Bad Judgment In General

Just moments after the Commander in Chief’s reelection thispast week, we learned the stunning news of Four Star General David Petraeus’ relationship with someone other than his wife. Once again we are witness to another individual of high honor step out on his spouse and then pay the humiliating and costly price for poor judgment.

It’s no longer a big surprise when we learn about a powerful, high profile man who strays and gets caught. It’s still heartbreaking, most especially when we learn about the dedication and professional accomplishments of Mrs. Holly Petraeus. And we all have such gratitude for the general’s outstanding military leadership in protecting our country.

The Sunday morning news programs had network news reporters providing updates galore, and in an odd twist, many of them were intentional in reminding us innocent viewers who don’t know any of these people involved, that these are “real lives” dealing with this terrible scenario. We’re advised to be compassionate. (Okay, I promise not to park my vehicle and camera in front of the Petraeus home and attack them with personal questions when they come out.)

And then there are the obligatory news interviews with sex therapists and psychologists, offering their expertise about the really stale issue of why powerful men cheat.

What does interest me is that General Patraeus is getting all the blame. He’s a man. He’s got power (have you seen all the medals on his uniform?). But so far, I have yet to hear any ‘analysis’ about Paula Broadwell, the apparent high-achieving, career military woman and Patraeus biographer at the center of this scandal.

She’s a West Point grad and Harvard-educated soldier and marathoner who “interviewed” Patraeus repeatedly as they took long runs together. Besides wondering how the heck she took notes during those “interviews” while running, I’m also waiting for someone to ask why she needed him to “mentor” her when she already owned a pretty remarkable career filled with multiple achievements.

She’s married and she has children. With all her accomplishments academically, militarily, and professionally (heck, she’s been on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart!!!) how did she not know that email can be traced, and really easily?

If it weren’t just so tragic, this would be laughable. With all her claimed counterintelligence expertise, she gets outed by writing anonymous emails to another woman whom she fears is getting too close to her personal Petraeus? Does any of this sound familiar?

Circa 2007 – Lisa Nowak, successful and respected NASA astronaut turned stalker in pursuit of another woman believed to have gotten too close to another astronaut with whom Ms. Nowak had apparently been involved…in addition to her marriage. Ms. Nowak drove hundreds of miles across country from Texas to Florida (remember the rumored diapers she brought so she wouldn’t have to be delayed by bothersome bathroom breaks?) where she apparently threatened the other woman. Astronaut Nowak was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

A photo published this weekend shows Mrs. Broadwell sitting in the front row just a few seats away from Mrs. Petraeus at the general’s swearing in as CIA boss. So Mrs. Broadwell had the nerve to position herself just a trampy heartbeat away from the mother of the general’s children but lacked the guts to sign her own name to the “threatening” emails she is reported to have sent to another woman who dared to get too close to Petreaus.

We just elected almost 100 women to Congress including one wounded war veteran, we shut down those whacky male candidates who tried to re-categorize rape, and now there is buzz about Hillary running for president in 2016. Meanwhile, we’ve got a woman who appears to have let her brains and beauty suffocate under her remarkable sense of self involvement and self- importance.

Hopefully while the still respected general reexamines his own poor choices, Mrs. Broadwell will follow his lead. She did want him to mentor her after all. Perhaps she’s already learned one lesson -- that anonymous anything is just dishonorable, kind of like her overall behavior.

The news media is right; these are real lives happening. At least the general acknowledged that he displayed poor judgment and he stepped up and started punishing himself. It’s up to his wife to determine the future of their relationship. And it’s up to Mrs. Broadwell’s husband to figure that out as well. That part really is none of our business. But when Mrs. Broadwell began pestering a perceived competitor, causing the federal government to step in she made her lack of integrity our business.

Just when I thought women had overcome so very much this political season, a lone self-centered woman shows profoundly and irritatingly bad behavior because she just couldn’t resist a man in uniform.