But for those who love throwing stones, is it too much to ask that their aim be true? That they limit the target to Darwinian compulsion, to ordinary, and yes, at times, unthinking human desire. That they not equip themselves to judge the totality of a public servant’s entire career and works solely with the details of whatever sexual misadventure we happen to discover. Roosevelt was a smart guy. So was Eisenhower. Clinton might be the smartest president of my generation. And David Petraeus saw and spoke to the folly of Iraq before the rest of America was cheering the fall of Saddam’s statue. And he stayed long after that folly was evident to work at a remedy for and an extrication from that tragic intervention.
If we can judge stupidity by solitary lapses, then Roger Simon, by dint of this recent column could rightly be judged a moron. And if we’re going to free associate stupidity with the public discovery of sexual misadventure, such vacuous shit as Mr. Simon just offered up virtually requires him to be caught unawares in a Nuevo Laredo whorehouse with a fistful of fifties.
What I just wrote is unfair of course. I’m sure Mr. Simon has had better and meaningful moments commenting on our body politic, just as the general has had other, more meaningful moments as a public servant. But given that Petraeus himself doesn’t seem to have done anything criminal, or failed in his public performance, one can surmise that his decision to depart as CIA director is predicated on what he will now endure from our stunted media culture.
Allen Dulles screwed his way through dozens of women as director of the CIA. Dulles, by every fair historical assessment, was a Georgetown player and backroom bullshitter who led the agency into some of the worst intelligence failures in American history, then created an alternate myth of success for the agency. Shame on the American press corps of those years for buying into the professional myth, of course, but hey, at least those then covering the intelligence community hadn’t reduced themselves to a copse of dour-faced, suit-and-tie-wearing Hedda Hoppers. They didn’t give a shit who Dulles slept with. But David Petraeus can expect no such quarter, or — as Mr. Simon’s commentary suggests — even the smallest sense of proportion.
Of course he quit.
[It was never easy, and it gets harder all the time.]