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El Comercio, Ecuador

The Petraeus “Affair”

By Pablo Cuvi

Translated By Alan Bailey

1 December 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Ecuador - El Comercio - Original Article (Spanish)

After peeling back a layer of triviality, the affair General Petraeus had with his lovely and enchanting biographer Mrs. Broadwell demands several readings. It is impossible to not be surprised, once again, of the moral double standard of American puritanism that crucified a prominent man because of a fling with no sign of espionage or abuse of power. Meanwhile, he has filled his chest with medals for imperial wars that have cost thousands of innocent lives, without counting the missions that he likely directed in the CIA. Because, let's be frank, if we applied the policy of lynching on account of problems with women to the armies of democracies throughout the world, leadership would not remain. That’s not to mention dictatorships where colonels like Gadhafi simply acquire hundreds of sex slaves for themselves.

Someone more suspicious might think that something fishy is going on, since it makes no sense that a passionate FBI agent, who happened to send photos of his naked upper body to the other woman implicated in the affair, would push an investigation designed to dispose of a military hero, who ended up being brought down the day after the presidential elections with an excuse that came before Benghazi. In the moral 1950s, according to several authors, the director of the FBI was a sly gay man that dressed as a woman while partying in Washington, and nobody touched a hair. (Nobody wanted to, as it's understood.) I'm speaking of J. Edgar Hoover, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in a restrained movie that barely hinted at the problem. On the contrary, what intelligence system is this if the CIA director himself can be brought down so easily?

The answer is found in a thick book with red covers, “Legacy of Ash: The History of the CIA,” written by New York Times journalist Tim Weiner. We all, from the leaders of China to any neighbor's son, kept an image of the CIA as a well-oiled machine, omnipotent and efficient, that achieved its objectives even to the last corners of the planet. (Ecuador came to have a vice president on payroll, according to Philip Agee.) But reality is another thing.

That the CIA promotes political crimes, smear campaigns and coups d'état is not news for anybody; what is surprising in the reading of this profound investigation, which could obtain the National Book Award, is the series of failures, botched jobs, mistakes and even manipulations to deceive not the rest of the planet, but rather the leaders of the United States themselves. Although everything is relative and tainted, since "errors" like the report of supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and "successes" like the support of General Pinochet's coup both led to bloodshed.

In common gossip, General Petraeus fell because his lover became jealous. If you want to sleep peacefully, stay with that version.



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