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First things . . . Richard Falknor on 16 Nov 2012 10:17 pm

Petraeus:’Evolving’ Beyond West Point’s ‘Duty, Honor, Country’?

“If there is a lesson here, it is simple: A leader who will betray the First Amendment will betray anything.” — Diana West

In her last Thursday’s post, the indefatigable Diana West deconstructs (click on foregoing link) retired general  “David Petraeus’ see-no-Islam counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine” and spells out its consequences not only abroad but for us here at home.

Author West declares

“There is more at work here than a foundationally flawed strategy. In its drive to win Islamic hearts and minds, COIN doctrine has become an engine of Islamization inside the U.S. military. To win a Muslim population’s ‘trust,’ U.S. troops are taught deference to Islam — to revere the Quran; not to spit toward Mecca (thousands of miles away); and to condone such un- or anti-Western practices as religious supremacism, misogyny, polygamy, pederasty and cruelty to dogs. Our military has even permitted Islamic law to trump the First Amendment to further COIN goals, as when ISAF commander Petraeus publicly condemned an American citizen for exercising his lawful right to freedom of speech to burn a Quran.

This explains why the reports that CIA director David Petraeus went before the House Intelligence Committee in September and blamed a YouTube Muhammad video for the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, sounded so familiar. Whatever his motivation, it was all too easy for Petraeus to make free speech the scapegoat for Islamic violence. But so it goes in COIN-world, where jihad and Shariah (Islamic law) are off the table and the First Amendment is always to blame.”  (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Syndicated columnist West elaborates

“COIN doctrine approaches war from an ivory tower, a place where such theories thrive untested and without hurting anyone. On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, however, the results have been catastrophic. Tens of thousands of young Americans answered their country’s call and were told to accept more ‘risk’ and less ‘protection.’ Many lost lives, limbs and pieces of their brains as a result of serving under a military command structure and government in thrall to a leftist ideology that argues, in defiance of human history, that cultures, beliefs and peoples are all the same, or want to be.

Attributing such losses to Petraeus’ see-no-Islam COIN is no exaggeration. In his 2010 COIN guidance, Petraeus told troops: ‘Walk. Stop by, don’t drive by. Patrol on foot whenever possible and engage the population.’ As the Los Angeles Times reported last year, ‘The counterinsurgency tactic that is sending U.S. soldiers out on foot patrols among the Afghan people, rather than riding in armored vehicles, has contributed to a dramatic increase in arm and leg amputations, genital injuries and the loss of multiple limbs following blast injuries.’

 Indeed, the military has had to devise a new category of injury — ‘dismounted complex blast injury’ — while military medicine has had to pioneer, for example, new modes of ‘aggressive pain management at the POI (point of injury)’ and ‘phallic reconstruction surgery.'”

Duty, Honor, Country vs. Unexamined Ambition

On reading West’s compelling account, several questions jump to our minds –

  • How morally formative was David Petraeus’ West Point experience?  Conservatives and other country-class voices might ask how much has  unexamined ambition triumphed over “duty, honor, country”? (Click on the foregoing link to see General Douglas MacArthur’s pertinent commentary in his 1962 West Point tribute to  the “American man at arms.”)
  • In the thinking of the fashionable Beltway government class, on the other hand, how could a Petraeus follow these “archaic” goals of  duty, honor, country and still be a respected — and thus effective — transnational progressive, helping to lead in the emerging post-American era?  The Beltway class might also wonder whether taking  duty, honor, country too literally might be similar to the foolish (in their view) search for the framers’ intent, when they drafted the constitution, as a guide to following that document today. How many general and flag officers today believe they must conform to Beltway thinking to gain advancement — or even to be taken seriously when participating in major decisions?
  • Of course, all commissioned officers of the U.S. Army take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. . . .” (click here). Is it unrealistic today for Main Street Americans to assume that this oath would prevent serving officers from trying to intimidate other Americans who are exercising their First Amendment rights?

Just askin’.

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