Deeper Perception Made Practical

Patraeus "Betray Us" Or Just "Give Us Busy Work"?


Busy-work for an enraged America, that’s the true message in the General’s report. We are to move out the absolute minimum of soldiers from Iraq, meanwhile asking our nation to avoid “rushing to failure.” Will it be so much better if we plod to failure?

Patraeus’ report sets this country a most ridiculous assignment: Talking about Bush’s plans as if a word we said would make any difference.

I couldn’t agree more with Garrison Keillor, interviewed on “On Point,” who said the situation in Iraq doesn’t demand a military solution but a political one, which won’t happen until America’s next presidential election.

Meanwhile let’s engage in a counter-culture — but more meaningful discussion — about Generals. Let’s consider one more worthy of admiration right now, General Colin Powell.

He has served his country as General, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State, and as a highly-electable non-candidate for Election 2008. More recently, this Republican hero has become an advisor to Democratic superstar Barack Obama.

Powell did betray us once, but he has also shown the grace to apologize for his role in bringing the U.S. to war with
Iraq, which may be a singular accomplishment within the Bush Administration. I first became fascinated with Powell when writing Wrinkles Are God’s Makeup. Studying how faces change over time is a passion for me. Sometimes those changes take decades. But great changes can happen much sooner. All this depends upon how fast someone is growing inside. Surveying the political scene in 2003, I became fascinated by how very little certain faces changed: Bush and Cheney showed few differences, despite the way big political power can intensify inner stress. What makes the difference between facially changing a lot versus staying the same, for good or ill? It’s the inner economy, stupid!

Who pays attention to the consequences of his or her actions? Who takes personal responsibility? Who doesn’t.

The answer can show in the changing structure of a face. Do you have any idea how much Powell’s face changed just from 2000 to 2002? Not until his resignation in 2004 did the public learn how much he had struggled and suffered as Secretary of State. Face readers, though? We learned long in advance, and this reading of Powell is adapted from readings of public figures I published in Wrinkles Are God’s Makeup back in 2003.


Cheek padding means the amount of flesh covering a cheek. The amount of padding corresponds to a person’s relative ease at having resources available for carrying out his actions in public. Consider it a form of clout. For Secretary of State Powell, the padding was relatively lean in Y2K (find a Google Image from 2000 for reference: Photo A).

Notice how that padding increased by from 2001 (Photo B)?

Then it increased even further by 2002 (Photo C). This change suggests increased power resources. Note, too, that the growth in cheek padding is on the RIGHT side of Powell’s face.

The right side corresponds to public life, while the left side is about personal life. So, surprise! It was in public that Powell showed the big growth of power.


Cheek texture shows the quality of power, in contrast to the amount of power. In Photo A, the cheek padding is taut and muscular, as befits a man at the top of his game. By Photo B, the padding has softened. Not just expression is being noticed here. Touch that flesh with your eyes!

This softening corresponds to a diminution of control, where Powell’s power base isn’t supporting him in the way he was used to being supported.

By Photo C, Powell was actively arguing with President Bush and others. We know that now. At the time, the Bushies presented a united front. But look what happened to Powell’s cheek padding. It became looser, forming jowls. These changes symbolize a shift in personal power, from confident mastery to moving beyond his comfort zone.

The jowls suggests decreased support from others and, perhaps, frustration over lessened control. Lessons about power were being learned on a personal level. Tomorrow, let’s explore the changes to Colin Powell’s lips. Today, join me for comments. Or take this quiz.

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  1. 1
    Colleen says:


    Thanks for the reading on Colin Powell. I remember reading about the General and former Secretary of
    State in “Wrinkles are God’s Makeup”, (oh I like that title!).

    How about General Patraeus? Did he betray us?,(aurically speaking). I do not know what is so upsetting about the play on words. The “Swift Boat Ads” were much worse.

  2. 2
    Colleen says:

    Dear Rose,

    I completely understand. The energy of this wonderful blog does not need to contribute to a
    Puppet show. I will try to tune into your radio show tonight.

  3. 3

    Dear Colleen:

    I agree with you that the Swift Boat ads were far worse than having MoveOn.Org place an ad with those now controversial words, “General Patraeus, did he betray us?”

    I don’t want to read his aura for a personal and political reason. In my opinion, this General and his report are just presenting us with a diversion. It’s a make-busy report, a puppet-show conversation. Bush is going to do exactly what he wants to do.

    More avoidable, but true: Congress avoids taking constructive action.

    Public demonstrations might help. Certainly the next election will, and the one after that will help even more–I hope. Meanwhile, I don’t want to use my blog to contribute to the energy around the Patraeus Puppet Show.

  4. 4
    Mike says:

    Rose interesting looking at this all these years later. Did Patraeus betray us?
    Well we now know for sure he did at least one person, his wife!

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