Posted by: JDM..... | November 14, 2012

Enough with Petraeus already…..

bad saint, good warrior…..

We just survived one media circus and I’m in no mood for another. Frankly, I don’t give that much of a toot about the man’s flawed social resume. It’s his professional performance that defines his ability to do the job. While I fully agree that his extra curricular activities ruined his veneer of moral virginity, and such behavior isn’t considered a nicety in our culture, it doesn’t define the quality of his leadership to date. Similarly, it doesn’t predict whether or not he would be likely to do a good job in the future. A far greater indicator of future performance would be how he responds to the situation and what he does about it. On that score, when the matter came to the surface he looked in the eye, owned it, and resigned his position. At least he didn’t quibble about the details and the meaning of “is”. If his bimbo bevy hadn’t gotten into a cat fight, it’s likely nobody would ever have known except the General and his horizontal biographer, and he may have gone to his reward at some distant date with a phenomenal resume for his life of serving his country at the highest levels and pocketful of demerits for his less than stellar private dalliances. He wouldn’t be the first, and he wouldn’t be the last.

There is no argument about whether or not our culture and society place great value on traditional moral guidelines. We do. The majority of those who do stray from the midline of generally prescribed guidelines may act out with spicy reading matter or other such vicarious entertainments, but as their ventures get farther and farther away from acceptability, the consequences become more severe and the potential for forgiveness wanes. But thus far, the Petraeus Saga has about as much pizzazz as Mr. Rogers breaking wind while changing his shoes in the Neighborhood. Nevertheless, media rats and other graduates of the Jerry Springer School of Journalism scavenging the alleys for front page fare have raised the otherwise yawn-worthy story to priority status.

World history boasts precious few bona fide Saints, and while they might make us smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside, the type doesn’t tend to win wars or invent the stuff we like to squander our time and wealth on. Yet, we still want it both ways.

Looking at General Petraeus as a whole, I don’t think anyone would claim he has not led a remarkable career and done the right things at the right time. Four stars and a major chef salad on his chest identify this man as a winner in his chosen field. He made a bad decision and gave in to a temptation that he knew violated his values and those of his society. Unfortunately, when any environment enters the realm of political theater, and that of a four star General certainly does, performance often takes a back seat to appearances. Consequently, General Petraeus, and anyone else whose naughty side the scandal addicts can invent or scavenge from the bathroom walls of America, will be used as chum for the time being as the “tsk-tsk, tee-hee” tattlers drag for atta-boys and trophies for Spitballmanship.

Sad. He has proven to be a great warrior and leader, but a tainted husband as well, so the powers that be won’t let him lead or fight wars any more.

 

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