Another comparison: Ike lived at a time when the military custom was to wear only a few of the decorations he had earned, while nowadays the custom is to put everything up front. It’s the military culture in general, rather than Petraeus in particular, that has the ‘love of bling’.
Also, saying that Ike ‘defeated Nazi Germany’ is like saying Mussolini defeated Greece. Somewhere between nine and eleven million Soviet soldiers died from 1939 on, first defending their motherland against Hitler and then attacking the Reich itself, while the United States didn’t get involved in the ETO until late 1942 and lost fewer than half a million soldiers in both theaters, including those wasted in fiascoes like Hurtgen Forest and the Bulge, both of which happened because Eisenhower was too busy living it up in Paris to pay any attention to what the I&R grunts had to say. Without Leningrad and Stalingrad and Kursk, the Western Allies wouldn’t have stood a chance. The credit for defeating Nazi Germany goes first of all to Hitler and secondly to Zhukov. As for Petraeus, my impression is that he was respected by his troops in a way that Ike never was. Ike should be given credit as a politician, for getting the likes of Monty and Patton to fight on the same side, which was a monumental achievement, but as a military leader he was mediocre at best. And don’t forget that Petraeus doesn’t have an unlimited supply of conscripted cannon fodder as Eisenhower did to fall back on when he blundered.
Apr 8, 2016