Skip to comments.Of Arms and the Man
Posted on 11/16/2012 7:42:57 AM PST by Kaslin
If William Shakespeare were still with us, he would have found his Othello. David Petraeus is not the darkly handsome Moor of the Bard's tale, but a pallor, highly-decorated officer, a nerdy-looking guy with a comb-over. However, like the Moor, he fuses monumental courage with human frailty. Public stature often stands on clay feet. It's the rest of us who put the marble sculpture of celebrity on its pedestal.
In spite of all the splendid attributes of competence, dignity and self-respect that accompanied the honorable and valiant Othello in his military career, he was merely mortal, an easy victim of the green-eyed monster. Gen. Petraeus, like Othello, a famous soldier with an inventory of war stories to impress a younger woman, is both a soldier and a man who must find the exquisite balance of honor and vulnerability. The modern four-star general, like other men who discover that power is a very effective aphrodisiac, was disarmed by a woman who draws attention to her well-toned body and gives new meaning to a woman who bears arms. We can call this saga "Of Arms and the Man."
We think our oh-so-open-minded, post-modern attitudes have triumphed over ancient rules written to govern behavior, but Cupid's arrow can strike an Achilles heel -- or another part of the anatomy -- as swiftly as it ever felled a hero of the Trojan War. The medium doesn't change the message, it only delivers it faster and to a wider audience. Homer memorized his epics and repeated them to crowds in an amphitheater; Shakespeare labored with quill and parchment for his actors at the Globe. Their audiences, nevertheless, shared similar sentiments of pity, fear and schadenfreude.
Paula Broadwell, (even her name sounds like something out of Restoration comedy) is no virtuous and wifely Desdemona, but this is the 21st century after all, not the 16th. Instead of losing a handkerchief, the general's mistress lost control of her emotions. As the "other woman," she gave in to a jealous rage when she thought another "other woman" was poaching her guy.
The soap-opera scenario has become as complicated as any play by Shakespeare, and with as many characters, lacking only the Bard's eloquence to weave the tangled web of deceit and deception. That's too bad, because Gen. Petraeus could certainly repeat with feeling Othello's full-throated farewell to "plumed troop, and the big wars/ That makes ambition virtue! O, farewell."
But, as Shakespeare would understand, tragedy sometimes requires comic relief. Other players in this scandal have added that. Instead of a clumsy and villainous Iago to push the plot along, the FBI appears on the scene. And in pursuit of villainy, the agents look less like Sherlock Holmes and more like Inspector Clouseau. The agent assigned to investigate harassing emails from the mistress to a suspected rival becomes so obsessed with the case that he sent the complaining witness photographs of his topless physique; even the bumbling Clouseau never bumbled so recklessly.
Tragedy becomes farce. Gen. John R. Allen, the tough Marine who commands U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, falls under suspicion, fairly or not, when the FBI uncovers between 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents he forwarded to Jill Kelley, the other "other woman." These are described as inappropriate, the Washington euphemism for anything from bad manners to explicit sex.
What is not clear, though many have their suspicions, is why the investigation was revealed so conveniently after the election after the FBI had lingered over it for months. The investigation is now holding up Gen. Allen's nomination as commander of the U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
When you can't follow the money, the usual key to following Washington investigations, you can usually follow the sex. Who knew these officers had so much time on their hands for these skirmishes in the endless war between the sexes?
We're all titillated by an entertaining soap opera, but the Petraeus affair holds deadly serious peril for the Obama administration and, more important, the country. The Washington Post says the president is unscathed by the scandal: move along, there's nothing to see here. But we still don't know what happened in Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, pleading for help, were murdered by terrorists. We don't know why the general at first backed up the White House version of events and why Team Obama went to such lengths to sell the silly story that it was all about Muslim anger over a video that almost nobody had seen.
One of Shakespeare's characters asks Othello how he will be remembered. "I have done the state a service, " he says, but concedes that he had "loved not wisely but too well." David Petraeus has also done the state noble service, and like Othello loved unwisely. But his story is not over yet.
Petraeus no longer deserves any respect or attention.
he is only speaking up now in a lame attemtp to help his own legacy.
he was content to let the CIA stay under the bus until now.
First off, Petraeus may not look like the terminator, but I can assure you, in the Army he was viewed as a tough guy. I believe he’s an Infantry Officer. What was his class rank at West Point? If he was ranked high and went Infantry, then he wanted to be seen as a fighter. He has the Ranger Tab which means he went to Ranger School. That’s no school for wimps. He was a runner and apparently a good one. For the past 30 years, the Army has viewed physical toughness as the ability to run a fast pace for long distances. Petraeus may not look like Rocky, but he had the right badges and his physique made him a good long distance runner. For the Army of the past 30 years, he had the perfect physique.
I don’t know. The e-mails I’ve read about from Broadwell don’t look like real green-eyed monster stuff. Could just as easily be viewed as e-mails from a friend and not a jealous lover.
The FBI Agent’s picture is really a big nothing. He didn’t send it to just Kelley and I can see the humor in it. He’s shooting at targets that look like him. If he had a hat and shirt on for the photo, no one could have seen the irony.
What I find curious is the attempt by the government to immediately portray Kelley and Humphries in a negative light. Why didn’t the government just keep its big yap shut?
What a stretch. Put down the Shakespeare before you tear a muscle! FGS, that’s the worst pile of analogy I’ve read this year.
LOOK!! Over THERE!
Of Arms and the Man is not Shakespeare. It is Virgil.
Let me know if the rest of the story is worth reading, or also clueless...
Scroll down to the 1990s section that tells about it.
We would like to think that our generals are supermen. I don’t know if you have military experience or not, but I was on the Private Staff of some generals. That means that I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to talk to the general. I had direct contact. Our generals are not supermen. I know some generals that I greatly respect. Petraeus is not one of them.