Joel Skousen: The Petraeus Affair — Is That All There Is?

World Affairs Brief, November 16, 2012 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World. Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (
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There is a national soap opera going on, that surely masks something deeper. Not only did CIA director David Petraeus resign last week, but the scandal threatens to also topple Army General John Allen who was Petraeus’s hand-picked successor in Afghanistan. What is even more surreal is that the mistress of Gen. Allen was the same woman the Petraeus mistress sent threatening emails to for allegedly threatening her relationship with Petraeus. Those emails supposedly triggered the FBI investigation that forced Petraeus to resign.

Michael Hirsh has more details: “They were said to be generals cut from the same cloth, David Petraeus and John Allen: whip-smart, adaptable, erudite and above reproach. Indeed Allen was Petraeus’s hand-picked successor in Afghanistan, having served as deputy commander at Centcom in Tampa, Fla., first under Petraeus, then under Marine Gen. James Mattis… And yet, in less than a week, the careers of two very different men may be ruined as a result of alleged inappropriate behavior with women.

“It was scandalous enough when Petraeus stepped down as CIA director after an FBI investigation uncovered his extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The latest hairpin plot twist came early Tuesday when the Defense Department abruptly announced that the nomination of Allen, the outgoing commander in Afghanistan, to be commander of NATO forces was ‘on hold’ pending an investigation by the FBI and the Pentagon inspector general related to his relationship with Jill Kelley – the woman who kicked off the FBI probe by reporting threatening emails she had received from Broadwell [a doctor’s wife], and who has denied having any relationship with Petraeus beyond family friend.

“A senior U.S. defense official told National Journal on Tuesday that investigators are now looking into ‘potentially inappropriate communications’ between Allen and Kelley, 37 [a family friend of Petraeus and his wife, Holly] a doctor’s wife who worked at Centcom in Florida. According to The Washington Post, in the course of the Petraeus-Broadwell probe, the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 documents — most of them e-mails —shared between Kelley and Allen [totally unbelievable. This was later clarified to be “a few hundred conversations”].

“To those in the media who communicated with her, Broadwell was no hapless victim. She was passionate, highly intelligent and, above all, an eloquent defender of Petraeus, his strategic thinking and his reputation in history… In conversations and emails in 2011, a half year before the publication of her book, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, Broadwell often sounded more like an adoring press agent than a biographer.

“Petraeus had long been known as a ‘performer’ who loved positive press, in the words of a former senior civilian official in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. That reputation accompanied his rise to prominence and power in the 2000s [but nobody rises in government stature or the media unless they are also vetted as a globalist, which Petraeus clearly was].

“The question is whether this sad and salacious story amounts to anything more than another episode in the long saga of human failings, with the apparent destruction of two or more careers as a result. It probably doesn’t [Really? Here come the establishment reasons:]. According to FBI officials quoted by The New York Times on Monday, the bureau’s investigation into whether Petraeus had compromised security in any way found that he had not. Similarly, the timing of the FBI probe suggests that it reached its final stages just as the U.S. presidential election was coming to a close, rather than being held up for political reasons. Although Broadwell was said to be in possession of classified material, she denied that it came from Petraeus, and given her wide network of contacts, it could have come from the same places that journalists often get such material.

“In the end, Petraeus’ downfall marks the formal finish to a career that had in some ways passed its peak. The influence of his signature contribution to U.S. military doctrine—expensive counterinsurgency programs that take years to implement, with little to show in the way of results, as in Afghanistan —has been fading.”

The Afghan counterinsurgency campaign was more than fading. Despite Broadmore’s biased defense of everything Petraeus, it was an abject failure and still is. Here’s historian Juan Cole: “I believe that it was doomed to fail, because the way that Petraeus and his colleagues conceived of a counterinsurgency program was they had this mantra: ‘take, clear, hold and build.’ So they would take a village, clear it of Taliban, hold it for some months to reassure the local people, ‘Taliban are not coming back; you don’t have to be afraid of reprisals if you cooperate with us,’ and then build up local police, local security [who eventually turn on Americans]. At one point, General McChrystal talked about bringing ‘a government in a box’ from Kabul. I mean, this entire project was so fantastic and unconnected to reality. I mean, Kabul barely has a government itself, much less having boxes full of them to send around to the provinces.

“And it was overambitious. In order for this kind of thing to succeed-and I doubt it could succeed, I mean-and it required convincing Pashtun villagers that they should like us better than their cousins, right? And how likely was that? But if it were going to succeed, it would require a lot more troops than were committed to it [and even that wouldn’t work permanently because of the tribal culture in Afghanistan—which doesn’t work democratically]. So, you had that famous Marjah campaign, remember? And then they said they were going to do Kandahar, and then the whole thing petered out, and we never heard anything more about it.”

Hirsh Continues: “As for Allen, his tenure in Afghanistan is proving at least as troubled as Petraeus’, beset by ‘green-on-blue’ attacks by Afghan soldiers and officials on allied troops, and a stubborn Taliban supported by Pakistani elements across the border. [As for Allen] He was far less of a glamorous or show-boating figure than Petraeus. Nevertheless, he’s now one of the leading men in a national soap opera.”

As Julie Lévesque said, “The Petraeus Affair has demonstrated yet again how a sex scandal story can be fed into the U.S. media… [but] most of those speculations are more credible than a simple extramarital affair [Few are buying that the CIA director would resign over an affair. Every major player (who is an insider) has enough skeletons to sink them if necessary].”

Possible Motives: One of the possible explanations of Petraeus’ departure is his stance on Israel which he saw as a liability to US interests in the Middle East: Here’s what Petraeus said that outraged the Israeli lobby: “The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR [Area of Responsibility]. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas.”

“As Stephen Lendman observes, sex scandals don’t necessarily lead to resignations unless state secrets are at stake: Forget resignation over extramarital sex nonsense unless state secrets were compromised [and even then, not unless they’ve lost their usefulness to the PTB who cover for a huge range of sins among fellow insiders—and promising them immunity if they stay loyal to the conspiracy]. Lots of elected and appointed Washington officials had affairs. Many likely have current ones. Resignations don’t generally follow. Newt Gingrich survived sex and ethics scandals [because he was protected].

“Overlooked are secret CIA Benghazi operations. Involved are heavy weapons sent to Syrian opposition fighters. Petraeus left days before his scheduled congressional testimony [This might be a possibility but it is not likely since the investigating committee was only questioning why not enough security. No one was going to ask about the much more explosive “stand down” order. It is possible, Petraeus wasn’t sure and didn’t want to take the chance, but I doubt it. The PTB make sure these investigations are compromised from the very beginning] The Benghazi operation is erroneously called a US consulate. It’s ‘a meeting place to coordinate aid for the rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East.’

“Tasks performed include ‘collaborating with Arab countries on the recruitment of fighters – including jihadists – to target Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.’ Consulate designation provides cover. Obama and Clinton call the post a ‘US mission.’ The State Department lists no consulate in Benghazi.”

The taint of Supporting Terror: “Knowing the CIA’s shadow history, the cover-up of a secret CIA operation supporting terrorists used as proxy warriors to overthrow a foreign government seems the most likely explanation for Petraeus’ departure as Washington’s Blog explains: ‘Whatever the scope of the CIA’s operation in Benghazi – and whatever the real reason for the resignation of the CIA chief – the key is our historical and ongoing foreign policy. For decades, the U.S. has backed terrorists for geopolitical ends [and directed them at arm’s length, as in 9/11].”

My suspicions: I have to admit I’m not sure about the motives behind this resignation, but I can say with certainty that this leak to the news media wasn’t an accident. Even if the way in which this email love scandal came to the attention of the FBI is true, which is by no means certain, it was a total in-house FBI investigation. They found no wrongdoing, nothing illegal in the emails, no dangerous compromise of classified information and most importantly, no hint that Petraeus or Allen were being compromised by blackmail. Thus, it should have been kept entirely internal to the government (as most are) and Petraeus’s informal immunity (all insiders have it) should have held. In short, the media could not have known about this without an intentional leak from within the government itself telegraphed to their usual pool of bought and paid-for reporters who depend on official leaks.

So either the PTB wanted him removed peacefully for some reason (perhaps Petraeus was getting cold feet about what he was seeing inside the CIA), or he had a fit of conscience or honor, and decided to actually resign on his own as claimed. Let’s consider the probabilities.

The PTB do have a problem with military officers. All of the obvious rebels are eliminated before they get to Colonel. The rest can be even be good yes-men up to the general officer ranks and still not be compliant in the end when it counts. Most are more candid and critical of government after they get out, indicating they didn’t like what they saw but bit their tongue in order to gain that coveted retirement. Sometimes they can’t abide what they are asked to do when patently improper. General Hall and Admiral Gouyette were both sacked for refusing to stand down on the rescue of the Ambassador in the Benghazi affair. But they had been good yes-men up to that point. That’s the risk for the PTB.

David Petraeus had to be more than an ordinary military yes-man to get the coveted post of CIA director, which has access to all black operations—at least half of which are not legal or in the US best interest. The worst ones involve false flag terror operations or violate the law against US citizens. General Allen was headed to the top NATO military post, just like General James Jones—another Marine—prior to becoming Obama’s national security advisor. That means Allen too had to be somewhat of a globalist which that post requires. To dump both of these “reliable” insiders for an affair means there had to be something else afoot.

Proof of Jones’ globalist connections was his admission in the Munich Security Conference that they at the National Security Council get their “daily marching orders from Henry Kissinger”, passed down through Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Burger. Jones himself was relieved sometime after that and replaced by insider Tom Donivan. All this points out the fact that even the PTB have trouble controlling military insiders who have been reliable in the past.

My best guess (because I don’t know for sure) is that the PTB’s problem with Petraeus and Allen was related to the unrest in top military ranks over the sacking of Hall and Gouyette. Petraeus and Allen knew them both and surely had to know the reasons they were sacked. It’s one thing for high ranking military officers to cozy up to the globalist leaders above them (thinking that the globalist power structure is benign), but another thing to be on the receiving end of orders to betray an Ambassador and the valiant military men trying to protect him. Petraeus and Allen probably would not have liked the sacking of Hall and Gouyette for resisting the stand-down orders.

Perhaps the leaking of the investigation over the affairs and pressure to resign was the controller’s way of discrediting both so they could not blow the whistle on Benghazi without it sounding hollow.

Petraeus also was being talked about by many conservatives as a future Presidential nominee. I opposed it because I don’t trust anyone who is tapped for the CIA Chief. I still don’t trust him, even though, like General Wesley Clark, he may have been repulsed by globalist ruthlessness. Colin Power also was turned off but came back and supported Obama. Even Nixon who was crucified by the globalists and forced to resign spent his last days trying to get back into their good graces. When I look at the excessive way in which controlled politicians praised Petraeus to the moon as a great hero, I still have to wonder if they might bring him back someday for political purposes. My rule still stands: Never trust a “former” communist or “globalist.”

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