Illustration of the pain pathway in
René Descartes’ David Petraeus’ Traite de l’homme (Treatise of Man) 1664 2011. The long fiber running from the foot to the cavity in Petraeus’ head is pulled by the heat and releases a fluid that makes the muscles contract, retracting the foot from the fire and into the salving buccal mucosa.
Reports that Gen. David Petraeus, the top US Commander in Afghanistan, accused parents in rural Kunar Province of burning their children simply to make the US “look bad” sparked considerable consternation, and what passes these days for an “explanation” from the military.
Petraeus’s insultingly awkward and racist evasion was made “awkwarder” when his spokesman clarified his meaning:
“Petraeus never said that children’s hands and feet were purposely burned by their families in order to create a civilian casualty event,” insisted spokesman Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, and here’s where the explanation falls off the rails again.
“Rather, he said that the injuries to the children appeared inconsistent with the types of munitions used and that the burns to their hands and feet may have been the result of discipline sometimes handed out to Afghan children. Regrettably this is customary among some Afghan fathers as a way of dealing with children who misbehave,” Smith continued.
That’s right, the Afghan government wasn’t mad that Petraeus said parents burned their kids to make him look bad, the Afghan government was mad because Petraeus said Afghan parents burn their kids all the time.
Boffo. Simply boffo.