Given the sequence of events over the past few days, I’d be willing to bet that Paula Broadwell really wishes she’d picked a different title. Sparing any lewd analogies, it’s certainly looking like everyone who’s had anything to do with GEN Petraeus is all in this investigation. GEN Allen is now being investigated for sending a “number” of emails to Jill Kelley – the number being so high it boggles my mind – and the FBI special agent who started the investigation as a favor to Kelley is under scrutiny for being obsessed with her and sending topless photos of himself via text. What’s next?
All I’m waiting on is a story about Broadwell driving from North Carolina to Florida wearing a diaper and a wig, like the NASA shuttle astronaut Lisa Nowak.
There are a plethora of conspiracy theories surrounding GEN Petraeus’s resignation, mostly centered on the Benghazi investigation, but I think that may be a reach. It just makes no sense, given that Petraeus will likely testify anyway. Blackmailing him or preventing him from testifying by destroying his family and career in order to “cover up” Benghazi ignores an obvious fact: In the end, GEN Petraeus has absolutely nothing restraining him from fighting back, but now has a great incentive to do so.
Benghazi has generated other conspiracy theories, including that after the fight began, the military and CIA, either by themselves or under orders, refused to provide any help to the beleaguered consulate. I think this too will eventually be debunked when the story is fully vetted. It’s my belief, because of the complete lack of prior planning driven by a desperate need to prove Libya was a success, that the response was about what could be expected. Talking heads who draw lines on a map, then claim “someone” could have been available in X time are simply being armchair quarterbacks without an understanding of basic military logistics. It takes my wife thirty minutes to get ready to go to dinner, yet according to the armchair quarterbacks on TV, we could have had an entire assault force, complete with transportation, on the ground in a foreign country within two hours. Yeah, that would have been possible if there’d been a security plan in the first place.
The analogy I use is a firehouse. Imagine if your local firehouse, for whatever reason, stood down for a week, with the fire trucks and men being scattered around the state. If you gave it a call during an emergency, they’d take some time getting together, re-equipping, and launching to your fire. Now imagine making that same call to a firehouse that’s standing ready to respond. It’s the difference between having a plan and trying to come up with a plan after a crisis has erupted. I guarantee when the initial military person heard about the assault on the consulate in Benghazi, his first question was, “Where the hell is Benghazi?” The Pentagon Spokesman himself, when asked about the response, said, “The entire U.S. Government was operating from a cold start.” And THAT is the real crime.
We “won” Libya “on the cheap”, and by no means were we ever going to put any boots on the ground, so it became politically expedient to ignore any security threats. After all, embassies get threats all the time. To take the threats in Benghazi seriously would have entailed a reaction plan, complete with troops on standby – much like a firehouse. Doing that would be tantamount to admitting that Libya wasn’t the wonderland the administration wanted us to believe it was. Far from increasing security, the administration pulled out what little military capability we had, and the result was as predicted in numerous alerting emails and cables from the consulate.
So, at the end of the day, I think the various conspiracies swirling around GEN Petraeus and Benghazi will not be born out. It is what it is: a man guilty of infidelity and an attack against a diplomatic outpost that had inadequate security and no plan for reinforcement. The only question in my mind is the timing of the release of information.
I find it incredible that the director of the CIA was being investigated by the FBI and nobody in the administration had a clue. It’s simply not feasible. Petraeus was personally interviewed by the FBI at the end October. At that time, he admitted to the affair, and more than likely began writing his resignation letter. It stretches the imagination that the administration had no idea about an investigation that had been ongoing for months against the most powerful man in the intelligence community. It’s just not possible, no matter how many “protocols” the FBI will inevitably hide behind.
I’m not taking sides in a political fight, but the fact is that having this come out prior to the election would not have been beneficial to the incumbent. At the time the entire affair was boiling to a head, Benghazi reporting, as sparse as it was (which frankly deserves its own investigation. Why does this infidelity consume the press to the point of ripping open every scab available, but the deaths of four Americans, including an ambassador, barely created a ripple?), had taken a backseat to Hurricane Sandy. Compare that to today’s reporting, and you’ll get an idea of where Hurricane Sandy would have fallen on the news scale had this come out before the election. Benghazi would have been the star, and that would be a storm rolling right through the election with as much destructive force as Sandy itself.
Of course, I could be proven wrong. This story has so many twists and turns I doubt anyone short of a diaper-wearing astronaut will be able to predict the outcome.