November 18, 2012

Crisis: The case of David Petraeus

    1. The case of David Petraeus

About ME/CFS


Today's Nederlog is about the case of David Petraeus. Also, I have replaced the P.S. on my eyes by a table with links to material about ME/CFS

1. The case of David Petraeus

I don't usually write about military men or matters, but this is not so much about the military as it is about incompetence and corruption in very high places.

To start with, here is the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on the man, copied and pasted today

David Howell Petraeus (pronunciation: /pɨˈtr.əs/; born November 7, 1952) is a retired American military officer and public official. He served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from September 6, 2011,[3][4] until his resignation on November 9, 2012.[4]Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a highly decorated four-star general, serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from July 4, 2010, to July 18, 2011. His other four-star assignments include serving as the 10th Commander, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) from October 13, 2008, to June 30, 2010, and as Commanding General, Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) from February 10, 2007, to September 16, 2008.[5] As commander of MNF-I, Petraeus oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq.[6][7]

That's about as high as one can get in the U.S. - at least in public eyes. (Personally, I think human civilization is about human individuals and their chances, and about art and science, but that is a minority view I won't insist on, here and now.)

His case is that he fell deeply, and he brought it about himself, and that it illustrates, by implication, quite a lot about those who rise to positions of eminence in the US and Europe.

I quote again from the same article:

Click image to go to original (*)

I do hope these quotations make my point that this is about corruption and incompetence in very high places:

The corruption should be obvious from the fact that he endangered US national security, something for which supposedly lesser men, like Bradley Manning, have been severely maltreated for by men acting under general Petraeus's command, while the incompetence
should be obvious from the fact that he and his lady love cum biographer used a gmail account - or, if they didn't, could be traced easily anyway, because "Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teenagers alike, to conceal their email traffic, one of the law enforcement officials said."

If teenagers use the trick, almost anyone could have found out, and could have blackmailed the randy four star general, which could have endangered very many.

What this case shows, in the first place, is that one can rise very high in the military, and indeed in political institutions, while being fundamentally corrupt and incompetent.

In fact, that was my main motivation to be interested in the Petraeus case, also because I think this is far more common than is widely believed. As it happens, I think myself that people who have real talent are rarely in the military or in political or bureaucratic ("civil servant") functions, precisely because these functions tend to be extremely boring - for really talented people, to be sure.

But there is a lot more that is interesting about this case, and I provide just a list of points, based on the above quotations:
  • First quoted paragraph above:

  • How is it possible that a man as flawed - morally and intellectually, as I explained - as is David Petraeus could rise so very high?

  • Second quoted paragraph above:

  • "Petraeus began an affair with Paula Broadwell, principal author of his biography": That sounds very stupid - and the woman is around 40, and clearly is neither a great beauty nor a great wit.
  • "his biography All In: The Education of General David Petraeus": After the fact this seems an allusion (as Jon Stewart also seems to have recognized): "All In" what? And "Education" in which subject?
  • "when he was no longer an active duty military officer": That hardly lessens the danger of him being blackmailed - the more so, as by then he was director of the CIA.
  • "Broadwell had been sending harassing emails to a longstanding family friend of the Petraeuses, Jill Kelley": Lovely woman is Ms. Broadwell (who is also married)! Ms. Kelley, also married, is said to have "a platonic relation" with Petraeus, and also a possibly not so platonic relation with another U.S. active general, Petraeus's successor John Allen.
  • "messages were left in a draft folder which were then read when the other person logged into the same account": While both knew the US secret services are and were tracing and storing all emails they can get?!
  • "Although US Attorney General Eric Holder was aware early on that the FBI had discovered an affair": What prevented him telling his Commander in Chief the same day?! Is president Obama perhaps a mere sock puppet? Or regarded and treated as such by his nominal inferiors?
  • "it was not until November 6, 2012, that Petraeus' nominal superior, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, was advised": And what prevented that Petraeus' superior was not told much sooner?
  • "After being briefed on November 8, President Obama summoned Petraeus to the White House": As said, president Obama - Commander in Chief! - apparently seems to be mostly irrelevant in the eyes of his nominal inferiors. He seems not to have been notified for months.
  • "Obama accepted the resignation on November 9": So it took him a day to make up his mind?
Having a liking for Ionesco, Dürrenmatt, Stoppard and the Theatre of the Absurd, I also like to quote the following partial sum up of distinctions:

Click image to go to original (*)
Theatre of the Absurd! Anyway...if you want to know more about this great servant and protector of humanity, with all of the above distinctions, don't miss the Associated Press's
There I found about the only bit that did not seem thoroughly and frighteningly absurd in this whole story:
Petraeus and his family are devastated over the affair, especially Mrs. Petraeus, who "is not exactly pleased right now," after 38 years of marriage, said Steve Boylan, a friend and former Petraeus spokesman who spoke to him over the weekend.

"Furious would be an understatement," Boylan told ABC's "Good Morning America."
She has every right to be.

And then you should realize that her husband must be the best and the brightest of the best and the brightest that ruled the US military and secret service since 9/11/2001!

You - if you are a European or American citizen - can sleep quietly tonight!

David Petraeus or his likes - not as good as he is, or they would or should have been where he was, or so his former superior officers thought, but (or so one may hope) possibly almost as good, and almost as noble, as honest, as humanitarian, as brave, and as distinguished as David Petraeus is - are looking after your and my safety and the interests of The Free West, and of the citizens of the home of the brave!

Knight Grand Cross with Swords of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)! The Bearer of the Gold Award of the Iraqi Order of the Date Palm! Distinguished with the Romanian Chief of Defense Honor Emblem! A man with the Army Superior Unit Award! Honored with the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, 1st Grade! Also the proud bearer of the Order of National Security Merit, Tong-il Security Medal (Korea), no less! Also with the Defense Superior Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)!

How did I put it? O, yes:


(*) On Nov 19, 2012 I have replaced the quotations from Wikipedia by images, that when clicked move one's browser to the originals. My reason is to avoid having the many links in the Wikipedia quotations also on my site.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komarof

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)