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Friday, November 16, 2012

David Petraeus - The Last of the Roman-Sounding Generals

Flavius Aetius was the 5th Century Roman general who finally stopped Attila the Hun's invasions of Roman territory.  He has been referred to as 'The Last of the Romans'.  Like all great Romans of the day he had many great enemies, not least of whom was his master, the emperor Valentinian III, who feared Aetius' ambitions and distrusted his loyalties.  Valentinian eventually assassinated Aetius, reportedly by his own hand, in the culmination of a plot carried out while Aetius was at court delivering some sort of financial report.

Heh, life is tough near the top.  Politics ain't beanbag, and it wasn't back then either.  Aetius was a general with a great reputation but as he - and more recently, David Petraeus - found out, being a famous general with a cool-sounding name doesn't protect you when the guy at the top believes he has reason to fear you.

The former Director of the CIA is right now testifying about what the White House knew, and when it knew it, about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi on 11 September.  His testimony will be impeachable no matter what he says because his character has been effectively assassinated.  Petraeus already briefed Congress and in that earlier briefing he supported the President's claims.  He is now in the unenviable position of informing Congress he lied in that earlier briefing in order to cover up lies the President was telling at the time.  Either way Petraeus is a liar.  Oh, and an adulterer.  There are good reasons not to trust people that are either and Petraeus is now certified to be both.  David Petraeus may have made the same mistake Aetius did 1600 years ago:  He thought he was still safe, that his boss wasn't ready to do him in.  That he was still useful enough to his master that his master would not move against him.  He misjudged his man.  David Petraeus could have rock-solid proof that Barack Obama was lying about Benghazi but his word will be discounted because he is himself a lying adulterer.

But here's the postscript to the Aetius assassination of 454 AD:  Within six months, the conspirators against Aetius had fallen out so badly one of them had the emperor himself assassinated.  There were a number of soldiers present whose duty of course it would have been to protect the emperor.  But they had been Aetius' men.  None lifted a hand.

If I were Barack Obama I would wonder who I could trust.  The men and women that had enough power to help the President destroy David Petraeus' reputation have no reason to expect any loyalty from Barack Obama.  They see how he is.  What happens when some of them start to worry about when Obama is going to stick it to them in public like he did to Petraeus?  Are some of them worrying already?

1 comment:

Glenn Knight said...

I'm sorry, Agim, but I think you need to get back on your meds.