I sell the things you need to be
I'm the smiling face of your T.V. ohh…
I'm the Cult of Personality
I exploit you; still you love me
--Cult of Personality, Living Colour
When Ranger looks at General David Petraeus's medal-festooned uniform, he always wonders: Where are the meaningful badges, like the Combat Infantry Badge and the valor awards that used to reside on General officers ribbon bars? Heck, even good Platoon leaders had these in previous wars.
The same can be said of General Stanley McChrystal and most of our present-day warrior elite. All the medals on their chest will not ensure success or victory. But this post concerns Petraues -- the Teflon Boy whose leadership in Afghanistan is now touted as essential and indispensable to that war effort (as though fighting in Afghanistan has anything to do with warfare, anyway. It is merely organized violence.)
To debunk some of the Petraeus myth:
 Petraeus did not write the Counterinsurgency manual. He was the Officer in Charge or Commanding Officer to the group which produced the manual.
There are no manuals in the U.S. Department of Defense system which are written by only one or two people. A plethora of GS 1712 Training Specialists and GS 1710 Education Specialists are generally tasked with writing and researching manuals.
It is infrequent that soldiers write manuals; Petraeus was a contributor, and should not be hailed as some modern-day developer of COIN warfare techniques. The COIN FM 3-24 strikes us as a disjointed group effort, and does not belie the articulation imputed to the General.
 No man is indispensable in our system. Witness the hasty departure of former indispensable General McChrystal.
We are replicant replacement units, as it should be. Wars are not about individuals, nor are they individual efforts. War is an institutional effort and if this system cannot produce replacement leaders, then we are a lost bunch of warriors. Nobody is irreplaceable, whether we are talking the platoon or national level.
Even al-Qaeda has produced twelve number 3's since the beginning of hostilities. Individuals are irrelevant. We are not living in a Marvel comic book
General Petraeus is not Captain America.