What’s the Shakespeare quote about a crown? Might not even be Shakespeare. Actually it is the Ancient Bard, from Henry IV, Part 2 Act 3, Scene 1. “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
I just Googled it.
That was my initial thought once the news of the “David Petraeus Affair” hit the airwaves. He was the prince of America, the guy who wrote the book (an actual book mind you) on counter-insurgency and carried that philosophy from Iraq to Afghanistan … and we’re being told it worked in the former and it’s working in the latter … that’s an entirely different topic of conversation but let’s just put this out there: whether we want to believe it or not, Iraq is aligned with Iran and Afghanistan will come under Taliban control minutes after U.S. combat troops leave.
David Petraeus was the most celebrated general in America since Colin Powell and “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf Jr. won the Gulf War in 1991. Either one of them could have formed a third party and won the 1992 presidential election … maybe. Let’s not get too wrapped up in fantasy.
But we do know the Republicans (and possibly the Democrats) courted both, they were so desperate for a winning candidate in 1996. So Petraeus retires from the Army, with four stars on his shoulders and heads straight over to Langley, Va., to take over as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
This must have been the easiest Senate confirmation hearing for the Obama Administration. Skip the hearings, lets just get the unanimous vote over with and get on with the business of gridlocking government. Turns out everyone does love Petraeus, jealously in some quarters.
His girlfriend sent anonymous e-mails to another potential mistress warning her to back off … the potential mistress tells her FBI agent buddy which starts an investigation, which leads the Feebies to Petraeus and his GMail e-mail account, which leads to the mistress, Paula Broadwell … no wait, they go after Broadwell first and then find the amorous connection to Petraeus … then someone (an FBI agent) was sending shirtless e-mails to the aggrieved potential mistress (Jill Kelley) … really, this scandal adds new facets faster than chocolate adds pounds.
- Petraeus and Broadwell were pretty sneaky too. They set up the GMail account and all they had to do was write e-mails to each other and then save them to the “Drafts” folder where they could each read them. That way they didn’t leave an electronic trail of incriminating e-mails.
- Until the FBI got a hold of the e-mail account. Instead of a trail they found a stockpile.
Petraeus came clean with the president one day and tendered his resignation the next. Of course that isn’t the end of it because the media didn’t hear about it until Petraeus announced his resignation and there’s no way the media is going to pass on this story. Seriously, it’s less than a week old in the press and surely it has enough legs to carry the news for at least another two-three weeks.
You know it because just a day ago Petraeus’ replacement in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, has been caught up in the scandal. Apparently he was sending “inappropriate” e-mails to Jill Kelley as well. Now I’m intrigued. Just how hot is this woman? Paula Broadwell is a fox. She’s a runner (as opposed to a jogger) who ran with the Prince for fun and exercise so if you’re into women with athletic bodies, she’s your gal.
- Broadwell was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and she is quite attractive.
But who is Jill Kelley? Just Googled her picture and YOWZA!
And get this: she has a twin sister!
Now the sister is getting caught up in this because … well, just because, but both have hob-nobbed with Petraeus and his wife, Holly, in Tampa, Fla., headquarters of Central Command. Jill Kelley is a social liaison for military officers and their families so she comes in contact with the military all the time. Her husband is a doctor. Oh yeah, she and Paula Broadwell are both married — to doctors no less. Sister Natalie was married, but in the divorce proceedings both generals Petraeus and Allen wrote letters of recommendation for Natalie confirming she is a good mother.
Notice how Jill Kelley and her sister Natalie Khawam tilt their heads for pictures, sort of like they want to be models. It says, “I’m posing!”
As an average guy there are some considerations that take precedence when surveying the natural order of things in these types of scandals. In short, the first thing is: I’m judging the generals on the attractiveness of the women they are illicitly involved with.
If the generals are hooking up with any of these three women, I’m impressed.
On the other hand, Petraeus and Broadwell are (were) cheating on their spouses and that’s never a good thing. We don’t know if Jill Kelley is out there cheatin’, but it’s clear she’s at least flirtin’. Some women respond very cooperatively to power. What was the Henry Kissinger quote? “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
Yeah, he said it: The New York Times, Oct. 28, 1973.
- As you may recall people wondered how a guy like Henry Kissinger could be bedding super models and sexy actresses, sometimes two at a time. He gave an even more explicit interview to Oriana Fallaci in which he explained his “technique.”
- And it explains everything you need to know about why young women flock to the Playboy Mansion to try to be one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends.
Men who wield great power attract men and women to them and they know it. If they’re charming and charismatic that attention can become amorous and if the man thinks he’s on his game, as Petraeus obviously thought, then he’s going to dip his wick into the oil of lust. Then when he gets caught — he never catches himself and ends it voluntarily — it’s all a matter of bad judgment, or, in Petraeus’ case, “extremely poor judgment.”
And if this affair started while he was still an active duty soldier the Pentagon can revisit his pension and change it by retroactively taking away a few stars, maybe all of them, and reducing his military pension, which could require Petraeus to return some of it. Or the military could give him the maximum penalty: a dishonorable discharge and take away his pension completely. And throw him in the brig for a year. That’s not likely to happen, but they would do something to make their point, which is: cheating on your spouse is a serious violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Extremely poor judgment indeed.
What got to be so entertaining about this affair though has nothing to do with the principles and supporting cast. The most interesting thing was the conniptions it’s caused in the right wing media and its supporting conspiracy mill. On Facebook the conspiracies are floating because the ex-CIA boss was supposed to testify before the intelligence committees in the House of Representatives and Senate over the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya.
Petraeus was scheduled to testify in the coming weeks about what his agency, the CIA, knew and when they knew it. His resignation threw a monkey wrench into the plan.
So, the conspiracy theory is: President Obama set this up to make Petraeus the fall guy for Benghazi and to shut him up; keep Petraeus from testifying before Congress. Facebook is the new central communicator for all rumors and conspiracy theories.
Somebody posts an article on Breitbart.com and boom! It gets blown up on Facebook, shared from one crazed right wing fanatic to another and pretty soon don’t you know, the rumor and conspiracy theory are accepted as fact. Like immediately.
Then the originator of the Breitbart piece, or maybe someone who claims to be a former CIA or FBI agent goes on Fox and starts spouting the conspiracy theory … but this time Bill O’Reilly wasn’t buying it. Yeah, this actually happened Monday. O’Reilly had some crazy-eyed former FBI agent on his show, explaining how there was a cover-up in progress that included the CIA, FBI and White House and the uncovering of the Petraeus-Broadwell affair was just to put the retired general in place to become the patsy.
The fly in that conspiracy being both houses of Congress can subpoena Petraeus and force him to testify, regardless of his employment status. And, if the White House wanted to keep him silent they could just cite executive privilege and keep him from Congress, or at least keep him from testifying about particular topics. And it would be much easier to do if Petraeus was still the Director of the CIA.
One more point to consider: If Bill O’Reilly isn’t even buying your conspiracy theory, then maybe it truly is ridiculous. As many Republicans have stated, everyone, including the president, was surprised by the allegations. Apparently the FBI wasn’t keeping the White House or Congress up-to-date on their investigation because, initially, it wasn’t about Patraeus.
It was an investigation into Paula Broadwell over allegations of cyber bullying, which is a federal crime. But the insinuations are out there and will stay on the fringe of the news because several guests on Fox News have said the key words: “suspicious coincidence.” Petraeus is set to testify on Benghazi, an illicit affair takes down Petraeus with a beautiful woman.
How much more blatant does it need to be? Do you really think this is just coincidence? No one has any proof of any cover-up of course, even House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is staying away from that nonsense (he apparently heard about the affair before the president), but there’s no question, in the minds of the conspiracy theorists, the timing of all this is suspicious, so it stands to reason.
And as anyone who knows anything knows, if it stands to reason then it must be true. Especially if it was presented on Brietbart.com first. There truly are some questions that need to be answered and Sen. Diane Feinstein was on MSNBC talking about them Tuesday Morning.
Let’s start with why wasn’t the leadership of the intelligence committees in the House and Senate briefed when the investigation led to Petraeus? Why wasn’t the president told until Nov. 7?
Patraeus knew he was being investigated and his affair had been exposed. He could have informed the president almost a month earlier. And the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller knew. Those two points alone beg the question. The FBI said no laws were broken, nor was national security compromised, which is their rationale for not going to either the president or Congress sooner. One of the legacies of the J. Edgar Hoover days was the use of investigations for intimidation, so the bureau tries to avoid any perception they are following in J. Edgar’s footsteps.
My guess is, we’ll find out the FBI was just being cautious when keeping silent about the investigation and Petraeus will still testify before Congress about Benghazi. We will no doubt get a few new details, but nothing really substantive. Not about this affair and investigation or about Benghazi. We’ll find out the FBI did what it was supposed to do: quietly investigate until they either found a crime committed or clear the subjects of wrong doing, which, so far, seems to be the case.
Then this will blow over and the Right Wing Conspiracy Sphere will be on to its next conspiracy.
Keep checking Facebook, you’re sure to see them all.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality.