Things can get worse and a friend recently suggested a plausible way: a super ego smothered in military medals could become our dictator.
Don't sneer. Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned from the army at the end of August to become head of the Central Intelligence Agency, could take over the country tomorrow if he wanted to.
Petraeus wears more medals on his chest than the entire U.S. Olympic team. Yet in his first 29 years in the military, he never saw a day of combat. The Pentagon refused a request to tell the public what all those medals are for. Obviously they weren't earned in combat.
At his retirement ceremony, Petraeus was lauded by the huffers and puffers of the Military Industrial Complex as the military equal of Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight David Eisenhower. Mercifully, nobody mentioned Douglas MacArthur, the second-biggest ego ever to wear stars on his shoulder. Grant, Eisenhower and MacArthur, at least, won real wars, actually declared by Congress.
That didn't dampen the rhetoric of Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said, "Gen. David Petraeus has set the gold standard for wartime command in the modern era. " Then, turning to the man himself, Mullen added: "You now stand with the giants, not just of our time, but of all time."
Maybe he was thinking of Mel Ott, a Giant who only stood 5' 11".
Petraeus finally got "combat" experience in 2003, when he led the 101st Airborne Division in the fiction-based invasion of Iraq on behalf of that eminent "wartime president," George W. Bush. The huffers and puffers cranked up a hype machine that managed to portray him as having snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia., even as the country that had no weapons of mass destruction and very little in the way of an army somehow managed to stretch our invasion into our longest war. And then there's Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and Libya, and . . .
Oh, never mind. The man clearly has better military credentials than little Cpl. Schickelgruber had, and look what he became. Dictator. With the greatest military machine in the world at that time.
You know who's got the greatest military machine in the world now.
And you know what we've got in the White House.
And you know the caliber of those who aspire to replace him.
And you know -- or ought to know, if you're old enough to vote -- the power of the Military Industrial Complex and the corporations that run this country. They love the man with the medals on his chest. They'd be pleased to have him as dictator.
He could have the job tomorrow, if he wanted it.
Maybe the only question is, when will he decide to want it?