Jewish World Review Nov. 14, 2012/ 29 Mar-Cheshvan, 5773
Petraeus Dumb, She's Dumber
By Roger Simon
Petraeus should have resigned because, if he were any more dimwitted, you would have had to water him.
I know this is not what we have been told for years about Petraeus. I know we have been told he is some kind of towering genius: West Point grad, Princeton PhD, four-star general. But add one other quality: blockhead.
No, not because he committed adultery. Adultery is commonplace in our society. It may someday be mandatory.
And his paramour was perfect for him. Paula Broadwell — a name, as someone said, that could have come from a James Bond novel — is also a West Point grad, has a master's degree from Harvard and is a fitness freak with biceps that could crush walnuts.
Oh, yeah, one more thing: She is as smart as a bag of hammers.
Leaving aside the sordid, yet fascinating, details — as CIA director Petraeus demanded fresh pineapple be placed by his bedside every night — here is what did in these two soaring intellects:
Petraeus sends Broadwell sexually explicit messages through his Gmail account, messages so explicit that they leave no doubt in the minds of FBI investigators that the two are having an affair.
Got that? The head of the Central Intelligence Agency thinks Gmail accounts are secure and untraceable. What, he couldn't have checked with a tech-savvy 12-year-old first? (Which is about every 12-year-old in America.)
Still, Petraeus might have skated, kept the affair private, gone on to a life of running clandestine operations for his country during the day and consuming tropical fruits at night.
But no, Paula Broadwell sends a series of allegedly threatening messages to a woman she thinks might be a rival for Petraeus' affections. These messages apparently are so aggressive that the woman goes to the FBI. Oh, yeah, I am forgetting one thing: Broadwell sends these message from an email account she shares with her husband.
Wow. I am surprised the spymaster and his Harvard-educated girlfriend didn't decide to conduct their affair by Podcast.
And just to add to the general weirdness of the story, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday evening that an FBI agent involved in the case is under investigation for allegedly sending shirtless photos of himself to the woman Broadwell was allegedly harassing. But this is collateral damaged.
Some see the main story as involving two brilliant people brought low by true love. I don't see it that way. Petraeus and Broadwell are not Abelard and Heloise. They are more like Dumb and Dumber.(cq)
When Bill Clinton was caught in a sex scandal, he acted sensibly: He lied through his teeth until they came up with the DNA.
Not Petraeus. He folded immediately when the FBI confronted him and admitted everything. Still, Petraeus did not have to resign. The FBI determined he did not breach any security, nor had he committed any crime. Clinton gutted it out and today is one of the most popular figures in the world.
But fooling around always had been part of Clinton's good ole boy image. Not Petraeus. His image was so straitlaced that it was almost sexless. "I spent a lot of time with him, and I never heard him say, 'Wow, she was hot,'?" one former aide told the Washington Post. "I never recalled hearing him say anything crass or even mentioning the good looks of a person."
That was not the Petraeus way. He was intent on building his image and (mainly) seducing people who could help him climb to the top.
John McCain was dazzled by him. On a small plane from Cedar Rapids to Davenport, Iowa in February 2007, I taped an interview with McCain than included the following exchange:
McCain: By the way, did you have a chance to see Petraeus in action? He's very good. Very impressive. Most impressive guy I've met, seen in action in a long time.
Me: What do you mean by action?
McCain: Testifying, talking, interfacing.
Me: What is it that's he got?
McCain: Charisma, a lot of charisma.
Me: Obviously, charisma alone is not enough to make a difference [in Iraq].
McCain: One thing he did was he had a bag of money, and he would go around and say, "OK, build this irrigation ditch, buy yourself a generator."
This impressed me. Having started out as a columnist in Chicago, I knew the value of carrying around bags of money with which to dispense favors. But I was never convinced Petraeus was the savior of Iraq or of Afghanistan. (Have we saved either country?)
But many influential people were impressed by him and now blame Broadwell for seducing Petraeus and bringing him down.
Google the name "Paula Broadwell" — and I know you probably already have — and you find headlines like "Broadwell Depicted as Aggressive and Unhinged" with a link to a New York magazine column that appears with the more demure headline: "Paula Broadwell Depicted as Ambitious and Inappropriate."
Most of her inappropriate behavior in public seems to have involved clothing. She wore "tight shirts and pants" in Afghanistan, according to the Washington Post, "where Western-style attire can offend local sensibilities."
Big deal. I say if we're going to spend $1.7 trillion, nearly 20,000 casualties and 12 years conquering a country, we get to wear what we want and the locals get to wear what they want.
More ominously, however, the Post reported that, once back in the United States, Broadwell helped Petraeus "pick out a wardrobe of tailored suits he would wear at the CIA."
Ladies, here is a tip: If a buff, beautiful, younger woman helps your husband pick out his clothes, they are probably doing it.
But now the shopping trips are over. And the blazing star that could have landed David Petraeus in the White House has now landed him in the soup.
A tragedy, his friends and acolytes say. An American tragedy.
Me, I don't see that.
"Tragedy requires unmerited suffering," historian David Goldfield has written.
If you deserve the suffering, it isn't tragedy. It's justice.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
© 2009, Creators Syndicate