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Thread: Petraeus' 'ribbon creep'
04-10-08, 10:19 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- west Tennessee
Petraeus' 'ribbon creep'
Anyone who is even the slightest bit familiar with the military, knows that all ribbons, decorations, badges and insignias MUST be worn.
Can you believe this Matthew DeBord guy? I think that the only "creep" in this story, is the "creep" who wrote it!
Petraeus' 'ribbon creep'
A uniform full of medals and decorations clashes with his message.
By Matthew DeBord
April 9, 2008
Gen. David H. Petraeus may be as impressive a military professional as the United States has developed in recent years, but he could use some strategic advice on how to manage his sartorial PR. Witness his congressional testimony on the state of the war in Iraq. There he sits in elaborate Army regalia, four stars glistening on each shoulder, nine rows of colorful ribbons on his left breast, and various other medallions, brooches and patches scattered across the rest of the available real estate on his uniform. He even wears his name tag, a lone and incongruous hunk of cheap plastic in a region of pristine gilt, just in case the politicians aren't sure who he is.
That's a lot of martial bling, especially for an officer who hadn't seen combat until five years ago. Unfortunately, brazen preening and "ribbon creep" among the Army's modern-day upper crust have trumped the time-honored military virtues of humility, duty and personal reserve.
Think about any of the generals you've seen in recent years -- Norman Schwarzkopf, Barry McCaffrey, Wesley Clark (all now retired) and others -- and the image you'll conjure no doubt includes a chest full of shimmering decorations. In Petraeus' case, most of them don't represent actual military action as much as they do the general's devotion to the institution of the U.S. Army and vice versa. According to an annotated photograph produced by the Times of London last year, the majority of ribbons on Petraeus' impressive "rack" were earned for various flavors of distinguished service. As brave as he may be and as meritorious in general, is all that ostentation the best way to present the situation in Iraq to an increasingly war-skeptical public?
Of course, Petraeus' goal is not just to make simple, soldierly arguments before Congress -- it is to dazzle, at least initially, with the blazing imagery of rank. What, after all, are mere Brooks Brothers suits on the members of Congress in the face of a fighting man's laurels? Some of the showiness can be attributed to regulations: The official uniform of the Army is to be worn in a very specific manner, and the brass have an obligation to live up to their billing by showing plenty of ... well, brass. On the other hand, if you're wearing four stars, you surely have some say when it comes to matters of peacockery.
Medals and decorations have a long history with a slightly cynical tinge. This goes back to their inception, during the Napoleonic era, when the strategic genius from Corsica discovered that baubles handed out to the combatants helped ensure loyalty and ferociousness. "With a handful of ribbons, I can conquer all of Europe," he said. In more contemporary times, decorations have suffered a fraught reputation among the rank and file: nice to get but awkward to display if the memories associated with them are of violence, loss and the ineptness of commanders. There have been isolated incidents of Iraq war veterans returning their medals, and, of course, Vietnam War vets were better acquainted with this kind of protest.
The greatest military leaders, in the age of organized national armies, have often conspicuously modified the official requirements of the uniform, even in the most public of settings. Ulysses S. Grant accepted Robert E. Lee's sword while outfitted in disheveled Union blue and muddy boots. Douglas MacArthur presided over the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on the deck of the battleship Missouri without donning so much as a necktie with his khakis. George Patton wasflamboyant, in his jodhpurs and riding boots, but he backed it up in battle after battle. His legend derived equally from brilliant tactics and an outrageous wardrobe.
Perhaps the best example, however -- and one that Petraeus and his cadre should look to for inspiration -- was set by two of the most politically savvy generals America has produced: Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshall. In photographs following World War II, with Ike fresh from rescuing Western civilization while Marshall was working to rebuild it, both men appear victorious, yet somber, cognizant of the challenges met and the challenges ahead. Eisenhower wears a single row of ribbons, Marshall three.
When you've saved the world and managed the lives and deaths of millions, it obviously compels a certain level of modesty about showcasing your accomplishments, however monumental. Apparently when you're trying to explain why your war-fighting achievements are "fragile" and why the conflict you're running in a hot, dusty faraway place might never be won, it does not.
Memo to Petraeus: When you're making the case for more patriotic gore, go easy on the glitter.
Matthew DeBord is a writer in Los Angeles.
04-10-08, 10:22 AM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
- Kansas City
Creep and idiot would apply to the azzhole who wrote this article!!!!
04-10-08, 10:24 AM #3
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- Jun 2002
- Jacksonville, NC
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
04-10-08, 11:02 AM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
- New Carlisle
The author of that article doesn't take into consideration that the lapel cannot cover an entire ribbon, thereby dropping the count by a considerable amount. Four of the rows have only two ribbons with a total of 22 instead of 36 that it may look like to the untrained eye. The General earned every single one in his mind and I guess that's all that matters.
04-10-08, 01:31 PM #5
- Join Date
- Dec 2007
Sounds like a jealous writter!
04-10-08, 02:21 PM #6
I'D LIKE TO SEE THIS MAGGOT,TELL IT TO LT.GEN.CHESTY PULLER
04-10-08, 02:45 PM #7yellowwingGuest Free Member
"By Matthew DeBord"
Looks like he used to be an editor for the Wine Spectator magazine. Gone from writing about wine to whine!
04-10-08, 03:22 PM #8Originally Posted by yellowwing
04-10-08, 03:25 PM #9
04-14-08, 11:28 AM #10
This is my area of expertise so I'll jump right on in.
First, this guy likely has ZERO idea of what all those ribbons mean.
Here's an absolutely GREAT breakdown photo, from the Times of London. Note that no American newspaper bothered to do that, but that's not surprising, either.
Not ALL of his ribbons have been id'd in the photo, but it might be instructive to learn which ones the General likely earned PRIOR to the Iraq war. Before doing so, though, here's what they are, top to bottom, left to right. (Just like reading a book). And, I'm doing it from memory..
Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal (2 awards), Defense Superior Service Medal (2 awards), Legion of Merit (looks like 3 awards), Bronze Star (may have a 'v' device, can't tell), this medal blocked, can't tell, Meritorious Service medal (3 awards), Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (Partially hidden but that's what it is), National Defense (2 stars), Army Schools (NCO, Professional Development) ribbon, Iraqi Campaign medal, War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Service ribbon, Army "Long tour" overseas service ribbon, NATO/Haiti Ribbon (I think), NATO Medal (Likely for Yugoslavia), and the last one is a foreign decoration that looks like either French, or Beligium, "Croix De Guerre". Colors are a tad off but it looks like them, anyway.
On the right pocket, JMUC, Army MUC, Army Superior Unit.
Also on the right pocket, 2 sets of 'foriegn' jump wings.
Back to the left pocket, he's wearing the new Army "Combat Action" badge, as well as Master Parachutist, Air Assault, and Joint Chiefs badges.
While 'we' can debate all day long about the way the army gives away ribbons (and 90 percent of what the general is wearing are paperwork medals, and BTDT...now, I can say that crap, since I have nothing BUT that stuff LOL)...but this little turd doesn't RATE to criticize the General for doodly/squat.
Thus endeth the lesson
04-14-08, 08:57 PM #11
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
- 25º 38' N, 54º 26' E
Gen. David H. Petraeus, is a General.
I respect him, and he can wear what he wants, as he earned them.
Going before Congress, as he did, took balls, and wearing his ribbons put the arseholes beneath him, and in their place.
The General is not a poser. The ****ing creep writer needs to go after posers and wannabees.
04-14-08, 09:27 PM #12Originally Posted by Zulu 36
04-15-08, 11:42 AM #13
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
Whoever wrote that article needs to take some lessons on military uniforms and then kill himself for being a fvck tard.
04-15-08, 11:46 AM #14
Way to go, PG. Couldn't have said it better me-self!
04-26-08, 09:57 PM #15
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
I did a quick Google on his bio.
Hat tip to the 762 justice blog. http://762justice.com/
- United States Military Academy - BS - No Major
- Princeton University - MPA - International Relations
- Princeton University - Ph.D. - International Relations
- 2LT 5 Jun 74
- 1LT 5 Jun 76
- CPT 8 Aug 78
- MAJ 1 Aug 85
- LTC 1 Apr 91
- COL 1 Sep 95
- BG 1 Jan 00
- MG 1 Jan 03
- LTG 18 May 04
- Jan 95 Jun 95 Chief Operations Officer, UN Mission in Haiti, OPERATION UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, Haiti
- Aug 99 Jul 00 Assistant Division Commander (Operations), 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Commanding General, CJTF-Kuwait, (Forward), OPERATION DESERT SPRING, Kuwait
- Jun 01 Jun 02 Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, SFOR, and Deputy Commander, United States Joint Interagency Counter Terrorism Task Force, OPERATION JOINT FORGE, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
- Jul 02 May 04 Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, Fort Campbell, Kentucky and deployed in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq
- Distinguished Service Medal
- Defense Superior Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
- Legion of Merit (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)
- Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device
- Defense Meritorious Service Medal
- Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
- Joint Service Commendation Metal
- Army Commendation Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
- Joint Service Achievement Medal
- Army Achievement Medal
- Expert Infantryman Badge
- Master Parachutist Badge
- Air Assault Badge
- Ranger Tab
- Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
- Army Staff Identification Badge
To me what tells the untold story here is his promotion rate. During the cold war it was pretty standard fare but when we started seeing live conflict he picked up rank at an amazing speed. Not even the dogs promote losers during wartime!!!
You can bet that Phd from Princeton has some anti-war pseudo intellectuals pi$$ing all over themselves for fear of him doing what Powell and Schwarzkopf didn't do when they got out.
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