Departure of Petraeus represents a waste of talent
November 14, 2012 12:00 AM | 2017 views | 6 6 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gen. David Petraeus has resigned after 38 years of exceptional service to this country: What a waste.

Petraeus was the model of what the modern military is seeking in its top officers: a combination of warrior, leader, diplomat and scholar with a doctorate from Princeton. It is not exaggeration to say he was the nation’s most esteemed military leader.

Driven to succeed both militarily and intellectually, he became a brigadier general at 46, successfully oversaw the “surge” he helped conceive that allowed us to finally win the war in Iraq, moved on to U.S. Central Command that oversees global U.S. military operations and then at the behest of President Barack Obama accepted what was effectively a demotion to take over the faltering U.S. effort in Afghanistan. (Curiously, he replaced another general who had to resign in disgrace.)

In September 2011, again at Obama’s behest, he returned to Washington to take over the CIA. His resume and careful cultivation of Congress led to speculation of a political future, if not as a presidential candidate certainly as a running mate.

After his return he took up with Paula Broadwell, 40, a West Point grad and Army Reserve officer who had written a glowing biography of Petraeus.

The affair came to the attention of the FBI when Broadwell sent threatening emails to a friend of the Petraeus family whom she apparently perceived as a threat. The FBI found that there had been no laws broken and no threat to national security but reported the affair to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who immediately advised Petraeus to resign, which he did.

However, word is now coming to light that various administration officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder (and presumably the president), knew about the FBI investigation much earlier, yet sat on the potentially embarrassing information until after the election.

An ordinary politician might have been tempted to ride it out, like President Clinton did; perhaps with the obligatory confessional press conference, the wronged wife standing stoically in the background and a boilerplate plea “to put this incident behind us, give my family the privacy to heal and get on with the work of this great country.”

Meanwhile, some suggest there was no need for Petraeus to fall on his sword for such a comparatively minor matter. He betrayed his wife and family, not his country. What’s important for a general are his ability to fight and ability to lead, not what he does behind closed doors. Extra-marital liaisons didn’t exactly diminish Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton’s martial capabilities during World War II, to cite just two examples.

Some say Petraeus had no choice but to resign. The country, including several of its presidents, may find the military’s adherence to a code of honor and fidelity quaint, but the uniformed services generally do not. Petraeus was nothing if not a soldier.

The general and his wife of 38 years, Holly, an effective advocate for military families, will reach whatever accommodation they can. Petraeus’ career in public service is not necessarily over; this country does have an unwritten statute of limitations. Bill Clinton has been a senior statesman for years now.

But for now, as we said above, when it comes to the departure of Petraeus, what comes to mind is “what a waste.”

Comments
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Was right to resign.
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November 17, 2012
No one is above being an ethical person. Petraus shouldn't have done it. Why would he be so stupid as to risk his dedicated family and legacy this way. Nothing was worth that. This is not an example for my children or anyone else to follow, so he was right to resign. True, others have done it, but that doesn't give him or anyone else an excuse to use that excuse. Otherwise, we may as well ignore the bible and make a law that says its o'kay.
Da Truz
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November 14, 2012
@rjsnh

You and the rest of the radical liberal progressive bunch, along with Obama and Holder, are not fit to lace up the combat boots of General Petraeus.
rjsnh
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November 14, 2012
His conduct was unacceptable. He along with at at least one other named top general have behaved as if they were rich fraternity boys attending a keg party. They have played fast and loose with the public trust and responsibility that has been bestowed upon them. They have disgraced themselves by abusing their powerful positions. It is fair to say they lost their moral compass somewhere along the way. I have little use for them to command anything in the future, much less national security.
Devlin Adams
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November 14, 2012
@rjsnh. What an idiotic irrelevant bunch of sanctimonious hogwash.

He broke no laws. he did not betray anyone except his own family.

I guess you think it was okay for Clinton to destroy the life of a young woman, because he was a liberal.

Liberals are good at double standards. Not only do they not condemn the Kennedy boys, including JFK, for their dalliances, but actually try to romanticize them.

LB Armstrong
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November 14, 2012
Unlike the politicians you likely excuse for similar behavior, the general's power and responsibility has been earned over many, many years, earned on a foundation of sweat, blood and sacrifice that many regular Americans don't understand, especially raving liberals like you, rjsnh.

Your side has barely hidden their contempt for our armed services at least since I started paying attention as a little girl. Whether Petraus has disgraced himself is beside the point when the larger picture is considered. We had a terrorist attack that our president and his cronies tried to cover up. We had a commanding general actually arrested when he tried to help the brave souls who spent the last 8 hours of their lives trying to hold off an overwheliming enemy, calling for assistance. A few days later we had yet another commanding officer, an admiral of the associated Med battle carrier group recalled and reassigned, no explanation offered. The White House maneuvered and postured, but the stories leaked out anyway. Then 500 generals and admirals last week endorsed Romney, indicting Obama's leadership and coming as close to a military coup America will ever see, yet hidden by the media. Just days later, someone made sure Gen. Petraus resigned in "disgrace" effectively tarnishing any testimony he might later provide Congress over Obama's misconduct on Sept. 11th and the subsequent cover up. Just hours later, oh my, there was Holder's FBI tarnishing another well respected General, Marine Gen. Allen, drawing him into the mud and setting America's lamestream media into a frenzy. The whole affair smacks of Stalin's tactics, but then you probably admire Stalin as you admire Obama.

Military families are counting on Congress to find the truth here, but we will not tolerate bloviating liberals when they try to smear men who've contributed so much. We will fight back.
anonymous
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November 16, 2012
As a journalist, it's disturbing how all the news stories of these matters neglect to use the word "allegedly" in any of the copy.

Why is that? Perhaps a symptom of the age old hatred of journalists for our military? The theory is that fat, lazy, effeminate journalists are jealous of the type A personalities found in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. I could see that.
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