Ending your career with a thud

It wasn’t so long ago that there was a boomlet to see General David Petraeus promoted to General of the Army:

A Fifth Star for David Petraeus

The general clearly deserves to join the rank held by MacArthur, Marshall and Nimitz. His promotion would also honor our troops and their mission in the war on terror.
hegseth By Pete Hegseth and Wade Zirkle

Like these great leaders, Gen. Petraeus’s breadth of experience and outstanding results deserve to be recognized and honored. His wartime tenure began as the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division, responsible for over 10,000 combat troops during the initial invasion of Iraq. He led the 101st in an airborne assault into northern Iraq and then quieted the city of Mosul.

Gen. Petraeus then oversaw the creation and training of the new Iraqi Army, a Herculean task that was accomplished amid a rapidly deteriorating security situation. By the time he was through, he had stood up, equipped and trained over 100,000 Iraqi soldiers. They would be crucial in winning the peace in the years to follow.

In 2005, Gen. Petraeus led the Army’s command responsible for education and doctrine at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. There he wrote the Army’s manual on counterinsurgency operations. His COIN manual was the blueprint for the upcoming troop “surge” that saved Iraq from the brink of calamity.

Your Editor wrote, at the time:

Well, I can think of one good reason to grant General Petraeus a fifth star: the way that four stars are worn on the black Army beret looks like crap! Enlisted men wear their branch insignia in the blue field on the beret, while officers wear their rank insignia there. For a Brigadier General and lower, it works, but as the stars get stretched out starting with Major Generals, it looks bad!

Then again, the whole beret thing looks like crap.

At any rate, your Editor thought that, as a whole, the idea of promoting General Petraeus to General of the Army was a bad idea:

Part of me likes the idea, and part does not. The part that likes the idea does so because it would be a great honor, both for General Petraeus and the soldiers serving under him in Afghanistan. The fact that it would tweak the anti-war idiots at MoveOn.org who called him “General Betray Us” doesn’t hurt in the slightest. :)

The part that doesn’t notes that the theater commanders who were awarded five stars (Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Hap Arnold and Chester Nimitz) were awarded those ranks after their service chiefs (George C Marshall and Ernest King) were promoted to five-star rank. If promoted, General of the Army Petraeus would outrank his commander, General James Mattis, the Chief of Staff of the Army, General George Casey, and the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen and General James Cartwright (USMC).1

It’s an honor he does deserve, but it might be more of a problem than it’s worth.

Instead, General Petraeus was nominated by President Obama to become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency2 on April 11, 2011, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on June 30, 2011. He retired from the Army just before assuming his duties with the CIA. From Wikipedia:

Petraeus’ tenure at the CIA was more low profile than that of his predecessor, Leon Panetta, declining to give media interviews while Director and speaking to Congress in closed sessions. He also differed from Panetta in mangagement style, as a New York Times article published just days before his resignation said Panetta “wooed the work force and often did not question operational details, [while] Petraeus is a demanding boss who does not hesitate to order substandard work redone or details of plans adjusted.”

Although Petraeus was given good marks by most observers for his work heading the CIA, during October 2012 some critics took issue with the availability of accurate information from the CIA concerning a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya the month prior. On September 11 four Americans had been killed, including the Ambassador, and more than thirty evacuated. Only seven of those evacuated did not work for the CIA. According to a Wall Street Journal story, other government agencies complained about being left “largely in the dark about the CIA’s role,” with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoning Petraeus directly the night of the attacks seeking assistance. Although the “State Department believed it had a formal agreement with the CIA to provide backup security,” “the CIA didn’t have the same understanding about its security responsibilities,” said the WSJ.

And then, thud! Dr Petraeus3 had become romantically involved with Paula Broadwell, who co-authored All In: The Education of General David Petraeus4 sometime previously, and that affair has now been exposed. Like Dr Petraeus, Mrs Broadwell is married, is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve three months ago.

This is just incredibly stupid: General Petraeus and Lieutenant Colonel Broadwell knew full well that adultery is a crime under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The bringing of charges under Article 134 is rare, because the conduct must meet the standard of being prejudicial to good order and discipline in the armed forces or of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces. According to The Washington Post, the disclosure of the affair began with threatening e-mails allegedly sent by LTC Broadwell to another woman who was “close” to GEN Petraeus, thinking that this other woman might be somehow threatening her relationship with the Director, but the article does not state that this other woman was romantically involved with him; it does state that this other woman is not associated with the CIA. With as public a figure as GEN Petraeus being involved, and accusations that LTC Broadwell was given access to the Director’s e-mail, and possible security breaches due to this, Article 134 has to apply.

Of course, it won’t. The results of this affair will simply be career destruction. General Petraeus is no longer subject to the UCMJ anyway, even though it is virtually certain that part of the affair was conducted while he was still in uniform. Lieutenant Colonel Broadwell will resign her commission, and (probably) lose her job. Dr Petraeus has lost a job he found “intellectually challenging” and “loved,” but having retired as a full general with 37 years of service, he’ll receive slightly over $150,000 per year in retirement pay.

Both Dr Petraeus and Mrs Broadwell were graduated from the United States Military Academy. You cannot be a dummy and get into West Point, and you certainly can’t be anything other than intelligent to be graduated from West Point. But it seems that being smart doesn’t keep you from being just plain, fornicating stupid.
Related articles:


  1. Those were the officers holding those positions at the time the article was written; the top command structure has since changed.
  2. The Director of the CIA was formerly known as the Director of Central Intelligence, who had duties beyond running the CIA; he was also the primary intelligence adviser to the President and National Security Council, and coordinated the efforts of the other intelligence gathering agencies in the government. Since April of 2005, that position has been replaced by the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the CIA runs the CIA itself.
  3. David Petraeus holds a PhD in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, awarded in 1987.
  4. You may buy the book at the amazon.com link provided; THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL does not receive any commission for this notice.


  1. I don’t know why we call it “Stupid” when some famous or important person is caught in an affair. Let’s call it what it is – immoral. It isn’t “Stupid” to lust after some young, attractive babe who is clearly star struck with you, but it most certainly is wrong to act on that lust.

  2. #2 is always buy bottled drinks with the cap sealed.

    That’s a rule Andrew Breitbart either violated or was unaware of and even strict adherence to that rule won’t protect you from a skillful and determined assassin.

  3. I heard the other day that a dab of glue on a plastic screw top gives enough resistence to make you think you broke the seal. Another OPSEC rule is ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. And also the four W’s, Who, What, Where and Why, or When.

  4. Editor:
    Of course, it won’t. The results of this affair will simply be career destruction. General Petraeus is no longer subject to the UCMJ anyway, even though it is virtually certain that part of the affair was conducted while he was still in uniform.

    Therein lies the problem. If he would have stayed in “uniform” and zipped up, he would have avoided this mess. :-)

  5. According to the Law Offices of Neal J Puckett, a law firm with over 35 years of experience represneting military men and women:

    Military Retirees and the UCMJ

    What may be surprising to those military retirees who rushed through their out processing appointments is that retired members of the regular components of the armed forces, who are entitled to pay, are also subject to the UCMJ. That means that if you are entitled to a military retirement pay you are also subject to the criminal law as prescribed by the UCMJ for the duration of your entitlement.

  6. Rope: Perhaps so, but there will be no court-martial for adultery here. The only way I’d expect one is if Mrs Petraeus tried to press adultery charges on LTC Broadwell, but she’s a member of the Obama Administration, and she would certainly be “encouraged” to let sleeping dogs lay, so to speak.

    The Obama Administration will take the expected outcome: Dr Petraeus is retired, and LTC Broadwell will resign soon enough; if she doesn’t, then she might have problems with the threatening e-mails she (allegedly) sent.

  7. Nor do I believe that the Administration wanted him gone. David Petraeus was a Good Soldier, and the perfect Director of the CIA: he didn’t speak to the press, he didn’t leak things, and he pretty much kept his mouth shut. Under him, the CIA even celebrated national homosexual pride month, and supports “diversity” right to the liberal line. If General Petraeus opposed Obama Administration policies in any way, it was never reported.

    With General Petraeus’ success in Iraq and Afghanistan — he actually took a position subordinate to the one he held, at the President’s request, after General Stanley McChrystal told the truth was forced out — he gave the entire Administration cover in military and national security affairs (so to speak).

    The man was almost perfect. He married the daughter of a former Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. He was graduated in the top 5% of his class at West Point, earned a Masters of Public Administration and then a PhD in International Relations at Princeton. He was obviously a good military general, but he was also a top political and social general. The whacko leftists an MoveOn.org hated him, and called him “General Betray Us,” because he did President Bush’s bidding, but, as Moe Lane noted, they scrubbed their criticism when President Obama needed him.

  8. Mr Editor, when General Petreaus quarterbacked GW Bush’s successful surge in Iraq he became a sacred cow to conservatives and the object of scorn for the unhinged left.

    Then things changed, Barack Obama appointed him to replace General McCrystal in Afghanistan and suddenly General Petraeus transmogrified from the left’s Benedict Arnold into a reliable Obama team player who enforced the Administration’s terrorist coddling Rules of Engagement which all but ensured that when American solders were attacked their options for response were so severly restricted as to present little threat to the enemy.

    When Obama appointed General Petraeus to Director CIA to replace Leon Panetta who moved up to SECDEF, both the left and the right approved of the appointments. And, as you indicate above, General Petraeus’ career has apparently been exemplary right up till he went before a Congressional committee and squandered his reputation for integrity by restating the false narrative Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton manufactured to cover-up Benghazigate.

    General Petraeus was seduced by the power of the Dark Side. But, soon broke faith with the Emperor and his minions. Petraeus went public to claim neither he or anyone in CIA prevented attempts to rescue the victims of the Benghazi attack. Which pointed the finger straight at Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

    Now, all of a sudden, Petraeus is inundated with unsavory revelations about infidelity, hints of blackmail, tales of female jealousy, reports of email threats against potential rivals, FBI investigations, implausible non-notifications, and possible national security complications.

    Clearly, the Emperor brooks no weak sisters or summer soldiers on his team. General Petreaus sold his soul and he dutifully sang his master’s song to the Congressional audience. But, second thoughts and attempts to protect CIA from bogus accusations have run up a bill the General can’t pay.

    And, the hits just keep on comin’

  9. And, here’s another one. The following excerpt is from the Daily News Politics Section writers Matthew Solan, Marty Clear, and Matthew Lysiac. Paula Broadwell’s fatther hints at something big behind door number 3. (emphasis added)

    …But Broadwell’s father said Sunday his daughter is the victim of character assassination and implied the bombshell story is just a smoke screen for something bigger.

    “This is about something else entirely, and the truth will come out,” Broadwell’s dad, Paul Krantz, told the Daily News outside his home in Bismarck, N.D.

    “There is a lot more that is going to come out,” said Krantz, claiming he was not allowed to elaborate. “You wait and see. There’s a lot more here than meets the eye.”

    He said he supports his daughter “100%.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ap-source-target-emails-petraeus-paramour-state-department-military-liaison-article-1.1200299#ixzz2C3r9tAJY

  10. Petraeus, Clinton, Ham … Benghazi Witnesses Going ‘Away’

    CIA Director David Petraeus, who surely has intimate knowledge of what really went down on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya, was suddenly “discovered” after the election to have had an extramarital affair, and he resigned abruptly Friday. His resignation is right before his expected testimony to Congress, which he will now skip.

    (Petraeus apparently had been carrying on with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, whose name and book title, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” suddenly have a salacious, almost James Bond-ian ring to them.)

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who surely has intimate knowledge of what really went down on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya, took the hit for President Obama pre-election by accepting “responsibility” for the total lack of security without ever saying what happened, and now she’s out of her job at State.

    AFRICOM commander Gen. Carter Ham, who surely has intimate knowledge of what really went down on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya, abruptly resigned, years ahead of his scheduled retirement date, before the election, amid rumors that he defied orders to stand down and attempted to send a rescue group to Benghazi during the attacks.

    Carrier Strike Group Three Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette, who surely has intimate knowledge of what really went down on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya, is outright fired by President Obama for “inappropriate leadership judgment,” amid rumors he advocated sending a rescue group during the Benghazi attacks.

    A suspect in the Benghazi attack, Ali Ani al Harzi, who likely has intimate knowledge of what really went down on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya, is arrested in Turkey, a NATO ally, but oddly transferred to Tunisia, where U.S. investigators cannot get access to him for questioning until after the presidential election.

    The mainstream media, who surely have by now some knowledge of what really went down on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya, lie about Obama calling Benghazi a terrorist attack, say nothing about any other aspect of the incident and watch their boy sail to victory.

    President Obama, who surely has intimate knowledge of what really went down on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya, and is said by some anonymous sources to have been watching the events via live video feed, lies like crazy repeatedly and is rewarded with four more years in office.

    Nope, no story here. Move along.

    Read more: http://politicaloutcast.com/2012/11/petraeus-clinton-ham-benghazi-witnesses-going-away/#ixzz2C4RrXfs3

  11. Just to set the record straight, retired military officers are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and can be returned to active duty to face criminal charges upon approval by the service secretary.

  12. Pingback: Watching Weasels |

  13. Pingback: Watcher’s Council Nominations – Autumn Leaves Edition | Virginia Right!

Comments are closed.