FACT CHECK: Did Gen. David Petraeus Author This Essay About The Military?

Jonathan Fonti | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared over 19,000 times claims retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus authored a long essay about the sacrifices associated with serving in the military.

Verdict: False

Petraeus did not write the essay. U.S. Army veteran Nick Palmisciano confirmed he is the original author.

Fact Check:

The post shares a photo of Petraeus accompanied by a lengthy statement credited to the retired four-star Army general and former CIA director. The essay highlights the decline in the percent of the U.S. population willing to serve in the military and what he allegedly perceives as the American public’s lack of understanding for those who do serve.

“Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror,” Petraeus allegedly wrote. “These are unbelievable statistics. Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse.”(RELATED: ‘If You Are Offended By Something Then Leave It Alone’ – Did Hank Williams Jr. Post This Viral Statement?) 

“You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand,” the essay goes on. “Then you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand. They don’t understand suffering. They don’t understand sacrifice. They don’t understand why we fight for them.”

However, Check Your Fact didn’t find any credible media outlets attributing the essay to Petraeus. The essay appears to have been authored by Palmisciano, a U.S. Army veteran who told Check Your Fact in a Facebook direct message that he published the essay on the website Ranger Up in 2009 and later republished it in 2012 “after it started getting circulated as Petraeus or Schwarzkopf.” The U.S. Army’s official Facebook page shared the essay, attributed to him, in November 2011.

“Now, there is an almost universal belief that General Petreaus wrote this. It’s on blogs. I’ve received many emails about how we ‘should post it,'” a note above Palmisciano’s essay on Ranger Up reads, in part. “So I’m posting it, again, just like I did when I wrote it.”

Jonathan Fonti

Fact Check Reporter
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