Mike Kueber's Blog

November 17, 2012

A bad day for David Petaeus

Filed under: Biography,Culture,Military — Mike Kueber @ 3:41 am
Tags: , ,

Today was a tough day for David Petraeus.  Despite the scandal of his affair with Paula Broadwell, he did his duty and testified to a couple of congressional committees about the Benghazi debacle.  Based on his testimony, it is fair to conclude that someone in the White House used Susan Rice to intentionally mislead the American public into believing the debacle was spontaneously precipitated by a YouTube video instead of being a pre-planned attack by al Qaeda.  Let’s see – who would benefit from that falsehood?

According to news reports, Petraeus testified to the two congressional committees with the understanding that he would not be asked to elaborate on his scandalous affair with biographer Paula Broadwell.  But that understanding did not prevent additional information from coming out that will severely besmirch the reputation that Petraeus spend a lifetime burnishing.

The first new information that I heard came from an Imus in the Morning guest, suspense-thriller author of The Last Man, Vince Flynn.  During the interview, Imus casually asked Flynn if he knew Petraeus, and Flynn responded positively.  (That reminds me of Alexander Butterfield being casually asked during the Watergate hearings whether he was aware of any recording devices in the Oval Office.)  When given the chance to elaborate, Flynn said that in the course of two or three meetings with Petraeus, he concluded (1) unlike Stanley McChrystal, Petraeus was an ambitious politician, not a warrior, and (2) Petraeus was a narcissist who had an entourage bigger than Clinton’s or Bush’s.  Suffice to say, this did not leave me with warm fuzzies about Petraeus. 

Then, later in the day, I read a raft of internet stories that not only connected Petraeus to Jill Kelley, but also revealed Kelley to be a shallow socialite.  Perhaps the most comprehensive story was published by Slate.com.  Its story included the following insights:

  • Now socialite is a hollow role aspired to by debt-addled pretenders and people who are angling to get their own reality TV show. Socialites nowadays are the Real Housewives of OC, living high on the verge of foreclosure, or Michaele Salahi, crashing a state party dinner and looking so much like she belongs that security just lets her in. Now, anyone can be a socialite if they can fake it long enough. What’s amazing is that anyone aspires to be one anymore….  One acquaintance labeled her a “Tampa Kardashian.”
  • This type of socialite builds her social credentials with the human-relations equivalent of a Ponzi scheme. She uses connections with important people to trade up to more connections with important people, hiding the fact that her initial ticket in is a fraud. Thus, Kelley went shopping with Holly Petraeus. She dined with Charlie Crist. (Natalie was no slouch, either—she name-dropped Sens. John Kerry and Sheldon Whitehouse.) Kelley had special permission to visit MacDill Air Force base in Tampa without an escort (now revoked). She was made an unpaid “honorary ambassador” to U.S. Central Command (and then tried to rope the command into assigning staff to help her organize parties). She was made an “honorary consul” of South Korea, a “largely symbolic” post that the Los Angeles Times reports she tried to milk for $80 million. Kelley also invoked this status when she called police Sunday to complain about people on her lawn, telling the dispatcher that she should have “diplomatic protection.” Even as the fraud was on the verge of collapsing, she was trying to trade up.

Brian Ross, the famous investigative reporter for ABC News re-reported and elaborated on the Slate.com/LA Times story on the $80 million fee that Kelley tried to secure based on her connection to Petraeus.  USA Today did a story that described the Kelley parties in Tampa as status-conscious, elitist events:   .     

  • Unless a person held the rank of general or admiral, they weren’t likely on the guest list, according to one retired senior officer who didn’t want his name published.  “A colonel is about as low as (Kelley would) go,” said the officer, who served at CENTCOM in Tampa and knows the players in the Petraeus scandal.

And the NY Post did a story, with a photo, about Kelley and her sister cozying up to Republican Senator Marco Rubio. 

Slate.com convincingly exposed Jill Kelly as nothing but a “Tampa Kardashian,” and the Brian Ross piece showed Petraeus’s judgment to be monumentally flawed.  Because of Petraeus’s exemplary record of service to America, we can only conclude that this debacle proves Robin Williams’ claim that God gave men two heads, but not enough blood to use both at the same time.

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