Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
March 23, 2008

The Petraeus Insurgency

Newsweek-Petraeus-Gang

This week, I happened to come across the Newsweek cover having just read the LAT front pager titled “It’s a Pentagon divided.”  (The more direct title inside read: “Joint Chiefs, commanders in Iraq at odds over troops.”)

The Times article puts this cover photo in an interesting new perspective.

In essence, the Times piece details how General Petraeus and his “supporters” (wink, wink) have somehow managed to do an end-run around the military chain-of-command, including the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs and their Chairman, Adm Mullen.  (As you know, Adm. Fallon, the former U.S. commander in the the Middle East was knocked out of the box last week.)

 Misc Petraeuss-ArmyWhereas Mullen and the top brass have had a plan in place to reduce the force levels in Iraq, and thus saving the military from coming apart at the seams, Petraeus seems to have somehow magically acquired a veto over his superiors.

Which brings us to the Newsweek cover.

Practically identified as Petraeus’ boys, these guys — armed to the teeth and standing their ground — actually give off an impression (led by the aptly named Captain Wright as head of the General’s posse) that they aren’t going to budge.  (And, for reinforcement, check out the shot, left, from the table of contents where Wright has it all mapped out.)

What became codified as “the surge,” having evaded Congress, appears to have morphed into a large-scale insurgent force within our own military.

Pentagon divided on Iraq strategy (LAT)

Scions of the Surge (Newsweek)

(image 1: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad/Getty for Newsweek.  image 2: Seamus Murphy for Newsweek.  April 2008.  Iraq.  Newsweek Magazine)

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    Thats the biggest load of horse… that I have ever heard or read. Its the General’s PR machine working overtime to secure his next cushy job before things go to the lowest level of Hell in Iraq.

  • BamaGuy

    What Eisenhower feared has happened. The USA is completely militarist, our economy dependent upon the military industry… we must have a war going perpetually or the house of cards will collapse.

  • http://www.jaxxattaxx.com/ black dog barking

    Assuming that the resources portrayed in the Petraeus Generation photo are deployed in response an immediate problem it behooves us to stand back and ask the obvious question: What is the problem for which this, Petraeus Generation, is the solution?
    Limited to just the photo it looks like a tactical military unit has been given a tactical military objective, perhaps holding an intersection against enemy military occupation. Something like the goal of holding the bridge at the end of the movie Saving Private Ryan. They are armed and ready and I wouldn’t want to have to walk through them.
    It is real hard, impossible in fact, to infer from the picture that these men and Gen Petraeus are charged with restoring civil order — water, sanitation, the power grid, etc, along with the civic institutions that derive from self-government — in an occupied nation. The tools at these men’s disposal are not appropriate for that end.
    Either the Petraeus Generation is not a very good answer or I really don’t understand the question.

  • http://www.fromthearchives.blogspot.com Megan

    Oh no. That’s not what it looked like at all to me. My instantaneous reaction to the guy up front was confusion. He doesn’t look stable to me at all. Where is his center of gravity? He doesn’t appear to be resting any weight on his right leg and the knee-pads make his legs look bent and I couldn’t figure out how he is standing upright at all. They look like an array of those green plastic army men, ready to topple at any moment.

  • jtfromBC

    ~ these are fine looking imperial heirs of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Centurion_2_Boulogne_Luc_Viatour.jpg
    ~ as for their leader, some interesting questions:
    Pilfered Scholarship Devastates General Petraeus’s Counterinsurgency Manual. http://www.counterpunch.org/price10302007.html

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    By the late 1970s, the petroleum crisis had taken a toll on the profitability of the G.I. JOE line . . . Drastic increases in the price of petroleum increased the cost of the plastic used to manufacture the toys.

  • weisseharre

    spongeblob/s/quare/nutz

  • jtfromBC

    UN Secretary General stated that the use of force without Council endorsement would “not be in conformity with the Charter” and many legal experts now describe the US-UK attack as an act of aggression, violating international law.
    Experts also point to illegalities in the US conduct of the war and violations of the Geneva Conventions by the US-UK of their responsibilities as an occupying power.
    The Petraeus Generation is simply the latest batch of unlawful combatants.
    He who conforms best eventually surges to become US Army Chief of Staff.
    My money is on the Peacock General.

  • Puka

    The expression on the face of the soldier (who reminds me a little of a young Charlton Heston) mimics that on Eliot Spitzer, up in the corner. Both grim, glum, determined – and SOL.

  • cenoxo

    The Petraeus Generation…
    legionaries with vision-seeking phylacteries bound to their foreheads, carrying the rods of imperial power.
    Looking for truth in darkness, and ready to enforce it as needed.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes