I am a Democrat. He is a Republican.
Nevertheless, I have the utmost professional respect for this man, General David H. Petraeus, former commanding general of Multi-National Forces in Iraq, former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and now Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
I respect the General so much that twice I wrote columns expressing my personal support for the (re-) establishment of the five-star rank in the U.S. military and promoting Petraeus to that rank.
Sadly, today the breaking news headline is that CIA Director Petraeus is stepping down, citing an extramarital affair.
According to the Washington Post:
“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair,” Petraeus said in a statement distributed to the CIA workforce on Friday. “Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation.”
It is a sad day for the military, the CIA and America.
I am sure the pundits will have a field day with this and I am sure my Moderate friends will disagree with my professional opinion of the General.
This is all I will have to say about it.
…except for the following:
I am sure that in the coming days, many details — some straightforward and some “embellished, some factual and some facetious — will be published about behavior that the general himself addressed as “unacceptable, both as a husband and as a leader of an organization such as ours,” in a letter to his staff at the Central Intelligence Agency.
The President, in a statement today on the Resignation of the General, said:
David Petraeus has provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades. By any measure, he was one of the outstanding General officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges, and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end. As Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he has continued to serve with characteristic intellectual rigor, dedication, and patriotism. By any measure, through his lifetime of service David Petraeus has made our country safer and stronger.
Whatever personal frailty and shortcoming Petraeus exhibited in this regrettable episode, it will not detract from what he has done for his beloved Army and his beloved country during a long distinguished service.
The following are some excerpts about Petraeus’ early life and his later career from biography.com:
United States General. David Howell Petraeus was born on November 7, 1952 in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. His mother, Miriam, was a librarian, and his father, Sixtus, worked as a sea captain. Sixtus Petraeus, originally from the Netherlands, immigrated to the United States at the beginning of World War II. During the war, he steered merchant vessels back and forth across the dangerous waters of the embattled Atlantic. General Petraeus freely talks about his own steely determination and drive as being part of his heritage.
After graduating from high school in Cornwall, Petraeus headed straight for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. It was here that the young man’s drive for success started emerging fully. Petraeus was part of an elite group of students known as “Star Men,” as well as a member of several collegiate athletic teams. Most notably, he won a spot in the Academy’s pre-medical academic track, to which only 10 out of almost 1000 students were accepted. Later in life, he admitted that he had not had a particular interest in medicine, but that, “In a lot of ways, I think I climbed that particular academic mountain just because it was the toughest one to climb.”
After graduating from West Point in 1974, Petraeus joined the infantry as a distinguished cadet…
In the early 2000s, Petraeus served in Bosnia as part of the NATO Stabilization Force, as both Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Deputy Commander of the U.S. Joint Interagency Counter-Terrorism Task Force. For his efforts there, he was promoted to Lieutenant General in 2004. Petraeus was made a full general in 2007…
At the behest of President Bush, Petraeus was sent to Iraq in 2007 to put his new counter-insurgency ideas into use. Petraeus succeeded General Casey as commanding general of Multi-National Forces in Iraq. With a nod from Congress and 30,000 more troops to bring to Iraq, the general began instituting what is sometimes called the “Petraeus Doctrine,” which served to suppress the level of violence in Iraq. After playing a historic role in Iraq, Petraeus moved on. In 2008, he took up a post as Commanding Officer of the U.S. Central Command, which coordinates the military’s operations across the world…
In 2010, President Obama appointed General Petraeus to the Command of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan as a replacement for General Stanley McChrystal. Less than a year later, the general found himself for the first time contemplating civilian life, once again at the behest of the Commander in Chief. In early 2011 President Obama appointed Petraeus as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, replacing Leon Panetta.