Michael's Dispatches

Petraeus: A Sad Day for the United States


12 November 2012

photo-1000(Photo courtesy of CIA)

General (ret.) David Petraeus is a peerless asset to the United States.  His contributions to the war and to the nation have been incalculable.  No one can estimate the number of lives among Americans, the Coalition and Iraqi civilians that his wise leadership saved during that horrible war.  His short leadership in Afghanistan rekindled my confidence that that war also might be brought to heel.  Unfortunately, he was sent back to lead the CIA, which was a great loss for the military.
Director Petraeus's accomplishments can never be erased.  He will undoubtedly be demonized for his affair.  It is not easy to ameliorate the stain that it leaves, as the potential final word summing up an impeccable career.

All Alphas have enemies.  Petraeus is no exception.  The finest leaders usually have more enemies than the company men whose mantra is, "Don't bail the sinking boat. The boss said the boat is not sinking." Unfortunately we have a surfeit of company men and only one Dave Petraeus.

Petraeus’s paramour is Paula Broadwell.  I know Paula, but not as well as I know Dave Petraeus.  I spent much time talking with Paula in Afghanistan.  Her beauty and her confidence are apparent in seconds.  It takes another five minutes to realize that she is very bright, and five minutes more to realize that Paula, too, is an Alpha.  She believes that women should be Rangers, and infantry officers, and are capable of standing beside men in combat. Ironically, her role in this spectacle serves as a counter to her own argument.

David Petraeus spent years downrange in the wars.  Some of his own staff members bailed from the stress, yet General Petraeus kept going.  In the middle of all this, he battled cancer and survived.  During a 2010 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, he passed out at the table.  Yet he kept going and he never publicly complained.  And then Paula came along.  You might as well starve the man and then cook barbeque outside his cave.

During 2007, at the peak of the Iraq war, an infantry lieutenant colonel told me about the time that Colonel Petraeus was shot during training.  A Soldier accidentally put a bullet straight through Petraeus’s chest.  Blood and lungs were coming from his mouth.  Petraeus nearly died.

Normally a mistake like this might end the career of the Soldier who fired the shot, and it might adversely affect the career of his commanding officer.  Instead, Colonel Petraeus survived and he sent the young Soldier to Ranger school. It was the young commander, now older, who told me the story in Iraq. His man fired the shot that almost killed Petraeus.   If Petraeus had kicked the young officer out of the Army, it would have been our loss. Instead, Petraeus took a bullet to the chest and he turned it into a teachable moment.  That is David Petraeus.

Today journalists and others whinge that they were duped into the cult of Petraeus.  Untrue.  He really is that man, but he is also just a man.

Petraeus has a long reputation as a mentor.  Any insinuation that he used mentorship to prey on Paula Broadwell falls flat.  You can hardly talk to the man without him leaving you with a reading assignment.  "Michael, make sure to read Foreign Affairs."  With this one remarkable exception, the man leads by example.

Paula's intentions are the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. It is unwise to hypothesize without facts, and Paula deserves the benefit of proper investigation. She is somebody’s daughter, a wife and a mother, and an American citizen.

David Petraeus has enemies.  Many wish to see him fall.  For example, years ago, a CIA officer confided an abiding hatred for General Petraeus to me. After the CIA officer explained the circumstances, I respected Petraeus more.  The officer had a sack of hurt feelings after a combat disaster in Iraq, to which Petraeus, instead of offering a shoulder to cry on, said buck up, there is work to do.

In Afghanistan, I would see Paula at the morning briefings where Petraeus presided. She is connected within powerful circles, including within the special operations community.  Access begets access, and once you reach a certain level, you no longer care about doors slamming in your face: every time a door slams, the concussion opens five more.  Access is a two-way street. Washington has a million doors down thousands of hallways, and nobody, no matter how powerful, controls more than a single hallway.  After you reach a certain level of access, nobody can shut you out.  Paula reached that level, and Paula enjoyed playing with high-tension wires where a single misstep can pop a career like a bug zapper, slamming thousands of doors at once.  Where this leaves Paula remains to be seen.

Conspiracy theories are crackling the airwaves.  The timing of the DCI’s resignation obviously raises questions, but the atomic structure of the event at least is clear.  Dave and Paula had an affair.  Dave preferred to resign rather than be fired.  What was okay for President Clinton is not okay for other government servants, and we all need to keep a handle on that.

No man is without fault.  This fiasco does not diminish David Petraeus's contributions to the United States, nor his positive impact on the many people that he inspired and mentored.  Dave stumbled. He is fallible. Nonetheless, he remains a remarkable man with rare insights and much earned wisdom.  After a decade of persistent sacrifice, he deserves a rest.  When General (ret.) Petraeus is ready to resume, no doubt there will be a long line of people requesting his able services.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rudy · 9 years ago
    He hung 2 SEALs and an Ambassador out to dry - conspiracy-murder and I don't care how many cracker jack medals he wears - his selfish failure to act led to their deaths - inexcusable.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Domenico · 9 years ago
      What a load of crap
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      Pat · 9 years ago
      Rudy, Hilary Clinton was responsible for the affiar as the Secretary of State. The SEAlS were no longer SEALS and did not work for the CIA.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Ken Skavland · 9 years ago
        Get your facts straight. They were working for the CIA, not the state dept.They were on a completely different mission.
        Petraeus is being put under the bus to protect Obama. This administration doesn't want him to talk.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Paul Garner, TSgt · 9 years ago

      My mother taught me that unless I had walked in another man's shoes I should never demean him. The General spent over 40 years in the service of his country, wounded in action, survived a bad parachute jump and cancer, then you make a snide remark about the "crackerjack" medals he wears. I am one that wears some of the many medals he wears which I won the hard way and I represent the millions of active duty, retirees and veterans who have also won those medals honorably. You, sir, have demeaned and insulted all of us. You have no honor at all nor are you fit to kiss his jockstrap.

      Paul Garner
      TSgt (Ret), USAF
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Lawrence Neal · 9 years ago
        He spent 40 years in the service of his career. He was a military bureaucrat that sent other men out to do the fighting and dying. The majority of the medals in his ostentatious display were earned by the effort and sacrifice of others, for which he took the credit, as 'leader'. Your mother was correct, however, officers above lieutenant don't lead, they direct, often far above or from the action.

        Battles are not won by generals, or by tactics; but by Men, and with Blood.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Lawrence Neal · 9 years ago
          I was wrong about his medals. In reading about his awards, a Bronze Star with a V is noted. V is for an act of heroism. How he managed this in a non-combat role, it's not said. Also, Four awards of the Legion of merit, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. It seems that the higher the non-combat awards go, the fancier they get. With the exception of the Bronze Star, non of his ribbons are even remotely for combat. I was erroneous in saying his ribbons were earned by the effort and sacrifices of others, I assumed they were combat awards.
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          Carmen Modelski · 9 years ago
          Seems to me you forgot we all joined as volunteers and that the main mission of an Army is to fight and defend. People tend to die in wars bud, and last time I checked people don't enter the service as generals - he did his time before joining the bureacrats. Crackerjack medals huh? Sore 'cause you didn't earn many?
          • This commment is unpublished.
            Lawrence Neal · 9 years ago
            I assume this was meant for me... When he and I went in, there was still a draft, and both of us volunteered. I would assume he was career oriented from the start, I just wanted to act out what I had seen on TV all my life. I honestly don't know what his early career was like, if he was in combat, or a staff officer. I did notice he was wounded in a training incident, not combat. I think he was always administration material... it was his forte'. I do take issue with people who don't fight having chests full of medals, and the fact that in the same action, officers always receive higher awards than the enlisted men that took the fore. I got some medals, Purple Heart, Air Medal with a V and 50 device for hours flown, Cross with Palms from Vietnam for flying at the siege of An Loc. Some others, not many. Medals weren't my interest.
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              Arlene · 9 years ago
              Good Lord, Lawrence, it's a simple task to check wikapedia (for one) before you start condeming the man. The greatest Militarys in history were great because, they had great leaders.
              • This commment is unpublished.
                Lawrence Neal · 9 years ago
                I wasn't condemning him, as so many others have. I'm saying he was an administrator, not a fighter. I'm also wondering when they started giving ribbons for administrative achievements. It's not only Petraeus, it's the whole officer 'give-your-buddy-a-medal' thing, so all these desk jockeys walk around with medals down to their waist.

                Further, I don't condemn, or even look askance at his affair. It has been said that both Petraeus and Broadwell are Alphas. Alphas are intensely sexual, it goes with the job description. Look at Paula, look at Holly. One was obviously offering something the other wasn't, probably for a long time.

                How is it that countries without 'great militaries' are able to avoid being embroiled in wars?

                Reading on Wikipedeia, he has been in combat zones, but not in combat, by which I mean facing enemy fire. It says he led his division through fierce fighting, but I'm willing to bet that he directed his division through fierce fighting. Patton was the last to actually get up on the front lines during fighting. He was wounded in a training accident, when someone tripped. He was injured in a civilian skydiving accident.

                In reading about his awards, a Bronze Star with a V is noted. V is for an act of heroism. How he managed this in a non-combat role, it's not said. Also, Four awards of the Legion of merit, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. It seems that the higher the non-combat awards go, the fancier they get. With the exception of the Bronze Star, non of his ribbons are even remotely for combat. I was erroneous in saying his ribbons were earned by the effort and sacrifices of others, I assumed they were combat awards.

                I do not demean his abilities and accomplishments, nor his affair. I point out that much is made of calling people leaders, which means in the front, as in 'Follow Me', when in fact they are directors, which is done from the rear.
                • This commment is unpublished.
                  DG · 9 years ago
                  Lawrence, it looks like you've lessened the fire a bit since you're initial comment, and I can understand your perspective.

                  One observation, though - the military today is much, much different than that of Vietnam. I mention this because many of my father's generation noticeably turn cold when they learn I'm an officer (active duty infantry, 7 deployments since 2001). The fact is the relationship between officers and NCOs, and how officer's see their responsibilities in the fight, is simply not the same now - with an all-volunteer force and 10+ years of combat. My perspective - and of course it's a large Army, and the Infantry/SOF unit's I've served in have particularly competent people - but NCOs are highly respected, if not idolized, while officers consider it their absolute duty to "lead from the front" and play a worthwhile combat leadership role. This includes at ranks above LT - every BN and BDE Commander I've served with put themselves in at least as much - if not more - danger than their Soldiers, on top of the "administrative" (or really the staff/targeting) side of running the war. They're not kicking in doors, of course, but they're on patrols, they're driving the IED-ridden roads, etc.

                  The role/responsibilities I think are clear enough, and the responsibility of leadership taken seriously enough, than there is a considerable amount of trust between the officer/NCO sides of the house. It is not adverserial. I'm sure there will be dissenting examples - there always are, cynicism is flows freely when you match a new Specialist with a knuckle-headed butter bar or something - but I think my experiance is representative of the overall culture.

                  Regarding P4 - I don't think anyone who knew him or studied his career would say he's done anything but try to help the Army and do his duty. When combat started he was a division commander - so of course he wasn't kick doors. He was, however, probably pulling 18+ hour days for the next 11 years, deploying more than most other people in the military, and sacrificing every bit of himself to get the job done. That is admirable, and I think he earned the accolades he received. The few chances I've met him he was incredibly considerate, thoughtful, and helpful - and he followed up personally with an email on a question we discussed (I was a junior CPT at the time). He did the same with NCOs/junior enlisted.

                  Apologies for the ramble... Just my .02. Perspective is important.

                  My thanks for your service - Happy Veteran's Day (belated).
                  • This commment is unpublished.
                    Lawrence Neal · 9 years ago
                    I apologize for the late reply, got busy, then an email virus running through Yahoo. As a side note, I would caution everyone against clicking on links when nothing much else is in the email, even when it's from someone you know. As soon as you click on the link, it sends itself to everyone in your address book. If this happens, you MUST change your email password, or problems with your email will start in a couple of weeks.

                    Yes, I've calmed down some. Seeing an administrative officer under heavy burden of medals and being called a great soldier, reignited old resentments. A little time, and input from others, I feel more reasonable.

                    It's true, my perspective is 40 years old. I'm glad to know that things have improved in the military. I'm also reminded of an article on this site, when Michael picked up a weapon. There's video of a LTC running right into the fore, and taking some shots. At the time I saw it, I thought, 'THERE'S a Leader'.

                    Other things have changed too. At the time, my four tours were considered a lot of time in-country. Now, soldiers are regularly putting in 7 - 8 and more tours as a matter of course. My helmet's off to them.

                    There was a lot of resentment during VietNam, and staff officers received preferential treatment. I read an account in a book, of General Westmoreland once flying out to a field position with the hot Thanksgiving meals, and then addressing the troops for so long that the meals were cold. AS IF they had any interest in what he was saying. Having learned, thanks again, Arlene, I looked him up, he was an artillery officer during WWII, most of his awards are non-combat, although there are two awards of the Bronze Star without the V.

                    I'm glad for this conversation, and the input from everyone. I'll say again, I don't demean Petraeus's ability or accomplishments, or his affair (guys and gals will do what they have to d , and it's good to hear personal accounts from people that actually encountered him.

                    And, thank you, and everyone in uniform for their service.
                • This commment is unpublished.
                  Mimi Jacobs · 9 years ago
                  [quote name="Lawrence Neal"]...much is made of calling people leaders, which means in the front, as in 'Follow Me', when in fact they are directors, which is done from the rear.[/quote]

                  I love that sentence. It applies in many non-combat situations.

                  It is so rare to see anyone try to find facts, and acknowledge when they don't agree with one's initial opinion, that I wanted to offer some encouragement and thanks to Laurence.

                  Faced with the choice of changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. — John Kenneth Galbraith
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Charles, Bath · 9 years ago

    Interesting. But I have 2 questions:

    Firstly, why was Petraeus removed from Afghanistan?

    Secondly, doesn't it seem utterly crazy that his public career may come to an end over this?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matt · 9 years ago
    I agree Mike, this is a net loss for the US. Unfortunately I'm not really surprised. Watching her Daily Show interview is worth the time; even at the original airing however many months ago I told my girlfriend that the lady seemed ... I dunno, scary, kind of. A little too boastful about her close (professionally close, I assumed) relationship with the general.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Greg · 9 years ago
    Well said...The honest truth, we all fall short of the Glory of God. This will not erase his great accomplishments.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      JHM · 9 years ago
      It is true and cannot be denied that he has accomplished much for the United States.

      The sad part it, prior to this most would use two words to describe him ... Integrity and Ethical.

      You cannot apply those when the time you admit the mistake is after you have been outed.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Travis · 9 years ago
    He is a great leader; I hope he can work through these problems and have a great life in retirement. He deserves it!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    RogerDane · 9 years ago
    Well said, well written and thoughtful.

    I have heard a nearly identical commentary from a personal friend who supports your perspective. I, we, don't know what happened in either the 'affair' or the Stevens FUBAR and I'm not sure we'll ever know the latter fully. Frankly Gen. Petraeus looks like a dupe in the Libya fiasco and I'm not sure how he allowed himself that place.

    Even in this writing you stand in no man's land and I appreciate your solidarity with a warrior and your willingness to be counted! Be safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Thomas Dikel · 9 years ago
    I don't think any of us really know in any detail what happened in Benghazi. Not yet anyway. From what I've understood, it was not CIA that dropped the ball, it was the military that failed to send in back-up that was available (on the air-strip) and waiting. CIA I believe had people, like the two SEALS, who ran to the battle. Also, CIA is not responsible for Consulate security. That falls to the Dept. of State, with more bone-heads and ass-kissers than nearly any other department in the Government.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      mermaid michele · 9 years ago
      With 'Hitlery' in charge of the State dept , She is fulfilling it's WWII mandate to protect and preserve the NAzi Dynasty Families who FUNDED Hitler and ran his operations. [and to this day have retained their PROFITS from same!] But now 40+ years later, no one really wants to even see the unclassified documents that John Loftus [America's Nazi Secrets] has provided the public through undaunting courage and perserverance to expose the truth about our own country's shameful and deeply disturbing legacy regarding The State Dept's criminal treasonous activities on behalf of certain Industrialist 'American' families -and their secret adoption of Nazi war criminals and murderers, THEY financed and retained the blood money of! WE ARE STILL operating under the same criminality! Petraeus must have been deemed a liability or a potential threat to these same PTB. Nothing simply 'happens' at that level of gov't. The military's unit integrity is still a powerful and therefore 'dangerous' to the stranglehold of the Executive and 'Legal' branches of govt. This 'forever war' with the world has roots in the war that certain US traitorous families have generated, fomented and often created solely for the purpose of hiding their crimes from every other branch of government. Many today cannot suspend disbelief about the probablities because it is simply and profoundly incredible to read the Library of Congress documents and try to comprehend the ease and longevity of "denial" and utterly complicit generations of those who suceeded in betraying so much -by abusing their positions and lying to cover for their own terrible mistakes and crimes. and how far along this corruption of silence within the structure and substance of every branch of gov't. existed! We have met the enemy and indeed he is US. I'm in awe of folks like Michael Yon. You sir represent what one human being can do to regain and restore integrity and probity into our American human legacy. Thank You! I will be sending my donation/subscription dues shortly. As soon as 'Uncle Sam' sends the war hazard pay owed! Stay safe and honest!
      • This commment is unpublished.
        mermaid michele · 9 years ago
        I would like to add that this has direct and significant relevance to our current "middle Eastern" brotherhood connection.
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    Lorenz Gude · 9 years ago
    Thank you Michael for excellent insight into the nature of the two individuals. I also have to point out that this portrait based on actually knowing the people involved gives us your take directly without attempting to fit it into the convention of pretending to avoid the personal and the candid. As you say, you are a writer, not a journalist, and as a result we have not just facts, but understanding.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    whamprod · 9 years ago
    Michael, I first became aware of Gen. Petraeus back when you first started writing about him during the Iraq war, and I've followed his career from a distance since then.

    For what it is worth, I always had misgivings about his becoming DCI, not because I thought him unqualified for the job, but rather because I thought that a man of Petraeus's capabilities and personal integrity would always do better in the military, where character and integrity are more likely to be rewarded, rather than in the snake pit of an administration and DC politics where men of integrity and character are few and far between. One doesn't get to be a general officer without understanding how politics is played, but there are men and women who get there by playing that game very well, and others who get there on sheer ability and character. My sense is that Petraeus is the latter rather than the former. But that is just my opinion, and it's worth exactly what it cost me to write it.

    Petraeus's leadership would be a blessing to any corporation or charity, but there is really only one job in Washington DC that he is really made for, and that is POTUS—not working in a POTUS administration. A president like Obama, a classic narcissist totally lacking in personal integrity, would feel threatened by a man of Petraeus's caliber, and even if this particular debacle had not occurred, it would have been a matter of time before he would have resigned in frustration anyway. I could be wrong about that, but that's what comes to mind.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heath · 9 years ago
    That story made me think of our first U.S. President George Washington , I don't have the exact story as that story was passed down throughout American generations. The troops were lifting a log or a covered wagon or something can't remember exactly what it was. The point is George Washinton in the middle of the wintertime helped his troops lift a wagon ? Maybe someone has the story of George Washington helping his troops. Our first General and U.S. President George Washinton is just like General Petraeus.
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    Heywood Jablomi · 9 years ago
    All of this because a girl got jealous of another girl.

    Paula has been characterized as a prototypical high-achiever.

    Another way to look at this is that Paula gets what Paula wants.

    I feel such sympathy for Mrs. Petraeus, and for the poor guy who is married to Paula Broadwell.

    For Petraeus....well, I hope that the poontang was worth it. This could be the most expensive piece of ass in the recent history of mankind.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Brian · 9 years ago
      "This could be the most expensive piece of ass in the recent history of mankind"

      I think Tiger Woods holds the record for that.
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      Janice Stroud · 9 years ago
      [quote name="Heywood Jablomi"]All of this because a girl got jealous of another girl.

      Paula has been characterized as a prototypical high-achiever.

      Another way to look at this is that Paula gets what Paula wants.

      I feel such sympathy for Mrs. Petraeus, and for the poor guy who is married to Paula Broadwell.

      For Petraeus....well, I hope that the poontang was worth it. This could be the most expensive piece of ass in the recent history of mankind.[/quote]

      Well part of me wants to say it kind of takes 2 to tango and I would want to give Petraeus some credit that it would take more than just attractive "pootang" for him to put his marriage and his career at stake? Inasmuch as I feel Petraeus has served this nation above and beyond, that his accomplishments and contributions should outweigh this mistake and it is not for any of us to judge a person's moral compass, I sadly think this is going to be what the general public remembers: that he cheated on his wife with a younger, attractive woman.
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    Charlie Foxtrot · 9 years ago
    And whatever happened, happened. Gen. Petraeus has proven himself over his career, and now must answer only to himself and to God.

    But not having forgot everything the Green Machine taught me about laying in the weeds, this stinks to high heaven.

    And if you're going back in-country, check six.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Carmen Modelski · 9 years ago
      Just what I've been thinking - someone had to fall for one of the many messes at the top and the s--t finally got on him.

      We will NEVER know the honest truth about this and I for one will always remember him as one of the best warriors and leaders our Army has ever seen.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matt Stokes · 9 years ago
    Petraeus is (notice present tense) an amazing leader with much in common with many, inclusive of his weaknesses. His understanding of Counter Insurgency is uncanny as you have written in your books and articles.
    I have learned to wait until the dust settles and long-term history puts all into perspective.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    chris higgins · 9 years ago
    Thanks for a nice summary. The story of his getting shot in a training accident speaks volumes for his leadership skills. Perhaps we can all turn this event into a learning experience. I am sure he is doing this. He has some work cut for himself on the family front. Resigning lets him focus on that front. Maybe we can all reflect on the price that 11 years of war is exacting on our country, especially on the military.
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    Jerry Kelly · 9 years ago
    The General may have been exposed by foreign intelligence with access to the Google research park in Israel.....He tried to back peddle but never was forgiven for his remarks about the zionists.
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    Barry Sheridan · 9 years ago
    The resignation of former General David Petraeus on these grounds is simply absurd. It makes one wonder quite what the issue really is. For a start, such behaviour, while certainly shabby, is commonplace to everyday life and no longer worthy of much comment, never mind hypocritical moralising. The only parties who have any right to feel injury in such cases are the husband or wife of the involved parties. It is no one else's business but theirs, though I understand this takes some swallowing, but is it not time to admit some of the truths about our culture, not least that far too many no longer want to be inhibited by a well defined strict moral codes. Such stances have gradually been abandoned along with much else I am sorry to say.
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    Heath · 9 years ago
    Michael, this is the story of General & CinC George Washington .

    One day, during the Revolutionary War, General George Washington stepped out of his tent. It was extremely cold, and the wind was blowing. The demands of leading an army were weighing heavy on him, so he decided to go for a walk around the camp. In his long coat, and with his collar turned up no one could recognize him as the commander of the Continental Army.

    Washington came across a group of soldiers under the command of a corporal who was out to show he was in charge. They were building a tall rampart of logs and the corporal kept barking orders, “Up with it! Push harder! What’s your problem?” Trying with all their might to push the final log in place up top, they couldn’t do it. Every time the last log would come crashing down. The corporal would shout out again, “Up with it! Push harder! What’s your problem?” Once more they would heave hoe only to have the log fall again.

    Washington finally ran up and pushed with all of his might and finally the log fell into place. Before the soldiers could thank him, Washington said to the corporal, “Why didn’t you help your men with the heavy lifting?” He said, “Don’t you see? I’m a corporal!”

    Washington replied, “I see.” He then opened up his coat and revealed his uniform, and he said, “I’m the Commander-in Chief. The next time you have a log too heavy for your men to lift, send for me!”

    In life there are some things that just don’t change. We should pray, read our Bibles, worship with other believers, grow spiritually. To that list we should also add serving. It doesn’t matter how highly you are ranked, or how highly you get “promoted.” It doesn’t matter how much responsibility you shoulder in your place of work. Your IQ score, your popularity, the number of friends you have on Facebook, the amount of text messages you send and receive, the size of your family, the size of your 401K, or the size of your salary. None of that changes the believer’s call to serve.

    Washington was a great leader because he wasn’t afraid to get in there and do some heavy lifting. In reality the best leaders are great servants. If you don’t serve well you’ll never lead well. The example of Washington reminds us of an even greater leader and greater servant – Jesus. He humbled himself and served us graciously by dying for us on a cross, washing our sins by his grace when we were unable to wash ourselves.

    Notice Galatians 5:1 – For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.


    http://arlie .wordpress.com/2009/06/18/george-washington-on-serving/
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Elizaberth · 9 years ago
      Wow! Right on and thank you for the story.
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        Heath · 9 years ago
        [quote name="Elizaberth"]Wow! Right on and thank you for the story.[/quote]

        Elizabeth , you are welcome. :-)
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    Heath · 9 years ago
    I forgive General David Petraeus for his adultery and I think he will go on to be an excellent U.S. President should General Petraeus choose to run for the U.S. Presidency.
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    Dan, NE · 9 years ago
    I am no fan of the idea that General Petraeus is somehow more an expert on COIN, than any previous Marine or Army General, but it is obvious that he was seen as a leader and politician by the "decision-makers" in government. Regardless of one's feelings or thoughts about the man, it is still tragic that events are unfolding this way. Sadly, this will cloud and derail the real issues; Benghazi.

    Paula is a w#@€£, and there is no way around that. Gen. Petraeus is weak. And in the end it's Mrs. Petraeus left alone and suffering because of these two. That is what is sad.
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    USMC - 2023277 · 9 years ago
    The main stream media (mms) will certainly use the Patreaus story to distract us from their bungled investigative reporting of the Benghazi situation.
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    Pat · 9 years ago
    I met GEN Petraeus twice when I was stationed with the MNF-I surgeons office at the Al Faw Palace. He was very personable and I heard he did not suffer fools lightly. The affair does not diminish the respect I have for him and his acomplishments. Does anyone remember Kay Summersby and GEN Eisenhower?
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    LT** · 9 years ago
    "Paula, too, is an Alpha. She believes that women should be Rangers, and infantry officers, and are capable of standing beside men in combat. Ironically, her role in this spectacle serves as a counter to her own argument."

    She cant possibly believe women are capable, if she felt that strongly about it the affair would of never happened. jmho..how could you stand next to a man in combat if your sleeping with him? it doesnt make sense to me.
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      Michael Milton-Hall · 9 years ago
      [quote name="LT**"]"Paula, too, is an Alpha. She believes that women should be Rangers, and infantry officers, and are capable of standing beside men in combat. Ironically, her role in this spectacle serves as a counter to her own argument."

      She cant possibly believe women are capable, if she felt that strongly about it the affair would of never happened. jmho..how could you stand next to a man in combat if your sleeping with him? it doesnt make sense to me.[/quote]

      Better yet - How could he/she stand next to someone in combat that is intimately involved with your jealous squad-mate?
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    E. Hunter · 9 years ago
    Though not military, I have genuine respect for those who serve. I followed the General's career with great interest. As you so aptly put it, he is an Alpha, but still just a man. And he was weak once and was caught. I think that the character, integrity and honor that our military men and women develop while in the service is a code that surpasses any other group of people out there and the General broke that code and it broke his heart. Out of respect for all the military people that live by this code and those of us who know it and respect it, he resigned. The right and correct thing to do. If one can go honorably out of this mess somehow, then he will. I'm sure it will haunt him all of his remaining days, and for that I am sorry for him. A great man and leader was lost to us and this fine country. A sad day indeed.
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    Hack · 9 years ago
    Sorry Michael, Petraeus may have done a fantastic job in Iraq and Afghanistan, but being the head of the CIA and carrying on an affair is unbelivable. This is the stuff of spie stories, I'm not saying there is a conspiracy, I am saying this shows and incredible lack of judgment. Furthermore, the guy was an Army General, supposedly the height of integrity and honor, he has no excuse. Michael, you also say he has enemies, which I do not doubt, but then why give them ammo to use against you? Petraeus knowing that again shows a serious lack of judgment. Also lets not forget his wife and kids who he basically said screw you too.
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    Bob Baird · 9 years ago
    Rudy, get a life! You don't have anymore of a clue to what happened then any one else out here in this 50/50 country. Plus, it is really none of anybodys fing business outside the family on personal matters. Get over it and lets get the Bengazi deal straight and see where the chips fall.
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      TJ · 9 years ago
      "...it is really none of anybodys **** business outside the family on personal matters."
      Bob, I do wish life were so simple. However, if your point was correct, why would anyone care if our Secret Service guys were diddling around in Columbia or if Clinton was doing it in the WH? Like Hack said above, why give your enemies ammo to use against you? Absolute integrity is absolutely necessary in Petraeus' position.
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    ilene neterer · 9 years ago
    Lets not throw the baby out with the

    bathwater. I was the first wife of a

    womanizer who has now married for the

    fourth time. There is no end to this

    since the beginning of creation. I

    would hope that David would ask for

    forgiveness and it would be received

    with loving restoration. Holly (his

    wife) should not take this personally.

    They have the best years ahead of

    them to make up for lost time. I

    hope this ends well.
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    R Daneel · 9 years ago
    "...Paula deserves the benefit of proper investigation. She is somebody’s daughter, a wife and a mother, and an American citizen."

    Given. But the timing of this thing stinks to high heaven. And because of that, Rudy, you will never know the truth of this fiasco. But keep up with your bias. I am sure it serves you....
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    David Hindin · 9 years ago
    This is the stuff of tragedy as Michael aptly writes.
    Vulnerability to blackmail is an anathema to the Intelligence Community security system.
    At the end of the day, General Petraeus had no choice but to eliminate a weak link which was unfortunately himself.
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    Mike Ecko · 9 years ago
    Gen. Petraeus has lost nothing but his pride. He reminds me of King David who took the wife of one of his Generals. To cover up the affair and pregnancy he sent this General into the heat of battle expecting him to die, which is what happened. However, nothing takes God by surprise and David was punished severely. But God is a loving God and David's sin was forgiven and he continued to be one of Israels greatest kings. If Petraeus is the man we think he is there is much more to follow.
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    Marine Mom · 9 years ago
    My son, just completed 5 years in the Marine Corps. After serving 10 months in Afghanistan, on his way home, he and his team had the opportunity to meet with General (ret.) Petraeus. He wanted to know about their experience and to thank them for their service. My son called me as soon as he could to tell me about his up close and personal meeting. The fact that such a high ranking General would take the time to just sit and listen to these young men says volumes about his character. I have held him in high regard ever since. It meant a lot to my son and it meant a lot to me as a mother. General (ret.) Petraeus is a remarkable man and an exemplary leader. I don't know the reasons behind this affair or why he was forced out. I don't care. None of that changes his prior actions of leadership and honor. He is a man, capable of doing things that may later be regretted. How can any of us sit in judgement of him? It is not our business. What is our business is whether any of this affected his ability to perform his duties to our country. And if not, then I believe that those who are behind this have made a grave error, and must be very small, insecure men who probably need to grow a pair. He will always be an example of how to lead. Just my opinion, Dr. JBA, Organizational Leadership.
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    Sun Tzu · 9 years ago
    For him to fall on his sword over a trivial affair, that was probably nothing more than lust of the moment, encouraged by a woman who has obviously used her feminine wiles to open lots of doors with her apparent open legs policy.

    I have watched these "alpha" females at work for many years. Many unfortunately are nothing short of professional prostitutes who will use whatever means necessary at their disposal to "get ahead"! If you have spent anytime in any big organization, corporate or military, you know "who" I am referring too! :eek:

    I watched one of them who was training her daughter to be like her, divorce her husband of ten years and marry her boss who was old enough to be her father (maybe even her grandfather), whom she was openly having an affair in the company while she was still married and was still married. (No big Scandal there) You see grandpa could giver her the Mercedes and the life of luxury to which she felt she deserved above all else! :-*

    How do I know this? She unabashedly told me so in so many words after having a conversation wherein I subtly asked why she came to work in a dead end secretary job looking like she was going out for a night trolling! :-* (Disclaimer: Her "model in training" daughter and my daughter where in the same classes in elementary school. One could not help but notice Ms "Dressed to Kill" standing out from all the other harried mothers in their "casual wear" or "business wear" and very little if any makeup!)

    I have watched in dismay as my own boss dumped his wife of 25 years for a 19 year old gold digger who was the same age as his youngest daughter. In fact his daughter and the girl he married dated the same guys in high school

    So when it comes to power of the vagina, nothing surprises me anymore :-?

    And that is why this whole "scandal" affair is so ridiculous, because this goes on almost every where anytime men and women are working together in close proximity, if there is any "positive" chemistry between the two parties, they are going to be naturaly attracted at some point, :-*

    Unless willpower prevails, sparks will fly 8)
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    George in Texas · 9 years ago
    The name of the book and the Author both become the kind of unfortunate double entendre that Lewinski has come to symbolize... to wit -- "All In" to her "Broadwell." And the book's cover teaser also continues with this -- describing the author -- "Broadwell, embedded with the general.." A real irony, which could be humorous, if not for the stupidity of the exchange Petraeus made.
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    Steve Koch · 9 years ago
    The affair is being used to get rid of Petraeus. The key tragedy and dishonor is that Petraeus, in his testimony to Congress, participated in the Benghazi coverup to keep the details of the Benghazi debacle from coming out before the election. Profound shame on Petraeus. Even worse, he still has not come clean about Benghazi.
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    Jay · 9 years ago
    It seems very possible to me that the half-in/half-out position Petraeus was in since January (no one believes the President didn't know about all this until last Thursday do they?) helped lead to the disaster of 9-11-2012. Petraeus was complicit in the decision to cover it all up until after the election.
    Also, it looks like he lied about what he knew to the Intel committee.

    He did some good things in Iraq. But he was clearly out of his depth as the head of the CIA. And that lacuna of competence got him into trouble and might have gotten people killed.
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    Jay · 9 years ago
    Oops. I meant to type "July". Not January.
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    AS · 9 years ago
    Am I the only one that thinks this whole thing is ridiculous? He had an affair, so what? Such things are hardly uncommon. It's not like he's committed a crime or shown a potential professional vulnerability. Why does this man have to leave his job, which by all accounts he's very good at, because of what at the end of the day is a personal matter?

    It seems like moral judgements are being injected into what should be a black and white issue; who is the best man to lead the CIA? If it's still Petraeus, none of this soap opera bullshit should have any weight at all.
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    1389AD · 9 years ago
    Gen. Petraeus should have resigned his commission a long time ago, rather than continue to participate in a situation where the rules of engagement (ROEs) were, and are, getting our troops killed while allowing them to accomplish nothing.

    Paula Broadwell may be an intelligent woman with a classy veneer, but she is what she is – a high-profile adulteress who has profited financially from her (ahem) “access.” I wonder how many other partners there have been – on both sides of the equation. After all, a man who would cheat on his wife would cheat on his mistress. And I wonder who else has gotten access to secret information in this manner.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    glissmeister · 9 years ago
    Shouldn't we look a little deeper into the same set of facts? Have we become so indifferent to the vulnerable nature of Truth to just quit, parroting the obvious simplistic moral judgments. Owing to what duty should we smugly stop thinking once our self-dealing assumptions are vainly in hand?

    The blackmail vulnerably is certainly very real. With that in mind, shouldn't we also be demanding:

    1) On what day at what time and in what context was Director Petraeus notified that Obama/jarrett knew of this alleged affair? What are the dates and event benchmarks of this timeline relative to the apparent murder-by-neglect of Ambassador Stevens?

    2) Did the O-J know prior to notification of the FBI field investigation or learn independently from the FBI field office discovery of the affair? If so, how, and how much earlier?

    ) Did the O-J WH engage in clandestine spying on its agency heads (or focused on particular agency heads) in the ordinary course of its activities? Does the O-J use resources (lawfully or not) to preemptively troll for evidence of scandalous behavior among agency heads to build political inventory to exploit same should such leverage for immediate dismissal or effect a form of blackmail to serve the political agenda, timing and interests of the O-J?

    While some worry Director Petraeus could have been blackmailed, there are also some of us who wonder that he actually was.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    glissmeister · 9 years ago
    For those convinced that Petraeus was somehow responsible for the apparent murder-by-neglect of Ambassador Stevens, the President's personal envoy, how can you also be so sure "the official use" of this cryptically investigated knowledge about the alleged affair was not unexpectedly sprung upon Director Petraeus?

    We need to know when.

    We need to know if Petraeus or AFRICOM was alerted so they would be prepared and poised for action on behalf of the President's personal envoy Stevens how was clandestinely meeting, apparently at the direction of the POTUS, with the personal envoy of the President of Turkey; and, that they would do so under unstable and potentially volatile conditions at the remote and isolated Benghazi compound... on 9/11.

    We need to know who was told this meeting was to occur. We need to know if critical elements of the command were blindsided by the cries for interdiction because they were never informed by O-J that such an unusual and sensitive meeting of presidential envoys was to take place on 9/11 in Benghazi.

    We need to know when AFRICOM was advised this meeting would be occurring.

    We need to know the timelines and parties involved in the Cross Border Authority authorization requests that must have been triggered by the unfolding crisis.

    Am I the only one who felt the behavior of Petraeus in this unfolding Benghazi scandal was as uncharacteristic as it was strange?

    Let us not betray the good in the name of the perfect, lest we reward and further unleash the very worst among us.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Patrick Down Under · 9 years ago
    I don't have the link, but after the Benghazi incident, wasn't Petraeus one of the first to speak out?

    Didn't he say something like "the CIA did NOT deny any requests for security enforcement in the weeks leading up to the attack"- this being a direct fingering of the WH Dept of State as being the sole decision maker in that melee?

    The next we heard from, and of, Petraeus was this fall from grace, weeks later.

    Seems very suspicious.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter Knudsvig · 9 years ago
    In order to take the true measure of a person, one must take the full measure of that person.
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    Robinsolana · 9 years ago
    No body died in WaterGate.
    00 died from 'gunwalked' weapons in Mexico.
    4 heroes died in Benghazi.
    Gen Petraeus saved 100s or 1000s of US and allied lives and won in Iraq.
    Then Petraeus was jerked out of Afghanistan as he pushed for victory there.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lewis M3 · 9 years ago
    I am disappointed to read that Michael did not include the Libya incident or the timing of General Petraeus's departure. Or if he will answer to congress over it. Agree or not... I am interested to hear Michael's opinion.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter Lovett · 9 years ago
    It would appear from what has been written to date about this matter that there are some questions raised.

    It seems that Petraeus was not liked by the CIA insiders. His rather direct military approach to problem solving was not appreciated by the spooks in the shadows community. Further, Petraeus was conducting his own investigation into the Benghazi debacle with a view, one suspects, of finding why the CIA got the situation there so wrong. I am aware that the security issue was not a CIA concern, but the overall intelligence analysis was.

    Information about Petraeus' affair came to light when the FBI investigated a complaint from a woman who complained that she was being harassed by Broadwell via emails. The investigation revealed the compromising emails between Petraeus and Broadwell. This, of course, raised the spectre of national interest being potentially compromised.

    How convenient can this be for someone in the CIA who might have some explaining to do about Benghazi.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist but somehow this just seems too convenient in the internecine knife-fight that is politics. I suspect that Petraeus may be relieved to be out of that battlefield that makes Iraq or Afghanistan seem a kiddies playground by comparison.
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    Michael Bednarz · 9 years ago

    I respect your insight and perspective as one that knows General Petraeus and carries the utmost respect for him. The disappointment and frustration we feel when someone of his integrity and accomplishment makes such an egregious and foolish mistake is evident by your writing and the postings here. I pray that he has not done anything criminal, chargeable, or detrimental to the National Security of the Nation he so dutifully and honorably has served. I hope that he and his wife work things out, he seeks repentance and forgiveness from his wife and it is granted.
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    Mimi Jacobs · 9 years ago
    I came on over to tell Michael that I respect him for the following quote he gave to Buzzfeed: "If you don’t give permission to be defeated, you’re pretty hard to beat."

    Aside from misogynist dinosaurs like "Sun Tzu" and the strange diatribe by "mermaid michele", I also compliment you on your readership. It is testimony to your reasonableness if your own audience isn't impossibly polarized (no one escapes a few trolls). I'll therefore be back to read more.
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    kathi McDermott · 9 years ago
    General Petraeus's self inflicted wound shows bad judgement, he may have well done many good things, but this lapse in judgement, and the ultimate lapse in judgement, his dancing with the devil himself/obuttman, should have sent up warning flags that rose to highest peeks. You dance with the devil you will be burned.
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    Robin · 9 years ago
    David Patraeus has no honor. As a military officer, he criticized a US citizen for speaking his mind. To me, that violated his oath and his integrity by freely involving himself in politics. I returned the coin he gave me to the CG, Ft. Leavenworth with an explanation. As far as I'm concerned he is a swine, no matter what he has done in the past. I spent 24 years faithfully serving my country and protecting her honor. He spit on her honor.
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      News Junkie · 9 years ago
      [quote name="Robin"]David Patraeus has no honor. As a military officer, he criticized a US citizen for speaking his mind. To me, that violated his oath and his integrity by freely involving himself in politics. [/quote]

      Robin can you elaborate on this, possibly posting a link to a news article. You obviously feel strongly about it but many of us have simply not seen this reported previously, or we missed it.
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        Robin · 9 years ago
        It was the Koran burning pastor in Florida incident. I don't remember his exact words but it concerned the pastor abusing his 1st Amendment rights and how he should be quiet. In his capacity as a military officer he swore an oath to defend the pastor's rights, not criticize them. If he had said it wasn't helpful, no problem. Unfortunately, Gen Patraeus went beyond that and abused his official position and rank to try to intimidate an American citizen into silence. It can be very stressful to be criticized, by name, for your opinion by someone as powerful as Gen Patraeus. That was not his place and was a violation of his oath.
        As I get older, I realize just how serious an oath can be. At the end of this life the only thing you have is your honor. He violated his oath, his wife, and his word. He is no longer deserving of trust nor honor.
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    Arlene · 9 years ago
    This made me cry for so many reasons. With the fall of General Allen, and maybe more to come, it is our troops on the ground who suffer from this catastrophe. I'm angry, too. How is it the CIA could not cover up an affair? They can topple governments but, cannot cover up affairs? This stinks of a sting. I know, I know....but it does!
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    Peter Knudsvig · 9 years ago
    Although I cannot personally confirm his facts, I am in sympathy with Lawrence Neal's comments, if his facts are accurate. If they are indeed, accurate then his position on true heroes, those who are either placed or called directly into harms way who find the courage (and maybe some luck as well) to confront the situation with honor and integrity, deserve to be recognized in a truly singular fashion without a devaluation by awarding the same recognition to acts of lesser valor. If that is the case here, as Lawrence Neal is suggesting, then it is truly shameful that someone who has earned this, has to defend it. A great leader and a great warrior are not mutually exclusive, but neither are they the same thing. I think that is Mr. Neal's point here. Were it possible to ask Lincoln, he might know, which was more defining to his character: being a great president who overcame overwhelming odds to lead his country through one of it's darkest moments, or....simply giving up his own life for his country. He would be one of the few (were we able to even ask) who might understand the difference.
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      Lawrence Neal · 9 years ago
      I got my info, as suggested by Arlene, from Wikipedia:


      It details his career, and lists his awards. You can click on each award to see what it's for. Allow me to use this opportunity to apologize, once again, for saying that the majority of his awards were earned by the effort and sacrifice of others. I was wrong. Most people see medals and assume they are for bravery in combat. Why medals are given for administrative achievements, and why the State Department gives out medals, instead of certificates, I just don't know. Far above the common people and common soldiers, who do all the work and all the fighting, is a strata of people who congratulate each other for jobs well done by their subordinates. They are as incomprehensible - and disinteresting - to 'commoners' as cowboys are to cattle. Officers are not taught to lead, but to direct. Despite all the high sounding phrases about service and patriotism, what they are taught to do is herd cattle towards the enemy. Like cowboys congratulating themselves on their mastery of cattle and horses, military tacticians laud themselves for their mastery of tactics and maneuvers while it is the men on the ground that actually accomplish the victories, and suffer the losses. Anyone seen or read, 'Blackhawk Down'? All the Peter Principles in their command centers and aircraft stumbling over themselves while the men on the ground paid for their incompetence. Incompetence by commanders is responsible for more soldiers dying than the enemy. While their photos and names are posted where we have to see them, I can assure you that the higher-ups are as much non-entities to the common soldier as the cowboys are to the cattle. We don't fight for them, we fight for the man next to us. All the generals, politicians and corporate ceo's preen about THEIR accomplishments, when it is the Soldiers, Voters and Workers that are their foundation.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Peter Knudsvig · 9 years ago
        Just as I believe that putting one's own life in harms way should not be equated with simply being a leader or, as you put it "directing", I also do not believe it fair or accurate to under value the worth and importance of great leaders, warrior or not. Greatness is not peculiar to just the battlefield, it can come in many guises and be fulfilled in many ways. Galileo, Churchill, Helen Keller and even Beethoven proved this. They may not have risked their lives in a single, defining moment for the sake of others, but they never the less, took a singular road, traveled by no one before and in many cases "against traffic" that turned out to be a true road if not THE true road. This truth is indivisible for me, but it does not weaken the unique sacrifice of a warrior laying his life on the line in a single, defining moment for the good of the whole. Just to clarify.

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