Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland
The Sex Lives of US Generals Are More Important than the Deaths of Thousands of Soldiers
By Mariusz Zawadzki
Translated By Maciej Lepka
19 November 2012
Edited by Mary Young
Poland - Gazeta Wyborcza - Original Article (Polish)
How did it happen that the Americans have come to treat their leaders with more lenience than they did 70 years ago? “We had no inhibitions. In a moment, our uniforms lay on the ground, all buttons undone. It was like a fever; we were overcome by lust. We really were! But it ended differently that I had expected. Gradually, we got hold of ourselves. He hid his face in my arm and said: ‘Oh God! I’m sorry but I’m not able to pleasure you tonight.’ It was a bit embarrassing, us putting our clothes back on. When he showed me to the door, I gave him a ‘Good night, General’ and left. You never know who can be hiding in the darkness, waiting for anything that might give you away.”*
This, as you have probably already inferred, is a scene from the life of an American general. But it is not an entry from the diary of Paula Broadwell, CIA director General David Petraeus’s biographer and lover, who, as newest rumor has it, boasts an astonishingly low 13 percent body fat.
The above excerpt is a fragment of Kay Summersby’s memories. During WWII, Summersby was chauffer for General Dwight Eisenhower, supreme commander of the allied forces in Europe. They were very close, though they never went beyond cuddling and furtive kisses— partially due to the general’s inability to perform sexually at crucial moments.
Was the lack of Viagra a blessing for Eisenhower’s career? Would he have been the commander of the Normandy landings and gone on to become president of the United States if this magic pill had been on the market at that time? Or would he have gone down in history infamously as an adulterer?
Presumably, the ramifications would not have been so dire. The general’s soft spot for Kay was common knowledge among the whole staff. At times the soldiers even cheered them as they were driving around, and Kay attended Eisenhower’s meeting with Churchill, who also found her dazzling. The FBI did not investigate whether Eisenhower had crossed the line by engaging in a relationship with his chauffeur. Nonetheless, in order to avoid potential controversies, Kay was removed from the picture in which Eisenhower is shown accepting German capitulation.
70 years later, the United States is no longer lenient with its leaders, whose sex lives are even more important than the deaths of thousands of soldiers.
Let’s go back in time for a while. Since 2004, the situation in Iraq had been catastrophic. Saddam’s alleged weapons of mass destruction were nowhere to be found, and soldiers frequently journeyed back to the United States in coffins. As months went by, it became more and more evident that they had died in vain, part of an unnecessary and absurd war waged in a very inefficient manner. Yet it was only in the final months of 2006 that Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, who used to claim during press conferences that attacks by terrorists indicated their desperation, finally stepped down.
By comparison, the CIA director was fired two days after being caught cheating on his wife. On Wednesday, President Obama found out about the affair, while Friday saw the director handing in his notice, which was immediately accepted.
As Broadwell says, although Petraeus is not the brightest man on the planet, he was undoubtedly good at what he did. He curbed the bloodbath in Iraq considerably when he took over for Rumsfeld after the latter’s dismissal.
Petraeus can, in theory, be brought to military court, as adultery has been strictly forbidden in the American army since 1951. On the other hand, there are no grounds for suing Rumsfeld, who senselessly put the lives and health of young American soldiers in jeopardy. Apparently that is not forbidden in the United States.
Undoubtedly, Petraeus could not have stayed after his affair came to light, since he quickly became an object of ridicule. Even the title of his lover’s biography, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” seems to have a comic character. The only surprise here is that the authorities allowed the affair to go public.
What might appear even stranger and more baffling is the regulation that, for many weeks, allowed FBI agents to quietly browse the emails of the CIA Director, his lover, and her supposed rival—Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old housewife from Florida—and General John Allen, supreme commander of the United States forces in Afghanistan, who exchanged messages with the latter of the two women. As we found out, American law enforcement agencies are allowed to surreptitiously read emails that have been in the inbox for over 180 days. On the other hand, a search warrant needs to be issued to enter a suspect’s house, and he is usually informed about it.
Confidentiality on the American Internet is merely an illusion, and the Petraeus affair should clearly illustrate that to all Gmail users.
Unrestrained browsing through the personal inboxes of the two most important American generals can be reasonably explained. For instance, the FBI has established that Allen and Kelley’s two-year correspondence takes up 20-30,000 pages of typescript. Currently, this case is being investigated by a commission that is trying to establish whether the Kelley-Allen relationship was of a slightly frivolous or inexcusably lewd nature. The verdict will be crucial for Allen’s nomination as NATO’s supreme allied commander.
That anyone at all is willing to read that correspondence, which is more abundant than Kelley’s breasts and fiercer than the war with the Taliban, is probably the most surprising aspect. There is one clear conclusion to be drawn from this story: If the supreme commander of the United States forces in Afghanistan and a housewife from Florida did indeed exchange tens of emails a day, the ensuing scandal will be much more serious than the CIA director’s affair, at least as far as the security of the United States and its soldiers are concerned.
* Editor's note: The original quotation, accurately translated, could not be verified.
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