The Petraeus sex scandal spreads

General David Petraeus’s affair with Paul Broadwell, which led to his resignation as head of the CIA, became known when Ms. Broadwell sent threatening jealous e-mails to another woman, Jill Kelley, whereupon the FBI began its investigation.  Now it turns out that Ms. Kelley was exchanging e-mails with the current head of military operations General John Allen, Petraeus’s successor.  Gen. Allen insists that he had no affair with Ms. Kelley, but the 20,000-30,000 pages worth of e-mails they traded have been described as the equivalent of “phone sex.”

What is going on?  For one thing, 30,000 pages of e-mail over two years breaks down to 41 messages a day.  Didn’t Gen. Allen have anything more to do than trade e-mails–of whatever nature–with a civilian?  Didn’t he have a war to fight?

The two previous commanders in Afghanistan before these two were ousted.  General Stanley McChrystal, was fired because of an undisciplined drinking party with some Rolling Stone reporters.  And the commander before him, Gen. David McKiernan, was fired, though apparently for differences in strategy from the Pentagon rather than for personal failings.

Oh, yes, lest we think these are purely personal vices unconnected to these men’s professional duties, investigators are reporting that they have found classified material in the possession of Ms. Broadwell.

What happened to military honor in the top brass?  Or, at the very minimum, military discipline?

 

Paula Broadwell photos: David Petraeus’ mistress discovered lying low in DC | Mail Online.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    the Petraeus affair sssss-
    The connections to West Point are many-
    Having had my Home schooled off spring as a cadet there- I am ‘connected’ to that esteemed place-
    I do know that the ‘code’ has not changed – the PC influence has intercepted the high calling-
    Wondering where the CHRISTian leaders are at our academies!
    The DoD has waffled on our military’s higher calling==
    Carol=CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    the Petraeus affair sssss-
    The connections to West Point are many-
    Having had my Home schooled off spring as a cadet there- I am ‘connected’ to that esteemed place-
    I do know that the ‘code’ has not changed – the PC influence has intercepted the high calling-
    Wondering where the CHRISTian leaders are at our academies!
    The DoD has waffled on our military’s higher calling==
    Carol=CS

  • Pete

    I dunno – maybe this is really wacky – but what about the idea that the ratcheting down of societal morals that has been reflected in the movement from “Leave it to Beaver” to “Modern Family” actually has some untoward, real world consequences? Nah, doubt it – lost my bearing there for a minute.
    Not that there haven’t always been shenanigans at high levels. General Grant hit the bottle pretty hard, although, by all accounts, General Lee (worth noting, the eventual loser) was every bit a class act. Wonder what King David’s emails looked like. His son said, “nothing new under the sun” and so far has been correct.

  • Pete

    I dunno – maybe this is really wacky – but what about the idea that the ratcheting down of societal morals that has been reflected in the movement from “Leave it to Beaver” to “Modern Family” actually has some untoward, real world consequences? Nah, doubt it – lost my bearing there for a minute.
    Not that there haven’t always been shenanigans at high levels. General Grant hit the bottle pretty hard, although, by all accounts, General Lee (worth noting, the eventual loser) was every bit a class act. Wonder what King David’s emails looked like. His son said, “nothing new under the sun” and so far has been correct.

  • http://richkauzlarich.gmu.edu Richard Kauzlarich

    It is about honor — it is also about integrity and judgement. It’s also about people — at least as far as we know from the Petraeus situation — who believe that ethical behavior is for others because of the position they hold or because everyone is telling them how brilliant they are. This is all so sad because of the example this presents to the world and to our own young people.

  • http://richkauzlarich.gmu.edu Richard Kauzlarich

    It is about honor — it is also about integrity and judgement. It’s also about people — at least as far as we know from the Petraeus situation — who believe that ethical behavior is for others because of the position they hold or because everyone is telling them how brilliant they are. This is all so sad because of the example this presents to the world and to our own young people.

  • Dan Kempin

    General Petraeus was taking up with Paul Broadwell? My, that is a scandal. I would think that “don’t ask, don’t tell” might have protected him on that one.

    (I love finding typos that aren’t mine!)

  • Dan Kempin

    General Petraeus was taking up with Paul Broadwell? My, that is a scandal. I would think that “don’t ask, don’t tell” might have protected him on that one.

    (I love finding typos that aren’t mine!)

  • Lou G.

    I spent 24 years in the military, a large portion of which was in the Army and Army Reserves. At several times in my career, my senior rater was a one or two star general, so I can comment a tiny bit from personal experience. There are certain general officers who pride themselves on being the fun, party, happy-go lucky types who care not at all about what is happening ethically in their chain of command (ie, adulterous affairs, promiscuity, drunken parties -on and off duty, etc). To their thinking, this is part of what being a Soldier has always been about – work hard, play hard. As long as the mission gets accomplished, what people do personally doesn’t matter to them.
    However, during the time of my career, MOST general officers did not hold such a cavalier approach, especially the types of general officers who had the kind of reputation that would put them in one of the CinC command spots. Those types of general officers lead lives that are above reproach and expect the same standard from others, whether on their g-staff or down in the field units. To most of the general officers I’ve served under, poor ethical and moral behavior stains any Soldier’s effectiveness whether on duty or off.

    I don’t think in the case of Gen. Petraeus or Gen. Allen we are dealing with anything close to the first type of officer. These men were once universally considered above reproach and the highest standard bears for Army values, ethical, and moral leadership.

    Instead, I think we what we are dealing with here is more of a cautionary tale. The issue is that it’s a tendency of human nature that when one is situated at the highest levels of power and esteem, without adequate accountability over extended periods of time, the human will is not reliable against the temptations of this world. After being at the top levels of command for such an extended period, it would be difficult for any man to hold himself accountable and to remain above reproach while deployed in combat, away from his family, year after year. Don’t think that I’m making excuses – I’m not. I’m just stating that even the men with the best morals, ethics and training need more than willpower to combat our greatest mortal foe – our own sin.
    Bottom line imo: To take it as a cautionary tale.

  • Lou G.

    I spent 24 years in the military, a large portion of which was in the Army and Army Reserves. At several times in my career, my senior rater was a one or two star general, so I can comment a tiny bit from personal experience. There are certain general officers who pride themselves on being the fun, party, happy-go lucky types who care not at all about what is happening ethically in their chain of command (ie, adulterous affairs, promiscuity, drunken parties -on and off duty, etc). To their thinking, this is part of what being a Soldier has always been about – work hard, play hard. As long as the mission gets accomplished, what people do personally doesn’t matter to them.
    However, during the time of my career, MOST general officers did not hold such a cavalier approach, especially the types of general officers who had the kind of reputation that would put them in one of the CinC command spots. Those types of general officers lead lives that are above reproach and expect the same standard from others, whether on their g-staff or down in the field units. To most of the general officers I’ve served under, poor ethical and moral behavior stains any Soldier’s effectiveness whether on duty or off.

    I don’t think in the case of Gen. Petraeus or Gen. Allen we are dealing with anything close to the first type of officer. These men were once universally considered above reproach and the highest standard bears for Army values, ethical, and moral leadership.

    Instead, I think we what we are dealing with here is more of a cautionary tale. The issue is that it’s a tendency of human nature that when one is situated at the highest levels of power and esteem, without adequate accountability over extended periods of time, the human will is not reliable against the temptations of this world. After being at the top levels of command for such an extended period, it would be difficult for any man to hold himself accountable and to remain above reproach while deployed in combat, away from his family, year after year. Don’t think that I’m making excuses – I’m not. I’m just stating that even the men with the best morals, ethics and training need more than willpower to combat our greatest mortal foe – our own sin.
    Bottom line imo: To take it as a cautionary tale.

  • SKPeterson

    The recent book, The Generals, provides an in-depth overview of how the culture of the Army has changed since WWII. While not specifically addressing the moral failings of the mdoern Army, it does seem to be highly correlated.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Generals-American-Military-Command/dp/1594204047

  • SKPeterson

    The recent book, The Generals, provides an in-depth overview of how the culture of the Army has changed since WWII. While not specifically addressing the moral failings of the mdoern Army, it does seem to be highly correlated.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Generals-American-Military-Command/dp/1594204047

  • SKPeterson

    I should add that, in a twist of irony, Petraeus is one of the modern generals held up as exemplary by the author of The Generals.

  • SKPeterson

    I should add that, in a twist of irony, Petraeus is one of the modern generals held up as exemplary by the author of The Generals.

  • Lou G.

    Thanks, SK. That looks like a fascinating read. I added it to my kindle “wish list”.

  • Lou G.

    Thanks, SK. That looks like a fascinating read. I added it to my kindle “wish list”.

  • kirk

    @Carol

    Are you going for like an EE Cummings sort of vibe to your posts?

    Anyways, for those trying to keep track of the scandal, I created a handy-dandy love web. This is a skill I learned from my time in the Strategic Intel program at PHC.

    https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1vxFV_X_KPshMo0zl3W2AWGmEP3o2XvDed2dRkxNULxY/edit

  • kirk

    @Carol

    Are you going for like an EE Cummings sort of vibe to your posts?

    Anyways, for those trying to keep track of the scandal, I created a handy-dandy love web. This is a skill I learned from my time in the Strategic Intel program at PHC.

    https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1vxFV_X_KPshMo0zl3W2AWGmEP3o2XvDed2dRkxNULxY/edit

  • Joe

    Kirk – love the chart but you’ve left of some stuff. Jill Kelly has a twin sister, Natalie Khawam, who was embroiled in a nasty custody battle. Both Gen. Petraeus and Gen. Allen wrote letters to the court stating that this women was a fit mother. Khawam also identified Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as people who could attest to her fitness as a mother. (She apparently met the senators through Gerald Harrington a bid democratic fundraiser who also loaned Khawam 300,000.)

    It is simply amazing to me that these two sisters have become so connected for no other reason than hosting high society dinners, etc.

  • Joe

    Kirk – love the chart but you’ve left of some stuff. Jill Kelly has a twin sister, Natalie Khawam, who was embroiled in a nasty custody battle. Both Gen. Petraeus and Gen. Allen wrote letters to the court stating that this women was a fit mother. Khawam also identified Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as people who could attest to her fitness as a mother. (She apparently met the senators through Gerald Harrington a bid democratic fundraiser who also loaned Khawam 300,000.)

    It is simply amazing to me that these two sisters have become so connected for no other reason than hosting high society dinners, etc.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Look this isn’t new. Eisenhower and MacArthur both had mistresses at various times during their tenure. And Presidential infidelities aren’t uncommon either (Kennedy and Clinton, anyone?).

    Some of the culture of the armed forces has changed to accommodate changes in society and some of them are quite good (integration in the late 40s/50s, reform of the Marine drill sergeant culture in the late 70s due to abusive behavior). But the basic code of conduct and standards haven’t changed appreciably. Human nature hasn’t changed either. Sin is always crouching at the door.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Look this isn’t new. Eisenhower and MacArthur both had mistresses at various times during their tenure. And Presidential infidelities aren’t uncommon either (Kennedy and Clinton, anyone?).

    Some of the culture of the armed forces has changed to accommodate changes in society and some of them are quite good (integration in the late 40s/50s, reform of the Marine drill sergeant culture in the late 70s due to abusive behavior). But the basic code of conduct and standards haven’t changed appreciably. Human nature hasn’t changed either. Sin is always crouching at the door.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Agreed that this is nothing new, but my take is that one of the things that has historically distinguished U.S. military forces is the idea–right or wrong–that when U.S. servicemen and service-women come to your area, your family is not going to be subject to theft, rape, and murder. Nobody gets harmed who isn’t attacking them.

    Now that’s not reality–remember Sherman’s “bummers”, of course–but it has been historically “close enough to the truth” to be very helpful. It’ll be worth a look to see if that’s been degraded over time.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Agreed that this is nothing new, but my take is that one of the things that has historically distinguished U.S. military forces is the idea–right or wrong–that when U.S. servicemen and service-women come to your area, your family is not going to be subject to theft, rape, and murder. Nobody gets harmed who isn’t attacking them.

    Now that’s not reality–remember Sherman’s “bummers”, of course–but it has been historically “close enough to the truth” to be very helpful. It’ll be worth a look to see if that’s been degraded over time.

  • fjsteve

    Lou G, #5,

    I agree with you, wholeheartedly. Though, knowing that we live in a culture of idolatry that will raise a man up to superhero status overnight and grind him into the ground just as quickly, one would think the military would have means of preparing these men to deal with the press and the “stardom” that they achieve. Lord knows, they have training for virtually everything else.

  • fjsteve

    Lou G, #5,

    I agree with you, wholeheartedly. Though, knowing that we live in a culture of idolatry that will raise a man up to superhero status overnight and grind him into the ground just as quickly, one would think the military would have means of preparing these men to deal with the press and the “stardom” that they achieve. Lord knows, they have training for virtually everything else.

  • Lou G.

    Dr. Veith,
    I have one qualm with the original post:
    General Stanley McChrystal was not fired because he was partying with the Rolling Stone reporter. MSNBC (eg, Obama’s surrogate) reported this, “Obama said bluntly that Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s scornful remarks about administration officials represent conduct that ‘undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.’ He ousted the commander after a face-to-face meeting in the Oval Office and named Petraeus, the Central Command chief, who was McChrystal’s direct boss, to step in.” …”he said the job in Afghanistan cannot be done now under McChrystal’s leadership, asserting that the critical remarks from the general and his inner circle in the Rolling Stone magazine article displayed conduct that doesn’t live up to the standards for a command-level officer.”

    (source of the above: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37866754/ns/us_news-military/t/obama-relieves-mcchrystal-command/)

    An additional source:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/100044653/what-does-firing-general-stanley-mcchrystal-say-about-barack-obama/

  • Lou G.

    Dr. Veith,
    I have one qualm with the original post:
    General Stanley McChrystal was not fired because he was partying with the Rolling Stone reporter. MSNBC (eg, Obama’s surrogate) reported this, “Obama said bluntly that Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s scornful remarks about administration officials represent conduct that ‘undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.’ He ousted the commander after a face-to-face meeting in the Oval Office and named Petraeus, the Central Command chief, who was McChrystal’s direct boss, to step in.” …”he said the job in Afghanistan cannot be done now under McChrystal’s leadership, asserting that the critical remarks from the general and his inner circle in the Rolling Stone magazine article displayed conduct that doesn’t live up to the standards for a command-level officer.”

    (source of the above: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37866754/ns/us_news-military/t/obama-relieves-mcchrystal-command/)

    An additional source:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/100044653/what-does-firing-general-stanley-mcchrystal-say-about-barack-obama/

  • DonS

    A lot of introspection is due at the highest levels of the military, as well as civilian, authority. A lot of trusted military folks I know believe, off the record, that some of our current problems are rooted in a culture which has been promoting P.C. leadership, attuned to “acculturating” our military to modern society, to the exclusion of those who might otherwise have been the best choices from a purely military perspective. When you conform the military to a sexually corrupt and immoral society, it should not shock you when it falls into the same patterns.

    This is not to say that the military has not always had adultery and sexual immorality issues. It is full of young, physically active people, after all. But two four stars at the same time, 1000′s of harassing emails — clearly some re-thinking is in order.

  • DonS

    A lot of introspection is due at the highest levels of the military, as well as civilian, authority. A lot of trusted military folks I know believe, off the record, that some of our current problems are rooted in a culture which has been promoting P.C. leadership, attuned to “acculturating” our military to modern society, to the exclusion of those who might otherwise have been the best choices from a purely military perspective. When you conform the military to a sexually corrupt and immoral society, it should not shock you when it falls into the same patterns.

    This is not to say that the military has not always had adultery and sexual immorality issues. It is full of young, physically active people, after all. But two four stars at the same time, 1000′s of harassing emails — clearly some re-thinking is in order.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, that’s two people now who’ve blamed this, somehow, on political correctness.

    I guess I’m gonna go ahead, then, and blame this sex scandal on Evangelical Protestants.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, that’s two people now who’ve blamed this, somehow, on political correctness.

    I guess I’m gonna go ahead, then, and blame this sex scandal on Evangelical Protestants.

  • Rose

    It worries me that many of our high officials with access to national security are being compromised by people of Middle Eastern descent.

  • Rose

    It worries me that many of our high officials with access to national security are being compromised by people of Middle Eastern descent.

  • SKPeterson

    Middle Eastern? Florida is South Eastern. Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware are Middle Eastern.

  • SKPeterson

    Middle Eastern? Florida is South Eastern. Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware are Middle Eastern.

  • Rose

    SK,
    Jill Kelley was born Gilberte Khawam in Beirut, Lebanon.
    Golan Cipel was an Israeli naval intelligence officer who was given responsibility for New Jersey homeland security under former governor Jim McGreevey.

  • Rose

    SK,
    Jill Kelley was born Gilberte Khawam in Beirut, Lebanon.
    Golan Cipel was an Israeli naval intelligence officer who was given responsibility for New Jersey homeland security under former governor Jim McGreevey.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    tODD: glad to see you take the blame! Thanks! :^)

    Seriously, if indeed military regulations are “changing with the times,” and those regulations involve sex, then we ought to take a look and see whether incidents of serious malfeasance correlate with the loosening of regulations, no?

    And then if we find that correlation, we need to figure out whether that matters to military readiness, no? Again, if indeed it’s important that people who are where our servicemen go can trust our soldiers, this is a big deal.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    tODD: glad to see you take the blame! Thanks! :^)

    Seriously, if indeed military regulations are “changing with the times,” and those regulations involve sex, then we ought to take a look and see whether incidents of serious malfeasance correlate with the loosening of regulations, no?

    And then if we find that correlation, we need to figure out whether that matters to military readiness, no? Again, if indeed it’s important that people who are where our servicemen go can trust our soldiers, this is a big deal.

  • Lou G.

    As the plot unfolds, I would be surprised to learn that the outing of Petraeus’s affair coincides with a Benghazi cover-up. It will be interesting to see where this all leads.

  • Lou G.

    As the plot unfolds, I would be surprised to learn that the outing of Petraeus’s affair coincides with a Benghazi cover-up. It will be interesting to see where this all leads.

  • Lou G.

    “I would **not** be surprised ”
    I really need to edit before posting. Sorry.

  • Lou G.

    “I would **not** be surprised ”
    I really need to edit before posting. Sorry.

  • Kirk

    I agree with Rose. America is for WHITE PEOPLE ONLY!! Never thought those Arabs were trustworthy!

  • Kirk

    I agree with Rose. America is for WHITE PEOPLE ONLY!! Never thought those Arabs were trustworthy!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rose (@17), it’s worse than that! I went to look in my Bible today, and it turns out most or all of it was written by people of Middle Eastern descent! As you can only imagine, I ripped all those parts out. Now my Bible is a lot easier to carry around. And it’s a lot easier to find the table of weights and measurements. And the maps. Though I blacked out the Middle Eastern parts of the maps. That’s an easy way to blow through two Sharpies!

    Anyhow, thanks for the tip. Keep watching the skies!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Rose (@17), it’s worse than that! I went to look in my Bible today, and it turns out most or all of it was written by people of Middle Eastern descent! As you can only imagine, I ripped all those parts out. Now my Bible is a lot easier to carry around. And it’s a lot easier to find the table of weights and measurements. And the maps. Though I blacked out the Middle Eastern parts of the maps. That’s an easy way to blow through two Sharpies!

    Anyhow, thanks for the tip. Keep watching the skies!

  • Carl Vehse

    In his column, “Jill Kelley for secretary of state,” Mark Steyn pondered:

    “Don’t ask me why there’s a Director of National Intelligence and a Director of Central Intelligence. Something to do with 9/11, after which the government decided it could use more intelligence. Instead, it wound up with more Directors of Intelligence, which is the way it usually goes in Washington. “

    He also observed:

    “In Cairo, no sooner had Hillary Clinton’s plane cleared Egyptian air space then Mohammed Morsi issued one-man constitutional amendments declaring himself and his Muslim Brotherhood buddies free from judicial oversight and announced that his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, would be retried for all the stuff he was acquitted of in the previous trial. Morsi now wields total control over Parliament, the Judiciary, and the military to a degree Mubarak in his jail cell can only marvel at….

    “In the Gaza ‘peace agreement’ signed last week, they flew in Hillary Clinton to give the impression that she had something to do with it, where as, in reality, she was entirely peripheral to the deal. But Jill Kelley is apparently essential to anything that matters in CENTCOM: When Pastor Terry Jones was threatening to burn a Koran, Gen. Allen asked Mrs. Kelley to mediate. When radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge was threatening to ‘deep-fat fry’ a Koran, Gen. Allen recommended the mayor of Tampa ask Mrs. Kelley to intervene. The U.S. government is responsible for 43 percent of the planet’s military spending, and apparently all that gets you is that, when the feces hits the fan, the four-star brass start emailing Jill Kelley of Tampa. If only she’d been hosting a champagne reception at the Sigonella air base in southern Italy, maybe we could have parachuted her into Benghazi to defuse the situation. Jill is the woman Hillary can only dream of being – at the confluence of all the great geostrategic currents of the age. Why didn’t we fly Jill Kelley to broker the Gaza deal? Instead of a patsy peddling risible talking-points like Susan Rice, why can’t we have Jill Kelley as Secretary of State?”

  • Carl Vehse

    In his column, “Jill Kelley for secretary of state,” Mark Steyn pondered:

    “Don’t ask me why there’s a Director of National Intelligence and a Director of Central Intelligence. Something to do with 9/11, after which the government decided it could use more intelligence. Instead, it wound up with more Directors of Intelligence, which is the way it usually goes in Washington. “

    He also observed:

    “In Cairo, no sooner had Hillary Clinton’s plane cleared Egyptian air space then Mohammed Morsi issued one-man constitutional amendments declaring himself and his Muslim Brotherhood buddies free from judicial oversight and announced that his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, would be retried for all the stuff he was acquitted of in the previous trial. Morsi now wields total control over Parliament, the Judiciary, and the military to a degree Mubarak in his jail cell can only marvel at….

    “In the Gaza ‘peace agreement’ signed last week, they flew in Hillary Clinton to give the impression that she had something to do with it, where as, in reality, she was entirely peripheral to the deal. But Jill Kelley is apparently essential to anything that matters in CENTCOM: When Pastor Terry Jones was threatening to burn a Koran, Gen. Allen asked Mrs. Kelley to mediate. When radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge was threatening to ‘deep-fat fry’ a Koran, Gen. Allen recommended the mayor of Tampa ask Mrs. Kelley to intervene. The U.S. government is responsible for 43 percent of the planet’s military spending, and apparently all that gets you is that, when the feces hits the fan, the four-star brass start emailing Jill Kelley of Tampa. If only she’d been hosting a champagne reception at the Sigonella air base in southern Italy, maybe we could have parachuted her into Benghazi to defuse the situation. Jill is the woman Hillary can only dream of being – at the confluence of all the great geostrategic currents of the age. Why didn’t we fly Jill Kelley to broker the Gaza deal? Instead of a patsy peddling risible talking-points like Susan Rice, why can’t we have Jill Kelley as Secretary of State?”


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