After all, this was the gist of the general's testimony, the blazing brand he brought from the field of battle in token of our all-conquering might: Because the surge has made "major progress" toward bringing peace and stability in Iraq, by this time next year we might be able to bring down U.S. troop levels to where they were when the surge began. In other words, after an immense expenditure of blood and treasure over a course of more than 18 months, we will be right back where we started. Even the crazed, vainglorious Caligula would have required something more substantial than that to throw himself a laurel shindig in the streets of Rome.
But perhaps General Petraeus' Congressional triumph was awarded not for his command of the actual flesh-and-blood conflict in Iraq -- where both natives and occupiers continue to die in increasing numbers amidst the ruins of the raped and gutted land -- but for the dazzling propaganda campaign that he has fronted for the Bush Administration, which, as we noted last week, has vanquished its political foes on every front in the past year.
No doubt the Democrats were so lavish with their praise for Petraeus ("America's finest," "Our nation's most capable," "The capability, the integrity, the intelligence, and the wisdom . . . requires nothing but admiration") because he has provided them with an excuse for not doing anything to stop the war, or even slow it down. For even though a clear majority of Americans want the war to end, it is painfully obvious that the Establishment Democrats have no interest whatsoever in halting the imperial adventure. While they occasionally pay lip service to the public desire, they have not actually taken any serious, sustained, committed measure toward curtailing the war. They are not even trying -- because they don't want to try. In the end, they are perfectly happy with our corrupt, tyrannical, militarist system just the way it is; their only real objection is that they are not in charge of it at the moment.
So yes, by all means, let's heap bay leaves all over Dave Petraeus in token of his sterling service to the savage liars in the White House and the simpering goons in Congress. He has certainly done what our nation's leaders asked him to do: keep the bloodbath boiling and the war profits...well, surging is the word that comes to mind. He is the very model of a modern major general in the Terror War imperium that degrades us all today. ***