Well, I may have called Jill Kelly et al. “a bunch of self-inflated, over-leveraged, Floridian yoga-and-pedicure arrivistes,” but at least they never killed nobody. If she and her husband and their little circle of Gulf Coast socialite lites were running a series of nested social scams, as they patently were, appending themselves to the native déclassé aristocracy of West Florida, namely, The Military, like a collection of slightly natty minor nobles pissing in the stairwells at Versailles while waiting for a chance encounter with a Bourbon, then at least they were harmless. They weren’t off in Afghanistan, sending folks to their doom. The fact that everyone in Washington seemed—and seem—to find them so offensive for having brought low several once-great men suggests that there may yet have been some redeeming social value in their grift. Oh, I am sure they’re self-entitled assholes, but at least they’re not generals . . . or senators. And remember, Petraeus himself was just a useful Press Release, an avatar of some sort of martial success to be dumped on each open-mouthed Tina Brown each time the grim facts of our “Decade at War” threatened to boil over into something like public disaffection. A stooge of a bunch of stooges brought down by the machinations of some more stooges—is anything more American than that? The Kellys can’t understand why they’d face opprobrium for what they know anyone else in their circumstances would’ve done. They wanted notoriety, not to be notorious! Sister, don’t we all.
Christmas it seems to me is a necessary festival; we require a season when we can regret all the flaws in our human relationships: it is the feast of failure, sad but consoling.
-Our Man in Havana
Another reason I enjoy Graham Greene is that his bleak humor is so often prescient, proving the necessary point that comedy isn’t just the highest form of analysis, but the only form. He really could have written this story himself: two posh American dilettantes playing at playing at war, while the Generalissimo supposed to be in charge is bonking his amanuensis.
Actually, with all the awards dinners and jocular wine-soaked, clothed-and-skirted confabs, the thing smells just as much of Gilbert and Sullivan, but in Greeneland people actually die, and die horribly as a pesky side effect of human vanity and stupidity, and that’s the sad tale here. Two genuine American crackpots, experts on empires that have ceased to exist, got scam salaries from a non-profit DC racket and literally sent hundreds of Americans and god knows how many Afghans and Pakistanis to be killed, crippled, and maimed while the real officers were off porking a bunch of self-inflated, over-leveraged, Floridian yoga-and-pedicure arrivistes. At least Wormold did it for his daughter.
Perfectly, this article arrives simultaneously with its own publisher getting on the box to tell us that Chuck Hagel is insufficiently committed to setting giant piles of money on fire to serve as the Secretary of Defense. Really!
Mr. Hagel took a very different position when asked about Mr. Panetta’s comment during a September 2011 interview with the Financial Times. “The Defense Department, I think in many ways, has been bloated,” he responded. “So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down.”
That’s being offered as a criticism. To even suggest such a thing is to be rendered unfit.
Well, the Washington Post is also a scam, the rump entertainment product of a test-prep rentier on the equally bloated American university industry, and there’s a great and ironic similarity between two scheming profs running a con dispensing advice to the generals and a scheming tabloid running a con by doing the same to the rest of the ruling class.
I suppose everyone will have to be shocked by this latest revelation about the petty venality of our modern-day Scipios, even though it’s the most unsurprising thing in the world. Talk about vanity. Our wars are nothing but, in both the modern and the ecclesiastical sense. The real long con here is on you, America. Your main man Obama is chucking your shitty retirement plan in the meat grinder while a couple of humanities Ph.D.s direct a quadrillion bones or clams of carnage halfway around the world. Your job sucks, you haven’t got any public transportation, your city is on the verge of bankruptcy, and your unpaid parking tickets have been reported to the credit ratings agency, making it impossible to refinance your crap mortgage. Don’t worry, though. Some dude who once expressed some mild skepticism about the non-personnel administrative expenses of the most lavishly, obscenely capitalized entity in the entire world may yet, despite the objections of The Potomac People’s Daily, get confirmed in some big-shot political job that you don’t really care about anyway.