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Nights of the generals
The Petraeus scandal may be little compared to what plagues the U.S. military

Date published: 11/18/2012

Here's to wives and sweethearts May they never meet.

;">--Royal Navy toast

LOTS OF LUCK with that in hyper-wired 2012, when a Rangoon fisherman with an iPhone knows your cat Phoebe's favorite canned food. But love isn't just blind, it's often dumb, and when Cupid lets fly an arrow, even the garlanded chief of the CIA, an agency that appreciates the frailty of secrets, isn't immune to its stupefying prick.

Is it your place, or ours, to judge former soldier David Petraeus, the most insightful and effective general officer of the War on Terror before he became a spy master? Perhaps not, but a clinical observation or two may be in order concerning his kamikaze affair with a comely biographer 20 years his junior.

First, the length and nature of Mr. Petraeus' relationship with Paula Broadwell, whose company he regularly kept as she was researching his life, hints of something more elevated than base lust. This was not a case of a president using an intern as a 98.6-degree sex toy. Mr. Petraeus and Mrs. Broadwell, both all grown up, shared a connection beyond the obvious one below the waist. Adultery is, in essence, treason against the family. But there is also such a thing as sexual chemistry. Its reactions are powerful, its gases dizzying--and its violence, given half a chance, can topple all but the stoutest oak.

Yet the trans-libidinal nature of this affair actually made it far worse than what Bill Clinton did. Mr. Petraeus--the leftist scarabs who called him "General Betrayus" for trying to salvage victory in the Iraq War must be snickering--not only broke faith with his wife of 38 years and their two adult children. Count also among the lovers' collateral damage Mrs. Broadwell's husband and their two little boys, 4 and 6. Now does the word "violence" seem mischosen?

The Petraeus scandal is still rippling. Bobbing in its wake is another general, a Marine Corps four-star, John Allen, due next year to command NATO forces in Europe. Gen. Allen exchanged voluminous emails with the Tampa socialite--"The Beautiful and Vivacious" could be part of Jill Kelley's given name--whose complaint to the FBI about Paula Broadwell's alleged cyber threats ricocheted into the heart of Langley. There is no evidence thus far that Gen. Allen misbehaved. But this kind of press doesn't do him any good, either.


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