America’s love affair with its generals

Few things have characterized the post-9/11 American world more than America’s worshipful embrace of its generals, states a think-piece in Le Monde.  They’ve become heroes, sports stars, and celebrities all rolled into one. It’s all a bit creepy when you think about it.

“Even after his recent fall from grace, General David Petraeus was still being celebrated by CNN as the best American general since Dwight D. Eisenhower,” , writes William J. Astore.   “Before his fall from grace, Afghan War Commander General Stanley McChrystal was similarly lauded as one tough customer, a sort of superman-saint.

“Petraeus and McChrystal crashed and burned for the same underlying reason: hubris. McChrystal became cocky and his staff contemptuous of civilian authority;Petraeus came to think he really could have it all, the super-secret job and the super-sexy mistress. An ideal of selfless service devolved into self-indulgent preening in a wider American culture all-too-eager to raise its star generals into the pantheon of Caesars and Napoleons, and its troops into the halls of Valhalla.

The English used to say of American troops in World War II that they were “overpaid, over-sexed, and over here.” Now we’re overhyped, oversold, and over there, wherever “there” might happen to be in a constantly shifting, perpetual war on terror.

In our particular drama, generals may well be the actors who strut and fret their hour upon the stage, but their directors are the national security complex and associated politicians, their producers the military-industrial complex’s corporate handlers, and their agents a war-junky media. And we, the audience in the cheap seats, must take some responsibility as well. Even when our military adventures spiral down after a promising opening week, the enthusiastic applause the American public has offered to our celebrity military adventurers and the lack of pressure on the politicians who choose to fund them only serve to keep bullets flying and troops dying.

 

For complete article, see: http://mondediplo.com/openpage/sucking-up-to-the-military-brass

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