Unlike Joel, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Petraeus scandal.
Oh, not the sex part. What’s emerged about that so far is pretty dull: middle-aged married man boffs attractive, slightly younger married woman. This is news? (The British, who do sex scandals with more color and athleticism than anybody, must be laughing at us for getting excited over this.)
But what a marvelous cast of characters — from the “victim” who’s a more sketchy character than her anonymous stalker to the infamously shirtless FBI agent.
When somebody makes a movie out of this — and they must — it should be one hell of a black comedy.
I also admit to an ignoble degree of Schadenfreude. Petraeus was always too good to be true. Nobody should ever be that lionized — especially not somebody who’s in the killing business.
Are the journalists bloodhounding this trivial-looking story so thoroughly because they’re embarrassed at having fallen for the illusion of perfection? Or just because it’s good dirt? Or are they really digging for for something important beneath? (Why was this kept under wraps until juuuuuust after the election? What’s with America’s top brass hanging out with dubious “social liaisons”? Were those two human wisteria vines, the Kelley-Khawam sisters, running a high-class hooker ring and setting up government VIPs for blackmail? Nah, I doubt that — or they wouldn’t be so broke. But what kind of hold did they have over these generals, what kind of influence in power circles? The webs of influence here are weird.)
Oh, there is so much oozing out from the edges of the U.S. power structure and so little that’s actually known.
To me, the most intriguing detail is one that’s been mentioned only in passing — Petraeus showing up at a party at the Kelleys’ in a 28-vehicle motorcade.
If that’s true, think on what it says about the pretensions of this class of military mucky-mucks. Not only can you bet your booties that Mr. Four-Star didn’t pay for that accompaniment himself. But worse, what kind of “servants of the republic” (yeah, pardon the laughable term) parade to the parties of wealthy-but-dubious characters in grand cavalcades befitting a Medici or a Borgia? This isn’t Patton booming around in a Jeep. This is more like Benedict Arnold, whose craving for wealth, public displays of ostentation, and passion for a very much younger woman were keys to his downfall.
Not saying Petraeus is a traitor — except in the sense that most servants of Mordor-on-the-Potomac are traitors to the principles of liberty.
But well … you tell me. What more do you think might ooze out (or manage to stay hidden beneath) as this scandal grows? Is this just an overblown affair, something only prudes and yellow journalists could get all het up about? Or is it the “underblown” but titillating manifestation of something more corrupt and disgusting than we’re likely to learn?