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.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Dec 1, 2015
Bethany Winder, a nurse who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., plants a sign in support of Planned Parenthood just south of its clinic as police investigators gather evidence near the scene of Friday's shooting at the clinic Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in northwest Colorado Springs. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Women’s health, American politics and gun violence after the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.

Dec 1, 2015
In this 2010 file photo, Dr. Tom and Ann Earley work a Salvation Army kettle with their dog, Bocce, in an Atlanta, GA-area shopping center. (Flickr / Vicki DeLoach)

On #GivingTuesday, we’ll explore the trends in giving now from crowd sourcing to big charities and beyond.

Nov 30, 2015
Shoppers walks in front of a holiday display Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and beyond, we’ll add up the dollars and trends and bargains of the 2015 holiday shopping season.

Nov 30, 2015
United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, center left, Minister of the Environment of Peru and COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, center right, and French Foreign Affairs Minister and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius, center, pose for photographers during a press visit to the COP21, Paris Climate Conference, site, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

World leaders converge in Paris for the big climate talks. We’ll look at what it will take to get a global climate agreement.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Where Did #GivingTuesday Come From, Anyway?
Tuesday, Dec 1, 2015

Today’s #GivingTuesday. But how — and where — did it start?

More »
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »