It was less that a year ago that General David Petraeus was the golden boy of US military strategy, the supposed genius who had turned around US fortunes in Iraq prior to the withdrawal. Members of Congress treated him as some kind of oracle whose words must be followed by even the president and competed to see who could praise him the most. Criticisms of him were treated as if they were blasphemy, as could be seen from the howls of outrage when the group MoveOn.org put out an ad in 2007 against the Iraq war that made a bad pun on his name.
Petraeus retired with great fanfare in 2011 to become the head of the CIA but his world came tumbling down when reports of an affair emerged and he resigned in November 2012.
He was then hired as an adjunct to teach a course at CUNY in July 2013 for the princely sum of $200,000, an act that outraged practically everyone in the university. The university hastily agreed to reduce his salary to a nominal $1 but that did not mollify critics who loudly protested his presence on the campus. Since CUNY is an urban campus and he has to walk on public streets to get to class, he could not avoid confrontations, as can be seen on his first visit to the campus.
Remember that US military generals are a highly pampered lot, taken everywhere in chauffer-driven limousine motorcades with a motorcycle escort and given private staff to cater to their every need. Having to deal with the profane masses on public streets is not something they are used to. This must have been galling for Petraeus, though he maintained an admirable composure.
And the situation has not got better and his more recent visits to the campus have been plagued by street protests calling him a war criminal and demanding that he be fired that this week turned into brawls with police.
However, we should not worry that he will become destitute of he loses this teaching job. He has the military-industrial-financial complex to take care of him.