NEW ORLEANS — It is tempting, oh so tempting, to unleash the snark as the script unfolds: Real Housewives of Tampa. Or is it Real Generals of Kabul?
But recent events are too sad for snark. With so much at stake, schadenfreude has taken a vacation. Here is what we know:
Retired Gen. David Petraeus abruptly quit his job as CIA chief when it be came clear that his long-running affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, would become public.
The investigation that turned up incriminating emails between Broadwell and Petraeus was spurred by Broadwell's allegedly harassing emails to another woman, Jill Kelley in Tampa, Fla., whom Broadwell apparently viewed as a threat to her liaison.
A PowerPoint laser and a map would be helpful at this point. Next we learn that Kelley has had a lengthy, “potentially inappropriate” email exchange — between 20,000 and 30,000 pages (!!!) — with another four-star general, John Allen, the Marine who replaced Petraeus as the top commander in Afghanistan last year.
Meanwhile, the FBI investigator who was looking into Kelley's complaints about harassing emails allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to Kelley. If true, at least we can be grateful it was only his torso. The agent, who had not been identified at this writing, is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI.
This is good soap opera, but bad everything else — and so sad for our country. What is wrong with these men? I know, I know. It takes two to tango. But when you're head of the Central Intelligence Agency — or lead Americans in war — your tango matters more than her tango.
Is it really a national security matter that Petraeus apparently fell in love with someone not his wife? Maybe. If his paramour is a spy or a blabbermouth. Already, there are signals that Broadwell was talking out of school during an Oct. 26 speech in Denver, where she suggested that the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, were an attempt to free Libyan militants being held there by the CIA.