Friday, November 09, 2012

Petraeus resigns over affair

By Libby Spencer

Few details but just now, CIA head David Petraeus resigned because of an extra-martial affair. All the smart people are saying he had to do it because, blackmail. Not sure how that works once the affair has been admitted. What leverage does the rejected lover have once it's made public?

Always being the outlier, I'm not a fan of his at all, but I find it hard to believe he would compromise national security for sex. Think it's more likely he had a fling with a younger woman, because that's what men so often do at that stage of marriage, and wants to spare his wife and family the media circus which would be relentless if he held on to the job. This way, since it appears he's leaving immediately, the media will lose interest in a couple of days once they tease out what few prurient details they can. 


Update by MJWS:

The woman in question, according to Slate's Fred Kaplan, is Paula Broadwell, the author of a recent hagiographic book about him, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. Kaplan writes:

Sources tell me that President Obama, who has been getting along with Petraeus very well in the past couple years, agonized for 24 hours over the letter of resignation before accepting it. The move no doubt ends the career of the most famous, and perhaps most strategically astute, American military commander in decades...

It had long been rumored that something was going on between Petraeus and Broadwell. Her book, co-written with Vernon Loeb, is widely regarded as a valentine to the general. When she was embedded with him in Afghanistan, they went on frequent 5-mile runs together. But Petraeus went on 5-mile runs with many reporters, and few people who knew him took the rumors seriously. In his personal life, he’s always been seen as a straight shooter, a square. Few could have imagined that his end would come as the result of a morals scandal.

But that's how it often is, right? It's the ones who seem morally/religiously disinclined to do such things who end up self-destructing.

(And All In's quite the title, no? The jokes write themselves.)

Anyway, here's a photo making the rounds:

As Libby writes:

Looking at this photo, I suspect that may well turn out to be the story. I see an older guy giddy from the attention from a young, attractive, adoring fan girl.  

It's not impossible that there's some dark nefarious plot going on I guess, but lust makes people do crazy things. I'm inclined to go with Occam's razor on this one. I mean, who doesn't know of any otherwise happily married people who were thrust into close proximity for professional reasons and succumbed to sexual attraction? 

I'm generally not one to make too much of these things, which are mostly private matters (except when there's moral-political hypocrisy going on, as in the case of many Republican transgressions). But whatever you think of Petraeus, there's no denying it marks a stunning ending to a long and distinguished career.

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  • Call me a traitor to "good American values," but man, this is another reason the Europeans are snickering behind their monocles: "Good Lord, man, are you telling me that the head of the secret police had to resign because he had a mistress? Isn't that what spymasters are supposed to do?"

    Thanks for letting me rant/long-time reader, infrequent comment-leaver,

    By Blogger Ivan, at 10:03 AM  

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