BY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR THE PHILLY POST Somebody’s got to say it: The media has been asking all the wrong questions about the unfolding Peyton Place-like Petraeus saga. As I type this the FBI is raiding Paula Broadwell’s home and it’s been revealed that the just-appointed Supreme Allied Commander of NATO is under investigation for “inappropriate communications” with Jill Kelly, the local girl made good who dragged this whole sad story out into the light when she told the FBI that she was being cyber-harassed by Broadwell — so stay tuned. But I’m willing to bet Mitt Romney $10,000 that when this is all said and done we will be shocked — SHOCKED! I tells ya — to learn that powerful men have extramarital affairs, the FBI is now in the catfight referee business and everyone loves a good Zippergate amongst the high and mighty. And not much more.
Instead of asking who Petraeus has been fucking — that’s between him and his family — we should be asking who’s really getting fucked? I would argue the fucked list includes: The truth, the Sunnis, the 800 American soldiers that died in The Surge in Iraq, the thousand-plus American soldiers that have been KIA in The Surge in Afghanistan, along with the thousands of innocent civilians — read women and children — killed in both operations, and the American people who suffer through cop-cutting, firemen-firing, teacher-trashing austerity in a moribund economy while untold bajillions disappear down the worm hole of fear, lies and state-sponsored slaughter.
General Petraeus’ carefully cultivated celebrity is the end product of the media’s unholy deification of the avatars of the military-industrial complex. Petraeus was not just the architect and prime enforcer of both surges, he was also both their tireless cheerleader, employing the full force of his celebrity to disarm media skepticism and conscript public opinion to move the White House across what was once a bridge too far. Which is proof that the Pentagon now has the power to not just to prosecute wars, but also persuasively promote their escalation and endless perpetuation. That should scare the hell out of everyone that loves democracy and civilian rule of the military as dictated by Article II of the United States Constitution.
Instead of asking whose Operation Anaconda was going All In who, here’s five questions that the media should be asking:
1. What was the fucking point of the Iraq war? Arguably we’ve left the country 7,000 times more fucked than we found it, or more accurately, broke it and then bought it — at a cost of roughly $800 billion, 5,000 American dead and 120,000 to 655,000 dead Iraqi men, women and children. Can anyone please tell me what we got for all that blood and treasure? Anyone?
2. What have we accomplished in Afghanistan? We are about to leave Afghanistan pretty much as fucked as we found it — which is roughly 7,000 times more fucked than most countries. We ran off al-Qaeda back in 2001 and for the life of me I can’t figure out why we stayed another 11 years. Pretty much the only thing we’ve accomplished is making Afghanistan the world’s leading producer of non-pharmaceutical opiates (read: heroin) and cannabis. Which, when you stop to think about it, is a curious way to wage a war on drugs.
3. Why does the Pentagon spend nearly $5 billion annually on public relations, i.e. propaganda? According to the Associated Press, in the last five years, Pentagon spending on propaganda has increased by an astonishing 64 percent. Propaganda is actually the nice word for it. I prefer the more accurate term for it: Bullshit. Five billion worth of bullshit can bury a lot of inconvenient truths and wash a lot of brains. Personally, I think the money would be better spent immunizing children, heating the homes of the indigent elderly or buying school books for cash-poor school districts. Cuckoo for coco puffs, I know, but I’m funny like that. MORE