General Betrayus Patraeus, The All-American Pinocchio
Nudge nudge, wink wink. In a military coup d'état against the people and constitution of the United States, General Betrayus Petraeus is named the first military commander to head the CIA, a happy hour or two before Osama bin Laden is pepper-potted in a heavily-guarded Pakistani military compound. I try to believe at least three improbable things before cappuccino hour ends at eleven 'o clock after sunrise every morning here in Italy, thereafter receiving old-fashioned looks the Italians reserve for the infidel straniere who demand such refreshment thereafter. Be that as it may, the end of one fiend and the rise of another are by natural conclusion, connected.
Betrayus Petraeus, fainting on cue under intimidating Congressional inquisition, is a soldierly incompetent and narcissist who spends at least thirty minutes each morning preening in his wife's bathroom mirror before he gets the knot of his tie perfectly right. Then to the stage, make-up ready for the day's informed chat show and intimate conferences, aided by platform heels, as Little Big Man leaves in his heavily guarded convoy to make and shake the agenda for the day. David Howell Betrayus Petraeus has no idea what this is except to pursue the same war-botching techniques which turned Iraq into an upturned toilet swamped with a million and more dead. The rabbit teeth don't help with the conviction process. Is he Roger Rabbit incarnate? He certainly looks like him.
Betrayus Petraeus is, shall we say, 'short' in the vision department. His idea of an entertaining and intellectual discussion on America's endless wars is the equivalent of steak and coke with freedom fries and a fruit ice chaser. His uniform attracts unearned medals like fridge magnets. He is the perfect and odious testament to an America warped and destroyed, spending forty billion bucks a year refrigerating GI tents in Afghanistan, before their bodies and shattered brains get the bum's rush when they need expensive medicare treatment at home. I just saw an awful picture of a soldier with half his head shot away, kneeling in his mother's lap. Think about that, before you go to bed.
Betrayus Petraeus is not just a sock puppet with a stupid face. He is the living emblem of America's tugging of the entire world into the threshold of WW3.
Traditionally, the CIA and the Pentagon get along like Dick Cheney armed with a machine gun blind-folded at a tethered turkey shoot. The Pentagon chiefs of staff led by General Lyman Lemnitzer, who thought JFK was 'some kind of patrol boat captain', egged the soft-shoe shufflers at the agency into the Bay of Pigs, so the Pentagon could collect the eggs laid by predestined disaster. Lemnitzer thought it would destroy Kennedy, but it didn't, so he had him shot anyway.
In charge of NATO, Lemnitzer laid waste to Europe, with the infamous Gladio secret soldiers who shot, murdered and bombed innocent civilians to convince them Russian boots were on the doorstep. Little Big Man is Lemnitzer's natural successor, a strange creature without moral parameters except aching for recognition versus his tightly confined inferiority complex.
Of course, there is another way of looking at the Betrayus Petraeus phenomenon, the over-promoted and easily flattered twerp who really thinks he is the cat's whiskers. This makes him useful to powerful actors behind the scenes who understand this pompous khaki marionette will serve whoever pulls the strings. Compared to Lemnitzer, a Machiavellian schemer, Roger Rabbit Petraeus is a marine corporal, not even capable of scraping shoulders with the clever and calculating survivor Radar character in the epochal MASH series.
With Gates to Defense and Little Big Man to the CIA, we see the final triumph of the military-industrial complex, whose malignant powers Eisenhower recognized far too late. (He didn't know about the financial-industrial-media complex in his day). This powder-puffed, preening ersatz general and his worthless, unearned fridge magnets are a significant feature of America's descent into a permanent warrior power. Mentally water-boarded by the opera bouffe of Bin Laden's salty end, Americans in thrall to hate the war, love the soldier mentality are, I am afraid, going to get what has long been coming to them.
Richard Cottrell is the author of Gladio, NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe, a forthcoming attraction from Progressive Press.