Christopher Lee


How Come Southern Cal Applauds General Petraeus’s Confession?


27 March 2013

General Petraeus admits he screwed up. Or, to put it more delicately, he says he deeply regrets his adulterous affair. The ex-hero of his family was telling an audience at the University of Southern California that he had caused, and I quote, “pain for family and friends” because of his leg-over situation with the writer, Ms Paula Broadwell.

It caused a lot of hurt said the former director of the CIA.  The audience at Southern Cal gave him a standing ovation.  Clearly they admire his style. According to them, no hard feelings although that was part of his downfall.

He did not mention that the only reason that we know why the affair came to an end was that he and the lady were discovered by the FBI trawling emails investigating a harassment allegation by Florida socialite Jill Kelley. And Petraeus wasn’t the only four star mixed up in the ring.  General John Allen appeared in the frame although he’s been cleared of any misconduct.

Mrs Kelley apparently knew Ms Broadwell.  Ms Broadwell was apparently a mite jealous and winged off emails 

There are probably quite a few cuddles on the campus that could cause sadness for a whole bunch of people, but none gets turned over by Federal hackers and none gets the chief spy binned.

Petraeus turned his Southern Cal speech into something of a cross between an Oprah Winfrey tear-jerker and a credits module for a post graduate MBA seminar.

He said he hoped that his experience “can be instructive to others who stumble or indeed fall as far as I did.  One learns, after all, that life doesn’t stop with such a mistake. It can and must go on.”

Here’s the whole point of him breaking his silence self-imposed last November. After all, all the general did was screw around with a good looking chick until they were found out. Yes, he had to leave CIA headquarters at Langley which is a place where the snoopies have plotted, schemed and set up hundreds of sexual encounters for foreign officials the CIA hoped to blackmail into working for them.

And yes, it would have been interesting if a foreign Intelligence agency had wanted to set up Petraeus and got him photo-copying the last superpower’s secrets.

Or, and this is where it gets better: supposing Petraeus was set up?  Not by a foreign nasty but by a US nasty.  There were quite a few in that community who didn’t want him as Director CIA. Surely not.  Surely not indeed.  Just a fantasy – rather like his across the executive squeeze.  But, never knock a fantasy.

And, let’s agree folks, in these days we almost expect our testosterone A-team to be full of extra-mural activities. What was good for a four star who became President after the Second World War or in Kennedy’s Camelot is surely good for a fine soldier who took US military and foreign policy by the scruff and shook it out until worked.

Yet there was still something uncomfortable about the standing ovation and what it said on one particular point: Petraeus said he regretted the affair. What does that say about him and Paula Broadwell.  They were, and therefore he was, having a good time.  Lot of pleasure. So according to the general, she just a discard, maybe an easy lay. That’s not officer and gentleman stuff.

He told his audience that he simply “slipped my moorings” from the high standards he set himself. Just a mistake general? Just a nothing moment with a damned good looking 40 year-old former officer and by all accounts, good writer?

And Southern Cal got to its feet and applauded a hero who helped himself to one of the spoils of war.  We may wonder if Paula Broadwell would have got such a generous welcome.

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