Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Petraeus Debacle

By Alan Caruba

In March 2012, as part of my monthly report on new books, Bookviews.com, I recommended “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus”, noting that Paula Broadwell “had considerable access to the man who now is director of the CIA and who had an illustrious military career.” Neither I, nor anyone else realized how much “access” she had. It turns out, as well, that much of the book was ghost-written by Vernon Loeb, who received credit on the cover. Even he was caught unaware.

As the story continues to unfold in the wake of Petraeus’ resignation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, just a day after the reelection of President Obama, the stench of moral and political corruption continues to rise from everything that led to his resignation.

First there was the general’s affair with the married biographer, Ms. Broadwell. It is not uncommon for men to betray their marriage vows, but we expect men granted power and prestigious positions to maintain a higher degree of morality. As often as not ambitious men do not and one need only consult the Bible for the story of David as evidence of that. Even those around Petraeus may have had their suspicions, but they understandably said nothing. He was, after all, a four-star general and a hero of the Iraq war, the creator of a counter-insurgency program that rescued the U.S. from defeat after the “surge” approved by former President Bush.

What is, to my mind, most disturbing of the facts we have since learned, was that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had stumbled on the affair months prior to the election and the resignation. The key question becomes whether Petraeus’ testimony to a Congressional intelligence committee was influenced by the fact that his indiscretion was known to persons high in the Obama administration?

Was Petraeus under pressure to validate the false cover story that the Benghazi attack was the result of a “flash mob” and triggered by a video no one had seen? That was, in essence, what the general told the committee. It was the same story put forth by the administration’s UN ambassador, Susan Rice, as well as the President.

Scheduled to testify under oath, Petraeus rendered his resignation and one can only think that he did so in order not to perjure himself. The question remains whether he will be subpoenaed to testify.

The Nov 13th Washington Post reported that “some of his closest advisers who served with him during his last command in Iraq said Monday that Petraeus planned to stay in the job even after he acknowledged the affair to the FBI, hoping the episode would never become public. He resigned last week after being told to do so by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. on the day President Obama was reelected.”

Another key question is why the FBI was authorized to pursue the investigation that arose out of a complaint of email harassment by Broadwell of someone unrelated to the Benghazi event, but known to Petraeus. Why would the FBI investigate such a seemingly minor offence? And, knowing well in advance that Petraeus had engaged in an affair with Ms. Broadwell following his CIA appointment, how high up the chain of command did that knowledge go? Did, for example, the Attorney General give his blessing to the investigation? Did he inform White House intelligence officials? Did they, in turn, inform the President?

None of this is trivial. I can well remember the long months it took before the Watergate scandal of the 1970s eventually forced the resignation of Richard Nixon in the face of an impending impeachment.

President Clinton survived an impeachment effort in the wake of his sexual dalliance with a White House intern. He has long since been forgiven for it by many, if not most, Americans, despite the fact that he deliberately and knowingly lied to them at the time.

What did President Obama know? In hindsight, why did he offer the CIA position to Petraeus whose entire background was in military affairs, a consumer of intelligence, but not a producer of it? No doubt his leadership record qualified him to run a huge bureaucracy, but this one is as much a keeper of secrets as one that uncovers them. The agency has received a serious blow to its integrity.

On CanadaFreePress.com, Doug Hagmann recently wrote, “The alleged trysts of powerbrokers are a component to the story of Benghazi, but they are not the story. They provide convenient cover for emerging revelations. Like arrows in a quiver of those in positions of power, they exist as leverage to be used to neutralize existing or potential threats at the precise moment they are needed, without the untidiness and inconvenient inquiries that tend to accompany dead bodies. They are also powerful weapons that control the perception of a voyeuristic public, which is dutifully fed the salacious details by a complicit media.”

So, as the public’s attention is diverted to the Petraeus scandal, one is left to wonder if the full story of Benghazi and what now appears to be a major Obama administration failure to respond to the growing threat to our ambassador and his staff in Libya will fully emerge; misjudgments that cost him and three others their lives and was followed by weeks of outright deception by the President and those who answer to him.

In the wake of an election where it is increasingly clear that massive voter fraud contributed to the reelection of President Obama and possibly congressional candidates, one wonders whether there is sufficient voter outrage to have the fraud investigated. It has been reported that 59 districts in Philadelphia did not record one vote for Mitt Romney!

The stench of political corruption hung over the first term of the President in scandals such as the government gun-running scheme to Mexican cartels, “Fast and Furious” that cost a border patrol office his life. There was the long succession of the failures of green energy companies that cost taxpayers billions. There was the slush fund called a “stimulus” that achieved few jobs and no recovery from the recession Obama “inherited.”

Those who voted for a change are now thoroughly dispirited and depressed. Those who voted for Obama expect an extension of unemployment benefits, the food stamp program, and other government handouts. There is, however, a limit on how long such programs can be sustained. As the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, once said, “Sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.” As the nation continues to hemorrhage lost jobs, that won’t take long.

Is it too much to hope that General Petraeus will testify and tell the truth about what the CIA knew about the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2011, the anniversary of 9/11?

If he does not, a distinguished career of service to America will be ruined by the worst mistake of his life.

© Alan Caruba, 2012


Bubblechaser said...

The title "All In" is about as funny as it gets in this sort of situation. It is not to be laughed at, but one cannot ignore the implications of the title and what happened.

Alan Caruba said...

Bubble, it's a poker term that has entered general usage and, yes, it does add a touch of humor to the Petraeus mess.

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

"...but we expect men granted power and prestigious positions to maintain a higher degree of morality."
When was the last time you observed that, Alan? Jimmy Carter?

Alan Caruba said...

Dave it is only an "expectation." Humans are flawed creatures.

Harry Dale Huffman said...

Charles Krauthammer finds it "completely inexplicable" that Petraeus should have been fired immediately after Obama was re-elected, just when there was no longer any reason to fear someone would threaten Obama's re-election through outing Petraeus. But I think there is an essential childishness to Obama (what I will call a TRIBAL childishness, and which, specifically, Obama shares with Muslims around the world). I don't think Obama liked the success of Petraeus's "surge" strategy in Iraq, because any American success is disliked by Muslims (think about it!). While his firing (he didn't just resign) was a petulant act, it makes perfect childish sense to a man who wants to side with Muslims against American intrusion into their part of the world, and a successful intrusion particularly. Obama wants Muslims to be able to hold their heads up, by casting their enemies in a bad light, especially in a largely symbolic (and cowardly) way so that he can deny any allegations that he has himself acted badly, when of course that is exactly what he has done. So it is not "inexplicable" at all, Mr. Krauthammer. We are dealing with a childish dictator in Obama, getting personal satisfaction out of double-crossing a despised (by Muslims) American hero, a supposed "friend" to any true leader of America. Plus, as you and many have noted, Obama and his enablers want 1) to distract from their treasonous actions, or lack of positive action, in Benghazi, and 2) to put up any obstacle they can to further testimony by Petraeus about Benghazi (they say his replacement can equally well give such testimony -- another childish nonsense, of course).

I think Hillary is glad to get out of that "Lord of the Flies" environment with a whole skin.

Anthony Hopper said...

It will be interesting...

Alan Caruba said...

Spot on, Harry, as usual.

Anonymous said...

After Bill Clinton, why anyone would resign due to "inappropriate sexual behaviour" is ridiculous. This was NOT due to an affair. Besides, the government ethics department only considers affairs a problem if one or more parties complains, meaning the general's wife or the biographer's husband. I have a relative engaged in serial adultery whose disabled wife cannot complain and the ethics people were fine with it. You over estimate the moral leanings in this country.

Alan Caruba said...

@Alice. I do not over-estimate the nation's moral state, I mourn its loss since the 1960s.

Unknown said...

The fact that Americans put up with the lies of Clinton & Obama is inexcusable. As the quote below from Prague states, it is us who are to blame for the state of the nation. However, I disagree that we can repair the damage Obama will do in the next 4 years.

From Prague, The Perfect Quote:

Occasionally people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way that can be quickly understood; this quote - from the Czech Republic. It was translated into English from an article in the Prague newspaper, Prager Zeitungon

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president."

glendamay said...

As of just a few moments ago, I have read that Petraeus has OFFERED to testify and will begin doing so to both houses of Congress. Now, this could get so very interesting...can we dare hope that this will lead to the complete unraveling of Obama's house of cards? Watergate SEEMED at first blush to be 'much ado about nothing' and led to a proposed impeachment and ultimate resignation...

Bubblechaser said...

Alan, I see you too mourn the loss of the nation in the 60's. This is where I put the great divide at. I could see in the 70's that this trend of disobedience and rebellion was entrenched and we would be punished by it. Only those who wear blinders or are too young cannot see the damage done. At 70 I can see it all and am quite disheartened by it all.

Bubblechaser said...

You hit the nail right on the head. Thank you so much. I am not so articulate nor educated, yet I know the truth when I see or hear it.

Alan Caruba said...

@Glendamay...one can only hope.

Alan Caruba said...

Bubblechaser, just visit my blog and you will become educated! :-)