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All in Paula Broadwell

By Tony Deyal

Old soldiers never die, just their privates. I used to think so until the Petraeus scandal started and we found out that the term "pfc" (private first class) used to describe junior enlisted persons in the US military might still apply to Petraeus despite his elevation in rank. In fact, the General's admission of adultery with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, has caused a Major scandal and although Corporal punishment is ruled out, it is believed there is still more than a Colonel of truth in the allegations. However, with more revelations about other generals, it might be a staff infection.

Comedian Jon Stewart berated himself for not picking up "innuendo after innuendo" during an interview with Broadwell about her book on Petraeus, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. "I'm the worst journalist in the world," proclaimed Stewart. As if "All In" as a title is not by itself both relevant and revealing, MSNBC reported that the ABC television station in Denver used the wrong book jacket as the visual for the story. The one they used had been altered, most likely as a joke by one of the graphic artists. It read, "All (Up) In (My Sn@#!h)". That is, of course, very incorrect and vulgar but it is what most people thought happened.

The story from CNN and other sources is that Broadwell, a mother of two, and Petraeus first met in 2006 at Harvard University where she was a student. He offered to help her on a book on military leadership. She went to Afghanistan, where she interviewed Petraeus over a long time. A friend of Petraeus, Retired General James "Spider" Marks commented, "She probably kicked his butt. And it was probably the first time that had ever happened to him, so he let his guard down. He brought her in." In fact, he brought her all in and if Marks is to be taken literally about the "butt-kicking" it opens up a brand new "ball"-game.

In pitching her book, Broadwell (a name which many people are taking literally, stressing each syllable) "I'm not a spokesperson for him, and if showing a role model to other people in the world or other readers is a repugnant thing, then I'm sorry, but I think the values that he upholds and tries to instill in his organisations are valuable and worth pointing out." Clearly, his uprightness mattered to her and they started an affair.

However, it seems that Broadwell was sending "threatening" letters to another high-flyer, Jill Kelley, a member of the Washington "social circuit" and an Honorary Consul General for Korea. Kelley and her family had a good relationship with Petraeus and his wife. Broadwell accused Kelley of "flauting" her relationships with the military big-wigs and Kelley got an FBI acquaintance (who, it is said sent her a shirtless picture of himself) to get an investigation started to find the sender of the e-mails. This led to Broadwell and her e-mails revealed an intimate relationship with Petraeus.

Then the plot thickened. ABC reports that the FBI uncovered about 30,000 "potentially inappropriate" e-mails with General John Allen, who had replaced Petraeus in Afghanistan. Several journalists have pointed out that the number of emails sent by the general to Kelley amounts to almost 1,000 per month and have questioned whether that left the general any time to do his "real" work. Allen was supposed to take over the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) forces but that is now on hold.

The focus on Petraeus and Allen has taken the headlines away from the case of another high-ranking soldier, Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, who is facing a hearing at Fort Bragg to see whether he should be tried for multiple criminal charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct and adultery (which is a crime under the military justice system). The allegations against Sinclair involve relationships with five women other than his wife. Sinclair served as a deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan until he was relieved of his duties in May amid a criminal investigation and sent back to North Carolina. One of the witnesses in the hearing, a female captain, testified that Sinclair, her direct superior, twice forced her to perform oral sex and threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone. When subordinates objected to his attitude towards women, Sinclair said, "I'm a general. I'll do whatever the (expletive) I want."

Blogger Andrea Peterson, noting that the Pentagon and the Army had gone to surprising lengths to keep the Sinclair case quiet concluded, "It's easier to joke about the soap opera plot unfolding among leadership than it is to process the challenges facing women in uniform every day for merely being female." An article in Psychology Today by Frank Farley headlined, "Great Leaders Have Affairs, Don't They?" referred to affairs by Generals Eisenhower, McArthur and Patton. Farley attributes it to a "Type T" or "thrill-seeking" personality. "T", of course, also stands for "Trouble" and just as what goes up must come down, all-in inevitably becomes all-out, and pubic affairs become public scandals.

*Tony Deyal was last seen saying

that old spies never die, they just go under cover, while old journalists

like him come to a full stop

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