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23 April 2015


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Charles I

All depends on what the meaning if "is" is.


I'm a lawyer Col. And a veteran. You are NOT out of date. You (and I) r are out of rhythm, out of step, in the ' count cadence' manner...with this time. And I am glad to be so. I can't speak for you. Nor do you need me to do so. Stay out of step.Col, I know I will.

With much respect...



"Is this justice? pl"

American claims to jurisdiction are so expansive by now and punishments routinely so excessive that this mild treatment of Petraeus for his actions is a joke.

As of 2004 the US justice department held the view that, if a little old lady in Switzerland (swiss citizen) unwittingly sent money (swiss franc) to a terrorist related charity (in switzerland), she could be held by the US as an enemy combatant.

There is no indication whatsoever that Obama ever repealed that. Instead it was found to be unconstitutionaly vague (just why I wonder?) by the courts case by case.

This just one example for the exemplary cruelties that US law has in stock if the federal government wishes to wield its powers, in this case over a mere bystander.

I concur that the Justice Department wanted to chastise Petraeus but choose not to charge him "to the fullest extent of the law".

One law for me and one law for thee - and yet another law if terrorism is invoked.


How can egregious mishandling of classified information be grounds for anything more than a slap on the wrist compared to the OTHER shit Petraeus has pulled?

David Habakkuk


I had always assumed that conceptions of honour had commonly been fundamental to the effective functioning of armies and navies, and that for such conceptions to have potency it was necessary that 'dishonourable' conduct was likely to result not simply in material loss but in disgrace for senior commanders.

Whether this is a romantic image is a matter on which other members of this 'committee of correspondence' can take a properly informed view, as I am not in a position to do. Insofar as it is so, however, the fact that Petraeus has once more 'gotten away with it' would seem to provide the most unfortunate of examples.



This s--t that he admits to doing is a criminal matter in both civilian and military law. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

But, but, but, I don't understand why everyone is confused!! It says right here on the memo that there's one law for them and another for the rest of us!! Why do people find it so difficult to understand?


It is NOT justice..he got a slap on the wrist for a very serious offense. He jeopardized missions and the lives of the covert agents- as well as their missions.
And he will be free to go about and collect excessively high speaking fees. Perhaps some prospective speaking engagements will be cancelled, but that is about all.

What is really galling is that politicians still court him and ask his advice...for what I have no idea. I presume he is going to prescribe COIN to counter ISIS.


"Is this justice?"

No, it's 'au jus'.


As Iam a cynic/pessimist/realist, might his light sentence
be attributed at least partially to his 14 month tenure
as CIA director and all the Intel on those involved in
prosecuting him? Or just another member of the "club"
whose members always protect one another. Btw the
retirement package mentioned is incredible. Parallels
members of Congress.


Having just finished reading "Steel My Soldiers Hearts" I can only imagine the authors take on Petraeus, nope, I know what he would say and say it Bluntly as the Colonel has done above.
Unfortunately we will all see what a true sentence for Petraeus crime is next month when a young man faces his judge. Petraeus should take solace that his ass kissing finally paid off.

Ishmael Zechariah

David Habakkuk,

Seppuku (切腹)?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_Elite ??

Ishmael Zechariah

A. Pols

So he retains the full suite of valuable perks inuring to any other retired officer, but has a misdemeanor conviction with impact on his life similar to a littering conviction? Well at least they threw the book at him and didn't let him skate by like that miserable worm, John Walker Lindh, who's living a plush life at govt. expense...


What makes matters even worse, is that others who were not of such potential value to the Obama White House were gone after, bankrupted, and subjected to espionage prosecution for blowing the whistle on failed and criminal policies. The Jeffrey Sterling case is but one example that comes to mind. So not only did Petraeus get off through yet another swindle. He is a case study that crime truly pays--if you are some value to this President. Look at all of the Wall Street CEOs who stole in the billions and have a free stay out of jail pass from Obama and his Department of Justice. If the Petraeus case were an isolated incident, I would be more inclined to be less alarmed. In the larger context, it is one more bit of a horror show that is never ending and makes a mockery of our Constitution and our judicial system.

The documents that Petraeus passed on to his mistress contained not just classified data, but names and other identifiers on active undercover US intelligence and military operatives. Compare that to the crimes for which Jeffrey Sterling is facing 20 years in prison.



Hack was a friend. I, too, know what he would have said. Petraeus and some of his Whoopoo running mate pals are a group that has grifted their way through life most admirably beginning with a free first rate undergraduate degree. Actually more than free, they were salaried while studying. pl


A. Pols & Steve G

Yes, he does retain all that because he has not been dismissed. I look forward (irony) to his appearance at a state dinner in blue mess uniform. It should be said that retired service people retain so much because the retirement system has always been designed (since the 1850s) to retain people for a full career and then get them to leave before physical incapacity for field service sets in. War is a young person's business. After the mid 40s most people become a burden to the troops if they are in the field. Something else that should be mentioned is that for officers the system is ruthless in its out-selection. The ranks structure of the military is very pyramidal and if you are not selected for promotion, you are put out on the street often with nothing. This is softened in wartime for the "good of the service" but the end of hostilities ALWAYS sees an unrelenting drive to shrink numbers and get rid of officers who are at the bottom of their year group's "order of merit." That is underway now. Promotion rates have been very high since 9/11. That has ended. Of all 2nd Lts commissioned in the Army the number who make it to retired (as opposed to former) status is historically under 5%. pl


Col: Off-topic. The American Experince on My Lai was eye-opening for me. How our soldiers fought in that dense vegetation and avoided mines and booby traps without going crazy escapes me. Jungle fighting must be the worst.



Petraeus graduated from Hudson High in 1975. The VN War was over. Don't ever excuse things like My Lai. There were very few instances of our soldiers doing things like that. Don't believe crap like that. I don't care what that lying self serving bastard Kerry said before the senate. At My Lai, a brigade raised for the war from odd bits and pieces and often led by officers who would never have been commissioned except for extreme circumstance, was led by those officers themselves to commit this crime against humanity. Calley and Medina were beneath contempt for what they did. To their credit some of the soldiers in Calley's platoon simply refused to participate in the murders. One helicopter pilot landed his "bird" between the shooters and the victims and threatened to fire on them if they did not desist. I had just arrived in Germany after a year in VN and when my wife told me of Hersh's story, I refused to believe it until I saw the photographs. I had never seen VN civilians look afraid of Americans in that way. I expect the usual back blast here from those who still want to justify what they left the rest of us to do forty years ago. If you want to find those responsible for My Lai talk to Ivy League grads who would not serve then and who let Calley and Medina take their places. pl


P gets a smile/pat on the back, Manning gets 35 years, Kiriakou gets 2, Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy—3 years and counting, Snowden is on the run, and no military brass is doing Abu Ghraib time. So it goes folks.



The Petraeus slap on the wrist is a sign of the success of the aristocrat counter-revolt. Just some media shaming but no jail time or loss of benefits for the connected.

Decades ago on my first tour of jury duty in the waiting room a woman expressed the observation that if you ever go on trial mortgage your house and hire the best lawyer you can. Robert Durst “The Jinx” is a prime example that justice depends on how rich you are. But times have gotten worse since then. Enron’s manipulation of the energy market and the California rolling blackouts earned Jeffrey Skilling its CEO jail time. Yet Enron has become the model for the new century American Corporation; get the money and bonuses anyway you can. He was the last corporate CEO tried and jailed. Since then anything goes for the wealthy.

NBC News has reports on trans-gender kids but studiously fails to mention that mankind is at its greatest risk of extinction from nuclear war since 1963 with chaos spreading across the world or that the money holders are forcing the western middle class into debt slavery and poverty or the privatization of the judicial system.


I am not sure that I know everything that you all are making reference to concerning Petraeus. Keeping classified information at home I suspect is a relatively common practice amongst our senior officials, however, giving it to his lover is a whole other issue. But, in terms of his generalship, I can only attest to my time teaching COIN at the school he set up in Taji, and later in Baghdad. I became convinced, and still am convinced at the efficacy of COIN. Beyond that, Gen Austin who was the division commander at the time could not be made to understand anything but kinetic operations no did he have any interest in doing so. I'll take the Petraeus approach over Austin's any day.


"Of all 2nd Lts commissioned in the Army the number who make it to retired (as opposed to former) status is historically under 5%."

When it wouldn't cost the the American people a penny to do right by them. Not to mention homeless vets.




It is not acceptable here to post under your e-mail address.
I have changed that to "LL." The problem with COIN in any of its manifestations is that it very rarely works. it sounds terrific as a theory but the costs inherent in suppressing a rebellion that has profound roots in the politics, ethnicity or sects of a country are just too great for any external power and almost always for a "national government" trying to unify a country. it never worked for the post WW2 colonials trying to re-establish their rule, and it doesn't work for a national government trying to establish "nationhood" over a fractured society. The problem is always the same. the material and psychological costs are too great for lasting success to happen. I was trained by the French and British experts that Bahzad spoke of. That was in the mid-60s at Fort Bragg. I then worked in that field in S. America, SE Asia, East Africa, etc. for ten years. This was before I met you and before my amusing reporting from Yemen, reporting that reflected hard won knowledge of the impossibility of "uniting" a place like Yemen. The only local government success at COIN that I can name off hand would be Ramon Magsasay's effort against the Huks and that never included the Moros who fight on against Filipinohood to this day. BTW, the US had exactly the same experience with the Moros after the Phillipine Insurrection. The US won the COIN war in SE Asia as the French did in Algeria but in the end the psychological costs of the struggle were too great for the "metropole" to persist indefinitely and the French people and De Gaulle quit as did the US people as expressed by the congressional abandonment of the Vietnamese. COIN failed in VN. COIN failed in Iraq. COIN has failed in Afghanistan even though it will be propped up for a while by a sizable US garrison. COIN is a romantic fiction, a non-war theory of war and Petraeus is exposed as the charlatan he always was. I published the following on SST in December, 2009. http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2009/12/counterinsurgency-a-much-failed-strategy.html



"a sign of the success of the aristocrat counter-revolt." I would say the success of the Snopesian neo-aristocrat rise to power. pl

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