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Generals In Trouble

David Petraeus in trouble.  Now, four-star General John Allen, U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan in trouble. We’ll talk with big defense writer Thomas Ricks about the generals.

David Petraeus served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from September 6, 2011, until his resignation on November 9, 2012. (AP)

David Petraeus served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from September 6, 2011, until his resignation on November 9, 2012. (AP)

Petraeus fever.  It used to be about hero-worship.  Now it’s a about infidelity.  The most lauded general in a generation, out as head of the CIA.  Gen. John Allen, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, also in the hot seat for “inappropriate” communication with a woman.

And Americans left wondering – what’s really serious here, in what way exactly?  What’s not?  And what’s up with our generals?

This hour, On Point:  the fire and smoke, Petraeus and beyond.  And military writer Tom Ricks on America and its generals.

-Tom Ashbrook


Devlin Barrett, reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Tom Ricks, covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. Until the end of 1999 he had the same beat at the Wall Street Journal, where he was a reporter for 17 years. His new book is The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today. His column on the Petraeus scandal is here.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “The F.B.I. investigation that toppled the director of the C.I.A. andnow threatens to tarnish the reputation of the top American commander in Afghanistan underscores a danger that civil libertarians have long warned about: that in policing the Web for crime, espionage and sabotage, government investigators will unavoidably invade the private lives of Americans.”

ABC News “The FBI has uncovered “potentially inappropriate” emails between Allen and Kelly, according to a senior U.S. defense official who is traveling with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The department is reviewing between 20,000 and 30,000 documents connected to this matter, the official said. The email exchanges between Kelley and Allen took place from 2010 to 2012.”

Wall Street Journal “U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday asked the Senate to put on hold the confirmation of Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, as the new NATO chief for Europe following the discovery of allegedly inappropriate communications between the general and a volunteer in Florida who organizes social events for military personnel.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ren.knopf.9 Ren Knopf

    He has been fundamental in reshaping military thinking and procedures. And he is human. The former is acceptable. The latter, not so much. No security was in question, much less breached. But he is gone and it is our loss as a country that we have no room for humans.

  • Jasoturner

    I will be fascinated to hear what Ricks says.  While it is true that Petraeus is only human, it is also true that he was celebrated as an almost untouchable military specimen, worthy of – and deserving – adulation.  Was it an heroic calling that he was unable to fulfill?  Or was it a standard no man could be expected to meet?  I have a hunch about how Ricks will come down on this, but I am not sure I will agree with him.  Would we want a world where are soldiers are not also imperfect human beings?  Would we want a military leader unable to resist the temptations of the flesh?  Very interesting stuff indeed.

    • Mike_Card

      Agree.  Ricks’s insight into these long wars has been the most instructive.  I also appreciated his comparison to Gen Eisenhower and Kay Summersby.

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    Having an affair, in and of itself, could have left him open to blackmail if our enemies had that knowledge. He dedicated his life to doing an important job and to not becoming a security risk.

  • 1Brett1

    Yeah, he’s human. I don’t fault him for that. 

    On the other hand, I guess he and the military want us to believe that men like him are superhuman and above reproach, and when they are caught at a tawdry indiscretion we should forgive their hubris. I fault both for expecting people to buy into a mythology about greatness. 

    This story is also replete with jealousy, petty envy, sour grapes, power wrangling, and a lot of sexual indiscretion, some of which conceivably was on the taxpayer dime. Today’s developments reveal something so convoluted one needs a flowchart to keep the relationships straight. 

    It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t confer so much greatness on these men and hold them up as examples of something akin to an immortal, bloating their accomplishments and putting them on a pedestal of propriety personified. It seems often a lack of gross incompetence in the upper echelon translates into greatness in the military. 

    And, the ladies involved sound like royal skanks looking to further their positions by…well, we all get the picture.

    At least Petraeus, and even Allen, were done in by chasing skirts, which is quite human. A military man like Ollie North found himself in hot water from a much larger abuse of power.

    It’s also seems a shame that large institutions such as the military/government organizations have to maintain such phony standards then have to rid themselves of experienced people when the curtain is pulled back. Think about how much money has been spent on these two men over the years to train them. Think about the time invested in them, as well, and how much time and money will need to be invested in someone else to fill their posts. 

    It’s disgusting when this story is juxtaposed with the story heard yesterday about Keating Outpost.

  • stephenpyx

    Sounds to me like someone is using federal law enforcement to their political advantage. As Benjamin Franklin once said “He who sacrifices liberty for security loses both”

    • DrewInGeorgia

      If you’re going to quote one of the greatest minds in human history please don’t do him the disservice of ad-libbing what he actually said. If you hadn’t put it in quotes I wouldn’t have said anything.

      “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  • AC

    i couldn’t resist, tho it’s off the show’s topic…:

    i heard ~1million…..
    hmmmm, how to blame Obama for this, how? someone will find a way, i don’t doubt….

    • 1Brett1

      Damn that Obama! The good news is that suicide rates among Taiwanese factory workers are down; the bad news is that unemployment and the suicide rates among Taiwanese unemployed citizens is up! 

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    This entire turn of events, with the bruhaha  over Petraeus’s infidelity fascinates me.  Aren’t we imposing personal morality on him by judging him for having an extramarital affair?  Who is to say that it is wrong?  Why is it ok to impose morality in this situation, but not in the case of opposing gay marriage, abortion, polygomy, beastiality, or other issues of conscience? 

    The lack of moral integrity and glaring examples of personal failings among such intelligent, accomplished people is very sad and speaks to the moral bankruptcy within our country.  It cuts across all educational, financial, and political lines.  Intelligence and accomplishment cannot substitute for having a sound moral compass based upon Biblical principles.

    The reason is that deep down, we know that fidelity in marriage in essential.  And deep down, we also know that they is something biologically and morally wrong with gay marriage, abortion, and the other unbiblical, immoral choices that I have listed.  I am not saying that we can change laws to force morality on people.  But if we are honest with ourselves, we know what is right.  We simply choose not to go there and instead rationalize our immoral choices.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      Deep down, I know your views are morally wrong.

    • 1Brett1

      Oh, you’re just taking advantage of the fact that Ed isn’t awake yet…well played, you got the jump on him! 

      BTW, nice touch on the, “But if we are honest with ourselves, we know what is right.” As if having a different view than yours results from being dishonest with ourselves, and we know we are wrong when we are honest with ourselves. 

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Romans 1:21-23 points out that God made man with the correct moral code, which man then chose to ignore.  In the day of judgment, there will be no excuse.  And everyone who rejects this truth will know that they have no legitimate excuse then, even though they may fool themselves into thinking that they do now.  “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals andcrawling creatures.”

        • 1Brett1

          I don’t think the Bible is the word of a god but the words of men. Sorry. 

          I guess the “…which man chose to ignore” pertains to the whole snake, apple and garden incident? I don’t believe that happened either. Sorry. 

          I do believe you, and the Bible, throw around the word “truth” as if there is one truth, and you know it and the Bible 
          IS it. I know that’s not true.  

        • ttajtt

          10 commandments, seven deadly sins, money, what do we not engage sin about?  i believed, before i seen myself being revived back to life on a cold winter night.    there is the catholic bible, the revised catholic bible, the revised international catholic bible…so don’t say you’ve been there done that.  we each have a niche, a role.   destruction will destroy itself.  apple snake when it was all a garden, choice picked picture of a story passed down.  or do you see it the other way around.    i have black hair, olive skin, when i grow a beard and long hair people say i look like Jesus!  “what” i say. they say i have a picture, icon, photo.   RIGHT. 

          so you know it, as those who know it, as we know it, so it shall be then.  

      • Ray in VT

        Don’t you just love it when people lump homosexuality in with bestiality.  I heard plenty about that back in 2000 when the issues of civil unions was first raised, but the “logical end” that was supposed to be people marrying their dogs has yet to materialize.

        It reminds me a bit of the letter to Dr. Laura:


        And what’s with the opposition to polygamy.  Isn’t there plenty of that going on in the Old Testament.  Now, if you will excuse me, my co-worker is wearing a shirt of more than one fabric, and we cannot stand for that.

  • donniethebrasco

    If you want to step out on your wife, get elected President and get an intern.  That’s the only way.

    • Ray in VT

      That’s not the only way.  You can always get elected Senator and use the services of the D.C. Madam.

      • JGC

        I’m getting that creepy vitterish feeling again…

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Yeah, and look at the political price Vitter paid.

          Oh, wait.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, he’s pro-life, anti gay marriage and for abstinence only sex education, so clearly he is loved by Jesus, therefore all if forgiven.

    • Shag_Wevera


  • clearlycarl

    The office of CIA Director exposes the Director to the full knowledge of our deeply embedded spy activities and the people we have placed in those positions.    Any activities of the Director, that could be exposed and result in embarrassment or worse, will result in blackmail and cause the Director to divulge our secrets.   

    Petraeus crossed an uncrossable line and should be stripped of rank, military pension and all perks of his offices.    His behavior as Director was potentially treasonous.

    • sickofthechit

       Do you feel the same way about Cheney outing Valerie Plame?  Or do you still swallow the lie that he didn’t do it?  It is his cowardice that prevents him from admitting it.

      • Flytrap


  • IsaacWalton

    DP is only human, yeah I get it. That he had an affair isn’t the point. It’s that he lied and concealed it? Uh..we ARE talking about the CIA right? That so many people held him up as a perfect leader and human being is a result of their naiveté. I believe he knew the security risk of what was going on, and I assume he was willing to continue concealing it. Once it was out (not by his doing) he knew he had to step out. The ‘affair’ and ‘lying’ aside, he was sloppy and that’s not acceptable given the position he was in. 

  • ToyYoda

    If a CIA director must step down because he might leak secrets to his mistress, then he should step down because he might leak secrets to his wife. Why don’t we just hire eunuchs for high positions?

    Whatever security fumblings he did with his mistress, he could also have done with his wife!! “Honey, you’re not gonna believe this, but Israel is doing something real CRAZY right now, I can’t wait to tell you. By the way, yeah, let’s have turkey tonight.”

  • Shag_Wevera

    Good Lord!  Another day of discussing this ridiculous story!?  WHO CARES!  If you do care, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!?  I’ll bet my 12 year old mini-van that no vital secrets have been lost to whatever enemy we’re imagining today.  This is just sad and obvious.  Easy ratings for media w’no work involved, easy water cooler banter with no thought involved.  I pray that it is gone soon.

    • JGC

      The eye of Mordor has turned to watching this Homeland episode unfold; maybe with the hot glare of the public  focussed on this, there will be more breathing room for negotiations on the budget.  Just trying to find any silver lining…You are probably right about “no vital secrets” but my friend Nameless Pentagon Security Official said, ” I can’t think of a better target for a foreign intelligence source than a woman (Jill Kelley) who is connected to America’s top military leaders and who is also struggling financially.”

    • Gregg Smith

      If it is related to the Benghazi tragedy then it matters. If it isn’t then it’s a distraction from the Benghazi tragedy which also stinks.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Is there something really special about these people. Wage slaves get fired every day for frivolous infractions, but the high and mighty… they’re special!

    Patreaus behaved like an idiot. He was not ignorant of the security issues with respect to his behavior, but folks in power don’t seem to think that the rules apply to them. It’s classic.

    A normal worker bee would end up in some really deep shtuff. He is a disgrace. He should be fined or penalized beyond just loosing his job because this was a crime. Now if he was a politician, all he would have to do is disappear for a few months and re-invent himself… wait, he is a politician now.

    • 1Brett1

      Oh, he’ll be reinventing…I can some this up in one word: hubris.

  • Gregg Smith

    “Too many generals are taking orders from their privates.”

    • Shag_Wevera

      Okay, that’s pretty good.

      • Gregg Smith

        I can’t take credit, it came from Rush.

        • Shag_Wevera


          • DrewInGeorgia

            It was funny though.

        • nj_v2

          Clown apprentice studying with the Master.

        • jefe68

          Yeah, Rush Limbaugh is one to judge others based on their personal lives.  And he’s doing it with all the mental acumen of a petulant immature frat boy.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m no Rush fan, but it’s a good line in my opinion.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            But having a Rush Limbaugh come up with that line is something so predictably lame (unaware, unrepentant sex-scandal-caught bigwig makes jokes about someone else’s sex scandal)  that no screenwriter would dare make it up.

          • Ray in VT

            I can see your point there, but I like a good laugh.  Now, if he’d been making a joke about someone with a prescription pill problem, then I might not think that it’s very funny.  As far as I’ve heard he’s never fooled around on any of his wives, so I’m fine with him making some affair jokes.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I’m not with you here.

            Rush has taken on all sorts of “others” as a moral scold. When it’s his own team, his issue is with “exposure”, political liability, not failings.

            IIRC, he’s been married multiple times, caught trafficking sex drugs, and been on a sex tour to Southeast Asia.

            I still say “blind spot you can hide a Mack truck in”.

          • JGC

            I never heard some of this stuff. If true: disgusting.

          • Gregg Smith

            I guess I should have claimed the line as my own. I put it in quotes unattributed but it was commented on and it seemed I was given credit, I don’t know. I know Rush is poison. What’s a jolly blogger to do?

          • 1Brett1

            A good turn of a phrase can not be denied

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s funny thats all. Anyone can be funny.

  • Gregg Smith

    Between all this, the Secret Service and Homeland Security sex scandals it’s like one big orgy. Party time! BTW gang, the Middle East is on fire don’t ya’ll have a job to do?

    • JGC

      I have to admit, when this story first broke, I went through several stages of grief, ending up being in a state of Good Grief!! First there was shock, then horror, then puzzlement, then acceptance and now mockery. Who could make this stuff up?  I was shopping at the grocery store yesterday, and it popped into my mind again, and I just started to laugh. Heads turned. I really am beginning to fear for my mental health…

      • DrewInGeorgia

        It’s okay my friend, we’re ALL crazy as hell. That’s what being human is all about. So long as you continue to question your mental health you’re probably good to go. It’s when you forget to ask “Am I crazy?” that the worrying should begin.

    • jefe68

      Oh please spare the moral indignation. 
      News flash, people have sex. Grown ups have affairs.

      • DrJoani

        Is this the “anything goes” rule of conduct? And what about the “classified documents” found  o Paula’s computer?
        Ricks continues to justify his ill-conceived behavior but what about that of his girlfriend?Talk about ill-advised inappropriate…
        He made a bad choice, a lovely talented woman who adulated him and panted along with him as they ran…?But let’s not forget that he was head of the CIA! and had also applied moral codes to those under him.

      • Gregg Smith

        Newsflash, some people (most, I pray) honor their commitments and find happiness through fidelity.

  • ToyYoda

    Forget about the affair for a moment.   What’s more fascinating is the power hierarchy at the different divisions in our government and our security systems.  

    The FBI took down the head of the CIA.  Just think about that.  It wasn’t someone inside the CIA, it was the FBI.  It lends credence to having redundancy between different departments (FBI, CIA, DOJ, or DEA,ATF,Homeland Security.).

    Also, the FBI had the technology to “infiltrate” the CIA and spy on not just any CIA member, but the director.  Did anyone in the CIA know?  Did they even detect the spying?  Everyone wants to focus on the email fumbling of Petreaus, but what about the security systems and policies of our agencies?  

    The mind starts to reel.  If it’s this easy to spy on our security agencies then any sys admin can.  It seems like our agencies rely on James Bond films to impress on would-be spies an air of invulnerability that simply doesn’t exist!

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Security is an illusion.

      How much is our Security budget?

  • JGC

    I am looking forward to the rare sighting of President Obama at a press conference today. And how he will answer questions surrounding this crazy salad. 

    • Gregg Smith

      I hope he is forthcoming.

      • DrJoani

        ALL IN>

  • nj_v2

    The majority of the commentary, analysis, and partisan prattle clogging discussion forums such as this mostly miss the bigger issues of the Petraeus story line: the predominance of influence of a bloated military/corporate machine in serving hegemonic American policies across the planet, the crushing economic and psychological/spiritual/karmic costs of this, and the ease and extent to which most of the citizenry is brainwashed into accepting it all.

    Even accepting the existing situation in Iraq and Afghanistan after the unjustified invasions, the broad, post-invasion strategies and tactics instituted by military leaders including Petraeus were largely failures:


    General David Petraeus’s fatal flaw: not the affair, but his Afghanistan surge

    The CIA director’s resignation over a sex scandal has obscured how badly his counterinsurgency strategy failed in Afghanistan

    The corporate media, of course, who profit from the War Machine, glorify most military leaders, to do their part in maintaining the larger deception.


    Corporate Media Lose Their Favorite ‘Warrior Scholar’

    Never mind, that, in addition to the larger policy and tactics failures, that there is more than a little questionable personal behavior that permeates his record:


    The Sins Of General David Petraeus
    Petraeus seduced America. We should never have trusted him.

    And why do right-wing think tanks get permanent office space in generals’ field headquarters?!


     [[ In Monday’s Washington Post, Greg Jaffereports that in Afghanistan, “[p]rominent members of conservative, Washington-based defense think tanks were given permanent office space at [Petraeus's] headquarters and access to military aircraft to tour the battlefield. They provided advice to field commanders that sometimes conflicted with orders the commanders were getting from their immediate bosses.” ]]

    • Ray in VT

      That last bit would be of high concern to me if it turned out to be true.

      I do think that General Patraeus has been getting treated pretty harshly in this whole kerfuffle, and I think that some of it is justified.  After all, he was in a highly sensitive position and acted stupidly.  On the other hand, he has a long record of distinguished service to our country, and I do hope that he can find a way to heal the injuries in his personal life and perhaps find another way, at some point, to continue to provide service to the nation.

      • nj_v2

        Ray—not bothering to read any of the linked articles, and/or address any of the broader points, eg. a long history of failed tactics and deception on Petraeus’ part—conveniently makes one of my points.

        • Ray in VT

          I did peruse some the links before posting my comment, and I did look at the others after reading your response.  There are a lot of things that Patraeus is being called in there from hero to bull**** artist.  One can probably build a case for most of them.  Now, I certainly haven’t followed his career closely, and I have relied on the media, which he has successfully courted over the years, but I would not judge him to be a bad person, and while probably not Napoleon or Alexander, he seems to be an intelligent and largely competent leader (issues relating to training of Iraqi security forces excepted).  Did he get too much credit for the improvement of conditions in Iraq during and after 2007?  Perhaps.  Has counterinsurgency worked in Afghanistan?  It isn’t looking like it has.  Thomas Ricks said this morning on Morning Edition that he was the best general there (Iraq), but just not as good as he thought that he was.  Maybe that’s true.  I would just argue that he does not deserve, whatever his flaws, to be dragged through the gutter at this point.

      • anamaria23

        I read one report  stating that the  President did not want to pressure the General into staying. 
        I just wonder how one under such stress with  family considerations and now  notoriety could function effectively in such a vital post.

    • Gregg Smith

      “Karmic cost”, you sound like a Bible thumper.

      • Ray in VT

        Upanishads thumper would be more appropriate.

  • Gregg Smith

    Fox is reporting Petraeus has agreed to testify at both the House and Senates hearings.

    Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer are both reporting Petraeus admitted privately to being less than truthful when he supported the narrative about the silly video. If true, why? Does that reason still exist now that the cat is out of the bag?

    • anamaria23

      Did they say “privately” to whom?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    So – will the CIA retaliate? I wonder if there’s been an uptick in CIA surveillance of the FBI?

    • Gregg Smith

      Interesting thought.

  • JGC

    A question for Tom Ricks:  Does he see any female military commanders being groomed for top visible positions of authority?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The real issue here is people in sensitive positions having private secrets – needing to keep those secrets private is what could compromise security.

  • Shag_Wevera

    You can change General to Genital by simply replacing two letters.  Coincidence?!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Yes, coincidence.

  • anamaria23

    Sex scandals, affairs are nothing new among the powerful and society at large.  In the past, though, they were mostly guarded secrets known only to insiders.
    Long past furthur fascination with this story, I am nonetheless astonished with  the hubris of the people involved   Playing out their emotional turmoils using the tools and services of the Cia  and the FBI as though they were their private domain speaks to utter narcissism and disregard for the larger mission. As the Generals and their  ladies  play, our soldiers fight and die. 
    Perhaps Petraeus should have become involved with a grownup.

  • JGC

    Diane Rehm is talking about the “U.S. Oil Production Boom” today on her show, if people are fed up with the Petraeus/Allen story (although Tom Ricks should bring up interesting ideas on the On Point program). 

    • nj_v2

      Thanks, i’m there!

  • JGC

    Dianne Feinstein for head of the CIA?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      At least that would get her out of the Senate…

      • Ray in VT

        But would you like whoever her likely successor would be any better?  I don’t even know who would be on the short list, but it would likely be a liberal Democrat.

        • Mike_Card

          Think of Gavin Newsome, Lt Gov, former mayor of SF (same as Dianne).

          • JGC

            I guess I am just thinking as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Feinstein would be ready to go, and is not overloaded with testosterone.  (Of course, at this point, she is probably estrogen deficient, as well.  Nevermind.)  Hey, Dame Judi Dench has done an outstanding job at the head of MI6, so why not a woman at the head of the CIA , and…what?  Oh, that’s just in the movies?  Well, that logic worked  out pretty well for Ronald Reagan, you have to admit that is absolutely true…

  • jack1951

    On today’s show, I predict Ricks will be salivating all over The Great General. See Michael Hasting’s take on Ricks here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/the-sins-of-general-david-petraeus 

  • JGC

    West Point is expanding their course list from offerings such as Operations Research, Geospatial Information Science and Engineering Psychology to now include Tactical Avoidance of Embedded Journalists and Socialites.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      I can’t tell if you’re kidding or not. Good job!

      • JGC

        That is because these are actual classes offered at West Point (except for the last one, of course). I am curious about Engineering Psychology…maybe AC would be able to enlighten me.

  • jefe68

    I watched Tom Ricks on the Tavis Smiley show the other night.
    I found myself agreeing with him that President Obama should not have excepted General Petraeus resignation. I also agree with his overview that our society uses moral issues such as this, an affair between to consenting adults, to judge them more than their record. In Petraeus’ case it’s been a very good one.

    Mr. Ricks mentioned Eisenhower’s alleged affair with his Irish secretary during WW2 and how he was never fired for it.
    Well I had to take issue with this as there was never any conclusive proof and Kay Summersby said there was no affair.
    FDR also had some relationships out side of his marriage to Eleanor. We live in a time when gossip and our moral hypocrisy rule the day. I did find myself agreeing with Tom Ricks’ comment: could anyone imagine FDR firing Eisenhower if the alleged affair was publicized? The answer would have been no. You were fired for not getting results.

  • perihelion22

    This is just psych-ops to cover something really big that the press SHOULD BE concentrating on. Usually they just have some blonde-girl kidnapping, but this required more.

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

  • Ellen Dibble

    How many emails did General Allen send to Jill Kelley?

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Your guest said “Lisa Kelley”, I thought her name was Jill Kelley.

    Ahhhh, sleep deprivation. Nuff’ said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=519658314 JoAnne Bauer

    How can “20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails” of a flirtatious nature NOT create at the very least a huge & troubling distraction from the job at hand — writing them, thinking about writing them, thinking about receiving them….?  How do these generals have so much free time for affairs — real or virtual??

    • Mike_Card

      I’ve read that many of the pp. are the following, previous messages when the parties just hit “reply.”  Meaning 20 to 30,000 pages might only be 2 or 3 hundred messages.  I’ve done them, so have you.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        My first thought was “How many of that were headers and autosigs?”

        Still, if we’re talking about 7,000 pages (1/3 to 1/4 “signal to noise” ratio), that’s a lot for anything that isn’t an EULA.

  • paszymko

    A Poem: “Warring Faction”
    The General’s a liar.
    Colonels, beware!
    Majors aim higher,
    while Captains despair.
    Lieutenants bleed,
    with their Infantry:
    Building bridges of Flesh.

    Peter Szymkowicz

  • Ellen Dibble

    I don’t see Shakespearean tragedy for Petraeus.  It seems to me one can only, as a human being, continue as such a perfect model military leader for a certain span of time, and then if one is a human being, one either becomes sort of ragged, maybe vain or drunk on power or on one’s own perfection.  I heard Martha Raddatz telling about not wanting to fly in the same helicopter with him toward the end of his Afghanistan responsibilities, because of becoming less “telescopic,” in the way Broadwell had described him, as always looking to look way down the ladder for ideas.  Not that Raddatz is way down the ladder, but she described that he was getting standoffish, less available.  So it seems to me he sort of put himself into a more human frame of reference by his behavior (is there some higher justice at play here?), having him loosen up, as someone described it.  I’d say, it was time.  He is unlikely to fall to the kind of pits that multitudes of people can fall to.  

  • Yar

    I hope Michelle will do a little White house redecoration.  In that little windowless hall off the oval office she should hang a stained blue dress on the back of the door. Along the wall she should put pictures of women betrayed by “their men,”  along with busts of each man below, on a table low enough to cause a person to look down upon them.  General Petraeus is just another bust for the table.  A hall of shame, lest our leaders ever forget.

  • skeptic150

    Yet again, much ado about nothing (imo)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YMV2HJ2TBKMCN2QRAVI3I2OOGM Jim Jim

    Is this a big deal? I’ve listened to hosts and anchors endlessly talk about this for the past few days trying to explain why this is important at all. It seems like a stretch to me. Infidelity by public officials doesn’t seem any worse to me than infidelity by non-public officials, which is only a problem for the people involved.  

    Get away from your television dramas.

  • sickofthechit

    Could some of you please start circulating the idea that those whose homes are made useless by Hurricane Sandy should be able to stay in Foreclosed Properties?  I think we could all agree that the Banks owe us this at a minimum. May not solve the problem, but it would for a few families.

  • bmad2012

    Valid? From BuzzFeed article by Michael Hastings
    Another [Patraeus] huge supporter was Tom Ricks, a former Washington Post journalist who found a second career as unofficial press agent for the general and his friends. Ricks is the ringleader of what I like to call “the media-military industrial complex,” setting the standard for its incestuous everyday corruption. He not only built Dave up, he facilitated the disastrous liaison between Broadwell and Petraeus. Ricks helped get Broadwell a literary agent, a six-figure book deal, and a publisher.
    from BuzzFeed http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/the-sins-of-general-david-petraeus

    • anamaria23


  • DrJoani

    Will TOm Rick’s interview surprise us? no, since he is one of Petraeus’s admirers and acolytes.
    NOW comes the BS about “poor General” in Iraq.And what about his policy for Afghanistan that never worked? Hearts and Minds? the SURGE?

    Poor Petraeus serves HIMSELF quite well (all in).

    • Ray in VT

      From SNL’s Weekend Update:  When she began the book the title was “just the tip”.

      • sickofthechit

        Thank you.

        • Ray in VT

          You’re welcome.  They do some nice work.

      • DrJoani

        Ha ha. Hey, I live in Vermont too. I think it was Jon who made some appropriate comments  recently

        • Ray in VT

          Would that be Mr. Stewart?  There are a fair number of Vermonters who post on here.  I stream the show on my office computer and try not to let it distract me too much from my database work.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    To me this is not about infidelity. Did not Patraeus give the ‘other woman’ access to his secure e-mail account? Is that not is grounds for firing?

  • TomK_in_Boston

    The two women are dark complexioned, as was monica. Where are the blonds?

    • sickofthechit

       They haven’t figured out how to email yet?

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

       On Fox News.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Haha to both :)

  • AmieG

    On Broadwell’s biography, how much of it can be trusted?  On one hand her intimacy with the Gen. may have given her a rare insider’s glimpse, on the other it could skew her portrayal.

  • Bill Bodge

    What is Tom talking about?  Ask the right questions.  Who gains the most from taking down Petraeus?  Was he going to run for President in 2016?  Who is connected with Kelly?  Why would the FBI investigate email stalking?  None of it makes sense.  Looks like a political take down.  It must have been known that Petraeus was committing adultery and used Kelly to get it out.  The FBI does not investigate email stalking.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    What are we thinking?  People at that level of power hold many secrets and control the lives of thousands.  If they make themselves vulnerable to blackmail, they need to be out.  If their judgement is that poor, they need to be out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553976850 Kelly Rush

    If only we could focus as much on the rape of enlisted military women by their peers as we are focused on whether two consenting adults had an extramarital fling.  

  • Jason Hoffman

    Is there really a conflict of interests when the head of the nation’s spy agency demonstrates an aptitude for clandestine affairs and keeping secrets until his operatives turn on him?

  • E_Barry

    If I received “threatening” emails would I be able to get the FBI to investigate? What is the actual legal basis for the agency’s involvement?  Was Jill Kelly abusing her “position as an “ambassador” the way she tried to get the press away from her house yesterday?

  • Bill Bodge

    Did you ever read his books?  Not a glowing betrayal of the military.  Ike, Patton, Kennedy, FDR all had affairs.  Seems you need a mistress to be a great leader.

    • Thinkin5

       Sex is attracted to power. There is a type of woman who plots to get into the bedroom with men of power and wealth. Unfortunately, men are weak when it comes to sexual desire. Apparently, it completely blocks their rational thinking. They then can rationalize their desire as something that they “deserve” for their hard work.

      • Ray in VT

        I think that there’s plenty of weakness in both genders when it comes to sexual desire.  I’m not sure which gender is worse.

  • Ellen Dibble

    “What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,” quoting the late great Sam Ervin from the Watergate hearings.  I think I have that right.  It’s from the Bible somewhere.  I’m thinking didn’t Petraeus figure out that this would happen with Broadwell?, that when feelings spill they can act in this way?  That sort of thing.  Apparently not.  I have some things to say about “the social scene” as it begins to appear, for  Tampa, but unlike the military “scene,” I can’t say I know all the rules, say for how many emails you send, and to how many people.  Maybe there are 30,000 emails to 300 different people?

    • sickofthechit

      Ellen, I think that quote might have originated with Shakespeare.

      • Ellen Dibble

        You know?  It sure sounds like it.  I thought I heard Ervin attribute it to the Bible, or the commentators at the time.  I’m going to google it. Ah-hah. It’s falsely attributed to Shakespeare. It’s actually by Sir Walter Scott, from the 1808 poem Marmion.

        • sickofthechit

           Thanks for the info. charles

      • Mike_Card

        Merchant of Venice?

        • jefe68

          Oh what a tangled web we weave
          When first we practice to deceive. – Sir Walter Scott (Marmion, 1808)

          • Mike_Card

            Nice catch.  I had it confused with the “to thine own self be true” line.

  • mkbrinkman

    With regard to why Paula Broadwell would have documents (still classified or not) at home and in computer is easily explained as she is a current doctoral candidate at the Dept of War Studies at King’s College London.  Easily found on line.  The Dept of War Studies is an outstanding scholarly department independent of any military organization.

  • bmad2012

    OK – let us not talk about sex life of generals. Let us talk about generals who have plenty of time to attend lavish parties hosted by a “military groupy”, while vets have to wait years for benefits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oh.lennyboy Oh Lennyboy

    What is the underlying military regulations for expulsion from the service in regards to infidelity, to use that antiquated term?

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.mccaskill.731 David McCaskill

    good comments all

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586840974 Mary Mendoza

    THe whole thing speaks to judgement.  Petraeus was the keeper of our biggest secrets. WHo was he sharing them with?? Also when did the affair begin.  He says only after he left the military, however, their closeness raised many eye brows, if not Tom Ricks’ . Also how did Broadwell get the classified materials, which is was illegal to have on her computer?? Or is this the case of different spanks for different ranks, which is the source of much grumbling in the military.

  • benjamin blakely

    Thank you Tom Ricks! Can we please talk about something real now?

  • ttajtt

    007 gets away with it.   wheres he’s counter part.  now other players on the scene.  

    • Mike_Card

      But he’s on “her majesty’s service!”

      • ttajtt

        majesty’s, sex’s, Friendship’s, it is standards’ of todays way, or was it “making love”. 

        sex is sex, no “true” love about it, friends is coded with sex.

        couples and so forth made the commitment.

        its the only news.  

  • tfam101

    The issue is not the affair.  The issue to me is the head of the CIA being involved with someone who seems to be unbalanced.
    Normal folks do not harass others with anonymus e-mails from fake e mail addresses unless something is wrong with them.  Who knows what else Broadwell could be capable of.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oh.lennyboy Oh Lennyboy

    What is the underlying military regulation for expulsion from the service in regards to infidelity, to use that antiquated term?

    • Mike_Card

      “Conduct unbecoming an officer,” which includes commissioned, non-commissioned, and warrant officers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecebar Cindy C Barnard

    We’re confusing iconic perfection with imperfect yet good, honorable people despite the flaws. If security was not comprised, it is ashamed that reading personal emails turned into a media blitz.

  • dt03044

    Military men having sex with underlings?  Secret Service agents found with prostitutes in Columbia?   I’m shocked, SHOCKED!   Get real…..these things have happened since the beginning of time and always will.  Human nature is what it is.  We have to get past our Victorian sensibilities.  This story gets a big yawn in most other societies.

  • JGC

    More curious fun facts about the “Broadwell/Kelley/Petraeus/Allen/ShirtlessFBIAgent scandal”:

    Paula Broadwell’s driver’s license was found by a jogger in Rock Creek Park, Maryland.

    Sources said there was to be a 40th birthday party for Broadwell in Washington last Saturday night, and Nameless Source Close to the Intelligence Community said General Petraeus had been scheduled to attend.  The party was cancelled.

    There were nine lawsuits against Jill and Scott Kelley in the past decade dealing with credit card debt and missed payments and foreclosure proceedings on real estate. Debt is seen as one of the most serious threats to a military leader or agency official who holds a security clearance. Did the FBI see a red flag between financial dealings of the Kelleys and their very close relationship with the head of the CIA and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan? 

    Jill Kelley has hired Washington’s Crisis Dream Team, Lowell and Smith – Judy Smith’s pedigree includes handling Monica Lewinsky, notorious bathroom foot tapper Larry Craig, and quarterback/dog killer Michael Vick.  Abbe Lowell is a lawyer who represented disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and also John Edwards in the campaign finance fraud case stemming from his affair with Rielle Hunter.

    The 6 degrees of separation have finally brought Rielle Hunter into the mix, and so now my work here is done. (Information, some used verbatim, from the Capital Comment section of Washingtonian magazine.)

  • imjust Sayin

    Major Broadwell threatened a civilian.  She was a young woman and could reasonably become a general herself.

    As a nation, we are fortunate that an army officer like her has been exposed before my children join the military.

    You will not see threats like that from Gen. Petraeus, or Kelly.

    But you will see comments like Broadwell’s, from MacArthur.

    He deserved to be fired.  And we as a nation are lucky to have found out about Major Broadwell when we did.

    Gen. Petraeus probably resigned because he showed poor judgement by associating with a megalomaniac like Broadwell.

    The fact that he slept with her is sad, but irrelevant.


    • imjust Sayin

       Sorry to reply to myself…

      But IKE did not threaten civilians.  If I found out that IKE threatened a young man who also wanted the affection of his cute red head chauffeur, then my opinion of IKE would also change on a dime….  pun intended.

    • imjust Sayin

       Major Broadwell, is exactly the kind of person who would evolve into an FBI agent to delve into personal things.  Broadwell involved herself into the child custody case of Ms. Kelly’s mentally ill sister.

      So, I know we dodged a bullet with Broadwell.

  • Flytrap

    I’m not annoyed that the Obama
    administration is lying to us about Benghazi, David Petraeus and the
    rest of this messy, farcical story.

    I’m annoyed that they expect us to believe them.

    When a woman discovers her husband in bed undressed, she can accept
    his claim to be feeling under the weather. But when he asks her to
    believe the unfamiliar earrings on his pillow were from his mother . . .

    This is the position President Obama has put us in. I’d like to
    believe that our president would never lie to us about a terrorist
    attack that killed four Americans, including an ambassador. I’d like to
    believe that our president is above politically manipulating the
    resignation of a CIA chief and successful general.

    I’d like — no, I’d love — to believe it all. Unfortunately I can’t. Can you?

    You know the outline of this already unbelievable story. Petraeus has
    an affair with the unfortunately named Mrs. Broadwell (apparently
    “Felicity Shagwell” is copyrighted by Austin Powers) in 2011. His
    girlfriend’s threatening emails to a third woman lead to an FBI
    investigation that uncovers the tawdry story last summer.

    But can you believe the FBI (under Attorney General Eric Holder) would be investigating the most important spy in the country and nobody in the White House knew?

    Can you believe that around Labor Day the FBI essentially let the matter drop?

    Can you believe that, after two months of apparent indifference,
    suddenly — on Election Day — someone woke up and decided “Today is the
    day General ‘Betray-us’ must go!”

    The Washington Post reports Petraeus planned to stay as head of CIA
    after the affair was uncovered, but “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.”

    So Petraeus the adulterer was no big deal during September and
    October — the height of the campaign — but suddenly a re-elected Obama
    hands him a scarlet letter and casts the sinner out?

    Wait, that’s not quite right. Petraeus met with Obama on Thursday and
    offered his resignation, but the president claims he needed to think
    about it. And thought about it just long enough to push the resignation
    story into Friday afternoon — the ideal time for politicians to break
    bad news.

    Want another coincidence? Petraeus was fired between the election and
    Congress’s upcoming classified hearings on Benghazi. Fire him a week
    earlier and Benghazi is part of the election. A week later, and his
    testimony on this fiasco is on the record.

    “It is simply a fact that the White House did not know about Gen.
    Petraeus until Wednesday,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said
    yesterday. “Simply a fact.” And no matter how stupid it seems on its
    face, the White House insists you accept it as fact.

    Until, like the “spontaneous protests over a video” in Benghazi,
    these “facts” turn out to be completely untrue. Then you’ll be given
    another explanation and expected to believe it, too.


    • anamaria23

      Could you tell us all what really  happened at Benghazi?
      So many people are not sure, but you apparently are.

      • Flytrap

         I don’t know, but talking about sex sure is a convenient distraction from probing who ordered what in Benghazi.  So you completely buy the administrations take on Benghazi?  Would you feel the same if it happened under Bush?

        • anamaria23

          Tell us.  What do you think happened?
          All those who don’t “buy” the story fail to enlighten  us on what did happen.

          • Flytrap

             I think obama gave the order to stand down and not assist in Benghazi and is trying to keep that from everyone for whatever reason.  I think this http://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2012/11/14/sex-lies-and-benghazi/ is what they did to Petreaus to try and make him comply.

          • anamaria23

            Why would he give an order not to assist?   

          • Flytrap

            Whether he did and why is exactly what people want to know.  So far, those questions haven’t been answered.  Maybe it’s all a rightwing nutjob conspiracy, but the WH hasn’t provided the proof to disprove their theories.  The thing is, this type of order would have a paper trail so disproving the conspiracists should be easy.  Why haven’t they done so?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            So now it’s on the White House to disprove RWNJ theories?

            You should have said that up top to save us the time.

            If you’re gonna boil it down to that, can’t you wash your PajamasMedia links throught a “respectable” source like Drudge?

          • Flytrap

             No you dolt, it’s up to the WH to answer the relevant questions as to what happened given the “evolving” nature of the official story.  As new evidence has come up, the story has changed.  It is past time for the WH to be forthcoming as to whether or not an order to “stand down” was given by the Pres. thereby allowing our ambassador and 3 others to be killed.  Stonewalling and evading feeds into the poisonous nature of the investigation.  

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF


            Yes, you’re the one who can judge what “stonewalling” is around these parts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Drago-Z-Kamenov/1013015297 Drago Z Kamenov

    Could we please stop beating around the bush and focus on the important issues….like the economy?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Ricks is divorced from reality.

  • Thinkin5

    The Repcons are trying to make this a political issue and tie it to the president somehow. All I see so far, is rightwing generals, women, and Eric Cantor. They may be galloping into their own trap!

    • Flytrap

       If so, enjoy their destruction.  If they are correct, accept it.

  • bmad2012

    Petraeus appartently enjoyed and encouraged his celebrity status.  From NYTimes 11/13/12
    “That kind of closeness — and the Kelleys’ fancy parties — strike some military people as odd.“I have never known there to be groupies around generals,” said Jacey Eckhart, the military spouse editor of the Web site military.com. In February 2010,  The Tampa Bay Times reported that Mr. Petraeus and his wife arrived escorted by 28 police officers on motorcycles to a pirate-themed party at the
    Kelleys’ home, to mark Tampa’s Gasparilla.”from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/us/tampa-social-scene-at-center-of-petraeus-scandal.html?hp

  • DrewInGeorgia

    What is Jill Kelley’s Political Orientation?

    Tell me it’s not relevant.

    • JGC

      I don’t know about her, but wasn’t it her Shirtless FBI Fanboy that immediately ran to Cantor’s office when he wasn’t satisfied with the progress being made on the Kelley e-mails? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586840974 Mary Mendoza

    It seems they found a ton or “trove” of classified stuff in Major Broadwell;s home.   http://gma.yahoo.com/broadwell-classified-document-probe-114054139.html 

    • Ray in VT

      Now that would make this whole sordid affair truly significant.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    OK, I got it. Boys will be boys.

    Geez is this guy an apologist.  Does he say the same thing about superior on enlisted sexual harassment and rape?

    • DrewInGeorgia

      C’mon, this was consensual activity between two adults.

      You’re better than that BHA.

  • jim_thompson


    There are serious questions of the FBI involvement, the agent’s actions and Eric Cantor’s role.  I am really very suspicious of Eric Cantor’s role…this needs to be looked at by the press and/or the authorities.

  • JennaJennaeight

    This is embarrassing for all the wrong reasons.  Your guest is glib about the media’s treatment of a sex scandal in the life of an otherwise accomplished pillar of society. But it’s hard to take this attitude when, like every other aspect of the crumbling infrastructure of our country, the crumbling reputation of yet another pillar of society is scary to us because of it’s lack of finesse.  In other words, affairs over email are so passe.  That the media is forcing us all to imagine the sex life of these people is yucky enough, but it’s more disturbing to me  how technically clumsy these people in positions of high power still are.

  • Ellen Dibble

    “Vulnerable to blackmail” — what about soldiers who use alcohol or marijuana, or other illegal drugs?  Couldn’t almost anybody be blackmailed?  And as with Ike in World War II, anybody who “knows” also knows enough to preserve national security by NOT making a big deal of it, or any deal of it.  I’m thinking plenty of jilted lovers can deal with it without this kind of trouble.  As for wives at home, knowing their highly sexed spouses are off, in danger, for many months at a time, is this concerning?  Sure.  But it’s interesting to hear that soldiers want competence from their command, not perfection.  In a “real war,” that would be the case.  But this feels to a lot of us not a real war because we are not all called upon to serve — or even pay for it.  I’ve probably touched a third rail with “real war.”  It’s like “legitimate rape.”  But there is no legitimate enemy, either.  No government to oppose.

  • mkbrinkman

    With regard to why Paula Broadwell might have documents on her computer (classified or not) it is important to point out she is a current doctoral candidate at the Dept. of War Studies at King’s College London – where she is obviously continuing her research  – this info is available on line. The Dept of War Studies is indepedent of any military organization, and is very well known in academic circles.  She would no longer need to be in residence to finish her dissertation -

  • peatmosse

    Leaning more toward the conspiracy side of things, this whole thing seems like nothing more than politics as usual in Washington. Anytime someone becomes a threat in politics, and it becomes expedient to remove him or her, the first thing done is to dig up whatever dirt can be found and splash it throughout the media. General Petraeus had the misfortune to a.) become a threat to some power stucture in some way and b.) have some dirt that could be exposed. And it is just as likely that most of the “facts” of his affair are made up. This man was head of the CIA, after all, an agency with a long history of dirty tricks. I think if we ever had the luxury to know all the facts we would discover that someone had a political reason to remove the general from power.

    • Thinkin5

       Patraeus isn’t denying the affair. They have the “facts” and evidence. This blew up because of the people involved. They blew the whistle on themselves!

      • Ray in VT

        Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

    • anamaria23

      For whatever purpose?  Do you think that Jill Kelly was in cahoots with someone to start the ball rolling?

  • jim_thompson

    The storyline at the core here-besides Eric Cantor’s role, the Hooveresuesqe FBI involvement is as old as man:  men’s brains vs. their penis.  Penis almost ALWAYS wins.

  • John Smith

    There is a method for people to tell the CIA that they are having an affair.  That way they cannot be blackmailed.  This is salacious media hype.  Seriously.  This man you are talking to is clearly tolerating your “asking the common mans questions” .  These are not the “common man”.  These questions come from the squeeky wheels.  no one cares about this affair until there is a shown threat to the nation.

  • boskydellfarm

    The point is not whether Petraeus was a good general. And when my husband was a navy doctor on a ship, many of the officers were cheating on their spouses, including the chaplain who was carrying on with the ship’s ombudsman. 

    Gen Petraeus was the head of the CIA at the time. The question this activity raises is: what kind of poor judgement is reflected by this activity? He must be crazy to think emails won’t be read in his line of work. He must be an ego-maniac to think he could get away with this, acting so openly. Or, he didn’t think it mattered and as a key political figure, it really does. 

  • bmad2012

    Yes – I agree with Ricks about the FBI snooping into emails. And if I went to the police or FBI claiming that I was getting mean “harrassing” emails, would they investigate? No. Only reason FBI got involved was that a FBI agent has the hots for Jill Kelley.

  • Thinkin5

    Weren’t there “comfort women” in Hawaii in WWII?  Is that what the military men need?! Warriors strong in every way but one?!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    i don’t understand why people are so surprise there are sex scandals in the military or positions in public office. 

    i bet there is over 70% of our congressional members engaging in adultery. just look at Clinton and Gingrich (hypocrite). 

    when the job is tough and stressful especially in the military, you bet the officers and the generals need to bring out their frustration is some way. their spouse might not do the trick or the job.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Agree about drone warfare.  It seems to me like email:  If you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times, don’t send it.  There is blowback possible.  For every drone we send, killing 10 unintentionally (collateral damage) for every targeted hit, I think of being one of the 9 out of 10 being unintentionally hit by some country using our own standards against us, maybe in 50 years.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/C4JSOGVHT2ZNM4HPR42ECXEIQI Ned

    The real story here will be Jill Kelley, desperate social climber, being sued for millions in debt with initimate access to some of the most powerful men in the US military.
    The dream recruit for anyone looking to spy on the US. 

  • StilllHere

    The Commander in Chief should be held responsible.

    • Ray in VT

      For subordinates fooling around?

      • jefe68

        Why bother even responding to this kind nonsense.
        The right wing extremist, such as this chap, live in a world framed by a narrative that is based on fantasy. Which is why they lost the election.

        One interesting aspect here is that General Petraeus, a Republican, has been touted for a possible candidate for president. That’s not going to happen now, but the level the right stoops to in trying to frame President Obama as this incompetent person who does not deserve to be president is laughable. This is the idea behind this kind of comment.

        The man just beat the pants off of Mitt Romney who was supposed to be this great leader of busniess who has these mega organizational skills. Funny how the opposite was the order of the day.

        • Ray in VT

          I don’t know.  Something inside me just can’t help it.  I’m sure that there are some great conspiracy theories out there about this that could really brighten my day.


          • jefe68

            Huffington Post is not a place I go to for news. It’s become more of a tabloid than anything else.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            And the ads are brutal since it was bought by AOL.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, but I do like gossip.  It is what it is, but they do link to some decent stuff.  I was just feeling too lazy to pop over to the Comedy Central site.

        • osullivan11

          I agree. StillHere should change his clever name to “Signposts that I just ain’t serious”

      • Gregg Smith

        He should be spitting mad if he was not immediately informed his CIA chief was compromised.

        • Ray in VT

          I’m willing to bet that he is pretty ticked off.  One doesn’t want to see a person in whom one put a lot of faith and trust go down in flames, but I can certainly see the arguments that are being made in favor of keeping these sorts of investigations under wraps (something akin to Internal Affairs, no pun intended) so as to secure the integrity of the probe, and just so long as national security was not being compromised, as best as could be determined at the time, then it looks like the appropriate steps were being taken.  At this point I can’t fault the process.

      • StilllHere

        For creating an environment where it is implicitly condoned and when its concerns sexual harassment of a subordinate even more so.

        • Ray in VT

          Sure, because I bet there weren’t any officers and the subordinates fooling around under Bush, but that was probably all Clinton’s fault.

          • StilllHere

            Really, that has to be the most pathetic excuse ever.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, your excuse that the President made them do it is the most pathetic excuse ever.  Thanks for coming around and seeing the error of your ways.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      What else can you expect with a Kenyan socialist in the WH?

      • StilllHere

        Gothcha, he’s only Commander when celebrating Bin Laden’s execution.  Benghazi and this are somebody else’s responsibility.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Officers would keep it in their pants if Lord Romney was CEO of USAcorp!

          • StilllHere

            Unfortunately we’ll never know, until then have to deal with the Impostor in  Chief.

          • Ray in VT

            Who is the President impersonating?  Did the real Obama die and they pulled a Dave and put a lookalike in his place?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            God still loves the USA, she saved us from the hostile takeover by the vulture capitalists and con men at Bane capital. Thank you God!

        • Ray in VT

          I would certainly say that this is someone else’s responsibility.  Namely David Patraeus and Paula Broadwell.  Blaming the President for this?  Sheesh.  There’s some personal responsibility for ya.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josiah.vanvliet Josiah D Van Vliet

    This whole thing bothers me greatly. The idea of infidelity is unique to each culture and religion and insisting on monogamy at the pains of disgrace is it’s own kind of bigotry. 


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586840974 Mary Mendoza

    In my acid judgement, asking someone questions, while running, is not the best way to get good, answers, and do follow up questions – you’re too busy running. Then there’s also the idea that any serious scholar would sleep with the subject of their dissertation. Also, have we fixed either Iraq or Afghanistan??
    I think not.

    • http://www.facebook.com/josiah.vanvliet Josiah D Van Vliet

      Can you think of a more thorough biographer?

  • http://www.facebook.com/josiah.vanvliet Josiah D Van Vliet

    Also, “Sex at Dawn” has a powerful analysis of human sexuality that turns this entire conversation on its head. Its sad to see this conversation happen with such a narrow cultural perspective.

  • ttajtt

    making love making friendship making sex.   society is this a lonely cry out.   mom – father – grown up to fast – a god figure.   – junkys - 

  • imjust Sayin

    Gen. Petraeus was correct to resign.

    He was intimate with Major Broadwell.

    A woman.

    A woman who threatened to kill a civilian woman.

    Which civilian?

    A woman who spent her time helping military families.

    A woman who was deperate to help her mentally ill sister keep access to her own children.

    A woman who only wanted to help other women.

    A woman who loved her husband.

    A woman who Major Broadwell could, in her deluded mind, see Mrs. Kelly as a rival.

    A woman who must die, according to Major Broadwell.

    Gen. Petraeus was correct to resign.

  • Joel Croteau

    are you seriously devoting an entire hour to the fact that men and women are attracted to each other? It is ludicrous how much psychological detail you are going into to try and explaing things peiple have been doing since there have been people  the real travesty here is the effect it has had on the career of a great leader and the amount of media attention it has been given. Our leaders have always had extramarital affairs. It is only inthe past few decades that we have made it a political matter. This should be their private business, and we should leave it alone.

    • imjust Sayin


      Thank you for your insight.

      Major Broadwell, our general’s understandable desire, planned to use her military rank to kill a civilian.

      This civilian, was willing to use her feminine charms to help her mentally ill sister keep access to her own children.

      For this, Major Broadwell decided that she must die.

      For this, General Petraeus was correct to resign.

      He allowed his devoted follower and lover to abuse her military rank to threaten another woman.

      I too, might be tempted by such a devoted follower.  But then again, would I allow my devoted follower to kill another patriot?

      Not even I, an admitted sinner, would do such a thing.

      • imjust Sayin

         and, that is why they are devoting an entire hour to this discussion.

      • Joel Croteau

        It says a great deal about the psychology of human sexuality, the vulnerability of your own moral pisition, and the contradictory attitude our society has towards sex that you would be willing to make up such a ludicrous allegation against someone to justify am attack based on exercising her own sexual freedom. We cannot sustain our current moral and societal attitudes about sex without massive lies and logical contortions, because if we knew the truth, we could not possibly believe in anything such as morality.

    • brettearle

      Are you absolutely nuts?

      Let everyone, in and out of public office, have orgies, for all I care!

      But this is the HEAD OF THE CIA, in a post 9/11 world!

      I am quite pleased that you are not making decisions for our country.

      No one ,in such a position of NATIONAL SECURITY, should EVER even put him/her self in such a compromising position.

      And if you cannot see that, you’ve got a real problem.

  • camila fierro

    TOM, I also said it in your Facebook page.  The conversation I am currently listening to is so incredibly sexist. For shame.

  • CriticalFaculty70

    I am disappointed that this media feeding frenzy takes so little cognizance of the pain involved for General Petraeus’s wife and family–even for General Petraeus and his paramour.  How would you feel if you had just found out that your husband was cheating and hear it discussed casually and with relish on every newscast and television talk show?  How would that compound the pain for you?  How would it complicate the possibility of resolving the issues within the marriage and saving it?  I expect more sensitivity and seriousness of public radio.  There is nothing original coming out of this discussion, nothing that would justify the added damage.  This man is a hero.  He and his family deserve some space and privacy to work this out.

    • Steve__T

       True, the sad thing is the media believes that scandals sell and unfortunately they do, people love soap operas, and if its real life they go nuts. Real life TV is stupid to me but some cant get enough, it seems that other peoples problems/business makes them think they know how to handle their own, and everybody else’s. Instead of minding their own.

  • vbock

    How one feels about infidelity depends on how much one values what comes out of fidelity.  Sex is more than a recreational activity enjoyed by consenting adults. It’s the glue that holds together a couple and then a family, which is the interface between the public and private worlds. It’s a scary thing to throw one’s life in with that of another person, and it’s reasonable to ask that people who ask that of another honor commitments made.  Two people who build a life together can accomplish a lot more than a single person alone. But to do that, one needs to trust that one’s energies are being put into a living, growing entity, not one which can be eroded by sexual distraction elsewhere.

    Sure, it’s natural to have attractions elsewhere. Acting on them is costly, because such actions can destroy the work of a lifetime.

    • anewsboy

       Thank you for that, Reverend. Now, in this real world there is “sin;” imperfection.  Human lifetime commitments have difficulties. Remember the Clintons. The commitments are still there.  Sometimes, it is not for us to judge but for One who sees more than we can. Shirtless “agents” who nose about to please a “lady” and then carry the story to Congress people strike me as extremely unpatriotic, perhaps traitorous.

      • vbock

        OF COURSE human lifetime commitments have problems. But marriage is a choice. People who regretfully decide they have made a wrong choice do have honorable options for extricating themselves from commitments they feel unable to honor. Renegotiating the arrangement with a spouse is one. Divorcing is another. Sneaking around, however, is a DIS-honorable option.  What makes an individual, a couple, a family, a society great is the undertaking and fulfilling of commitments. What makes us human is our occasional failure to to uphold our commitments, and honest dealing with the fallout. Attempting to sneak out of dealing with either the commitment or the failure is just plain sleazy.

        • anewsboy

          But my point is that this personal judgement is not germane to running the govm’t or the CIA.  Those are “personal” commitments with whatever permutations they develop.  You may judge them.  I, as admonished by the Bible, choose not to.  WE, have a govm’t of public, civil society to be a part of.  With Its laws, not our private judgements. capisce ?

          • vbock

            I understand your view perfectly, but disagree profoundly. I think we need people in offices of high responsibility who inspire trust by acting on the promises they make, and by refraining from making promises they don’t believe they can honor. The alternative, people who will say whatever gets them what they are looking for in the short term, who don’t see a need to keep their word, is a recipe for chaos. As we are seeing.  It’s not the sex, it’s the dishonesty, and the failure to view commitments made as actually binding, which create the problems.

            I’ve spent 50 years on the planet, and I’ve never met a person who was awesome at keeping professional commitments but casual about personal ones. People who take commitments seriously don’t make ones they don’t intend to keep, both personal and professional.  And they do stuff like resign, and divorce, when they find that the situation has changed and they cannot do what they fully intended to do.

            There are many choices in life which are not illegal, but are nonetheless unwise and destructive. I want leaders who care about acting out of wisdom and honor.

          • anewsboy

            I suppose General Petraeus agrees with you, as he said when he resigned his post. At 50 years you may or may not have really met “awesome” people, who have seriously carried the weight of the world’s concern on their shoulders, as has Gen. Petraeus. It is regrettable. I still can not make a judgement about this man.  “commitments they don’t intend to keep,” is certainly not how he, or many of the fallen, have viewed their lives.  He is 60 and has been in hell with others for at least 10 years.  Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and was told he could fly. Petraeus just got to tell his story to a very smart gal who wanted to listen. So “stuff” happened. He was found out.  He resigned.  I am much more angry with the man who turned him in. I guess you and I make different choices about who and what we would call to account in these,our public lives. But, enough.

  • Flytrap

    “I think the really shocking news today was that
    General Petraeus thought and hoped he could keep his job. He thought
    that it might and it would be kept secret, and that he could stay in his
    position. I think what that tells us is really important. It meant that
    he understood that the FBI obviously knew what was going on. He was
    hoping that those administration officials would not disclose what had
    happened, and therefore hoping that he would keep his job. And that
    meant that he understood that his job, his reputation, his legacy, his
    whole celebrated life was in the hands of the administration, and he
    expected they would protect him by keeping it quiet.

    And that brings us to the ultimate issue, and that is his testimony on
    September 13. That’s the thing that connects the two scandals, and
    that’s the only thing that makes the sex scandal relevant. Otherwise it
    would be an exercise in sensationalism and voyeurism and nothing else.
    The reason it’s important is here’s a man who knows the administration
    holds his fate in its hands, and he gives testimony completely at
    variance with what the Secretary of Defense had said the day before, at
    variance with what he’d heard from his station chief in Tripoli, and
    with everything that we had heard. Was he influenced by the fact that he
    knew his fate was held by people within the administration at that
    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/11/13/krauthammer-white-house-held-affair-over-petraeuss-head-favorable-tes#ixzz2CDUpLvLl

    • Gregg Smith

      In my imagination I see Holly in tears telling him the only the only way to save their marriage is for him to do the honorable thing and testify the whole truth. Let the chips fall where they may. He did not receive a supeona, he volunteered his testimony. That’s the first honorable thing he’s done to this point regarding the debacle.

      • JGC

        In my imagination I don’t see Holly in tears.  I see her mad as hell, and reading the riot act to Mr.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.fuchs.7 Sam Fuchs

    Tom, I laughed at your description- military generals flying around with women at their arms. Unfortunately, an accurate description.
    We have to start cracking down on these violations-SEALS selling their stories for money and VIDEO games??
    And the sole purpose of GOP investigations is to get OB. They care less about the unacceptable behavior and will never believe Petearus unless is puts the blame on OB.

    • imjust Sayin


  • brettearle

    Private matters are private matters.

    But the greater public issue is not simply the symbolic nature of such a private compromise, by the Director of the CIA.

    It is also the risk, potentially, of the breach of security involved.

    For almost any other position, it seems to me, such behavior and actions can be reconcilable, professionally.

    But NOT if you are the DIRECTOR OF THE CIA.

    That is truly the point.

    If General Patraeus made glaring misjudgements in his private life, that is one thing.

    But even if he did not use workplace computers–even though he DID use workplace computers–to advance his infidelity, it could still call into question his judgement:

    How can ANYONE, in such a critical position, take the chance of the perception of impropriety, much less take the risk that he would be FOUND OUT?

    If General Patraeus, as CIA director, could not recognize the risk that he was taking by jeopardizing the prestige of his position, much MORE the potential security breach, as a consequence, then unquestionably he should step down.

    This is NOT an overreaction of a MORAL issue, as Mr. Hicks is trying to point out.

    In a post 9/11 world, after thousands of American lives and significant treasure had been destroyed by foreign enemies; and where our security might seem to be possibly threatened, in the future, by loose nukes, WMD portability, and asymmetric wars, our country needs to know that we have a leader, in the delicate wing of COVERT INTELLIGENCE, whose integrity, ethics, and values are not tainted to the point, where that Individual’s competence might not be altered or modified by subterfuge, coercion, political pressure and even blackmail.

  • hennorama

    There are so many elements to this story:

    Hypocrisy of military leaders who require absolute obedience and adherence to rules of conduct from those they command.

    National security concerns of having the head of the CIA and a top military leader opening themselves up to possible leaks of sensitive information to a journalist, and potential coercion or blackmail. 
    Fortunately, this has been ruled out by the FBI regarding Gen. Petraeus.

    Political concerns about the way the FBI investigates the head of the CIA without informing the President.  There are strict rules about sharing information during an ongoing investigation that will need to
    be examined and more clearly defined, especially the national security elements.

    Benghazi.  The conspiracy theorists are going nuts about this.  Petraeus is now going to testify, so this is moot.

    An unimportant factoid – both of the spouses of the women involved are in the medical profession.  Ms. Kelley’s spouse is a cancer surgeon, and Ms. Broadwell’s spouse is a radiologist.

    Gawker has a good chart showing the players in this sorry scandal:


    The unfortunate outcome of the human failings of Gen. Petraeus is the loss of a highly talented person who was of great service to our country.  All due to perfectly normal and consensual behavior.  Immoral behavior perhaps, but perfectly normal behavior.  Punishing public people for private failings is not an intelligent way to conduct the important business of our nation.

    Perhaps the only enduring thing to come out of this is a warning to anyone thinking about cheating on their spouse – if the country’s top spy can get caught, anyone can.

    • brettearle

      It may not be comparable, say, to Eisenhower sending his war plans to Hitler.

      But a very serious line has been crossed by the General in terms of judgement (based on his VERY sensitive position) and in terms of the potential serious damage to perception and even, theoretically, to security breach.

      Infidelity, in this entire story, is important, privately.  But it is secondary to the enormous public implications– potentially and in actuality. 

      • hennorama

        Please don’t misunderstand – IMO Petraeus was a self-deluded fool whose egregious lack of judgement was potentially dangerous to national security. Clearly his judgement was massively faulty. But if there was no actual national security threat, which is what the FBI concluded, then his behavior was a peccadillo rather than a major transgression.

        • brettearle

          I firmly do NOT agree.

          I strongly support Obama and his judgement of appointing Patraeus, as CIA director.

          However, if after the fact, that appointment has been potentially impeached–by a serious misjudgement…..then you simply MUST accept the CIA Director’s resignation.

          With most ANY other position, accepting a resignation might be different and even vastly different.

          But NOT when it comes to the director of the CIA.

          Simply because there was no ACTUAL security threat is somewhat beside the point.

          Fool me once, the joke’s on you; fool me twice the jokes on me.

          In a post 9/11 world, and even with any OTHER kind of world, you CANNOT take the chance of impropriety or the PERCEPTION of impropriety.

          We’re talking about one of THE MOST important positions, if not THE most important position…..with regard to NATIONAL SECURITY.

          I cannot understand how you can possibly downplay its importance, by repudiating removal, simply because there was no breach.

          • hennorama

            I do not disagree with you. Clearly Gen. Petraeus needed to go, based on the totality of the information that’s been made public to date. I never said otherwise. I expressed my opinion that it’s unfortunate that we are losing the talents of an extremely talented person due to consensual behavior that did not endanger national security.

            Let’s suppose an alternative – what if Petraeus had only a one-night stand with Ms. Broadwell? Would this make a difference? Or is your point that any lapse in Gen. Petraeus’ judgement, regardless of the extent or degree, would indicate that he was so compromised that he would need to go?

          • brettearle

            Your explanation was that with no security breach it was  a peccadillo and nothing else.

            The so-called peccadillo was with a countless number of contacts with Broadwell….including computer “stuff”.

            THAT is the issue.

            If it were a one night stand?

            VASTLY different.  A fleeting tryst, unless we’re talking Mata Hari, we can, YES, give it a wink-wink, nod-nod….. 

            BUT IT WASN’T. 

          • hennorama

            OK, so there’s a line somewhere. I agree.

            To me, and from the context of your remarks, you seem to agree, the most troubling aspect of the Petraeus-Broadwell “activity” was not the sex, but the fact that classified material was discoverd on Ms. Broadwell’s computer, and that indeed, some of the “activity” between the two was computer-related. Of course, it’s possible the computer containing the classified material was not the one she used for the contact with Petraeus. Nevertheless, this is the most troubling part, IMO.

            So this leads to a second supposition – let’s say there was no classified material involved. Would Gen. Petraeus still need to go? What if there was no electronic contact via email or text or other means?

            In other words, if it was simply consensual sex, would Gen. Petraeus be hopelessly compromised?

            Just trying to find out where you think the line is.

          • brettearle

            Computer use, for anything personally and professionally questionable,
            for a CIA director, exacerbates what is ALREADY a seriously compromised situation.

            Private impropriety, without a paper trail, still potentially puts the CIA director at public risk.  Plus it could call into question his basic judgement–
            which could weigh heavily on security matters.   

            Too many risks not to have him quit.

            The Perception factor is also a big problem.

  • txsky10

    As a female in the military, I absolutely HATE the “What do you expect would happen when you have men and women together?!” argument when it comes to infidelity and bad sexual conduct. What do I expect? Professionalism, respect, faithfulness, and integrity. That’s what I expect from myself and from my fellow soldiers.

    • brettearle

      That may be absolutely true.

      But here, we are talking about the ULTIMATE SECURITY of the country–and how a leader, for such a critical responsibility, conducts himself….with all the attendant possible consequences, of such behavior.

      In this context, the infidelity is even MORE egregious.

      • John_in_Amherst

        The infidelity is between Petraeus and his wife, and is an age-old tale of betrayal of a spouse’s trust and a wedding vow, and is tragically bad.  The hubris and poor judgement exhibited under the circumstances is an issue between Petraeus and his country, and THAT is egregious.

        • brettearle

          You misunderstood my point.

          And it may be, because of the way I stated it.

          It isn’t the INFIDELITY that is the issue; it is ANY behavior or action that could potentially, or conceivably, compromise an ULTIMATE position of leadership in Intelligence and in Security.

          See my comments below–which I wrote, before the one above.

          On second thought, if you look at my comment above, that you are responding to, I clearly state,

          “But here we are talking about the ULTIMATE SECURITY of the country,”

          ….so I actually don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • John_in_Amherst

             I may be splitting hairs

  • grandmasitter

    No one has mentioned this, but if these Generals and CIA director have time to write 20,000 emails, they have far too much time on their hands. 

    So while they are writing, who’s doing the work?  I don’t have time to write that many emails. 

    Maybe we have too many chiefs/Generals at the top!!

    • hennorama

      Not to get too technical, but they are talking NOT about 20 to 30 thousand separate emails, but rather 20 to 30 thousand PAGES of documents, most of which are emails.  Plus, when one “replies” to an email, the original email is usually included.  If the sender and receiver continue to do this over and over, the replies expand and expand.  That’s one way they could get up to 20 to 30K PAGES total, just through emails.

      • grandmasitter

        That’s quite true, but no matter how many pages, it’s still alot for people who have really important jobs. 

        • hennorama

          It also depends on how one counts “pages” as this may merely be breaks in the emails, or in the documents. If one sentence is on a “page,” one gets quite a different picture. Also, this total is certainly the sum of BOTH parties involved rather than a single party.

          My understanding is that Ms. Kelley and Gen. Allen had almost daily email exchanges, which were quite innocent according to Gen. Allen’s subordinates who could monitor them.

          But your point is well taken – however one looks at it, it’s a LOT of contact.

  • George_Dedham_MA

    Thank goodness for Ricks, a voice of reason.  Unless there is a lot more to this than we have heard Obama should not have accepted his resignation.  Their private life is theirs and private.  It may be a disaster for several families, it should not be of concern to the nation.

  • aknman49

    I just now heard this program (the delayed broadcast on XM is frustrating) and although my comment is “late” getting here, I find myself completely unable to disagree with a single point made by Mr. Ricks.  

    I am perturbed by our growing national penchant for moralistic feeding frenzies.  We strain at gnats but swallow camels; express outrage at ‘salacious’ letters but shrug at torture or black prisons.

    • myblusky


      Broadwell had classified documents, but so far nothing has been uncovered regarding a threat to US security. Yes she probably committed a crime by threatening someone via email and she will probably be in trouble with the law for that, but the affair is nobody’s business except the people involved.

      The media and public are just nosy. Everyone loves all the details unfolding in hopes of discovering something tawdry that they can gossip about.

      There are a million other issues we need to be dealing with, but I guess they aren’t as interesting and they are probably too complex for most people to wrap their brains around.

      As far as integrity, Petraeus devoted his life to serving the country. People cheat and have affairs for a lot of reasons, but I don’t think it effects their ability to do their job, not to mention once again – it is none of our business!

  • imjust Sayin

    Major Broadwell threatened to kill a civilian woman who worked to support our troops.

    Gen. Petraeus slept with her.

    That is why he resigned.

    • 1Brett1

      You’ve posted this same comment over and over…you should change your profile name to “imjust Sayinad Nauseam”

      Oh, and your comment, “…Broadwell threatened to kill a civilian woman…” is a completely fabricated idea, on your part. 

      One more thing; it sounds as though the only “supporting” Jill Kelly did was host lavish dinner parties for a few top brass in her home.  

      • JGC

        By unpaid credit card. And I have to agree, I have heard many crazy things about these people, but I have not heard anything about death threats by Broadwell.

    • StilllHere

      It’s only getting uglier.  Petraeus knows this.

  • traveller2

    What appalls me is that we’re horrified about consensual sex. What about rape in the military – which as the recent documentary by Kirby Dicks (Invisible War) suggests, is a tremendous problem – not only that it happens but how the military deals with it (that is, by not dealing with it at all). These are women who are being raped not just by their peers but by their superior officers. Now THAT is a betrayal of leadership.  If On Point is dedicating at least three shows to this bizarre affair of emails & adultery, why not dedicate at least one to the questions Dicks raises in his documentary?

    • harverdphd

      Curb ye dicks!   (Cory will like this)

  • myblusky

    “The military loves mediocrity” sadly so do corporations and human beings in general. Our egos are our Achilles Tendon. We always pay the price for our weaknesses.

  • twenty_niner

    I was a Naval officer during the tail end of Clinton, and I remember attending one of Clinton’s sexual-harassment re-education camps, which ironically occurred right around the time he was “not having sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky”. As they were conducting the political-correctness Vulcan mind meld, I looked around the room and saw a recently married female LT, who was having an affair with an enlisted guy while cheating on him with another enlisted guy; two ensigns (male and female), who were having relations; and an an LT and an ensign, who were having relations; not to mention what was going on among the enlisted ranks (many of whom were married), which was rampant. Now put this crew on a carrier with a 6-mo. deployment – all I can say, is knock before you enter the steerage compartment.

    In the end, the Naval brass turned a blind eye to this; the word from the top was clearly, “Don’t look. Don’t ask. Don’t notice. Don’t pay any mind. Don’t think about it. Don’t worry your little head. Don’t tell.”

    • harverdphd

       That was then…if the ExO walks in now, you’re on a plane home.

      • twenty_niner

        Unless it’s the CO he’s walking in on.

  • Keepinitreal50

    Our nation is facing many serious problems right now. This sad situation is not one of them.

  • patron7

    I’m stunned by the hypocritical and short-memory commentary regarding the Petraeus scandal.  Do we not remember the Presidents of the U.S. and their affairs – sometimes in the White House:  Kennedy, Clinton.  And how about the Allied Commander (my personal favorite) Dwight Eisenhower, who had a well-known affair with his wartime driver.  FDR?  For military men, living among men, and away for years, it’s understandable.  The “Commander-in-Chief”  White House crowd is a different story; and none ever lost their pensions or even status.

    • harverdphd

       So it is with the 1 percenters

  • hennorama

    Apologies in advance for being off-topic.

    More Romney/Republican delusions.  Now Romney says he lost because Pres. Obama gave “generous gifts” to Hispanics, blacks, and young people.  The man is clearly in denial.

    Ashley Parker of the NY Times, who was the NY Times’ Romney campaign reporter, and was basically “on the bus” during the campaign, reports:

    “In a conference call on Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.

    “In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said.”

    When discusing his future plans, Mr. Romney seems to be in denial and  not truly accepting his loss:  “And so now we’re looking and saying, ‘O.K., what can we do going forward?’ But frankly we’re still so troubled by the past, it’s hard to put together our plans from the future.”

    At least he admits his ideas and his strategy failed:  “Our campaign, in contrast, was talking about big issues for the whole country — military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth,” he said. “And by the way, as you’ll hear from Neil, our strategy worked well with many people, but for those who were given a specific gift, if you will, our strategy did not work terribly well.”

    Clearly Mr. Romney needs more time to get through all the stages of grief over his defeat.


    • anamaria23

      Does he mean gifts like health care, unemployment for those whose jobs have been outsourced,  food stamps for the working poor and our soldiers?   Those kind of gifts?
      Mr. Romney needs to get out more and mingle with his fellow Americans.  Most of them are pretty amazing.

      • hennorama

        Thank you for your response. I completely agree with your points.

        Mr. Romney and his crowd are largely motivated by money, and don’t understand those who are not. This is part of a post from 3 days ago:

        “I find it truly odd that many Republicans and others perceive politics as purely transactional, that voters will only be swayed by money, or “stuff” as Bill O’Reilly bloviated “…there are 50% of the voting public who want “stuff.” They want things, and who is going to give them things – President Obama.” Same thing with Mr. Romney’s “there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

        This is a load of cynical, fact-free, delusional nonsense. This is a belief that ideas don’t matter, that character doesn’t matter, that aspiration doesn’t matter, that inspiration doesn’t matter, that priciple doesn’t matter … that nothing matters but money and “stuff.” If money and “stuff” were the only things that mattered to voters, why would any of “the 47%” have voted for Mr. Romney, or any of “the 1%” have voted for Pres. Obama?”

        Sad really, but it’s what they truly believe.

    • DrJoani

      Well…gee. I’m not Black, Latino or young and how come I didn’t get any gifts? What I did do was go door2door to canvas for Obama in NH even though I live in Vermont, and I made phone calls. Not the only one to be engaged in that or other ways hoping for Obama’s re-election. AND I’m still euphoric. But hey, Mitten never understood this country. His privileged position and upbringing prohibited it.

      • hennorama

        Thank you for your response.

        Your selfless work was indeed rewarded with a big ol’ intangible gift – the knowledge that your job well done contributed in some small way to Pres. Obama’s reelection. A gift that will keep on giving, as you already know.

        Civic involvement, regardless of your party affiliation, is something that, as Bob Shieffer’s mom told him about voting “… makes you feel big and strong.” Well done.

    • harverdphd

       How long did it take Gore and Kerry?

      • hennorama

        Vice President Gore is probably never going to be truly “over” the poo pie he had to eat in 2000. He went a bit over the edge with the whole “beard & belly” look, but seems to have found a vitally important cause he can put his energies and time into – global warming.

        Senator Kerry seems fully recovered and may move on to a cabinet position soon – who knows, losing may have been the best thing to happen to him.

        However, our country has not yet fully recovered from the policies and escapades of the person who won the elections involving these two men. If we’re lucky, we will fully recover over the next four years.

    • brettearle

      What “gifts” is this guy talking about?

      Such things may not even be legal.

      Boy, am I glad that profiteer is off the Public Stage….

      What bleepin’ Gifts?

      • hennorama

        Mr. Romney’s hypothesis is that Pres. Obama won by doling out the following “gifts” according to the article cited: (NOTE: anything in quotes is from the article)

        For blacks:

        Obamacare – “You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge…”

        For Hispanics:

        Obamacare – “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus.”

        DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) – “But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids …”

        For young people:

        “forgiveness of college loan interest.”

        “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women.”

        “…And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan…”

        Ms. Parker updated her article after Pres. Obama’s press conference today. You can read it here:


    • Expanded_Consciousness

      The country gave old Mitt the door and the gift of being jobless. A gift well-deserved.

    • JGC

      handyRat on Politico said, “Romney is the gift that keeps on giving.”

      • hennorama

        Thank you for your response. Indeed Mr. Romney continues to add to the job security of joke writers, comedians and political pundits.

        Three possible explanations for Mr. Romney’s “gifts” remarks come to mind:

        1. This is what he truly believes. A strong case can be made for this when combined with his quite passionate “47%” remarks.

        2. This may simply be what he tells “the money guys,” whether they are his own fund-raising team, or potential donors.

        3. Since his political career is now over, he may be “drawing fire” in order to allow other Republicans to put a better political face forward by criticizing Mr. Romney. In other words, he may be “taking one for the team.”

        Regardless, Republicans who pick up this nonsensical line of “reasoning” do so at their peril, since it’s clearly proven to be a losing proposition.

        Thanks again for your response.

  • Matt Hoostal

    To Ricks’ comment that we debate sex lives more than we debate the U.S. POLICY of torture.- Thank-You! Lets each of us try to bring up this point, whether in our social media or personal lives. Lets each of us steer the discussion in our small circles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julie.leavitt.35 Julie Leavitt

    I was gasping-for-breath shocked and offended by the caller who suggested the US Army needs to employ “comfort women” to provide “release” to our servicemen, thus preventing tawdry affairs like this.
    While I was grateful that Tom Ashbrook reminded listeners that that Patraeus’ dalliance allegedly began after he was state-side, I wish he had responded to the grossly offensive implications of the comment.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2IM6PH3ISJMJ5AWK46TZJDA4ZY yahoo-2IM6PH3ISJMJ5AWK46TZJDA4ZY

       “allegedly” is the operative word. To begin with, it started before his CIA appointment and ended then.  Now it started afterwards and ended 4 months ago. Eh? That seems awful curious timing: maybe they both learned that Kelley had gone to the FBI (in May), and the FBI were investigating.  Maybe also, making the affair be timed under the CIA umbrella is better than under the military’s, where it is regarded as a criminal offense apparently.

  • DrJoani

    Yes, DailyShow Jon. I don’t have TV so it’s next day on laptop, and the first 10 minutes are the best! I remember the show he did with Paula and the push-ups, etc. He was sceptical even then about there “friendship.”
     Still ‘n all, not a Greek Tragedy, a tawdry tale,? a soap opera soon to be a rapidly written and quickly devoured  ebook and then a TV film? You call it.
    Four characters, two generals and two lovely ambitious  women  and their laptops or Imacs? and now, today a fifth character joins the cast , the FBI agent on the prowl determined to uncover and reveal all. The USA awaits with bated breath.

    • Ray in VT

      I don’t catch it as much as I would like, because I just don’t have or make the time.  I also sort of remember the original interview.  I’m going to guess Lifetime Movie Network within 9 months.  It’s too sordid an affair for them to not do it if they can get the rights.

  • ssepsenw

    why do we know so much?

    The big question not asked is:  Why do we know so much already?  Here’s the FBI saying they can’t even tell the President about on-going investigations, yet within a matter of hours the whole bloody public knows:  his girlfriend’s name and address, that she had classfied files on her laptop, his girlfriend’s rival and all the emails she exchanged with the Afghan poobah general, Allen.  There has been a major leak here that is more a threat to nat’l security than the pillow talk between David and Jill.

  • smwheat

    I have just returned from the UK and I think I have entered a madhouse of a country.  This discussion is insane.  What are we doing discussing General Petraeus’s private life?  And what on earth is the FBI doing wasting their time — and my taxes — peeking into an excellent general’s private life???  Why has he been hounded out of office?  I agree with your caller who said Obama should not have accepted his resignation.  Don’t we have much more important affairs to attend to?  I am in a state of shock — possibly horror.

    • StilllHere

      Exactly, let’s wait until after he’s been turned into some Chinese spy, then we can ask for his resignation.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2IM6PH3ISJMJ5AWK46TZJDA4ZY yahoo-2IM6PH3ISJMJ5AWK46TZJDA4ZY

      You’ve returned from the UK? The Profumo Affair in 1963 comes to mind.  It took down the Secretary of State for War. This is not soap opera stuff. The fact is that the General broke his organization’s own rules.  In addition his deceit, his clever use of e-mail to contact her, shows just how much he understood what he was doing.  Does it matter?  You bet it does.  You’ve probably heard the people working around him say this is so out of character.  It was hard to believe. Well.  That’s exactly why he had to resign. Everybody has an Achilles heel.  He had found his. You can’t have the person heading the CIA vulnerable to … anything.  It’s just the way it is.  And he knew that.  All the time.  And he didn’t willingly admit to it. This is not sudden conscience killing in. The FBI outed him.  He had no alternative.

      • smwheat

        Thank you for your interesting comment. Even the head of the CIA is human, so he will inevitably be vulnerable to something. Whoever he is, one has to evaluate him in the round, weaknesses as well as strengths. No-one is never going to be perfect.
        Sally Fisher cell

        —–Original message—–

  • Pointpanic

    I wish,that ‘on Point” as a public radio program would provide a counterpoint to this goddam “flawed hero” narrative. Sure, Holly has a right to give the general a black eye but this is a non-issue. Where is the voice of ‘Democracy Now”‘s Juan Cole who would offer a more critical look at the “surge” in iraq and what Petraeus failed to learn from it on his way to Afghanistan for another destructive unrealistic effort to shape that country in a way that favored the US elites. Meanwhile it spelled the deaths of more American soldiers and Afghani citizens.Or where is the voice of Glen Greenwald who would discuss the compromise of civil liberties by an FBI agent as a personal favor to a friend? Alas, one look at Tom’s guestlist strongly suggests that Tom has caught Scott Simon’s war fever. Is this WBUR’s idea of “independent and unbiased”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003758508552 Ann Gree Weaver

    they may have lived as brother and sister for all you know, and we would not accept a single man or women in his or his wives work position….puritanical expectations….which leave women unprepared and their families for how things really are

  • Gregg Smith

    President Obama finally admitted what we already knew, he sent Susan Rice out to lie.

    • 1Brett1

      Gregg, now you know you’re lying, or would you like to give us a direct quote from Obama proving anything of what you say?

      Figures Mickles would like your two drunken nighttime  posts; hopefully, you’ll be more clear-headed in the morning, when you’ve sobered up

      • Gregg Smith

        So nasty, no I’m more of a crack head not a drinker. And no, I never lie. You might not like my interpretation but I ALWAYS have a basis. Here’s the quote:

        “As I said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her,”

        The “best understanding”” at that point was, it was a coordinated terrorist attack. There was zero indication of a mob. President Obama claimed in the debate that he informed America of as much on the first day. Obama has NEVER admitted it was the White House who briefed her for her Sunday morning propaganda parade.

        • 1Brett1

          This is your basis for your saying Obama admitted sending Rice out to lie?

          Be careful with that crack; it is considered a dangerous drug.

          • Gregg Smith

            Are you disputing that he admitted to sending her out? Surely not, I take it your problem is with the words “to lie”.

            Okay, how about this? 

            “Obama sent Rice out to tell the truth”

          • Ray in VT

            How about “Obama sent Ambassador Rice out to speak about the attack, and the administration was working with one of several versions of conflicting intelligence accounts, and one which ultimately turned out to not be correct, concerning a spontaneous protest prior to the attack, as revealed by video evidence retrieved 10 days after the attack.”

            So, by your own logic regarding lying, if it was believed that there was a protest prior to the attack, as some intelligence suggested, then Ambassador Rice could not have been lying if she believed it, even if that belief was ultimately proven to be false.

          • Gregg Smith

            Of the “several versions” they went with one hard and heavy as if gospel, the one that conflicted with the evidence.

          • Ray in VT

            It certainly conflicts with evidence collected later, so given that the administration lacks the magic hindsight that so many of the critics have, I think that one can forgive them for going with one of the several versions that at the time certainly seemed plausible, given the airing of some “silly video” on a popular Egyptian tv station only a day or two before which did provoke anti-American actions in that country.  So, given that, as well as some initial reports of a protest, if you are so knowledgeable that you “knew” the next day the real truth, then perhaps the administration should tap you to head the CIA.

          • StilllHere

            I suppose we’re going to get 4 more years of you apologizing for Obama.  You’re really bending over on this one.

          • 1Brett1

            McCain, that bitter, old man with an axe to grind, has been stomping around like Rumpelstiltskin on every media outlet that’ll point a camera or microphone at him, screaming about how WE NEED INFORMATION regarding the Benghazi attack. All while intentionally not attending a committee hearing–a committee he chairs–intended to share information about the Benghazi attack. He exemplifies the disingenuousness abound regarding this issue. People on the Right are pissed about the election and about Obama being in the White House, and that is manifesting itself in people like you and Gregg.  

            I would say your comment is reminiscent of this disingenuousness, but one must have a certain knowledge about a given subject to be disingenuous. You do not; therefore, your comment doesn’t rise to the level of disingenuousness. It just rises to the level of stupidity and blind partisanship…not surprisingly.

            While neither you nor I know the classified details of how communication might have broken down (or if it had broken down) within the agencies involved, or whether or not there was any willful wrongdoing, I choose to let the investigation proceed. You choose to behave as if you know already what Congressional members are trying to ascertain. 

            Your particularly predictable brand of spitefulness, evident in most of the spewing, vitriolic drivel in which you incessantly engage, is completely in character for you, however.

            ..so, one considers the sources of your mentality.

  • Gregg Smith

    Just a reminder, the DOW has dropped almost 800 points since Tuesday and more layoffs are being announced every day.

    • 1Brett1

      Political stunts like Pappa John’s (company has 1.1 billion in revenue each year, but Pappa doesn’t want to shell out 8 million a year to his 116,000 employees for health insurance, yet he’s giving away 2,000,000 million pizzas during football season–at $10 a pie that would be $20,000,000)? Or how ’bout the prominent Romney supporter who owns Murray Energy (the guy who forced his workers to attend an unpaid photo-op behind Romney) announcing the day after the election he was going to lay off workers? Those types of layoff announcements?
      Stock Market history: http://www.bespokeinvest.com/thinkbig/2012/9/6/one-chart-republicans-do-not-want-you-to-see.htmlIt's still at 12570 today, which is high (up 70% since W left) 

      • Mike_Card

        PJ’s employees who prepare and deliver those pizzas have runny noses, and sneeze into their hands because they have no health care and no benefits, like sick days.

        Well, I just can’t wait to get my tonsils wrapped around one of THOSE yummy bacteria bombs.

        • 1Brett1

          They’ve got a special going right now: 2 large bacteria bombs with free snot toppings for 10 bucks!

          • Mike_Card
          • 1Brett1

            I saw one of the comments on the site from ostensibly a conservative. He/she prattled  on about how “liberals” have created such a litigious society that companies have to “inoculate themselves” against such suits. Yes, we do live in a litigious society, but by “inoculate themselves” does it mean companies should be careful to engage in only legal practices? So, to indulge such a ridiculous sentiment: how dare liberals expect companies to behave within the boundaries of the law! 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Now, Brett, you can’t have everything you want in life. Not everyone gets a mansion and a Ferrari.

        Perhaps germ-free food isn’t something we’re all meant to have.

        Try working a little harder and maybe you can afford pizza from someplace that doesn’t have to hire the sickly riffraff that Papa John’s does.

        –Sincerely, your economic uberlords.

    • Mike_Card

      What the Dow does from day to day, or even week to week, should be of interest only to those with nothing better to be interested in.  Since the market leads by ~ 6 months, not even professional traders try to correlate short term movements to anything important.

      We’re now in the period when portfolio balancing and year end tax trades are beginning to affect market performance.  To ascribe activity in the financial markets to babble gabble from Washington amounts to a fool’s errand.

      There might be indicators of dissatisfaction with the Democratic party’s gains from the election, but the performance of the American financial markets isn’t among them.

      • Gregg Smith

        Yea, I can’t argue. I’ve hesitated bringing the DOW up. There are so many variables and the market will find a way in the end. But it is what it is. If it quacks like a duck….

        And the layoffs are staggering.

        • Mike_Card

          Agreed; the layoffs ARE staggering–I guess.  I just don’t have a good frame of reference for these.  Maybe the BLS will provide some comparative stats at the end of the month.  Sandy has had an impact.

        • StilllHere

          Markets trade on new information.  Last Wednesday’s drop was a direct result of the election outcome without a doubt.  Confidence is falling and so is the Dow.

  • pet44usa

    The whole world is falling apart but we find time to gossip. we are on the bring of getting into another world war, the financial world is collapsing and here we are talking about a private affair about lust ansd sex.

  • pet44usa

    We should not forget that we are intelligent animals that cheat, your guest reminded us that Eisenhower had a mistress, Kennedy and Clinton did too, what we need to do is stop all the gossip and leave Petraeus alone, after all he lost his job for no reason. Since he is very successful in what he does, maybe the President should consider him to replace Mrs. Clinton. Just a thought.

    • Pointpanic

      let’s keep it just a thought. NO I don’t care about the affair but there are too many other issues about Petreaeus;s leadership in Iraq and AFghanistan that would make him a poor choice for Sec. of State.

  • Murph262

    I understand Ricks being appalled by the attention that the scandal is getting. But this is not being pushed by the public. It was a settled issue by the time we heard about it. Petraus took responsibility and resigned. Public and media uproar did not force him out of office. And naturally we all want to know the details. Give us a break. By the way, many of us have not forgot the war in Afghanistan. I have several of the Iraq, Afghanistan, terror books on my shelf. I even have Ricks’ “fiasco”; NPR listeners are informed. . 

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  • ttajtt

    i hear crack and meth doers don’t hang around each other. 

  • Carlos Quinto


    Thank you for asking what I have been wondering all week long: why did Petraeus resign? The FBI knew that his affair posed no risk to national security. If we all resigned from our day jobs due to affairs, there would be a lot of job change in this country!

  • Julia Tierney

    Dear Tom, I thoroughly enjoy listening to your shows, so I don’t mean to criticize, but I have been very taken aback by your comments (and those of your colleagues on NPR) about Paula Broadwell’s “skimpy, clingly, tight” clothes, with the implication being that her inappropriate wardrobe was what drove General Petraeus to commit adultery. Of course they both committed adultery, but she is being portrayed as the seductress with nothing on the radio analyzing her motivations. Why does it matter what she was wearing? Should she be denigrated for having an appealing body? To be taken seriously as a woman should she have worn baggy suits and long skirts? Maybe he was actually attracted to her because of her intellectual abilities  and what they shared as soldiers. Please stop with the excuse that what she wore in meetings led to what happened between them. Otherwise that justifies all kinds of misbehaviors (even violence) against women merely for being objects of desire no matter what we wear. 
    Thank you,

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586840974 Mary Mendoza

      What she was wearing matters because how you dress in a situation where there are relatively few of you.. ( females) shows how you want to be seen.  Many women went to extraordinary lengths to downplay their femininty, everything from hiding their hair, and shape to how much of their body they exposed, so that the focus would not be on their sexuality, but rather on other attributes, such as your intellect. My sister, the marine’s only comment was these two couldn’t be more at fault, because they forgot they needed to set the example.  Also many women in the military, and around the military who are in Afghanistan as advisors,  are upset, and rightly so, becuase Paula Broadwell was seen as smeone who didn’t have the intellectual chops to do what she was doing, from trying to write a bioography to sitting in meetings she didn’t have the clearance for, but she got there based on her physical attributes.   Please read these articles:  http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/11/13/petraeus-affair-could-end-broadwells-army-career.html   and http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/11/14/women-worry-scandal-will-hurt-role-as-advisers.html for more information on the damage done by this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.tharaeparambil.5 David Tharaeparambil

    What is going on here? They are human and fallible. The story is like any other story is blown out of proportion. We love the salaciousness of sotries, the more , the better. For once look at what they have contibuted for the Country. David Tharaeparambil

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.tharaeparambil.5 David Tharaeparambil

    In this story, there is real tragedy that people forget about: Mrs.
    Petreas and Mrs Paula Broadwell. Look at the damage that is done to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586840974 Mary Mendoza
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586840974 Mary Mendoza
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  • Regular_Listener

    I am still confused over who decided this should become public and why.  Was it the president?  Did a reporter get a hold of the story and begin exposing it? 

    I guess you can tell that I have sympathy for General Petraeus.  I can understand in the case of an elected official, the public could decide at the ballot box if they want to vote for an adulterer or not, or for somebody who has sent some lewd emails.  But Petraeus was appointed, and never a candidate for office as far as I know.

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