by Carey Wedler
After months of silence since his resignation, ex-CIA director David Petraeus made his first public speech. Speaking to a crowd of ROTC veterans, the general apologized for his extramarital affair that led to his resignation from the Central Intelligence Agency. He lamented that it disgraced his family, friends, and the organization itself. This speech is a riveting development for the mainstream media, which covers his marital transgressions far more than his true crimes. However, it shows more than the general’s crocodile tears for his infidelity, demonstrating the appetite for information that citizens of the American empire have developed. In the warped world of mainstream infotainment, facts cease to matter.
The majority of the American public buys into the lies of politicians and the media, and the story of David Petraeus is no exception. Last year, TV news viewers were obsessed with the melo-drama they usually find on their favorite TV shows and blockbuster films. Suddenly, Americans cared about politics. Throw in the mystery and secrecy of the Benghazi “terrorist attack” right around the time of his resignation, and this story is irresistible not only for Fox, CNN, and MSNBC, but for their mindless, conditioned followers who crave entertainment more than knowledge. Even still, the peoples’ opinion matters, which is precisely why Petraeus bothered to make a public apology to veterans today, sparking a media frenzy to drum up the speech’s significance. USA Today reported that the general wants to repair his damaged image so he may continue his career. He is a decorated general, yet still dependent on public opinion.
Long-over are the discussions and critical analysis of details of the general’s war policy before becoming CIA director. Though he approved a policy of burning entire villages filled with innocent civilians in Afghanistan (under the direct command of Lieutenant Colonel David Flynn), he need not make an apology. Murder, when committed by the “armed forces,” is just collateral damage. Further, few media pundits stopped to question the conflicted interests of his mistress, Paula Broadwell. She posed as an “independent journalist” while writing a complimentary biography of the general. She defended his policy of murder and destruction, all while she was sleeping with him overseas. Still, all that matters to the mainstream narrative is that she went a little crazy and sent threatening emails to another woman. This drama is more relevant to the media’s story than an investigation of how the general performed his job in a cloak of violence and disrespect for human life.
Nor is it is a story that once the general was promoted to be head of the CIA, he had further machinations that discredit his “respected” record. His affair was damaging and commanded the public apology he issued today, but his questionable actions as director are cast to the side. Few care that in collusion with Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, Petraeus was eager to arm Syrian rebels directly with US weapons. He has no moral issue with embroiling the United States in the manipulation of foreign affairs outside its realm of moral or political jurisdiction. It is irrelevant that he is staunchly in favor of continuing and expanding the status quo of the brutal American empire. He cheated on his wife, and he must answer to a nation for it.
For another example of the warped values of information in the United States, one need only look to the scandal that accompanied his affair. Americans and their mainstream media puppeteers are unconcerned with the realities of a CIA director whose story about the 9/11/12 attacks on the US embassy in Benghazi changed over time. Did he know it was a “terrorist” attack all along? Was he hiding the truth to protect the Obama administration’s lies? It wouldn’t matter anyway, as he testified behind closed doors after his resignation. As he did it, Americans were busy gossipping about the catty emails between the two women who lusted after his power.
The importance of the general’s apology today is not rooted in his “regret” for his immoral actions. In fact, it has nothing to do with it. While he plays remorseful for his infidelity to his marriage, he ignores his real crimes. All the while, the media fails to ask serious questions about the top governmental criminals in the United States. Whether this is a reflection of the people’s interests or the effect the media’s inanity and lies have had on citizens’ minds, the truth remains unchanged: that the American population is so intellectually degraded that they are more interested in the reality-tv aspects of government than the very serious charges of murder, torture, lies and oppression that underly them. To deal with such realities impinges on the fanciful action hero stories they pay Hollywood to see. It is too real and too terrifying to devote any time to investigating. If the media doesn’t provide facts for them, the truth remains buried on “fringe” internet news sources.
Americans are more comfortable sedated by scandalous news modeled after the predictable plot-lines and scripted endings of reality TV. The irony, of course, is the complete ignorance of genuine reality. Instead, Americans will dedicate their political thought to eating up carefully crafted PR promises that the general makes to “help veterans find jobs” at he begs for forgiveness for his private transgressions. His public crimes remain public, continually ignored and excused.