Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Broader Implications of the Petraeus Resignation: Personal Behavior and Public Office
PJ Media ^ | November 11, 2012 | Barry Rubin

Posted on 11/11/2012 12:02:24 PM PST by jazusamo

General David Petraeus was the hero of the winning surge in Iraq. But he also has the distinction of becoming America’s first politically correct field commander. His strategy in Afghanistan was in line with that of the Obama administration by putting the emphasis on winning Muslim hearts and minds as a higher priority than military victories or even at times the safety of American soldiers. There’s a reason why President Barack Obama made him CIA director.

Leaving aside the question of the resignation’s relationship to the Benghazi debacle, in some ways, his fall is more discouraging than the election results. Don’t these powerful people feel that their duty is more important than their personal self-aggrandizement or pleasure? We should remember, too, that Petraeus’s predecessor in Afghanistan was brought down because of some incautious things said in a magazine interview.

Gary Hart, Bill Clinton, Herman Cain, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, Larry Craig, Richard Nixon, and other politicians supposedly represented certain ideas, policies, and the hopes and dreams of millions of people who worked hard for them and put their trust in them. Can’t they put aside what they might also desire for the sake of those things?

I have seen with my own two eyes Kennedy drunk on the floor of the Senate and I know a lot from first-hand observation about the private adventures of former Senator Chris Dodd and Hart. And all of the above hasn’t begun to touch on financial corruption.

Of course, many do behave differently and far better. A few years ago, I’d have said that perhaps the media has become too willing and able to expose the foibles of those at the top. Yet after the spectacle of a Teflon Obama and his entourage, it would be more correct to say that the media only exposes those it wants to for political purposes. Then, too, Clinton and Kennedy didn’t suffer at all from their amorousness and bad driving.

If I’m not mistaken, there are now Democratic senators from Connecticut and Massachusetts who lied about their military records. The latter one, Senator John Kerry, may soon be secretary of State, which will be a global disaster of major proportions. There is also now a Democratic senator from Massachusetts who clearly lied about being a Cherokee in order to receive preferential treatment for a job.

I have seen in the National Archives the OSS report during World War II that a Danish journalist was a Nazi spy. And this is the woman with whom John F. Kennedy had an affair. For that reason, he was shipped out by his father to the Pacific front, where he would be made a hero through a combination of his bad navigation and subsequent brave behavior in the sinking of PT-109. General Dwight Eisenhower’s and President Franklin Roosevelt’s affairs during World War II are today well known. But those were times when things remained quiet.

Why, though, are these personal matters anyone else’s business? The debate usually focuses around an argument between what is proper morality and whether Americans are too puritanical. The French, we are told, rejoice when their politicians get naughty.

But there is another far more important issue altogether that is rarely aired. If a politician or major public figure believes in what he’s doing and knows that exposure of his misdeed would destroy that mission, how can they give in to temptation if they really believe in the importance of that mission or in the importance of keeping faith with those who are relying on them?

And if they don’t care at all about those things, how can they be worthy of wielding power? It is not so much a question of personal morality as it is of character, not an issue of private life but of whether one takes seriously the concept of duty. If, for example, Bill Clinton was willing to risk his presidency for having some sort of relations — even if he could define them as not having had sex in some physiological sense — with Monica Lewinsky and then, according to the court finding, commit perjury about his behavior, that is not the sort of person one should want to be president. The fact that he escaped impeachment for the latter offense is not the point. His being willing to take that chance is the issue.

There is also something in the character of those who lust for power and fame — and I write this from long observation growing up in Washington, D.C. — that very much distorts one’s personality. Such people almost inevitably feel superior to others and arrogant that they can get away with anything. They start to take for granted that they deserve privileges but that the rules don’t apply to them. That’s why the founders of America wanted to limit government and the power of those who ran it.

Such wisdom is even older, though it has only rarely done humanity much good. “Put not your trust in princes,” says Psalm 146. Rabbi Hillel said almost two thousand years ago that the obsessively ambitious end up by destroying themselves.

Today, it isn’t so much that Republicans are more upstanding. The difference is that they pay for their sins because the media is so quick to devour them. If, say, a Republican candidate for the Senate in Missouri says something stupid once, he’s finished. If a Democrat does so, even repeatedly racialist statements, he gets to be vice president for another four years. That’s reality.

Before the French Revolution, there was ironic talk of those classes which could or could not be tortured. This distinction now applies to public figures as well.

Note: Of course, things could be worse regarding personal dishonesty. Petraeus’s counterpart in Jordan, Muhammad al-Dahabi, has just been sentenced to 13 years in jail for money laundering, embezzlement, and abuse of power during his three years in the job, ending in 2008. He is alleged to have stolen more than $30 million. At the same time, though, in America that’s just small change to pay to a green energy company in exchange for campaign contributions.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: character; corruption; obama; petraeus; politics; scandal

1 posted on 11/11/2012 12:02:33 PM PST by jazusamo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: jazusamo
Such people almost inevitably feel superior to others and arrogant that they can get away with anything. They start to take for granted that they deserve privileges but that the rules don’t apply to them. That’s why the founders of America wanted to limit government and the power of those who ran it.

Yes and most of us are aware of the specific ruling class deficiencies of character listed in the article.

But I've come up with even broader implications spawned by re-election, greater flexibility and purge time!

The purge was motivated by the desire on the part of the leadership to remove dissenters from the Party and what is often considered to have been a desire to consolidate the authority of Joseph Stalin Barack Obama. Additional campaigns of repression were carried out are planned against national minorities and social groups which were are being accused of acting against the Soviet state and the politics of the Communist Democratic Party.

Most public attention was will be focused on the purge of the leadership of the Communist Democratic Party, as well as of government bureaucrats and leaders of the armed forces, most some of whom were are Party members. The campaigns also affected target many other categories of the society: intelligentsia, peasants and especially those branded as "too rich for a peasant" (kulaks One-percenters), and professionals.

There by golly in nut shell.. wot? Plagiarized? I did not copy that from wiki.. d'oh! I thought s and /s removed text. Nevertheless.. meet "we may have to kill 60 million Americans".. The New Normal, ladies and gentlemen, all rise.

2 posted on 11/11/2012 12:21:36 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

We keep arguing from the faulty assumption that we taxpayers are less than these big government honchos. Dave Petraeus worked for me. I am an American taxpayer. I was his boss. Bill Clinton worked for me. He isn’t some kind of god. I’m on the Board of Directors for this country! I can’t get the Board to always vote with me, but these government people, including Obama, work for me. They work for you if you’re a taxpayer. Here let me show you the organization chart.


Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Panetta, Petraeus, etc......

They fall under us.

3 posted on 11/11/2012 12:22:43 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo
Where did this crap come from that GEN Petreous is such a millitary genuis? Tell me about the “sucessful (not) COIN military doctrine. Tell me about the wonderfull ROE put in by him to increase friendly casualties.

Obama “butt boy” is a more appropriate description of GEN Petreous

4 posted on 11/11/2012 12:44:04 PM PST by texican01
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: texican01

Yep, and Rubin had a little to say about that in the first paragraph and he’s right.

5 posted on 11/11/2012 12:53:18 PM PST by jazusamo ("Intellect is not wisdom" -- Thomas Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

Please bump the Freepathon or click above and donate or become a monthly donor!

6 posted on 11/11/2012 12:55:49 PM PST by jazusamo ("Intellect is not wisdom" -- Thomas Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo
Someday, somebody is going to release that iPhone video of Ubama having gay sex on the back nine of a certain Tampa golf course.
7 posted on 11/11/2012 1:46:48 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the psychopath.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

Another man, the victim of his ego. He knew better but was over convinced of his own power.

8 posted on 11/11/2012 2:40:46 PM PST by ex-snook (without forgiveness there is no Christianity)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson