It is tempting to focus on the bizarre and titillating details of what Pepe Escobar calls a “bedroom farce” or Arthur Silber calls a “cheap slut scenario” given as the explanation for CIA Director General Petraeus’ resignation last week.
I am sure I am not the only citizen who feels “played” once again by a craven administration and corporate media. The sirens of cognitive dissonance are blaring, not only with the timing of the resignation, so close after the election and a week before Petraeus was to give testimony in Congress over the details of the Benghazi attack in Libya.
The “morals” issue for Petraeus to resign over -- marital infidelity which is NOT illegal -- is surreal when there has been such a staggering degree of WAR CRIMINALITY denied or minimized by the U.S. administration, corporate media and a substantial segment of the citizenry.
This is how Glenn Greenwald puts it:
... it is truly remarkable what ends people's careers in Washington - and what does not end them. As Hastings detailed in that interview, Petraeus has left a string of failures and even scandals behind him: a disastrous Iraqi training program, a worsening of the war in Afghanistan since he ran it, the attempt to convert the CIA into principally a para-military force, the series of misleading statements about the Benghazi attack and the revealed large CIA presence in Libya. To that one could add the constant killing of innocent people in the Muslim world without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.
Yet none of those issues provokes the slightest concern from our intrepid press corps. His career and reputation could never be damaged, let alone ended, by any of that. Instead, it takes a sex scandal - a revelation that he had carried on a perfectly legal extramarital affair - to force him from power. That is the warped world of Washington. Of all the heinous things the CIA does, the only one that seems to attract the notice or concern of our media is a banal sex scandal.
Listening to media coverage, one would think an extramarital affair is the worst thing the CIA ever did, maybe even the only bad thing it ever did ...
It's not the sex. It's never the sex. Remember and understand that, and you will understand a great deal.
Applying these observations to the Petraeus resignation, we can state with absolute certainty that he is not resigning because of an affair. For reasons we will probably never know, he had become an inconvenience or a hindrance in some manner to the administration's plans. As a result, certain parties decided to get rid of him. Keep in mind that most of the players involved here are men, running a sprawling apparatus designed by and for men. In addition, our culture is one dominated by men (specifically privileged white men and those who mold themselves in their image, such as Barack Obama). Therefore, both those who needed an excuse and those who will be expected to believe it are all drowning in a culture dominated by male prerogatives and beliefs.
Whatever one's view of the Benghazi attack, and whether one considers it to raise serious questions about the administration's conduct of foreign affairs or not (either about Libya in particular and/or more generally), there are indisputably a great many indiscrepancies and confusions arising out of the various stories and explanations that have been offered thus far. Petraeus was in one of the most critical positions with regard to what happened. He almost certainly possesses information that no one else does.
Petraeus was a general. Petraeus was head of the C.I.A. Petraeus is a professional killer. I don't say that like it's a bad thing -- I mean, I think it's a bad thing, but I'm just weird that way -- I just say it because it's a fact. He kills people, or at least orders a whole lot of people to be killed, and guess what: THEY'RE KILLED. So he's a professional killer. Look, it's a living. A guy's gotta make a living.
.... We're dealing with a bunch of professional killers, who have completely innocent people killed every single goddamned day -- and you're telling me, and you have your savvy, superserious face on, you're telling me that they're going to be totally upset, so upset that, like, they can't even eat, because Petraeus is having an affair?
The scandal in the modern sense – doing things that are public outrages – is that Petraeus cheated on his wife. Fair enough. He resigned. Full stop. Loss of efficacy, and all that.
The more serious scandal might be that he revealed classified information to his confidante; and here is where the contradiction between journalism and the military is most clear. The security of the nation-state is paramount, more so when that state is already highly militarized.
What we have not heard, which ought to be a scandal, and is not, is that Petraeus may be guilty of war crimes. He was a commander when crimes were clearly committed: plunder and failure to protect civilians, torture, and wanton destruction. These are violations of law; and they did happen on his watch – quite a lot.
But since no one has the power to bring charges except Petraeus’ colleagues and the current government, he will never face those charges. The decision has been made. No prosecutions, because the wars themselves have been started and maintained by illegal means.
We are a technologically-disembodied society without a justifying morality, captured by the economics of war. We have one civic God – the nation-state called United States of America – and our sacred relics are soldiers and former soldiers.
Barry Grey of wsws:
This bizarre scenario, very possibly involving violations of laws requiring disclosure to Congress of significant intelligence matters, itself strongly suggests unstated political agendas and conflicts. For one thing, all of this was taking place in the run-up to the presidential election and being concealed from the electorate.
Moreover, Petraeus was scheduled to testify this week in closed session before both the House and the Senate intelligence committees on the role of the CIA in connection with the September 11 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of the US ambassador and three other Americans, including two CIA operatives. Both committees now say he will not appear before them this week, although some committee members have suggested he might be called to testify at a later point.
The events in Benghazi have far-reaching implications, since they involve Washington’s alliance with jihadist forces, including those linked to Al Qaeda, in last year’s war to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. This alliance continues in the current drive for regime-change in Syria.
The fact, as well, that one of the US ruling class’ chief police-intelligence agencies launched a probe resulting in the downfall of the head of a rival agency suggests that questions of policy as well as “turf” and status were involved.
This brings us to another important aspect of the Petraeus affair: the perverse political environment in which a fairly commonplace event in marital affairs is treated as something akin to a felony, often becoming the pretext for settling political scores.
Petraeus is a deeply reactionary figure, but he has not been brought down because of war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. Rather, he has been declared unfit because of perhaps the first reported act that indicates he is human.
Meanwhile, murky does not even begin to describe alleged reality -- as in the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, retired Gen David Petraeus, resigning over a bedroom farce only two days after President Barack Obama is re-elected, amid crossfire accusations raging for weeks regarding what the CIA was exactly doing in Libya, that godforsaken land liberated by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and now ruled by a bunch of militias.
As for "my guy," [Petraeus], he has multiple questions to answer. First of all; why did the CIA tell the White House that the Benghazi drama was provoked by that stupid "Prophet Muhammad" YouTube video -- and not an attack coordinated by previously NATO-enabled Salafi-jihadis?
With US corporate media now totally berserk, the master narrative remains that The Samurai General did the honorable thing by resigning. It all goes back to good ol' American Puritanism. You can be a killing machine, responsible for the death of untold numbers of civilians. But don't you dare betray your devoted wife.
Iraq and Afghanistan were pure manifestations of "war neoliberalism." Petraeus's "surge" in Iraq was a sham. When he arrived with his suitcases full of cash to convince Sunni guerrillas to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq, and not American soldiers, the real surge was already being accomplished; this was the surge led by the Iraqi Interior Ministry and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, which had practically succeeded in the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad and surrounding areas, reverting the population balance to the benefit of Shi'ites. As for the Sunni guerrillas, at least they could pocket American money while biding their time to continue their fight against a Shi'ite-dominated government in Baghdad.
Obama's foreign policy team certainly thought that Petraeus counterinsurgency mumbo-jumbo would allow Iraq -- and later Afghanistan -- at least some sort of what could be dubbed inter-communitarian democracy, saving American face in terms of a troop exit that would not replicate the last helicopter leaving a Saigon roof in 1975.
But the fact is Petraeus did not win any hearts and minds in either Iraq or Afghanistan; his take, clear, hold and build tactics ultimately led to nowhere in both cases -- and we're not even talking about serious instances of torture, extrajudicial killings, illegal detentions and widespread shadow war. His "mini-surge" could only have had a shot at succeeding in Afghanistan (and that's quite a stretch) if it was not mini; if he had had access to hundreds of thousands of troops -- something politically unacceptable in the US.
Then there's Benghazi. What may have really happened is that the US consulate in Benghazi was a sort of CIA safe house/spy house -- thus under Petraeus responsibility, not the State Dept. This neatly dovetails with "Paula" casually saying, at the University of Denver on October 26, that "prisoners" were being held at the consulate (the CIA vehemently denied it, so there must be a degree of truth to it).
That the consulate was attacked by Salafi-jihadis is out of the question. The State Department may have been the fall guys -- while Petraeus/CIA got away with their incompetence. Well, until the bedroom farce exploded.
It remains to be seen whether anyone in Washington will dare asking the pertinent questions. It remains to be seen whether Petraeus's relentless, hyper-counterproductive (not to mention collateral damage-laden) drone wars will be reevaluated. It remains to be seen whether Obama 2.0 will decide to practice diplomacy -- and not shadow war -- in the intersection between Central and South Asia.
Whatever the scope of the CIA’s operation in Benghazi – and whatever the real reason for the resignation of the CIA chief – the key is our historical and ongoing foreign policy.
For decades, the U.S. has backed terrorists for geopolitical ends.
The Wall Street Journal, Telegraph and other sources confirm that the US consulate in Benghazi was mainly being used for a secret CIA operation.
They say that the State Department presence in Benghazi “provided diplomatic cover” for the previously hidden CIA mission. (WND alleges that it was not a real consulate.)
In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.
Furthermore, we know that jihadists are the best fighters in the Syrian opposition, but where did they come from?
And we know that the CIA has been funneling weapons to the rebels in southern Turkey. The question is whether the CIA has been involved in handing out the heavy weapons from Libya.
In other words, ambassador Stevens may have been a key player in deploying Libyan terrorists and arms to fight the Syrian government.
Other sources also claim that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mainly being used as a CIA operation to ship fighters and arms to Syria.
Many have speculated that – if normal security measures weren’t taken to protect the Benghazi consulate or to rescue ambassador Stevens – it was because the CIA was trying to keep an extremely low profile to protect its cover of being a normal State Department operation.
The US administration seems to know only how to lie to us, the citizenry, about its craven foreign policy. Lie upon lie upon lie. That is why Manning and Assange have inspired such vengeful zero-tolerance from Obama and the rest of the U.S. war criminals as well as crony war criminal leaders of other nations.
This is why I believe it was probably Petraeus' Ms. Broadwell disclosing "too much information" at the University of Denver at the end of October that triggered the media's and administration's present sex scandal firestorm cover up.
Matt Williams of rawstory reports:
In an answer to a question reading the CIA chief’s handling of the incident, the biographer said: “Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually, um, had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”
She added: “The challenging thing for General Petraeus is that in his new position, he’s not allowed to communicate with the press. So he’s known all of this – they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in, in Libya. Within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening.”
The comments were recorded and posted in a YouTube clip which has since been taken down.
On Monday, the CIA was quick to shoot down Broadwell’s claims.
“Any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless,” agency spokesman Preston Golson said.
One can certainly appreciate that the ready lie of the U.S. administration that the Benghazi attack was inspired by an anti-Muslim youtube, the idea that the CIA is still in the detention/torture business post-Bush, and finally, last but not least, that the US is enabling and colluding with murderous al-Qaeda forces to occupy Libya and topple Syria are repellent and criminal.
No wonder Broadwell had the FBI hard-knuckle-knocking on her door. No wonder the U.S. administration and media are steering all focus away from evidence of institutionalized colossal evil.
Speculation by members of the strident left Obama does not take seriously. Hard evidence suggested by someone like Broadwell who had access to such a high-ranking military operative as Petraeus makes all those war criminal administrators legally accountable.
To the rescue of the war criminals, corporate media! Once again "personality over principle" titillating propaganda enables the continuation and escalation of institutionalized evil. Once again the citizenry and I'm thinking a good number even in Congress GET PLAYED! After all, a number of Congresspeople had cronied up pretty tightly with the popular Petraeus.
This Petraeus “morals” scandal cover-up is not only gobsmacking but INSULTING at least to the apparently small number of us who are awed and stymied at belonging to such a conscience-less, war criminal nation. Belonging to a citizenry the majority of whom freshly endorsed the murder/war/detention/black ops programs from BOTH corporate legacy parties.
As I type this I am watching the talking heads on the NewsHour scramble to apologize for the “human” marital lapse of the great David Petraeus (like Obama, another “magic”, teflony, Trojan Horse tool for the inhuman military industrial security prison media matrix) as they lead us away, one more time, from the REAL story. The realpolitik of evil.
Fiscal cliff? Yes, coming soon. What about the moral cliff the United States plunged over long ago and has never recovered from?
As this Great American Ethical Freakshow roars ever onward!
[cross-posted on correntewire]