The recent Petraeus scandal has me divided: I think it’s absurd that we and the press are so sensitive to sex scandals, scandals that are really only the concern of the people and families involved in them, and except where they are hurting other people or perpetuating inequities, I really don’t give a damn where some politician or celebrity is putting their penis. So I’m a bit appalled at the sleazy gawking at some guy’s train wreck of a personal life.
But on the other hand, the press given to Petraeus has been embarrassingly fawning — they’ve treated him like Apollo brought crashing to earth, and as if they just want to put the hero back on his pedestal. There is far too much soldier-worship in this country: I can respect the work and sacrifice of soldiers defending our country, but it does not make them greater than the teachers who educate our children or the firefighters who protect our homes or any other occupation that requires hard work and dedication to accomplish well. And as we know from recent experience, military training does not necessarily make one wiser and a better advisor on how to apply military force.
So I was very happy to see Glenn Greenwald summarize the real story here so well.
it is truly remarkable what ends people’s careers in Washington – and what does not end them. As Hastings detailed in that interview, Petraeus has left a string of failures and even scandals behind him: a disastrous Iraqi training program, a worsening of the war in Afghanistan since he ran it, the attempt to convert the CIA into principally a para-military force, the series of misleading statements about the Benghazi attack and the revealed large CIA presence in Libya. To that one could add the constant killing of innocent people in the Muslim world without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.
Oh, for a media that actually questioned the powerful and how they exercise that power.