Your Own Personal Jesus

James Fallows argues that Gen. David Petraeaus is the New Jesus:

As has been widely noted, Gen. David Petraeus is getting the full New Jesus treatment. It’s underway to an extent I can barely remember happening before. OK, maybe one exception: When Coach Joe Gibbs was brought back to “save” the Washington Redskins three years ago, under their lamentable owner, Dan Snyder. The subsequent travails of Coach Gibbs illustrate the standard New Jesus cycle.

Petraeus is a serious man, but the expectations being heaped on him are simply laughable, and it’s worth noting the proportions this phenomenon has taken on.

At his press conference last week, President Bush essentially answered every question about Iraq with the word “Petraeus.” Actually, the word the President used was “David” — before recovering himself and remembering to give his last name or say “General Petraeus.”

Petraeus appears to be at least reasonably competent and intelligent — unlike, say, President Bush — but a superteam of Napoleon Bonaparte, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Genghis Khan, and Alexander the Great couldn’t get Baghdad stabilized.

Robert Farley thinks this is just a piece of Republican Great Man Syndrome — the belief that one singular man (always a man, except for Margaret Thatcher) can change everything for the better.  I think that’s part of it for some, but I think for others, it’s more cynical.

Petraeus isn’t going to fix Iraq, but he’s a convenient stand-in for actual discussions of reality.  Sure, Iraq has fallen apart, even by the Bush administration’s most rosy projections, but David Petraeus is going to testify in September and what if he says it isn’t?  Won’t you feel dumb then?

Petraeus is an excuse to punt the issue another month or two down the line.  In September, doubtless he’ll come back and say that the surge could work in another Friedman or two.  Sane people will say that this is the same thing we’ve heard for the past nine Friedmans; Joe Lieberman and the Funky Bunch will say this is proof that we should stay the course and hope everything works out.  And really, it only takes four or five months for the line to become, “Well, we shouldn’t decide this in the midst of a campaign.  We should let President Obama or President Romney deal with this.”  And thus does the GOP succeed in their ultimate objective: ensuring that Bush alone doesn’t take the fall for this.

At any rate, the idea that David Petraeus and his willpower can fix Iraq is ludicrous.  Indeed, the idea that Jesus himself could fix Iraq is ludicrous.  But when you’re arguing for staying the course in Iraq, you’re going to be making a ludicrous argument no matter what you say.

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under 10_jeff_fecke

7 responses to “Your Own Personal Jesus

  1. Good point, about this being another “pin the tail on the scapegoat” game.

    Speaking of that, whatever happened to the previous candidate? The War Czar Whats-His-Name? The got him appointed, the first thing he said was something about how the Iraq war wasn’t going well, and that was the last I ever heard of him. Has anyone looked for him in Gulag-West?

  2. Petraeus appears to be at least reasonably competent and intelligent — unlike, say, President Bush

    LOL! Wah wah wah.

  3. but a superteam of Napoleon Bonaparte, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Genghis Khan, and Alexander the Great couldn’t get Baghdad stabilized.

    If I had Photoshop on this computer, I would create such a superteam right now. What a wonderful mental image!

  4. Edo

    …but a superteam of … Genghis Khan, … couldn’t get Baghdad stabilized.

    I beg to differ. Genghis Khan could stabalize Baghdad. I don’t think *anyone* would be pleased with his methods or the resulting wholesale slaughter of nearly everyone, but he could do it. just sayin.

  5. Aaron

    Isn’t it funny that the people in the intelligence community keep spending every day putting together massive reports and sending it to the government, and the government draws conclusions about what will happen in the coming months, and they are always spectacularly wrong?

    Isn’t it also funny that a bunch of people with access to no super secret intelligence on this or that and less time to spend analyzing can predict EXACTLY what is going to happen? Every time one of these idiots comes out with a prediction or prognosis or even a plan, I can’t help but think of the first post 9-11 moment that I was sitting in my dorm room watching some gov’t hack started talking about terrorist threats or Iraqi WMD, and thinking “Clearly, they are wrong. I can tell they are making this up to suit their purpose just by listening to them and thinking about current worlds circumstances”. Either my gut is better than Chertoff’s, or someone along the line someone is lying. No wait, they wouldn’t ever…I forgot that the PC term is mislead. Heh.

  6. Petraeus isn’t going to fix Iraq, but he’s a convenient stand-in for actual discussions of reality. Sure, Iraq has fallen apart, even by the Bush administration’s most rosy projections, but David Petraeus is going to testify in September and what if he says it isn’t? Won’t you feel dumb then?

    The best thing for America right now, in the sense of a short sharp shock of reality, would be for Petraeus to be spectacularly blown to pieces by some Iraqi insurgent. And I say that with absolutely no animus for the guy.

  7. Edo,
    Genghis Khan couldn’t do it with the number of troops and marines available.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s