It is slightly over two months since the world woke up to a thud; the thud was the fall from grace of a decorated four-star general. It was reported that the FBI just stumbled on this information and unearthed a big scandal, enough to make the CIA chief resign. The general had an affair with his autobiographer who apparently spent one year embedded with the general in Afghanistan. The autobiography is called “ALL IN” – how ironical? OK, it is called “All In: the Education of General Petraues”, but who is interested in the long sentence after “in”? And anyway, who writes a book and calls it “All In?” Her name is Paula Broadwell, a graduate of West Point and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.
The general was the face of America’s war in Iraq and Afghanistan and was widely acclaimed for his command and the surge which is said to have led to some degree of success and reduced casualties in the war. His departure from CIA became headline news, for many reasons but of course partly because the media knows that the public’s appetite for such stuff is insatiable. Besides, this was guy was so popular and respected that his name was at some point being bounced off as a possible Republican Party contender for the White House.
This general is married (I think he still is because the press has not dug up any info about a divorce). It was reported that when she was writing the book, Paula interviewed the general’s wife and at some point observed that “their marriage is unbreakable”, only for news to surface that while Holly (the general’s wife, who is herself the daughter of a former superintendent of West Point – raised on the code of honor) was home holding fort, Paula was busy calling the general’s “weaponry to attention!” – at the behest of the general.
Well, it became clear (for me and this one makes me laugh all the time) that whilst the media was preoccupied glorifying the general talking about his “command” and the “surge”, Paula knew a totally different kind of “surging”. No wonder she was photographed holding the autobiography and all you see on the cover are bold letters “all in” and then a photo showing only the back of the general’s head, his military cap with his name on it. I laughed and wondered if they both have a meaning or joked about ‘all in’ – maybe it is just the naughty side of me but there is something about those words and the look on Paula’s face which makes me laugh even as I type this.
All that he could say was that it was a “lack of judgment” on his part. I find this rather intriguing – this “lack of judgment” lasted months – yeah, months. No wonder Holly threatened divorce and wanted to know how many more women he had cheated with. In other words, she was questioning if this lack of judgment was common occurrence.
Of course there is nothing positive to say about an affair, especially one which catapults into the public eye. It plays in the media as big news because it sells; no one needs this kind of invasion – the publicity is obviously painful to all people involved. Think about it; your hubby comes and says “this love is unbreakable” or your wife, acting all caring and constantly declaring her undying love. Then from somewhere, stories come out in such a public fashion – someone has been busted and you realize they were just paying you lip service! This is how most people are caught unawares about their spouses’ or significant others’ shenanigans. I can imagine the family of the general trying to dissect the situation, looking for the answer as to why it happened, wondering if it was the isolation in the military bases in Kandahar (well they said that the affair started after he left military service and joined the CIA but many did not buy it). May be she saw him as a hero, like all Americans, only that they did not go ahead on a “surge” on him.
I think we all know this but it becomes alive again in this event that it does not matter when blood flows from the head on the shoulders and sufficiently supplies the smaller “head”, it leads to dire consequences. With all the power that Petraeus wielded, he could not hide this scandal. Even as his wife was reported to be going crazy about the revelations, and demanding to know if more revelations were coming, on her part, Paula said that she regretted the damage and pain that the affair had caused.
At some point on the Bill Cosby show, some teenage kid asked him some question about sex; the kid wanted to know when to know that the time was right. Cosby told him to think a bit more about it because when it happened, it was going to be the best 40 seconds of his life. But for these two, I guess it wasn’t 40 seconds; he is a very fit 60 year old general and she is an even fitter 40 year old. I do not want to imagine their code conversation but I think it would go something like this: “we are surging at 1700 hrs” :). Well, me thinks it lasted more than 40 seconds, but it does not matter. The question is: is it worth risking everything for a 40 seconds “surge”?
Have a good week!