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24 April 2015


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The Beaver


Was "La Main Rouge"ever linked with OAS?

Patrick Bahzad

"La Main Rouge" is a still unknown organisation that murdered many supporters of Algerian independence all over Europe as well as in North Africa. But it operated years before OAS was established.
The most commonly accepted explanation about these operations is that the "Main rouge" was used as a cover for the French foreign Intel agency to kill people who were getting in the way, especially nationals of allied governments, like a German arms dealer for example or a Swiss explosives expert who was stabbed to death in Geneva.
What is known is that the "Main rouge" got some help from local police officers in Algeria and Tunisia, who were acting as auxiliaries if you will. While there is no organizational link with OAS, it is possible that some of these local auxiliaries found their way into OAS kill teams. But that is purely hypothetical of course. There's no evidence to back this up.


Petraeus is far from being the only politician in a uniform.
Both Dempsey and Odierno certainly fit that description.

Patrick Bahzad

That may be, at least in your view, the difference being they were never presented as tactical geniuses who would pull car "USA" out of the ditch it was in.


A hefty fine???

Less than what he makes for a single speech! And lets also not forget that he's at superstar private equity firm KKR.

Compare to how John Kiriakou was nailed. For all the political partisans and lovers of big government there you have it. Both parties in the game of separate application of the law for the plebes vs apparatchiks. Orwell was prescient the people will love their servitude.


The problem with the likes of narcissists like Petreaus is the collateral damage they do to the organisation the infest.

By "collateral damage" I mean the wrecked careers of anyone who they remotely believe may be a threat to their career advancement and the demotivation of anyone unlucky enough to be their subordinate.

Good leaders leave an organisation that is stronger and better for their presence. Narcissists never.

Patrick Bahzad

Is that assessment based on first hand experience or hear say ? Or maybe both ;-)

ex-PFC Chuck

Thank you, Mr. Bahzad, on this piece on General Petraeus.

When you wrote suggesting that Petraeus was one of those “ . . people want to go places rather than actually do things” it reminded me of the late USAF Col. John Boyd's pitch to recruit promising young officers to his circle of reformers, as described by his biographer Robert Coram:

“… one day you will come to a fork in the road…. And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go…. If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments…. Or you go that [the other] way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference…. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?” (p 285-286, Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War. bit.ly/sMzVqv)

Petraeus wanted to Be someone.

Patrick Bahzad

Thx chuck for pointing that out. Being an infantry man myself, I wasn't aware of Col. Boyd's statements. I mostly know him through his planning for operation desert storm and in particular the "left hook" component ... Guess I was part of that operation without knowing it at the time !
In any case, I fully agree with the substance of the quote you're giving. And by the way, we can keep things here on a first name basis, no worries !


Patrick Bahzad

I don't know about Boyd's influence in Desert Saber. After Schwartzkopf's initial frontal plan was rejected by Powell, a planning cell of "Jedi Knights" was brought in from the second year phase of the General Staff course at Leavenworth. They planned the operation. pl

different clue


Dempsey? A politician in uniform? Wasn't his strong-as-possible opposition and counter-advisement certainly to the Obamazoid efforts to attack Syria undertaken at some "political" risk to himself of Presidential displeasure? Wouldn't that have been rather IMpolitic?


While in INR, about a decade back, I spent part of a summer at Leavenworth. The experience was useful and much fun was had by all. I particularly remember the views of many of the students regarding General Dave. He was, by and large, referred to as "General Betrayus." Some, apparently, took a pass on the koolaid.

Patrick Bahzad

Really ? They told us that we'd been the spearhead of the offense curtesy of someone I later learnt was col. Boyd. Seems now it took a whole team to come up with a flanking/pincher move ! Live And learn i guess ... Thx for that update, I hadn't received the memo :-)


Patrick Bahzad
"SAMS graduates served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and were "remembered most famously in the early days for producing the 'Jedi Knights' employed by Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf in developing the famous 'left hook'  ".[24] Wiki on SAMS pl


Re contemporary journalists seemingly congenital inability to write intelligently about the kind of career pattern one sees with Petraeus, see also


(fittingly, Petraeus's biographer also seems to fit the pattern).

Author of above also wrote about similar journalistic-autism as displayed in biographies of Obama, for instance re what exactly his two parents were doing in Indonesia back in the day,


Excellent stuff Patrick,

I didn't know much about Gen Petraeus and never served under him. I did serve under General Mattis though and met him personally several times. General Mattis was very much the real deal and a warrior's warrior IMO.

On another note, have you ever heard the expression "water me" in relation to David Petraeus?

Patrick Bahzad

Hadn't heard that expression in relation to DP, although does make sense ...
Regarding Mattis, I agree and I know he's regarded quite highly among Marines. Especially when compared to Amos for example. But some people in the corps have an issue with him about two things: 1. Firing col. Dowdy during the "race" to Baghdad (dowdy probably wasn't combat maneuvering enough in the eyes of "Chaos") and 2. Him joining the board of General Dynamics.



"have you ever heard the expression "water me" in relation to David Petraeus?" Enlighten me. pl


Can the author or someone give more info on the beheading of Baghdadi's wife in 2007? I can't find any info or reference to this on the net

Patrick Bahzad

I'm afraid you won't find much about it on the Net. if you do, please let me know.


That is a fine telling of the 1er REP, Patrick. As for Petraeus he has quite a cult surrounding himself.

Some years back around the time of the "surge", I believe, I heard former Reagan administration Sec. Ed. Bill Bennett answer a question about his view on Petraeus. Bennett's response was "I consider him to be another Leonidas." That's King Leonidas of Thermopylae fame.

And there is the story about Petraeus sucking up to the cowardly and despicable Max Boot in an attempted CYA operation over a remark regarding the Israel-Palestinian problem.


This sorry affair demonstrates the truth of Patton belief that between physical courage and moral courage that there is far less moral courage than physical.



He had an entire desert to maneuver in and air supremacy and Schwarzkopf wanted a frontal assault? Good thing someone had the sense to say no to that.

Adam L Silverman

What always goes unnoticed or unmentioned was Petraues's ability to coops his biographers. His brought his biographer to CENTCOM and made her a senior advisor, though she did not have any significant experience with the military or war or security/defense/foreign policy other than being a journalist assigned to cover Petreaus. While he didn't give his second a job, he got unprecedented access. And the third was CPT Broadwell.


Should have an official name change to General Hubris. That works on so many levels.

I wonder just when he had that thrilling moment where he said, "I could be president!" You just know he did have it. G. Washington, Andy Jackson, Sam Grant, Dwight Eisenhower, David Patreus! It must of had a shite eating grin on his face for weeks after that moment.

Charlie Wilson

Guys, guys, guys,

Give the man some credit. Wrestling a 40 years old well toned and muscled Broadwell requires more than moral and physical courage. More so if he didn't use any chemical force multiplier. In my opinion he should be given a couple of shiny stars and colorful ribbons for the effort...


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