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Sex, lies and…e-mail?

Videotapes are so passe. And who has a VCR player anymore, anyway?

E-mail (and its evil spawn, texting) is the smoking gun of the 21st century, when it comes to catching those engaging in extramarital affairs. And it seems no matter how powerful and how high up the food chain you are, you’re not impervious to its tentacles.

Witness what’s happening at the CIA and the Pentagon these days.

First, General David Petraeus (rhymes with Betray Us) was busted, and subsequently resigned his post as Director of the CIA, for engaging in hanky panky with a mistress, much of it via e-mail.

Now the military’s top man in Afghanistan, General John Allen, might be in the same kind of mess. E-mails, once again, are being scrutinized.

It’s a sort of love triangle, with Petraeus’s mistress allegedly sending threatening e-mails to the woman who Allen has been allegedly fooling around with.

As The Pentagon Turns.

Gen. David Petraeus

This, of course, is unbecoming no matter what, but when it involves men of the stature of Generals Petraeus and Allen, well then it moves into another category of unbecoming.

Women might be right. Maybe men do think with their penises—in general (sorry, pun intended).

Recall how text messages and e-mail helped bring down Detroit’s young and promising mayor.

There really isn’t any shock value, anymore, to the philandering powerful man story, even when it comes to Petraeus and Allen. I mean, did your jaw drop when Petraeus resigned, and you found out why he resigned?

Surprised? Sure. Shocked? Maybe not so much.

At this point, only such an affair involving the President of the United States would be shocking enough for us to be, well, shocked.

One by one they fall, betrayed by their own anatomy below the belt.

Politicians. Corporate leaders. Entertainers. And now, CIA directors and generals.

The question isn’t really “Who’s next? but rather, “When?”

When will be the next time we read of a powerful, entrenched man toppled by his pee-pee?

There are 48 days left in the year. Plenty of time to squeeze another scandal in, maybe before Christmas.

Categories : justice, laws, military, society
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Photo Opportunity

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The matter of desiring the release of photographs showing a very dead Osama bin Laden has absolutely nothing to do with a thirst for morbidness or a sick desire to see such graphic images.

At least, not through these eyes.

President Obama steadfastly made the decision not to release the graphic photos to satisfy those seeking proof that bin Laden has, indeed, been eliminated. He told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in an interview that will air on Sunday that the decision was fairly easy for him to make.

“Spiking the football” has been the term used to describe what releasing the photos would be, in allegory.

The fear is that releasing such images would put Americans in danger, globally. There are other reasons, too—including that we “don’t do that kind of thing.”

The words in quotes are not the president’s, but rather an overall feeling that many pundits have demonstrated over the past few days.

What hasn’t really been discussed too loudly is what the families of the 9/11 victims have to say about all this.

I don’t think it’s such a slam dunk for them, that these photos not be released.

The real one ought to be seen, too

It’s easy for those not directly touched by 9/11—in terms of losing loved ones—to take the high road and declare the photos to be off limits.

Where are the advocates for the families? They ought to be crying for the photos.

You ever hear of closure?

Why hasn’t anyone considered how much the viewing of a dead bin Laden might help the grieving process?

It’s like in the cases of capital punishment. when the victims of the condemned are invited to witness the execution.

Would all victims’ families want to view the photos? Of course not. But would some? You bet your sweet bippy—and more than just some.

I just don’t know how much the release of the photos imperils us more as a nation, whether here or overseas. I’m pretty sure that train left the station when it was confirmed that bin Laden had been killed.

You think the terrorists are thinking, “Well, as long as they don’t show the pictures of our dead leader, then we’re good. But as soon as we see images, then it’s on!!”


I respect Obama’s decision, because it was made with little emotion and was very presidential.

I’m just a little taken aback that no one is advocating for the families of the 9/11 victims on this hot button issue. If someone is, then I’m missing it or it’s not very loud.

Viewing gruesome photos of a dead Osama bin Laden isn’t what I crave, personally. But I think those directly affected by his evilness ought to have the option of looking at the images, if they feel it would bring closure and drive home the nail of justice.

This isn’t about spiking any imaginary football. It’s about compassion for the families of bin Laden’s murder victims.

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General Malaise

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The smoking gun document leaked out, and its words were damning for the words’ originator.

The President of the United States, no less, was being called out by a powerful general for having a different sort of wartime strategy than the general would prefer. If the president’s path was taken, the words said, then the ramifications could be dire.

The president, after huddling with his Defense Secretary and the Joint Chiefs, rendered a decision: the general would have to be replaced. Because no one calls out the Commander in Chief on military matters, especially during wartime.

And that’s how it came to be that Harry S. Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur.

If you had Stanley McChrystal’s name on the brain, you’re forgiven. But it’s another example of the adage: if you stick around long enough, you’re liable to see history repeat itself.

The Korean War was the conflict in 1951, when much-decorated General MacArthur, commander of the forces defending South Korea, became mystified by President Truman’s “limited war” strategy.

MacArthur wrote a letter critical of Truman, and it fell into the hands of U.S. Rep. Joseph William Martin, Jr. (R-Massachusetts). Rep. Martin read it on the floor of Congress, along with providing copies for the press.

The letter ended, “It seems strangely difficult for some to realize that here in Asia is where the Communist conspirators have elected to make their play for global conquest, and that we have joined the issue thus raised on the battlefield; that here we fight Europe’s war with arms while the diplomats there still fight it with words; that if we lose the war to communism in Asia the fall of Europe is inevitable, win it and Europe most probably would avoid war and yet preserve freedom. As you pointed out, we must win. There is no substitute for victory.”

It was obvious that the “some” in that first sentence refers to Truman, as does “you” in the second-to-last sentence.

The letter of April 1951 wasn’t the first time MacArthur had been critical of Truman.

President Truman and General MacArthur, in happier times

On August 26, 1950, Gen. MacArthur was addressing the 51st National Encampment of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In condemning President Truman’s policy toward the island of Formosa, MacArthur said: “Nothing could be more fallacious than the threadbare argument by those who advocate appeasement and defeatism in the Pacific that if we defend Formosa we alienate continental Asia.”

The relationship between Truman and MacArthur began to be strained from that point on, though the two worked together without much incident.

Then came the April 1951 letter, and Truman had had enough.

The decision to fire MacArthur was portrayed as being pretty much unanimous among the President and his close military advisers, along with the Joint Chiefs. While it was agreed that MacArthur hadn’t been guilty of out-and-out insubordination, he had come perilously close and that was enough to render his leadership counter to the greater good.

General McChrystal’s brain fart, in the form of his profile in Rolling Stone Magazine, made it impossible for President Barack Obama to keep McChrystal in command of the forces in Afghanistan.

The President had no choice but to fire McChrystal.

If an “old soldier” like the esteemed General Douglas MacArthur can be fired for publicly challenging his president’s—and thus the country’s—war strategy, then who can’t be?

It took almost 60 years this time, but these things have a way of cycling back, sooner or later.

Categories : Enotes, history, military
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