Friday, November 30, 2012

Petreaus Did Screw Up. Let's Quit Feeling Sorry For Him and Move On

Sometimes friends are well intentioned and in their attempt to help a colleague do more damage.  Such is the case of General Petreaus' friend retired Brigadier General James Shelton.   The other day NBC news  reported a story called. 

'I screwed up royally,' Petraeus writes to old Army chum

Apparently the ex-spy was communicating  via a letter to his old general friend, James Shelton how he screwed up royally with his affair.  Petreaus noted that under the guidance of , 'team Holly,' (Petraeus' wife) he is working hard to pull the family together again. 

As this guy from Ohio understands,  Petraeus loved and courted the press during much of his career while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Well, it was his courting of the press and then sleeping with the reporter which got him in trouble.   (Now, again the lady Paula Broadwell was writing a book and the general participated in a biographical book about him---again a bit of vanity on the part of the general.)

Petreaus is not the first official to have an affair  and he most certainly won't be the last.  And to his credit, he resigned the CIA directorship so the scandal would not undermine the agency.  So Petreaus won't need to wear a scarlet letter as some sort of sinner for the rest of his life.   Not a big deal! 

But for a release by his buddy to the press details of a personal note makes both generals look like the fools that they might just be.   Perhaps the generals are playing the public again and are  trying to muster up some sympathy for Petreaus when he emerges from his cave a humbler yet hopefully a better man. 

But the release of the note's contents perhaps backfired when: 
Shelton, 76, a longtime friend of Petraeus who described himself to the Daily Mail as a father figure to the former CIA director, told the newspaper that he never considered Petraeus “a woman chaser” and that Broadwell, who interviewed him for her book “All In,” was “more savvy than Dave about the nature of the things that they got involved with.”

“She’s not a kid. In a lot of ways I think she knows more about the world than Dave – I’m talking about sex,” he said. “I don’t think Dave ever thought about that too much, he only thought about the Army and gave it everything he had.”
Source of article quote: 'I screwed up royally,' Petraeus writes to old Army chum

Shelton's comments strongly and unintentionally suggest that Petreaus was most definitely not the guy for the job if he could not keep his zipper up.    As with many members of good old boys clubs---and generals are not alone in having their own clubs, as a good club member,  Shelton blames Broadwell as some seductress for luring the dedicated general into her den. 

In reality it only confirms that if the general could not handle the woman than most certainly, he had no business being the CIA director. 

So, General Shelton's well-intentioned going public comments  made Petraeus' actions look more foolish.

The problem with American politics, business, sports, etc.,  is that often times we are encouraged to feel sorry for the rich and powerful when they fall from grace.   Yet the little guy or gal involved with the rich and powerful downfalls are villainized and are labeled as somehow more evil.    

Historical military  leaders are generally a pompous group.  So it is hard to view Petraeus as a sympathetic characters.   Because for every general,  there have been thousands of soldiers who put their lives on the line and have died while the generals  receive accolades for their  military brilliance.  

The dead and injured soldiers are the tragic figures.   Their sacrifices make generals like Petraeus look great. Generals are named in history books, whereas the soldiers remain nameless and are long forgotten.

So let's quit feeling sorry for Petreaus and move on.  

Should the general need any more assistance, perhaps he should hire a public relations firm as has Paula Broadwell done to salvage her image.

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