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Make Sex Not War


According to Adm. William McRaven, who commanded the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, David Petraeus and John Allen are American heroes.  In fact, Patraeus is the finest general the admiral’s ever served under.

Paula Broadwell probably agrees. About Petraeus. That he’s the best general she’s ever come across. And served under.

Backstory:  When Broadwell was a senior in high school she was inspired by the First Gulf War. A former teacher at Century High spoke to her “work habits and relentless approach to circular and co-curricular activities.” (I’m imagining plenty of circular extracurricular activities.)

Later, Broadwell reflected on her career choice:

I figured having a military background could help differentiate me in the world of diplomacy.  Understanding the military instrument of power is essential to being a well-informed policy maker.

(Seems Broadwell has been developing expertise in both operating and understanding instruments of power.)

Broadwell’s passion for the military continued to be fueled at West Point.  “Everything is about performance,” she said. (Heh heh.) After marrying, she entered the Army reserves, acknowledging new responsibilities: “And I am blessed to have an incredible family life, and a sense of work-life balance.” She went on to add that you can have it all, just not at the same time.

Now, here I am, processing all of this, visualizing scenes, circumstances, the cuckoldry, lovers, leaps, and leaks. What did David whisper to Paula during the work-life-performance balance of power?  Security risks galore. Galore? Pussy and Petraeus Galore.

And I’m thinking about Bradley Manning, imprisoned more than two years for exposing atrocities—as if we didn’t/don’t know that war is murder. As if we aren’t complicit in this crime.

But wait:  Here’s THE expert on counterinsurgency and he’s created an email account—like “those suspicious evildoers” who’re plotting to destroy our freedoms.

Yes, this is beyond beyond.

And there’s more: The other general, John Allen, and another “other woman,” Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite Paula Broadwell believed was flirting with Petraeus, were cyber-ing. Kelley is pivotal in the construct.  Because her entry into the miasma consumed so much time.  So. Much. Time.  Words, sentences, paragraphs. Twenty to 30,000 pages of emails between Kelley and Gen. Allen.

Instead of planning the incineration of wedding parties, funeral processions, villages, the maiming and deaths of children, the obliteration of fellow human beings, two generals were online, engaged in sexual conspiracy and flirt-flirt banter.

Paula Broadwell may be more than a piece of ass.  After all, she says she has it all.  But Jill Kelley—well, she merits further honors—not just an appointment as a consul.  Because she interrupted warmongering, Kelley deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

Missy Beattie can be reached at







Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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