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Commentary: Gen. Petraeus affair now a bona fide soap opera (All My Generals...?)
Published on November 16, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Anthony L Hall

Actually, daytime soap operas have nothing on this military saga. Indeed, notwithstanding the eruption of hostilities in the Middle East, the unfolding pedophile scandal in London, or the looming “fiscal cliff” here in Washington, this Petraeus affair is the only thing anyone is talking about.

Anthony L. Hall is a descendant of the Turks & Caicos Islands, international lawyer and political consultant - headquartered in Washington DC - who publishes his own weblog, The iPINIONS Journal, at offering commentaries on current events from a Caribbean perspective
Which is why I feel obliged to comment on the latest -- especially given my original commentary. (I recommend you click here to read it before continuing .)

As it turns out, the other (other) woman to whom Broadwell sent those “stay-away-from-my-guy” emails is a spendthrift, name-dropping social climber named Jill Kelly. In fact, so impressed is she with her status as an “Honorary Consul” that she was recorded on a 911 call just days ago telling the police to remove the growing gaggle of reporters from the sidewalk outside her home because she has “inviolability … and diplomatic protection.”

Except that her status was granted by South Korea, and it has no legal or diplomatic standing in this country. And, just to reinforce this point, the US Army announced on Wednesday that she is now banned from the MacDill Air Force Base in Florida (headquarters to the US Central Command) -- where she ingratiated herself with top military brass, primarily by hosting lavish parties for them and taking their wives on expensive shopping sprees.

Jill, of course, is the one who triggered this military saga by asking a friend of hers, who happened to be an FBI agent, to investigate what she felt was the threatening nature of the emails. But this investigation led not only to the compromising correspondence between Broadwell and Petraeus, but also to even more compromising correspondence between Jill’s twin sister Natalie and another four-star general, John Allen.

Remarkably, reports are that the FBI found 30,000 pages of emails Natalie and Allen exchanged over just a two-year period from 2010 to 2011, which have been characterized as the email equivalent of phone sex.

Not surprisingly, President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of Allen as the next allied commander in Europe pending further investigation. If he is found to have engaged in an extramarital affair with her, Allen will be court martialed. But he probably should be court martialed anyway since writing all of those emails is prima facie evidence of dereliction of duty.

It is an understatement to say that Obama is dealing with a military in crisis -- in terms of morale and morals. And no doubt he thought the greatest challenge heading into his second term would be dealing with a bunch of misguided nincompoops in Congress to avert a budget crisis that could hurl the US economy over that metaphorical fiscal cliff.

Yet, there’s more:

The FBI agent Jill contacted has been placed on administrative leave pending further disciplinary action after the investigation he launched uncovered that he had sent semi-nude pictures of himself to her.

Meanwhile, Petraeus and Allen are having their fitness for duty questioned even further. For reports are that they both wrote letters asking a judge to reconsider his decision to award custody of Natalie’s child to her husband. This, despite the fact that the judge had already determined that Natalie was not only an unfit mother, but a mentally unstable person who made “misrepresentations about virtually everything.” Their ill-advised letters had no influence.

Apropos of misrepresentations, both sisters were so eager to live the lifestyle of the rich and socially connected that they plunged their respective families millions of dollars into debt keeping up appearances and funding the lavish parties that ensnared Petraeus and Allen. Now Jill and her doctor husband Scott are the targets of numerous indebtedness lawsuits and two foreclosures; and Natalie filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

There are obviously financial issues. Scott goes to work and works his ass off, and Jill takes care of the social stuff, and gets them into the society pages. They are nice people, and I feel sorry for them. (One unnamed associate of Dr. Kelly as quoted by the Daily Mail, November 13, 2012)

Given all of the financial skeletons in her closet, it’s no wonder Jill made a futile attempt to get her FBI friend to stop the investigation. Unfortunately, by then it was completely out of his hands.

Ominously, this soap opera is still unfolding -- with no less a person than Broadwell’s Daddy chiming in with this tantalizing preview of coming episodes:

This is about something else entirely, and the truth will come out. There is a lot more that is going to come out… You wait and see. There’s a lot more here than meets the eye. (Politico, November 12, 2012)

Perhaps this is why, despite beginning its investigation months ago, the FBI just got around to conducting a very high-profile search of Broadwell’s home on Tuesday night, confiscating several computers and many boxes of classified documents….

Finally, it seems even extramarital affairs in Washington are more about politics than sex these days. Because Senator John McCain is leading a band of unhinged Republicans in propagating the conspiracy that Petraeus parroted the White House’s “false” version of events surrounding the 9/11 Benghazi attacks -- hoping in vain that the president would overlook his marital indiscretion.

Never mind that not too long ago McCain was leading the chorus of Republicans hailing Petraeus as the country’s most honorable and effective military commander. Or that it is at best farfetched to think that Obama would enlist Petraeus in such a conspiracy when there was no reason whatsoever to believe that telling the truth about either Benghazi or the general’s affair would have any adverse impact on his reelection.

Frankly, any conspiracy related to Benghazi has more to do with a visceral distrust of this president than with any objective facts. Specifically, McCain’s charge that Obama failed or refused to dispatch Special Forces to protect the ambassador and others stationed there as soon as he found they were under siege is patently absurd.

More to the point, I am convinced that all ongoing investigations into this matter will conclude that, in every case, this White House merely reported the intelligence the CIA provided (i.e., just as the Bush White House merely reported the intelligence the CIA provided on WMDs in Iraq).

Indeed, the political hypocrisy of Republicans in this instance is made all the more ironic by the fact that the Obama administration’s UN ambassador they are condemning for “misleading the American people on Benghazi” is a black woman named Rice (Susan); whereas, the Bush administration’s UN ambassador they defended even though she misled the American people on WMDs is also a black woman named Rice (Condoleezza).

Alas, I suspect that Obama defeating Romney this year has only intensified the resentment McCain has been harboring since Obama defeated him in 2008. Much of Washington is worried about partisan gridlock taking the country over a fiscal cliff. Pathological hatred of this president risks taking the Republican Party over a political cliff.

Related commentaries:
Honey trap of Gen. Petraeus
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