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If I were a responsible grown-up, I wouldn’t care. If I were responsible grown-up I would be more concerned with national security and chain-of-command issues than with the lurid details of the sex scandal itself. But I’m not a responsible grown-up. I’m a recovering lecher. And to me, this David Petraeus escapade is simply too bizarre, too titillating, too mind-boggling to leave alone. It’s like catnip to a cat.
Just consider what we know. America’s most admired military hero—a 4-star general renowned for his integrity, the holder of a Ph.D. in International Relations from Princeton University, married for 38 years, and the head of the world’s most formidable intelligence agency—is found to be having an affair with one Paula Broadwell, a 40-year old woman, 20 years his junior, the mother of two young sons, married to a radiologist.
Not only is Broadwell married and a mommy, but she’s a distance runner, a former homecoming queen, a West Point grad, a Ph.D. candidate, and the author of a biography of Petraeus himself. In fact, it was while Paula Broadwell was conducting research for her book that she and General Petraeus first met and, alas, made the decision to jungle-up.
Then we learn that the accomplished and highly motivated Broadwell (she was also her high school valedictorian and, in addition to West Point, a Harvard graduate) sent threatening e-mails to another woman, one Jill Kelley, a fetching, 37-year old Tampa socialite, warning her to stay the hell away from Petraeus.
While there is absolutely no evidence so far indicating that Petraeus and Kelley were romantically involved, we still have a ways to go in the investigation. Considering the number of oddities that have already been revealed, who knows what will turn up?
But there’s more. Next, we learn that another soldier, General John Allen, the officer who replaced Petraeus as commander in Afghanistan, is alleged to have sent as many as 30,000 e-mail pages to Jill Kelley, the fetching Tampa socialite whom Broadwell had threatened. I don’t care how fast a typist you are, 30,000 pages is one prodigious body of work. More to the point, what could one uniformed officer possibly say to a woman in 30,000 pages? It boggles the mind.
But there’s more. Then we learn that one of the FBI agents investigating the case is suspected of having sent shirtless photos of himself to Kelley, the fetching Tampa socialite. Really?? An FBI agent actually took off his shirt, photographed himself bare-chested, and then sent the photos to the same young woman who had received those 30,000 pages of e-mails from General Allen?
You couldn’t make this stuff up. Call me greedy, but my hope, my dream, is that we find out that David Petraeus was born in Kenya, that Anthony Weiner has sent photos of his penis to both Broadwell and Kelley, and that at some point in this story the Kardashians are implicated. I’m telling you, this stuff is like catnip to a cat.
David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor,” 2nd Edition), was a former labor union rep.