Sunday, November 11, 2012

Footnote to the preceding

A perfect example of how militarism (which is what spawns the unthinking praise of all things "veteran") pervades our culture can be seen in the media reaction to the resignation of David Patraeus from the CIA, ably dissected by Glenn Greenwald.

Simply put, when any ordinary - that is, non-military - political figure gets caught with their metaphorical pants down, it's a source of saturated salaciousness, a cataloging of the person's moral failings or shortcomings, even as a cause for mockery.

But when it's a general, the media rules change. Patraeus's fall from his high horse was "very painful," we were told. It was a "personal tragedy" for "one of the greatest military minds in modern history." It was "a huge loss for the United States" that he was "off the battlefield."

A number of the comments on GG's post were no better, such as one that said we should offer our respect to Patraeus because once he got caught, he owned up to the affair. Is that really all it takes to get your respect? Or does that, as I suspect, only apply to soldiers - make that generals, as I doubt you'd do it for a grunt - you want to exempt from any sort of moral judgment at all?

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