Being able to look up a Wikipedia page doesn't mean you understand what you're reading, rook. Do you think we're a bunch of unread illiterate dumb shits here at GNB? Seriously?

I was going to wait to the weekend to write this post for when I have more time. But then I figured Hubris would just scoop me, given it's military. And a chance to beat a rookie about the head and shoulders in public, simply doesn't fall into my hands every day. *rubs hands in joyous anticipation*

This, mind you, is written only using Petraeus' Wikipedia entry. Just that. Only that. Want to go out and play with other stuff, there's no shortage of shit to dig up. Petraeus hasn't precisely covered his tracks; it's all there on his chest for anyone with eyes to read.

Bottom line on Petaeus, he's as close to being a genuine REMF as you can be in today's 4-star general. He's managed to avoid actual combat to a level which has to be seen to be believed, while having his lips firmly attached to the ass of every superior officer and staff position that could get him promoted, all while keeping his own body safely out of harm's way.

At the same time, he's a serious danger to be around, personally. He keeps getting himself near killed. In accidents no less, far far away from the field of combat. The man is jinxed. And if you think that's not real, something to pay very fucking serious attention to in combat arms, then think again. I'd much rather serve with a commander who's lucky than good. No kidding. This guy is neither.

Let's go to the tape.

Right from the very start, Petraeus wasn't worried his classmates at West Point would think he was just an ass-kissing prick using women to advance his military career. After all, love is love and the son of a Dutch sea-captain immigrant to the United States can fall in love way, way, WAY above his's only love, not social & military-political climbing. Only a cad would think otherwise.

In the class yearbook, Petraeus was remembered as "always going for it in sports, academics, leadership, and even his social life."[5]

Two months after graduation Petraeus married Holly Knowlton, a graduate from Dickinson College and daughter of retired Army General William A. Knowlton who was superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) at the time.
Get Petraeus out into the field, he gets hurt. Not in combat, oh no. He stays the hell away from combat. This idiot gets hurt in training accidents and having fun. Over and over again. Once again, let's go to the...well damn, I really do wish we had video tape.

Upon promotion to lieutenant colonel, Petraeus moved from the office of the Chief of Staff to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)'s 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment from 1991–1993. As battalion commander of the Iron Rakkasans, he suffered one of the more dramatic incidents in his career when, in 1991, he was accidentally shot in the chest during a live-fire exercise when a soldier tripped and his rifle discharged. He was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, where he was operated on by future Senator Bill Frist. The hospital released him early after he did fifty push ups without resting, just a few days after the accident. [8][9]

In 1999, as a brigadier general, Petraeus returned to the 82nd, serving as the assistant division commander for operations and then, briefly, as acting commanding general. From the 82nd, he moved on to serve as Chief of Staff of XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg during 2000–2001. In 2000, Petraeus suffered his second major injury, when, during a civilian skydiving jump, his parachute collapsed at low altitude due to a hook turn, resulting in a hard landing that broke his pelvis.

Do you want this guy next to you on a mission? Me neither. Fortunately as a 4-star, he's got a medical team on call. Plus full-time security to keep him safe.

But, you say, surely he's been in combat? He's a general. Well sure. But combat, well, not so much.

See, there's combat...and then there's COMBAT. Being assigned to Iraq as a cook in one of the big concrete forts counts as combat duty. So does being lead gunner on an under-armored Humvee doing escort duty on the death highway out of the airport. Choose one.

General (well, not a general then) Petraeus always choose the option designed to keep his ass far, far away from the line of fire.

Now there's absolutely nothing wrong -- let me be VERY clear about this -- with not being out there where men with sharp objects and guns try and hurt you. Personally, I try and stay away from them and recommend you do as well. Iraq is not on my 2008 Summer of Love tour, and neither is Iran. We are not live-blogging from the Green Zone. (Well, perhaps. Err, no. Damn. Hubris, shhh. No, we're not...talking about this today, anyway.) Not my point. My point is, there's nothing wrong about y'all staying the hell away combat zones. You should. But professional soldiers, ah, well...

There are two kinds of soldiers in the Army. Field and rear echelon. Fighters and kiss-asses. Ones you actually trust to cover your back when the shit hits the fan... and then there's the other kind. Grunts v. Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers...REMFs.

Grunts live out on the sharp end in the dust and the mud (often both at once, don't ask), eating shit on a shingle, thanking the Gods Cookie managed them a hot meal even if it's 114 degrees, concerned about humping enough ammo, where are the fucking grenades, getting dustoff, and the surprise we've got for that asshole sniper of theirs ha-ha-ha mother-fucker eat shit and die. And maps. Maps are always good. "We need more fucking maps. Send BJ back to HQ on the supply bird and tell him not to come back till he's got those fucking cock-suckers at S3 to give us more maps, even if he has to tell Capt. Richardson we've got photos of him on R&R his wife would hate to see, and so would both his girlfriends. Tell him the whole fucking internet will see them if we don't get us some FUCKING MAPS. Also, tell Papa he owes me from that three of a kind jacks high, so ante up two, uh, three. Three cases of beer for my men. Also tell BJ to stop by the 47th CSH and check on Tommy, Shooter & Joseph. See if Junior's out of surgery yet and tell him he's got a Bronze Star and a I Forgot to Duck Fool as soon as I get back there to give them to him, and also I'm writing him up for a Silver as well, but that has to go all the way to I Corp headquarters. Give the flight crew a bottle of whatever they're drinking, personally from me. Then have BJ get his ass back here with my maps. And... perhaps a few bottles for my officers also. What? Nothing. Shit... Well, I could use a book. Science fiction anything. Or some Kipling; whatever. A book dude, something to read, I don't care. Have him move his rook ass; and try not to fall out of the helicopter. Now scoot."


Clean-cut all American assholes greasing the knob of their superiors back inside the wire, wearing a nice clean shiny uniform and reading the Army Times while lackies scurry around looking busy as he chows down on a 14 oz prime New York steak with mushrooms and a vegetable side dish. See the scene in Apocalypse Now where Cpt. Willard (Martin Sheen) is being given his orders to go up river. Remember? All nice and shiny and extra-clean? Hell, there's even a steak and some shrimps. But they never say, "Go kill him." No, it's "Terminate with extreme prejudice." That's REMF talk. All nice and purty. Except REMF's don't say "purty." If you say words like "purty" around REMFs, they look at you like you're very stupid. I mean, differently-abled. Then they pretend not to see you.

David Petraeus is a REMF. His first combat of any kind didn't happen till he was a 2-star general in command of the 101st Airborne Division.

I served as a medic with the 101st from 1977-1999 in Hq & Hq Co, 326th Med Bn. Went to Europe on Reforger, down to Ft. Bragg on exercises, played with 5th Group when they dropped in for some fun, fucked around on the back ranges, flew all over the middle of the U.S. on MAST missions in our Air Ambulance helicopters doing real life missions, worked with the Air Assault school as their medic, picked up body parts after range accidents, put together Ft. Campbell Army Hospital's first ever intermediate EMT training program, humped all over the fucking fort, ran my ass off on morning PT and on weekends for grins, got laid all over the place, and just generally had a lot of fun. But there wasn't any division or battalion level combat happening or we would have gone. Fast.

You know who did see combat while I was dicking around on training missions? Special Forces. They were down in the jungle shooting the shit out of people, winning hearts and minds all over the world. *smiles sweetly* In 1980, when I was out of the active Army, people deployed to Panama, had themselves some fun. I was gone. Then there were some other actions throughout the 80s and into the 90s. My reserve unit, the 374th Air Ambulance Detachment, USAR got to go to Iraq in 2001, but I was long out of the reserves by then.

There was also Haiti which our David boy didn't bother to go see during the shooting; only during the peace keeping. Which of course can be tricky. But Peace-Keeping Missions just aren't really the same danger as actual combat, no matter how much it feels risky. Just like being a paramedic in Oakland and Houston -- that's me -- isn't at all the same danger as being a grunt medic taking incoming fire in Iraq. And don't think I or anyone who had been there doesn't know or appreciate the difference. That difference is all the fucking difference.

Oakland/Houston v. Iraq? Petraeus's peace keeping missions v. real combat? It's the difference between being finger-fucked and getting laid, between having a gang-banger try and cap you on the run or the occasional gun pointed at you by a drunk, and having a platoon ambush go off in your fucking face while three IEDs simultaneously toss your only vehicles upside down on top of your position. The only good news is, at least now you have some cover for the withering fire pouring from the second stories directly down onto the five people still left alive from your squad. And oh yeah, all your spare ammo's in the the vehicles which are on fucking fire. Ready, set, GO.

Petraeus ain't never been in the shit. Hey... maybe the weaselly fucker ain't jinxed after all. Or perhaps he just stays the hell away from actual combat. Hmmm. Let's keep checking this shit out. Perhaps I'm being too hard on the man.

There were little flare-ups here and there, shooting actions all the fuck all over the globe where the U.S. sent in troops. Lots and lots and lots of soldiers went and saw the elephant from the late 70's to 2003 in Iraq.

Our own Hubris Sonic did. Lots of folk right here on GNB went too, in Korea, Vietnam, and countless little brushups and brushfires all over the fucking place. I wasn't on military service right then. I got lucky. All my military service was in units set to deploy instantly to hot spots. During active duty we were typically on 24 to 72 hour status. (The 82nd had a faster response time, as did [does] the special ops kids. But not by much.) By the grace of the Gods, my service time fell precisely outside of the box of when the U.S. sent my sized units to war. One year later and I too would have deployed and been shot at in anger with military weapons. Because I'm not a right-wing Republican chicken-hawk idiot, I'm very grateful I got lucky, not sad I missed out on the "beauty of testing my manhood in the ultimate crucible of battle."

(Those right-wingers really are sick fucking bastards, you know? Only people who never are going to war -- mostly because they do everything they can to avoid it -- can talk such absolute bullshit as they cheer on other people's children to go die to increase the returns of their own portfolios. What's even sicker is, they would cheer on war even if it wasn't making them more money. They just get that extra little thrill knowing they're making more money and they get to help kill poor people through doing so.)

But let's get back to Petraeus and his avoiding combat back when, as a junior or even a field-grade officer, he would have been the guy out in front with the troops. That's the thing about being an infantry officer. People shoot at you in combat. But not if you're not IN combat. Huh. Well shit, then -- don't want to get guns pointed at you? Just avoid combat. Hell, even I can figure that one out. But no...

Even as a fucking civilian right here in America's ghettos, I managed to get shot at and have more guns shot and knives pointed at me (and used in anger against me) than I can count, working as medic. But you know who never ever had a fucking gun fired at him in anger? Even though he was a full-time professional career fucking soldier on the fast-track to the top? Yep. Not all the way from when he was 17 till he was "The Old Man" in charge of the full-goddamn-101st Air-fucking-born-fucking-Division in all their mother-fucking glory in 2003? General David Fucking Betrayus (oops, that slipped out; of course I meant) Petraeus.

If he'd wanted to see combat, believe me, he could have seen combat. Any soldier as talented as he was at working his superiors, er, moving through the Pentagon, could have gone to war any time he requested it. He didn't fucking want it.

But no way was he ever getting 3 or 4 stars without a combat command, a major one. So he did the next best thing. He waited...and waited...and waited... and finally when a GOOD war came along. One he could stage manage his command, he wrapped himself with a talented staff, put himself with a heroic division in a can't lose mission WITH LOTS AND LOTS OF REPORTERS TO WATCH HIM, and went to work. And even then he almost fucked it up. Check it:

In 2003, Petraeus, then a major general, commanded the 101st Airborne Division during V Corps's drive to Baghdad. In a campaign chronicled in detail by Rick Atkinson of the Washington Post's book In the Company of Soldiers, Petraeus led his division through fighting in Karbala, Hilla, and Najaf (where he came under fire during an ambush by Iraqi paramilitary forces). The 101st was not, as had been expected [citation needed], called upon to lead urban combat in Baghdad, leading to some limited criticism of the division's role in the campaign. Instead, as V Corps's lines of supply came under threat from attacks by irregular forces in the cities of the Euphrates river valley, the division's three brigades, reinforced by an armored battalion, took the lead in clearing the cities of Najaf, Karbala, and Hilla. Other notable roles filled by the 101st during the campaign included an armed feint toward Hilla to cover the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)'s drive through the Karbala Gap, an armed reconnaissance by the division's brigade of Apache attack helicopters, and the relief of beleaguered elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment at the Haditha Dam. Following the fall of Baghdad, the division conducted the longest heliborne assault on record in order to reach Nineveh Province, where it would spend much of the next year (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 [citation needed] of Petraeus's time with the 101st is his habit of asking embedded reporters to "Tell me where this ends," an anecdote many journalists [citation needed] have used to portray Petraeus as an early recognizer of the difficulties that would follow the fall of Baghdad. Indeed, it was during the year after the invasion that Petraeus and the 101st gained fame for their performance in Iraq, not for the combat operations in Karbala and Najaf but for the rebuilding and administration of Mosul and Nineveh Province. Described by one former subordinate as "the most competitive man on earth,"[citation needed] and by another as "phenomenal at getting people to reach their potential" [citation needed]; these two traits of intensity and cultivation of subordinate officers have widely been reported [citation needed] as key to his period of command in Mosul. Petraeus oversaw a program of public works projects and political reinvigoration [citation needed] in Mosul, which was one of the most peaceful cities in Iraq during the first year of the war. (One of Petraeus' catch phrases during this period was, "Money is ammunition," supporting the use of commanders' discretionary funds for public works.)[9] One of his major public works was the restoration and re-opening of the University of Mosul. During 2004, after the 101st replacement by I Corps's Task Force Olympia, Mosul became a major battleground in the fight against the Sunni insurgency that erupted that spring. Petraeus and his supporters point to the assassination of the governor of Nineveh the following July, five months after the 101st departed, as the catalyst for the 2004 violence, not the unit's redeployment.

In June 2004, less than six months after the 101st returned to the U.S., Petraeus was promoted to lieutenant general and charged with the task of training the new Iraqi Army and security forces as commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq. During his stay at MNSTC-I, Petraeus oversaw the expansion of Iraqi military and police from nearly zero-strength to considerable size. [citation needed]

In September 2004, Petraeus wrote an article for the Washington Post in which he lauded the progress he said was being made by Iraqi security forces. The article was criticized by Paul Krugman in his column of July 19, 2007: "General Petraeus, without saying anything falsifiable, conveyed the totally misleading impression, highly convenient for his political masters, that victory was just around the corner." [1]

Critics have also pointed to the incomplete state of the Iraqi forces at the time Petraeus handed the command over to Lt. Gen. in September 2005.
What does all this mean?

Petraeus thought he could take the 101st and march them through Iraq, take Baghdad, and be the war's freaking hero. He had a Washington Post hot-shot along embedded to write a BOOK staring Petraeus. Jesus fucking H. Christ. Petaeus of course has been cultivating the media forever, witness it was his brigade which Tom Clancy stared in Clancy's book, Airborne. Talk about serious ass-kissing. Petraeus and the Post were hoping for some more mutual anal smooches leading to promotions and awards for everyone, but alas, both got sidetracked when Petraeus was literally sidetracked when V Corp sent the 101st away from Baghadad to clear some towns. NOT glamorous. And potentially dangerous.

The thing is though, being the commanding general of a division is a pretty safe job. Even something as dangerous as clearing small towns. That's why you have brigade commanders. Send their asses in to harm's way. Especially if you can be "reinforced by an armored battalion" which the 101st was. So it all worked out okay, and the story turned out nicely heroic. Our boy even earned a Bronze Star, about which, more later. (No, I won't question how he earned it; the details aren't in Wikipedia, and we're staying single source here, I told you.)

To be clear, Petraeus's job as DIV CO is to stay back, nice and safe, and give both strategic orders, mostly, and a few tactical commands, occasionally. He is NOT to expose himself. We've got literally millions and millions invested in his career, not to be wasted in giving a sniper a free shot by him leading from the front. Personal courage in senior officers is assumed, and here I am, blogger, mocking him. *gasps*

Well yes, I am. *laughs*

I'm not just mocking him. I think he's an asshole. A lead-from-behind asshole who has his nose so far up his superiors assholes he can tell what they ate two days ago. Real soldiers tell their bosses when the news is bad. When it isn't working. And sometime before they're a major general, they've risked their life for their men.

Once the combat operations were over however, Wikipedia tells us, he seemed to have done a fairly good job in spending money to build up civil infrastructure. He got good press anyway.

But we can't tell the truth from here, can we? Wikipedia is BASED ON, BIASED AROUND PRESS AND BOOK REPORTS. And who is it that Petraeus sucks up to when he's not polishing the knob of his own superiors? Oh yeah -- journalists. Still trust those admiring news reports do you?

Even assuming they're true, what they tell us is, he did okay in his one combat action (V Corp kept him away from the big stuff). Afterwards, he did much better in building up infrastructure. Even these "accomplishments" however are challenged by people such as Paul Krugman who say Petraeus didn't lie on the facts, but spun them so hard you can't trust his conclusions, and his conclusion was all about sucking up the political powers above him. Gee Gidge, haven't we been seeing Petraeus going after the big prize ever since he blew into town and spun away with that virgin prize Miss. Holly Knowlton, the Superintendent's daughter?

How is this different?

Now let's talk about that chest full of medals, so impressive to non-military people. For example, Republican Senators and Congressman.

U.S. military decorations

U.S. unit awards

U.S. non-military decorations

U.S. service (campaign) medals and service and training ribbons

U.S. badges, patches and tabs

Foreign military decorations

  • Gold Award of the Iraqi Order of the Date Palm

Foreign badges, patches and tabs

  • British Parachutist Badge
  • French Parachutist Badge
  • German Parachutist Badge

Non-U.S. service medals and ribbons

Damn. Looks impressive.


Anyone who's in the Army or any branch of service for decades will have pounds of fruit salad. Want to know what impresses me?

What a fucking wimp this guy's been. What is clear from Petraeus's fruit salad is how he's managed to stay far, far from harm's way.

Just as there are two kinds of military people, Grunts (infantry, armor, artillery, special operations [special forces, rangers, cag], and those directly supporting grunts (combat engineers, medics, certain aviation & transport units [but not others], and I'm probably missing some but I'm just trying to get an idea across) v. REMFS (everyone else)... there are two kinds of medals:
  • Valor (including I Forgot To Duck)
  • Everything Else
  1. Atta Boy,
  2. I Wuz There,
  3. We Wuz There,
  4. You Can Do X e.g: Shoot a rifle without blowing our balls off, jump out of an airplane, eat snakes, wear girl scout hats (and girl scouts too). We're cooool.
  5. Your Unit Did This Eons Ago So Be Proud you fool you fool
  6. And the ever popular Identification Badge We Hope Will Impress the Rest of The Army With Where We Work aka "We're So Stupid We Have To Remind Ourselves Where We Work"
No one but REMFs gives a shit about anything but awards for valor.

Wow, that's a lot of medals and tabs and other fancy shit he's got there. Let's count them (for each Oak Leaf Cluster, add +1)
  • U.S. military decorations - Valor (1) v. Everything Else (20)
  • U.S. unit awards - Valor (0) v. Everything Else (6)
  • U.S. non-military decorations - Valor (0) v. Everything Else (1)
  • U.S. service (campaign) medals and service and training ribbons - Valor (0) v. Everything Else (12)
  • U.S. badges, patches and tabs - Valor (1) v. Everything Else (8)
  • Foreign military decorations - Valor (0) v. Everything Else (1)
  • Foreign badges, patches and tabs - Valor (0) v. Everything Else (3)
  • Non-U.S. service medals and ribbons - Valor (0) v. Everything Else (2)

TOTALS -- Valor (2) v. Everything Else (53)

In a career spanning decades, General David Petraeus who has truly had his choice of career, choose to stay in nice safe promising positions, and away from those nasty grunt dangerous positions with the sharp sticks and pointy things.

Awards for Valor: 2
Awards for Everything Else: 53
I bet he's has some nasty paper cuts too.

Of all the awards for valor, the Bronze Star is typically awarded quickest after the incident, in the heat of battle so to speak, on recommendation from Battalion or Brigade Commanders, by the Division CO. In a real war, they're passed out fast and quickly. Like candy.

It isn't that people don't earn their Bronze Stars with V device. They sure as shit do and we treat them with respect. But when an officer such as a 2-star freaking general earns one as his first combat action, how do we say this politely, um... It's viewed with some skepticism. And here's the stich. I don't know the facts, actually. It may well be this award was reviewed. Over and over and over again. I don't know and I won't suggest otherwise. Damn my fucking integrity. *cracks up* (Or it may be a total fucking fraud. [That's for swift-boating John Kerry, you right-wing fuckers.])

Normally I wouldn't expect a general officer to only have a Bronze Star. I'd expect a Silver Star and maybe a Distinguished Flying Cross or even a Distinguished Service Cross. I sure as hell wouldn't expect any senior officer to earn their first award for valor as a flag officer. Or for this to be their only medal for valor (his other award is the Combat Infantryman's Badge.)

Everything else here is just junk, the kind of shit people pick up in their career. None of it means anything other than they've served and got their ticket punched. It raises many, many, hundreds more questions about why they've been in the rear, than in the front. To someone who knows how to read it.


Wikipedia is your friend. it's all right there if you want to see. Most people don't change who they are in the middle of the game. Can happen. I did. It's goddamn hard. Petraeus didn't.

He's the same ass kissing suck up REMF he's always been. And jinxed.

Don't believe a goddamn word he says.

Those who have eyes to see, let them see.