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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