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I ran into David Petraeus the other night. Or rather, I ran after him.

It’s been more than a year since I first tried to connect with the retired four-star general and ex-CIA director — and no luck yet. On a recent evening, as the sky was turning from a crisp ice blue into a host of Easter-egg hues, I missed him again. Led from a curtained “backstage” area where he had retreated after a midtown Manhattan event, Petraeus moved briskly to a staff-only room, then into a tightly packed elevator, and momentarily out onto the street before being quickly ushered into a waiting late-model, black Mercedes S550.

And then he was gone, whisked into the warm New York night, companions in tow.

For the previous hour, Petraeus had been in conversation with Peter Bergen, a journalist, CNN analyst, and vice president at New America, the think tank sponsoring the event . Looking fit and well-rested in a smart dark-blue suit, the former four-star offered palatable, pat, and — judging from the approving murmurs of the audience — popular answers to a host of questions about national security issues ranging from the fight against the Islamic State to domestic gun control. While voicing support for the Second Amendment, for example, he spoke about implementing “common sense solutions to the availability of weapons,” specifically keeping guns out of the hands of “domestic abusers” and those on the no-fly list. Even as he expressed “great respect” for those who carried out acts of torture in the wake of 9/11, he denounced its use — except in the case of a “ticking time bomb.” In an era when victory hasn’t been a word much used in relation to the American military, he even predicted something close to it on the horizon. “I’ve said from the very beginning, even in the darkest days, the Islamic State would be defeated in Iraq,” he told the appreciative crowd.

I went to the event hoping to ask Petraeus a question or two, but Bergen never called on me during the Q & A portion of the evening. My attendance was not, however, a total loss.

Watching the retired general in action, I was reminded of the peculiarity of this peculiar era — an age of generals whose careers are made in winless wars; years in which such high-ranking, mission-unaccomplished officers rotate through revolving doors that lead not only to top posts with major weapons merchants, but also too-big-to-fail banks, top universities, cutting-edge tech companies, healthcare firms, and other corporate behemoths. Hardly a soul, it seems, cares that these generals and admirals have had leading roles in quagmire wars or even, in two prominent cases, saw their government service cease as a result of career-ending scandal. And Citizen David Petraeus is undoubtedly the epitome of this phenomenon.

Celebrated as the most cerebral of generals, the West Point grad and Princeton Ph.D. rose to stardom during the Iraq War — credited with pacifying the restive city of Mosul before becoming one of the architects of the new Iraqi Army. Petraeus would then return to the United States where he revamped and revived the Army’s failed counterinsurgency doctrine from the Vietnam War, before being tapped to lead “The Surge” of U.S. forces in Iraq — an effort to turn around the foundering conflict. Through it all, Petraeus waged one of the most deft self-promotion campaigns in recent memory, cultivating politicians, academics, and especially fawning journalists who reported on his running stamina, his penchant for push-ups, and even — I kid you not — how he woke a lieutenant from what was thought to be an irreversible coma by shouting the battle cry of his unit.

A series of biographers would lionize the general who, after achieving what to some looked like success in Iraq, went on to head U.S. Central Command, overseeing the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. When the military career of his subordinate General Stanley McChrystal imploded, Petraeus was sent once more unto the breach to spearhead an Afghan War surge and win another quagmire war.

And win Petraeus did. Not in Afghanistan, of course. That war grinds on without end. But the Teflon general somehow emerged from it all with people talking about him as a future presidential contender. Looking back at Petraeus’s successes, one understands just what a feat this was. Statistics show that Petraeus never actually pacified Mosul, which has now been under the control of the Islamic State (ISIS) for years. The army Petraeus helped build in Iraq crumbled in the face of that same force which, in some cases, was even supported by Sunni fighters Petraeus had put on the U.S. payroll to make The Surge appear successful.

Indeed, Petraeus had come to New America’s New York headquarters to answer one question in particular: “What will the next president’s national security challenges be?” Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, Iraq, Afghanistan: precisely the set of groups he had fought, places he had fought in, or what had resulted from his supposed victories.

Retired Brass, Then and Now

“What can you do with a general, when he stops being a general? Oh, what can you do with a general who retires?”

Irving Berlin first posed these questions in 1948 and Bing Crosby crooned them six years later in White Christmas, the lavish Hollywood musical that has become a holiday season staple.

These are not, however, questions which seem to have plagued David Petraeus. He retired from the Army in 2011 to take a job as director of the CIA, only to resign in disgrace a year later when it was revealed that he had leaked classified information to his biographer and one-time lover Paula Broadwell and then lied about it to the FBI. Thanks to a deal with federal prosecutors, Petraeus pled guilty to just a single misdemeanor and served no jail time, allowing him, as the New York Times reported last year, “to focus on his lucrative post-government career as a partner in a private equity firm and a worldwide speaker on national security issues.”

In the Bing and Berlin era, following back-to-back victories in world wars, things were different. Take George C. Marshall, a five-star general and the most important U.S. military leader during World War II who is best remembered today for the post-war European recovery plan that bore his name. Fellow five-star general and later president Dwight Eisenhower recalled that, during the Second World War, Marshall “did not want to sit in Washington and be a chief of staff. I am sure he wanted a field command, but he wouldn’t even allow his chief [President Franklin Roosevelt] to know what he wanted, because he said, ‘I am here to serve and not to satisfy personal ambition.’” That mindset seemed to remain his guiding directive after he retired in 1945 and went on to serve as a special envoy to China, secretary of state, and secretary of defense.

Marshall reportedly refused a number of lucrative offers to write his memoirs, including the then-princely sum of a million dollars after taxes from Time and Life publisher Henry Luce. He did so on the grounds that it was unethical to profit from service to the United States or to benefit from the sacrifices of the men who had served under him, supposedly telling one publisher “that he had not spent his life serving the government in order to sell his life story to the Saturday Evening Post.” In his last years, he finally cooperated with a biographer and gave his archives to the George C. Marshall Research Foundation on “the condition that no monetary returns from a book or books based on his materials would go to him or his family but would be used for the research program of the Marshall Foundation.” Even his biographer was asked to “waive the right to any royalties from the biography.” Marshall also declined to serve on any corporate boards.

Marshall may have been a paragon of restraint and moral rectitude, but he wasn’t alone. As late as the years 1994-1998, according to an analysis by the Boston Globe, fewer than 50% of retiring three- and four-star officers went to work as consultants or defense executives. By 2004-2008, that number had jumped to 80%. An analysis by the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, found that it was still at a lofty 70% for the years 2009-2011.

Celebrity generals like Petraeus and fellow former four-star generals Stanley McChrystal (whose military career was also consumed in the flames of scandal) and Ray Odierno (who retired amid controversy), as well as retired admiral and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, don’t even need to enter the world of arms dealers and defense firms. These days, those jobs may increasingly be left to second-tier military luminaries like Marine Corps general James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, now on the board of directors at Raytheon, as well as former Vice Admiral and Director of Naval Intelligence Jack Dorsett, who joined Northrop Grumman.

If, however, you are one of the military’s top stars, the sky is increasingly the limit. You can, for instance, lead a consulting firm (McChrystal and Mullen) or advise or even join the boards of banks and civilian corporations like JPMorgan Chase (Odierno), Jet Blue (McChrystal), and General Motors(Mullen).

For his part, after putting his extramarital affair behind him, Petraeus became a partner at the private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR), where he also serves as the chairman of the KKR Global Institute and, according to his bio, “oversees the institute’s thought leadership platform focused on geopolitical and macro-economic trends, as well as environmental, social, and governance issues.” His lieutenants include a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and campaign manager for President George W. Bush, as well as a former leading light at Morgan Stanley.

KKR’s portfolio boasts a bit of everything, from Alliant Insurance Services and Panasonic Healthcare to a host of Chinese firms (Rundong Automobile Group and Asia Dairy, among them). There are also defense firms under its umbrella, including TASC, the self-proclaimed “premier provider of advanced systems engineering and integration services across the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and civilian agencies of the federal government,” and Airbus Group’s defense electronics business which KKR recently bought for $1.2 billion.

KKR is, however, just where Petraeus’s post-military, post-CIA résumébegins.

A Man for Four Seasons

“Nobody thinks of assigning him, when they stop wining and dining him,” wrote Irving Berlin 68 years ago.

How times do change. When it comes to Petraeus, the wining and dining isevidently unending — as when Financial Times columnist Edward Luce took him to the Four Seasons Restaurant earlier this year for a lunch of tuna tartare, poached salmon, and a bowl of mixed berries with cream.

At the elegant eatery, just a short walk from Petraeus’s Manhattan office, the former CIA chief left Luce momentarily forlorn. “When I inquire what keeps him busy nowadays his answer goes on for so long I half regret asking,” he wrote.

I evidently heard a version of the same well prepared lines when, parrying a question from journalist Fred Kaplan at the New America event I attended, Petraeus produced a wall of words explaining how busy he is. In the process, he shed light on just what it means to be a retired celebrity general from America’s winless wars. “I’ve got a day job with KKR. I teach once a week at the City University of New York — Honors College. I do a week per semester at USC [University of Southern California]. I do several days at Harvard. I’m on the speaking circuit. I do pro bono stuff like this. I’m the co-chairman of the Wilson Institute’s Global Advisory Council, the senior vice president of RUSI [Royal United Services Institute, a research institution focused on military issues]. I’m on three other think tank boards,” he said.

In an era when fellow leakers of government secrets — from National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden to CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou to Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning — have ended up in exile or prison, Petraeus’s post-leak life has obviously been quite another matter.

The experience of former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake who shared unclassified information about that agency’s wasteful ways with a reporter is more typical of what leakers should expect. Although the Justice Department eventually dropped the most serious charges against him — he pled guilty to a single misdemeanor — he lost his job and his pension, went bankrupt, and has spent years working at an Apple store after being prosecuted under the World War I-era Espionage Act. “My social contacts are gone, and I’m persona non grata,” he told Defense One last year. “I can’t find any work in government contracting or in the quasi-government space, those who defend whistleblowers won’t touch me.”

Petraeus, on the other hand, shared with his lover and biographer eight highly classified “black books” that the government says included “the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings, and defendant David Howell Petraeus’s discussions with the President of the United States of America.” Petraeus was prosecuted, pled guilty, and was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $100,000.

Yet it’s Petraeus who today moves in rarified circles and through hallowed halls, with memberships and posts at one influential institution after another. In addition to the positions he mentioned at New America, his CV includes: honorary visiting professor at Exeter University, co-chairman of the Task Force on North America at the Council on Foreign Relations, co-chairman of the Global Advisory Committee at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, member of the Concordia Summit’s Concordia Leadership Council, member of the board of trustees at the McCain Institute for International Leadership, member of the National Security Advisory Council of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and a seat on the board of directors at the Atlantic Council.

Brand Petraeus

About a year ago, I tried to contact Petraeus through KKR as well as the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York, to get a comment on a story. I never received a reply.

I figured he was ducking me — or anyone asking potentially difficult questions — or that his gatekeepers didn’t think I was important enough to respond to. But perhaps he was simply too busy. To be honest, I didn’t realize just how crowded his schedule was. (Of course, FT’s Edward Luce reports that when he sent Petraeus an email invite, the retired general accepted within minutes, so maybe it’s because I wasn’t then holding out the prospect of a meal at the Four Seasons.)

I attended the New America event because I had yet more questions for Petraeus. But I wasn’t as fortunate as Fred Kaplan — author, by the way, of The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War — and wasn’t quite speedy or nimble enough to catch the former general before he slipped into the backseat of that luxurious Mercedes sedan.

Irving Berlin’s “What Can You Do With A General?” ends on a somber note that sounds better in Crosby’s dulcimer tones than it reads on the page: “It seems this country never has enjoyed, so many one and two and three and four-star generals, unemployed.”

Today, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff retiring after 38 years receives a pension of about $20,000 a month, not exactly a shabby unemployment check for the rest of your life, but one that many in the tight-knit fraternity of top officers are still eager to supplement. Take General Cartwright, who joined Raytheon in 2012 and, according to Morningstar, the investment research firm, receives close to $364,000 per year in compensation from that company while holding more than $1.2 million in its stock.

All of this left me with yet more questions for Petraeus (whose pension is reportedly worth more than $18,000 per month or $220,000 per year) about a mindset that seems light years distant from the one Marshall espoused during his retirement. I was curious, for instance, about his take on why the winning of wars isn’t a prerequisite for cashing in on one’s leadership in them, and why the personal and professional costs of scandal are so incredibly selective.

Today, it seems, a robust Rolodex with the right global roster, a marquee name, and a cultivated geopolitical brand covers a multitude of sins. And that’s precisely the type of firepower that Petraeus brings to the table.

After a year without a reply, I got in touch with KKR again. This time, through an intermediary, Petraeus provided me an answer to a new request for an interview. “Thank you for your interest, Nick, but he respectfully declines at this time,” I was told.

I’m hoping, however, that the retired general changes his mind. For the privilege of asking Petraeus various questions, I’d be more than happy to take him to lunch at the Four Seasons.

With that tony power-lunch spot closing down soon as part of a plan to relocate elsewhere, we’d need to act fast. Getting a table could be tough.

Luckily, I know just the name to drop.

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch, a fellow at the Nation Institute, and a contributing writer for the Intercept. He is the author of theNew York Times bestseller Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam . His latest book is Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. His website is NickTurse.com.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, David Petraeus 
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  1. woodNfish says:

    This is what Eisenhower warned us against.

    Read More
    • Agree: ATX Hipster
    • Replies: @Rehmat
    Why would Gen. Eisenhower would give such 'antisemitic' warning to American people? He was son of a Jewish couple, and as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, starved 1.7 million German Christians to death after the so-called "D-Day". He wrote to his darling wife: "I hate Germans."

    But as we know; Americans are very generous people when it comes to Zionist causes. For example, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s plan to build the federally funded memorial in honor of 34th President of United States, Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower on a four-acre site in front of the headquarters of the Department of Education in Washington, is facing some hurdles. Not due to funding but due to Eisenhower’s grandchildren, Susan Eisenhower, an energy and foreign-policy expert in Washington, and Anne Eisenhower, a prominent interior designer based in New York – and their brother, historian, author and son-in-law of President Richard Nixon David Eisenhower. The Presidential retreat, Camp David, formerly Camp Shangri-La, was named after David Eisenhower in 1953.

    The memorial’s design was created by Canadian-born American architect Frank Owen Gehry, born as Frank Owen Goldberg to Polish Jewish parents. The memorial is expected to cost US taxpayer over $150 million – plus millions in annual maintenance services....

    https://rehmat1.com/2012/07/29/the-eisenhower-memorial/
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  2. Njguy73 says:

    “There’s little stealin’ like you does and there’s big stealing like I does. For little stealing they get you in jail sooner or later, but for big stealing they make you emperor and put your picture in the hall of fame after you croak.” – Emperor Jones, Eugene O’Neill

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  3. After WWII, military personnel were limited to 75% of basic pay after 30 years of service, even if they served longer. This was very generous compared to civilian work, where less than 10% of Americans even have a defined benefit retirement plan, and these pay less than half as much. During the big spending Bushite years, rules were changed that now allow Generals to earn even more when they “retire”, and many collect more than 100% of basic pay after the retire. Then some join the federal government to collect a full salary even as they collect more than a full General’s pay for federal “retirement” as Petraeus did as CIA chief.

    Petraeus became a four-star General, partly due to marriage to the daughter of four-star Army General William Knowlton. But once he got his four stars, he publicly humiliated his loyal wife by romping with a captain, who wrote flattering stories about the great General for websites like “Best Defense”. That should have led to military charges, but not for him. Then despite his obvious failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, insane Republican congressmen openly solicit his advice on how to deal with his festering disasters. Our corporate media never follows stories about military corruption. I suggest militarycorruption.com as a great source of truth, outrage, and entertainment.

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  4. My favourte Marine Smedley Butler on the “War is a Racket..” and the reality function of the military, to wit……..

    I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

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    • Replies: @Father O'Hara
    Best maybe not to throw that paragraph around where those Black Lives Matter types can see it.
    , @Orville H. Larson
    Major General Smedley ("Old Gimlet Eye") Butler, USMC was as gallant a fighting man as you'll find (two Medals of Honor!). He was also a man who believed in defending America--nothing else. No intervention, policeman-of-the-world bullshit for Butler.

    Too bad every American officer isn't imbued with that mindset.
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  5. Brohemius says:

    A closer inspection of George C. Marshall’s career will explain why he shunned publicity. There never was a Golden Age of integrity and self-sacrifice in government. Mr. Turse, I don’t think you are that credulous.

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    • Agree: Jacques Sheete
    • Replies: @Pandos
    Nice catch.
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  6. Patraeus, Just like James Comey, is another great American “boy scout,” i.e. a brown-nosing, social climbing wuss with a coiffed and manicured resume and a deep, unerring instinct to do whatever is pleasing to his superiors. This is how they ascended to positions of power in the first place. Armchair generals and lapdog law enforcement, typical of a banana republic.

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  7. Rehmat says:

    Nick Turse, you forgot to mention the real stories which made Gen. Petraeus become an “American Hero” – or as professor James Petras called him “Military Poodle of Zionism”, and his sex affair with his female biographer. Petraeus aka “Betray US” failed miserably against Muqtada Sadr’ militia in Iraq and Taliban in Afghanistan – but the Jewish-controlled press always came to his defense.

    On January 31, 2015, the Pentagon decided not to “punish” disgraced Gen. David Petraeus further on recommendations of Defense secretary Ashton Carter, Jewish lobby favorite.

    “Given the Army review, secretary Carter considers this matter closed,” Jewish-owned Washington Post quoted Stephen Hedger (Jewish), assistant secretary of defense, as saying in a three-sentence letter.

    The letter was sent out to individuals who asked Carter not to consider any more reprimands against Petraeus, including Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Senator John McCain (Christian Zionist), Senator Jack Reed (Jewish) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Jewish). According to military law, the Pentagon had the right to seek further punishment

    This means, Gen. David Petraeus, military poodle of Zionism, currently on probation after paying $100,000 will keep his 4-star military rank and $220,000 annual pension. Earlier in January, there were reports that Carter was mulling Petraeus’ demotion, who then would be liable to return hundreds of thousands of dollars of his pension.

    In July 2010 Philip Giraldi, former CIA official, claimed that David Petraeus had close ties with Israel Lobby through Max Boot and two Kagans, Kimberly and Fred.

    https://rehmat1.com/2016/02/02/jewish-lobby-gets-gen-petraeus-off-the-hook/

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    There's off the hook, then there's off the hook. He didn't go to jail, but he was prosecuted. That's bad for the Golden Boy, though he can cry about his tarnished reputation on his piles of money. But it's also bad press for the Establishment. Or maybe they need scapegoats every once in a while to pretend no one is above the law. But they couldn't put Patraeus below the law. He had to have just his head sticking up out of the law.
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  8. Rehmat says:
    @woodNfish
    This is what Eisenhower warned us against.

    Why would Gen. Eisenhower would give such ‘antisemitic’ warning to American people? He was son of a Jewish couple, and as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, starved 1.7 million German Christians to death after the so-called “D-Day”. He wrote to his darling wife: “I hate Germans.”

    But as we know; Americans are very generous people when it comes to Zionist causes. For example, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s plan to build the federally funded memorial in honor of 34th President of United States, Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower on a four-acre site in front of the headquarters of the Department of Education in Washington, is facing some hurdles. Not due to funding but due to Eisenhower’s grandchildren, Susan Eisenhower, an energy and foreign-policy expert in Washington, and Anne Eisenhower, a prominent interior designer based in New York – and their brother, historian, author and son-in-law of President Richard Nixon David Eisenhower. The Presidential retreat, Camp David, formerly Camp Shangri-La, was named after David Eisenhower in 1953.

    The memorial’s design was created by Canadian-born American architect Frank Owen Gehry, born as Frank Owen Goldberg to Polish Jewish parents. The memorial is expected to cost US taxpayer over $150 million – plus millions in annual maintenance services….

    https://rehmat1.com/2012/07/29/the-eisenhower-memorial/

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  9. JackOH says:

    Nick, thanks. Petraeus’s “Teflon-icity” does amaze me, but I’ve seen something similar in a local scandal where the low-end perps got it in the teeth, while the alleged kingpin got heavy-duty legal help, and eventually got off the hook.

    I’m something of a failed ingratiater from my early days as a tech writer and ad man. I’d developed good skills, I thought, and even stretched my non-managerial brain to become a pretty good manager. (I copied zealously from strong managers.) Didn’t help much when the company owner shut us down. I don’t have the kiss up/kick down mentality. I’m unwilling to gratuitously disparage people to advance myself. I don’t have the knack for hitching my star to some local Mr. Big. I’ve done those things, some serious arse-kissing, when I was younger, and they just didn’t work for me.

    Having said that, I secretly envy the Silly Putty men who run our world, and seem to be extraordinarily successful at it. It sounds weak, but I envy their incomes, their opportunities, and their fawning admirers.

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  10. This is what Eisenhower warned us against.

    And why many of the founding fathers were wary of standing armies. Standing armies in fact are a very un-American construct.

    “A standing army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the liberties of the people. Such power should be watched with a jealous eye.”

    Samuel Adams, Letter to James Warren (1776), advocating for the formation of militias as opposed to relying on a standing army.

    For little stealing they get you in jail sooner or later, but for big stealing they make you emperor and put your picture in the hall of fame after you croak.” – Emperor Jones, Eugene O’Neill

    Nick, thanks. Petraeus’s “Teflon-icity” does amaze me, but I’ve seen something similar in a local scandal where the low-end perps got it in the teeth, while the alleged kingpin got heavy-duty legal help, and eventually got off the hook.

    In the “City of God,” St. Augustine ( around the 5th century AD),tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. The Emperor angrily demanded of him, “How dare you molest the seas?” To which the pirate replied, “How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor.” St. Augustine thought the pirate’s answer was “elegant and excellent.”

    My favourite Marine Smedley Butler on the “War is a Racket..” and the reality function of the military, to wit……..

    Yup. “War is a Racket” is a true classic and a must read.

    There never was a Golden Age of integrity and self-sacrifice in government.

    True. Anyone who believes otherwise believes in fairy tales.

    “Obsta principiis—Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers and destroyers press upon them so fast that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment … is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependants and expectants, untill virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality, swallow up the whole society.

    John Adams, “Novanglus” letter 3, To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay [6 February 1775]

    Patraeus, Just like James Comey, is another great American “boy scout,” i.e. a brown-nosing, social climbing wuss with a coiffed and manicured resume and a deep, unerring instinct to do whatever is pleasing to his superiors. This is how they ascended to positions of power in the first place.

    Yup, and in my experience, it’s typical for the prissy, preening, pretty boys in the West Point clique. Yuck.

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  11. Pandos says:
    @Brohemius
    A closer inspection of George C. Marshall's career will explain why he shunned publicity. There never was a Golden Age of integrity and self-sacrifice in government. Mr. Turse, I don't think you are that credulous.

    Nice catch.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Could you explain what it was? Thanks.
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  12. guest says:
    @Rehmat
    Nick Turse, you forgot to mention the real stories which made Gen. Petraeus become an "American Hero" - or as professor James Petras called him "Military Poodle of Zionism", and his sex affair with his female biographer. Petraeus aka "Betray US" failed miserably against Muqtada Sadr' militia in Iraq and Taliban in Afghanistan - but the Jewish-controlled press always came to his defense.

    On January 31, 2015, the Pentagon decided not to “punish” disgraced Gen. David Petraeus further on recommendations of Defense secretary Ashton Carter, Jewish lobby favorite.

    “Given the Army review, secretary Carter considers this matter closed,” Jewish-owned Washington Post quoted Stephen Hedger (Jewish), assistant secretary of defense, as saying in a three-sentence letter.

    The letter was sent out to individuals who asked Carter not to consider any more reprimands against Petraeus, including Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Senator John McCain (Christian Zionist), Senator Jack Reed (Jewish) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Jewish). According to military law, the Pentagon had the right to seek further punishment

    This means, Gen. David Petraeus, military poodle of Zionism, currently on probation after paying $100,000 will keep his 4-star military rank and $220,000 annual pension. Earlier in January, there were reports that Carter was mulling Petraeus’ demotion, who then would be liable to return hundreds of thousands of dollars of his pension.

    In July 2010 Philip Giraldi, former CIA official, claimed that David Petraeus had close ties with Israel Lobby through Max Boot and two Kagans, Kimberly and Fred.

    https://rehmat1.com/2016/02/02/jewish-lobby-gets-gen-petraeus-off-the-hook/

    There’s off the hook, then there’s off the hook. He didn’t go to jail, but he was prosecuted. That’s bad for the Golden Boy, though he can cry about his tarnished reputation on his piles of money. But it’s also bad press for the Establishment. Or maybe they need scapegoats every once in a while to pretend no one is above the law. But they couldn’t put Patraeus below the law. He had to have just his head sticking up out of the law.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rehmat
    Gen. Petreaus is not the only one above American justice. There are many other big fish which escaped from the hook.

    Take for example, On November 20, 2015, America’s most celebrated spy/traitor, Jonathon Pollard, was released after serving 30 years in jail. His release was celebrated both in Israel and its US colony.

    Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “dream come true”.

    “As someone who raised Jonathan’s case for years with successive American presidents, I had long hoped this day would come,” said Netanyahu (here and here).

    Pollard’s ex-wife said she always thought Pollard was innocent, and was persecuted because of his religion.

    Pollard, former Naval intelligence analyst, was convicted and sentenced for life in 1985 for working as Israeli spy for which he was paid $2,500/month and over $50,000 as out-of-pocket expense during his espionage career according to court records. But then he started showing his Shylock nature. He threatened his Israeli handler inside Israeli embassy in Washington, to pay an additional $250,000 for his treason against his motherland (USA), or he would sell some the US secret documents to Russia, Apartheid South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, and some Middle Eastern countries. That’s when someone blew whistle on Pollard.

    Netanyahu who awarded Pollard Israeli citizenship a decade ago, has promised a hero’s welcome to Pollard once he is allowed to migrate to Israel. Several roads and parks have been named in Pollard’s honor in Israel.

    Now, compare Pollard’s treatment by Israelis and the Organized Jewry with another Jew, who swindled billions of dollars from Americans, Bernard (Bernie) Madoff. In fact, Madoff, instead of taking money from Israeli embassy, funded Israeli espionage in the US. However, his swindling didn’t differentiate between his Gentile and Jewish victims. Several Jewish and Zionist organization also accused Madoff milking hundreds of millions dollars from them to prove that he was not a “good Jew”.

    “Jews don’t want to hear about negative stereotypes. If you talk about what Jews do wrong as Jews, as an outgrowth of their Jewishness or as part of their association with Jews, they don’t want to hear it. It’s interesting Jews don’t mind exposing Jewish evildoers in Yiddish which happened all the time. But you can’t talk about it in English because “they” can hear,” JJ Goldberg, editorial director, The Jewish Daily Forward, commented on Madoff Affair in May 2009.

    https://rehmat1.com/2015/12/02/pollard-the-good-and-bad-traitors/
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  13. “Through it all, Petraeus waged one of the most deft self-promotion campaigns in recent memory, cultivating politicians, academics, and especially fawning journalists who reported on his running stamina, his penchant for push-ups, and even — I kid you not — how he woke a lieutenant from what was thought to be an irreversible coma by shouting the battle cry of his unit.”

    You forgot the apocryphal story oh him walking across the Tigris without a bridge.

    I did 10 years active service in the ’70′s and ’80s, including a rotation through the OJCS staff, and I used to take great pride in having taken my quant skills to the street where I could make multiples of what some of these kiss-up twats at the topvwere pulling down. Back then most would get cushy exec jobs at defense contractors, which was nice, but not all that grating. Then, during GW 1.0, a bunch of middling types I served with or around started showing up on camera at places like CNN and, later, Fox News … they weren’t making beaucoup bucks, but the gratuities they were getting for these gigs were nevertheless well above their military pay-grades and the skill-sets these folks were bringing to the limelight.

    That opened the door for ticket punchers like Petreus to step into lucrative jobs on the Street, alas at multiples of what I am getting. Truly grating, especially when you look at his old Lat-Am Generallisimo-look uniforms during the BS sessions in front of Congress explaining why all his “accomplishments” kept unraveling. Truly a master of self-promotion.

    All I can say is that if my regulatory filings had disclosures that looked like his, I would be hard-pressed to have a job at anything more than grunt-level. A textbook example of the elites and the dregs getting a pass, while the middle pays the bills.

    Read More
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  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Pandos
    Nice catch.

    Could you explain what it was? Thanks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
    Pardon my boldness, but he caught the fact that the general was not the fine cat as depicted in the usual propaganda and as regurgitated by the author of this otherwise fine piece.

    In short, the usual mythology about Marshall is a load of bogus crap (as usual) and Mr Turse should have been astute enough to at least refrain from perpetuating the myth of Marshall as a good guy. He was more skunk than saint; just like Petraeus and the rest of the hoi oligoi.
    , @donut
    Oh , thanks that cleared it all up .
    , @donut
    Sorry Anonymous that was supposed to be a reply to Jacues Sheete who told as his name promised Jack Shit .
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  15. @Anonymous
    Could you explain what it was? Thanks.

    Pardon my boldness, but he caught the fact that the general was not the fine cat as depicted in the usual propaganda and as regurgitated by the author of this otherwise fine piece.

    In short, the usual mythology about Marshall is a load of bogus crap (as usual) and Mr Turse should have been astute enough to at least refrain from perpetuating the myth of Marshall as a good guy. He was more skunk than saint; just like Petraeus and the rest of the hoi oligoi.

    Read More
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  16. Rehmat says:
    @guest
    There's off the hook, then there's off the hook. He didn't go to jail, but he was prosecuted. That's bad for the Golden Boy, though he can cry about his tarnished reputation on his piles of money. But it's also bad press for the Establishment. Or maybe they need scapegoats every once in a while to pretend no one is above the law. But they couldn't put Patraeus below the law. He had to have just his head sticking up out of the law.

    Gen. Petreaus is not the only one above American justice. There are many other big fish which escaped from the hook.

    Take for example, On November 20, 2015, America’s most celebrated spy/traitor, Jonathon Pollard, was released after serving 30 years in jail. His release was celebrated both in Israel and its US colony.

    Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “dream come true”.

    “As someone who raised Jonathan’s case for years with successive American presidents, I had long hoped this day would come,” said Netanyahu (here and here).

    Pollard’s ex-wife said she always thought Pollard was innocent, and was persecuted because of his religion.

    Pollard, former Naval intelligence analyst, was convicted and sentenced for life in 1985 for working as Israeli spy for which he was paid $2,500/month and over $50,000 as out-of-pocket expense during his espionage career according to court records. But then he started showing his Shylock nature. He threatened his Israeli handler inside Israeli embassy in Washington, to pay an additional $250,000 for his treason against his motherland (USA), or he would sell some the US secret documents to Russia, Apartheid South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, and some Middle Eastern countries. That’s when someone blew whistle on Pollard.

    Netanyahu who awarded Pollard Israeli citizenship a decade ago, has promised a hero’s welcome to Pollard once he is allowed to migrate to Israel. Several roads and parks have been named in Pollard’s honor in Israel.

    Now, compare Pollard’s treatment by Israelis and the Organized Jewry with another Jew, who swindled billions of dollars from Americans, Bernard (Bernie) Madoff. In fact, Madoff, instead of taking money from Israeli embassy, funded Israeli espionage in the US. However, his swindling didn’t differentiate between his Gentile and Jewish victims. Several Jewish and Zionist organization also accused Madoff milking hundreds of millions dollars from them to prove that he was not a “good Jew”.

    “Jews don’t want to hear about negative stereotypes. If you talk about what Jews do wrong as Jews, as an outgrowth of their Jewishness or as part of their association with Jews, they don’t want to hear it. It’s interesting Jews don’t mind exposing Jewish evildoers in Yiddish which happened all the time. But you can’t talk about it in English because “they” can hear,” JJ Goldberg, editorial director, The Jewish Daily Forward, commented on Madoff Affair in May 2009.

    https://rehmat1.com/2015/12/02/pollard-the-good-and-bad-traitors/

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
    As everyone should know, but apparently do not, Netanyahu has a few well hidden skeletons in the closet as well and of course he's well above accountability too.

    Speaking of spying and the like, I wonder how many 'Merkins know ( or care) about this, for instance...:


    “The Israeli press is picking up Grant Smith’s revelation from FBI documents that Benjamin Netanyahu was part of an Israeli smuggling ring that spirited nuclear triggers out of the U.S. in the 80s and 90s.”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/netanyahu-implicated-in-nuclear-smuggling-from-u-s-big-story-in-israel.html

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  17. @Rehmat
    Gen. Petreaus is not the only one above American justice. There are many other big fish which escaped from the hook.

    Take for example, On November 20, 2015, America’s most celebrated spy/traitor, Jonathon Pollard, was released after serving 30 years in jail. His release was celebrated both in Israel and its US colony.

    Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “dream come true”.

    “As someone who raised Jonathan’s case for years with successive American presidents, I had long hoped this day would come,” said Netanyahu (here and here).

    Pollard’s ex-wife said she always thought Pollard was innocent, and was persecuted because of his religion.

    Pollard, former Naval intelligence analyst, was convicted and sentenced for life in 1985 for working as Israeli spy for which he was paid $2,500/month and over $50,000 as out-of-pocket expense during his espionage career according to court records. But then he started showing his Shylock nature. He threatened his Israeli handler inside Israeli embassy in Washington, to pay an additional $250,000 for his treason against his motherland (USA), or he would sell some the US secret documents to Russia, Apartheid South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, and some Middle Eastern countries. That’s when someone blew whistle on Pollard.

    Netanyahu who awarded Pollard Israeli citizenship a decade ago, has promised a hero’s welcome to Pollard once he is allowed to migrate to Israel. Several roads and parks have been named in Pollard’s honor in Israel.

    Now, compare Pollard’s treatment by Israelis and the Organized Jewry with another Jew, who swindled billions of dollars from Americans, Bernard (Bernie) Madoff. In fact, Madoff, instead of taking money from Israeli embassy, funded Israeli espionage in the US. However, his swindling didn’t differentiate between his Gentile and Jewish victims. Several Jewish and Zionist organization also accused Madoff milking hundreds of millions dollars from them to prove that he was not a “good Jew”.

    “Jews don’t want to hear about negative stereotypes. If you talk about what Jews do wrong as Jews, as an outgrowth of their Jewishness or as part of their association with Jews, they don’t want to hear it. It’s interesting Jews don’t mind exposing Jewish evildoers in Yiddish which happened all the time. But you can’t talk about it in English because “they” can hear,” JJ Goldberg, editorial director, The Jewish Daily Forward, commented on Madoff Affair in May 2009.

    https://rehmat1.com/2015/12/02/pollard-the-good-and-bad-traitors/

    As everyone should know, but apparently do not, Netanyahu has a few well hidden skeletons in the closet as well and of course he’s well above accountability too.

    Speaking of spying and the like, I wonder how many ‘Merkins know ( or care) about this, for instance…:

    “The Israeli press is picking up Grant Smith’s revelation from FBI documents that Benjamin Netanyahu was part of an Israeli smuggling ring that spirited nuclear triggers out of the U.S. in the 80s and 90s.”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/netanyahu-implicated-in-nuclear-smuggling-from-u-s-big-story-in-israel.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rehmat
    According to Israeli Jewish professor Neve Gordon Netanyahu while studying at MIT in United States, cheated taxpayer under four different names; Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Nitai, John Jay Sullivan and John Jay Sullivan Jr.

    http://www.wrmea.org/1996-october/spook-terrorist-or-criminal-america-s-mysterious-files-on-netanyahu.html
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  18. @jack shindo
    My favourte Marine Smedley Butler on the "War is a Racket.." and the reality function of the military, to wit........

    I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

    Best maybe not to throw that paragraph around where those Black Lives Matter types can see it.

    Read More
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  19. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Great article. But “In the Bing and Berlin era, following back-to-back victories in world wars, things were different”? C’mon now, it only needs one name – Douglas Macarthur. Plus ca change…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
    Now that you mention it, it's kinda funny how some of the bigshots never miss a chance to prance around on stage, but when the SHTF, they hightail it outta there post haste.

    Where was Marshall when the Pearl Harbor thingy was goin down?

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  20. @Anonymous
    Great article. But "In the Bing and Berlin era, following back-to-back victories in world wars, things were different"? C'mon now, it only needs one name - Douglas Macarthur. Plus ca change...

    Now that you mention it, it’s kinda funny how some of the bigshots never miss a chance to prance around on stage, but when the SHTF, they hightail it outta there post haste.

    Where was Marshall when the Pearl Harbor thingy was goin down?

    Read More
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  21. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair is pretty representative of the integrity of our generals. Think he would have kept his retirement benefits if he’d been enlisted?

    http://www.fayobserver.com/military/army-strips-brig-gen-jeffrey-sinclair-of-two-ranks-reducing/article_f55e6aa7-6bae-5c9b-a264-c095bf101bb7.html

    Read More
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  22. @jack shindo
    My favourte Marine Smedley Butler on the "War is a Racket.." and the reality function of the military, to wit........

    I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

    Major General Smedley (“Old Gimlet Eye”) Butler, USMC was as gallant a fighting man as you’ll find (two Medals of Honor!). He was also a man who believed in defending America–nothing else. No intervention, policeman-of-the-world bullshit for Butler.

    Too bad every American officer isn’t imbued with that mindset.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
    I believe he would have obtained a third MoH but they were not available to officers at the time.

    Anyway, speaking of unaccountable criminals in high places, doesn't this come as a huge shocker? ;)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-07-06/clinton-won-t-face-charges-over-e-mail-practices-lynch-says
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  23. […] Tweet (Kevin Gosztola) (on the Washington double standard, see also): […]

    Read More
  24. @Orville H. Larson
    Major General Smedley ("Old Gimlet Eye") Butler, USMC was as gallant a fighting man as you'll find (two Medals of Honor!). He was also a man who believed in defending America--nothing else. No intervention, policeman-of-the-world bullshit for Butler.

    Too bad every American officer isn't imbued with that mindset.

    I believe he would have obtained a third MoH but they were not available to officers at the time.

    Anyway, speaking of unaccountable criminals in high places, doesn’t this come as a huge shocker? ;)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-07-06/clinton-won-t-face-charges-over-e-mail-practices-lynch-says

    Read More
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  25. donut says:
    @Anonymous
    Could you explain what it was? Thanks.

    Oh , thanks that cleared it all up .

    Read More
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  26. donut says:
    @Anonymous
    Could you explain what it was? Thanks.

    Sorry Anonymous that was supposed to be a reply to Jacues Sheete who told as his name promised Jack Shit .

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
    Now no one can tell you that you don't know JS! ;)
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  27. @donut
    Sorry Anonymous that was supposed to be a reply to Jacues Sheete who told as his name promised Jack Shit .

    Now no one can tell you that you don’t know JS! ;)

    Read More
    • Replies: @donut
    My brother used to live in Vermont . Some people from NY state moved in below him . Every morning there was a bag full of empty liquor bottles on the landing outside their apt . They drove a beat up van with the words "varmint van" spray painted on the side and a bumper sticker that said "I voted for Jack Shit" on the bumper . I may order one of those myself .
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  28. Rehmat says:
    @Jacques Sheete
    As everyone should know, but apparently do not, Netanyahu has a few well hidden skeletons in the closet as well and of course he's well above accountability too.

    Speaking of spying and the like, I wonder how many 'Merkins know ( or care) about this, for instance...:


    “The Israeli press is picking up Grant Smith’s revelation from FBI documents that Benjamin Netanyahu was part of an Israeli smuggling ring that spirited nuclear triggers out of the U.S. in the 80s and 90s.”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/netanyahu-implicated-in-nuclear-smuggling-from-u-s-big-story-in-israel.html

    According to Israeli Jewish professor Neve Gordon Netanyahu while studying at MIT in United States, cheated taxpayer under four different names; Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Nitai, John Jay Sullivan and John Jay Sullivan Jr.

    http://www.wrmea.org/1996-october/spook-terrorist-or-criminal-america-s-mysterious-files-on-netanyahu.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Orville H. Larson
    An ethical, upright fellow, that NuttyYahoo!
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  29. In Case of general Petraeus:
    To paraphrase Sophocles: “When God wants to destroy a general; He first makes him horny”.

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  30. donut says:
    @Jacques Sheete
    Now no one can tell you that you don't know JS! ;)

    My brother used to live in Vermont . Some people from NY state moved in below him . Every morning there was a bag full of empty liquor bottles on the landing outside their apt . They drove a beat up van with the words “varmint van” spray painted on the side and a bumper sticker that said “I voted for Jack Shit” on the bumper . I may order one of those myself .

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete

    a bumper sticker that said “I voted for Jack Shit” on the bumper . I may order one of those myself .

     

    "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected." ;)
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  31. @Rehmat
    According to Israeli Jewish professor Neve Gordon Netanyahu while studying at MIT in United States, cheated taxpayer under four different names; Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Nitai, John Jay Sullivan and John Jay Sullivan Jr.

    http://www.wrmea.org/1996-october/spook-terrorist-or-criminal-america-s-mysterious-files-on-netanyahu.html

    An ethical, upright fellow, that NuttyYahoo!

    Read More
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  32. As stated in this article, Petraeus is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the McCain Institute for International Leadership, the National Security Advisory Council of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and the Atlantic Council. All this organizations advocate the end of the U.S. sovereignty, the cancellation of the Constitution, the elimination of the U.S. borders and the establishment of a global government controlled by oil magnates, international bankers and CEOs of transnational corporations — which they euphemistically call a New World Order.
    As an officer of the U.S. armed forces Petraeus took and Oath by which he swore to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. So, Petraeus is nothing but a traitor. There is no other word to qualify his behavior.

    Read More
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  33. @donut
    My brother used to live in Vermont . Some people from NY state moved in below him . Every morning there was a bag full of empty liquor bottles on the landing outside their apt . They drove a beat up van with the words "varmint van" spray painted on the side and a bumper sticker that said "I voted for Jack Shit" on the bumper . I may order one of those myself .

    a bumper sticker that said “I voted for Jack Shit” on the bumper . I may order one of those myself .

    “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” ;)

    Read More
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  34. but we need experienced people in these top level think tank and consultant jobs. Why shouldn’t retired generals fill them? What was Petraeus’s motivation in sharing the briefing books with the biographer. No doubt to help her with her research. As an army officer herself she is not a bad security risk.
    I would like to read a critique of Petraeus as a general in Iraq. Things did turn around under his command, no? And was he effective at the CIA?

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PastClassics
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?