Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sex and Politics-- or cheating and power

When I got this idea of cutting down on the posts here at Thoughts, I listed off some possible topics. I hope relationships was among them because that's what's on my mind right now-- not my relationships but the ones currently we are reading a lot about if we are reading the news anyway.

One thing to clarify first-- politics is not government. Politics is the nature of how people work out decisions, relationships, power, etc. Unless humans are living solitary lives, politics is in any relationship they have (maybe animals too). So when I say sex and politics it means sexuality and the dynamics of human interactions.

One other thing-- in comparison to stories like why are we still in Afghanistan, the tragedy unfolding in Israel and Gaza, this affair is seemingly a non-story that wouldn't have been a story in the past.

It might matter to us as in how easy our online correspondence is to track [privacy? What privacy?] but has that changed so much when someone in the FBI wants to find your secrets?  An obsessive FBI agent led to the downfall of Petraeus

Now that it's out, it has gotten so much coverage mostly because humans love dashing heroes, beautiful women, juicy gossip, taking down heroes, and in the case of right wingers-- some way to punish Obama for daring to win twice. 

Our current example of cheating and power just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser as it reveals a world of interconnected warriors and hot women. So for anybody who reads here but has no interest in such relationship stories, the crux of it, that we know for now, goes like this (for today because it might change next week).

David Petraeus, who has been an American war hero (mostly to the right), suddenly resigned as director of the CIA-- right after the election (first suspicious clue for conspiracy seekers). He admitted he had been having an affair (the dates of which change with every story I read) with a married woman who wrote a flattering biography of him and has been embedded with him (turns out literally although the only for sure account is under a desk).

It gets more complicated when we find the affair was discovered while an FBI agent, on his own, was investigating harassing emails sent to another hot babe (all part of what would make for a good English melodrama) in kind of an interconnected group of friends which has led to discovering hundreds of titillating emails sent by the current General in charge of Afghanistan to the second of the two hot babes (it gets more confusing).

One person said the most damage this story is doing is to the Staff Sergeant trying to teach a group of young military recruits about the high standards of the military while we see the general in charge of Afghanistan has had time to send flirty emails to one of those hot babes.

When I first read about this, I went to Drudge (something I no longer bookmark because it's so one-sided and salacious but when I wanted salacious, it was the place I thought of), read the articles there and then went below for rightie comments.

The comment section is where this gets scary. They did not believe Petraeus even had an affair.  The commenters thought it was all about Obama trying to prevent the CIA director from testifying about Benghazi (which I gave my earlier take on back in the blog--Doubling down on dumb-- Benghazi).

Get serious, it's not like Obama would be hurt running for election with this attack having been al Qaeda. In some circles, they call that wagging the dog and some presidents have been accused of creating such an incident. Plus he's had an ongoing action using drones (which some believe is wrong) against terrorist leaders anywhere they are found. This attack could make his use of drones seem more necessary even to the left. It sounds more like that October surprise they expected him to create to stay in office. Plus he did call it an act of terror.

As far as I know, they have yet to prove what political group planned it. What I think is it was part of a much broader effort, but I can no more prove that then they can that the Chicago tough guys were behind blackmail and coverups. The latest far-out theory by some of the wackiest is that Obama set up the woman to have the affair and trap Petraeus. I tell you, righties will believe anything.

 The right wing has an ongoing effort to somehow blame Obama for those four deaths. That Libya was a dangerous country. That the men (three trained warriors and one ambassador who had seen the worst of Libya's civil war) killed all knew their dangers, not of interest. That the extra security was requested for Tripoli, also not of interest. Nailing Obama somehow for something that could lead to an impeachment, that is.  And wacky righties think they have it now-- Benghazi a way to undo an election they could not buy or steal.

Now skip the lack of logic that Petraeus' resignation would not and did not prevent him from testifying. Maybe some of those commenters were spy novel fans (all clearly watched Fox 'news' and/or listened to Rush and his ilk). Most of them sounded like bigots who cannot stand a black man as President.

Their logic is that if the affair had come out before the election it would hurt Obama which skips over the fact that the right had Petraeus up on more of a pedestal than the left.  The women, the FBI agent, the Generals all apparently were Republicans. When all those parties and high lifestyle were coming out, might it not have more likely impacted Romney who wanted $1,000,000,000 more for the military? [high living no surprise to locals]

A lot of those commenters saw Petraeus as a hero and by golly they still wanted him to be one. A resignation over a simple affair got in their way; and since facts don't seem important, they could dismiss those (he didn't have an affair but admitted to one out of ____ you fill in the blank).

They created a new story that had nothing to do with sex. Fox and empty headed commentators like Peggy Noonan are helping them do it. I used to respect her but listening to her talk about this with kind of an inane expression, a skinny old lady, she strikes me as so far over the top, and anything but bright that it's no wonder she was a speech writer for Reagan.

Is any of this affair/affairs our business as Americans? Do we have a right to demand sexual fealty from our heroes?  Alpha males and cheating

The affair and all that has come out since would not have been revealed except for two cat fighting females and an obsessive FBI agent, who had no idea it involved the General or any possible threat to security but as soon as he thought it could have political capital went to right wing politicians with the story due to his belief his superiors would not properly use it. It got as far as Eric Cantor who went to the FBI head but didn't reveal anything to anybody. He might've also wondered whose ox it would gore if it did come out before voting.

Incidentally that aggressive FBI agent sent a topless photo of himself to one of the hot babes. He has said it was sent to many as a joke which might have been true or not; but it is something that men, who do such things, often say (do not ask how I know-- but I do).

The more we read about this and that aspect, the more it sounds like one of those British novels regarding their military in India or Africa and the complex interrelationships that we had no idea was happening right there in Tampa (and likely on other high level bases). I suspect we would have been happier not knowing-- unless this involves revealing classified secrets which so far it appears it has not.

We're not alone with such scandals where two women set about bringing down a leadership-- not with that intent so much but out of jealousy.  France is going through something similar (could there be something in the water?)

Should we even elevate heroes? Do we like to put people onto pedestals so we can then see them knocked off? From the stories of warriors, like David Petraeus, affairs are not unlikely whether they end up proven (wisely he admitted it and won't end up in prison for perjury like Martha Stewart) or like Eisenhower, simply rumored and revealed by his mistress after he was long dead and couldn't deny it.

Is adultery in our leaders the business of the public? If someone is a general, the military regards it as theirs. From what I know of the military code of ethics, it's grounds for court martial to commit adultery (when it's proven). And I guess it's up for debate whether it still might impact Petraeus as a retired officer if they wanted to reactivate him and prosecute. I read they are unlikely to do that.

Some say this is all just too coincidental to come out right now. Oh, I don't mean those trying to tie Obama into it with the hope of another impeachment over nothing. I mean the James Bond film which came out at the same time.

Such films are likely one of the reasons for those conspiracy types to be sure Obama (or as one retired military leader said on Fox, the Chicago tough guys) had something to do with this as a cover up or had been using it as blackmail to shut Petraeus up. That would be smart, wouldn't it, to reveal the affair and make someone mad enough to reveal those secrets you were trying to blackmail them into keeping. Remember logic is not a factor in any of this-- not the behavior nor the reaction.

Some ask why I don't want to write more realistic stories, closer to real life. Why choose romances that are a bit of fairy tales? Well this is why-- rare are the happy endings when it involves people living life on the edge. Happy endings are for boring little lives that are the best to actually live but definitely don't make for 100,000 exciting words to tell about. Such lives are for memoirs which most likely (unless a celebrity or noted biologist) only have family members interested in reading-- if them.

Years ago when discussing Bill Clinton and his sexual scandals, Farm Boss said that was probably where he got his energy-- the cheating. It's that challenge of doing it, hiding it, knowing it could be found out, the power, the risk. This is not to say that there aren't some real love stories out there in these secret affairs. One that might be the case was Mark Sanford sneaking off to South America to meet with his lover and saying later she was his soul mate and he would not give her up. Evidently they are planning on marriage-- but will that lead to a happily ever after? If I had to put money on it, I'd take the other side ;)

Remember the old saying-- ah what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Actually a spider web is pretty well organized in comparison to human webs.

Jon Stewart, as usual, lays it all out with logic and humor. Too bad righties are so mad at those like him and Bill Maher who also did a good job on explaining it last night. They could learn a thing or two or three.  


Rubye Jack said...

Much ado about nothing.

Taradharma said...

as usual, Jon nails it is a short burst of comedic brilliance. This is all such a distraction from what we should really be focusing on. So much of what passes for 'news' is mindless chatter. We really ought to hold the news media to higher standards, but the sad truth is that many think this b.s. IS news. :-(

Rain Trueax said...

Of course, as a writer, I find such human interactions to be interesting. Should adultery be cause for dismissal? Is it still a taboo in our society? Does it bother someone to know that an FBI agent, with no national security or crime involved could spy on your private emails and then reveal them? It's not new but I think it is of interest-- at least to me. That someone can lose a job for a moral failing that many have had that also seems wrong. I don't think Obama had a choice on accepting his resignation but if he was doing a good job, I think it's too bad we don't have a more realistic view of monogamy and human nature... Just an opinion, of course.

Rain Trueax said...

There is still a lot coming out about the Petraeus/Broadwell relationship and I thought this was a good one. I understand that some don't find this of interest but for any that do, this is an informative article. The Fall of a General.

I was not one who had Petraeus on a pedestal but I do sympathize with someone whose career can be derailed by personal behavior. I hope that he will find other ways to use his skills. In our phony puritanical society, it won't be easy probably.

joared said...

Anyone who has worked in very many settings probably has encountered some of these romantic liaisons,or at least I knew of them the places I worked -- some unusual arrangements and activities -- in several different type of workplaces before I entered my current profession.

I just wish newspeople would focus their time and energies on the real issues facing this country. Let the people involved in adultery or whatever else it is, those who investigate any security violations if that's a genuine concern, do their jobs and give us a report. How about news, law enforcement looking into all the crooked business dealings exploiting govt. contracts, those entitlement programs that we're told are having millions or is it billions stolen from.

I do have to wonder about those so obsessed with the sexual activities of others. Not too many years ago seems some of the Congressional morality enforcers who spoke the loudest about values turned out to be the most hypocritical -- engaging in what they condemned in others.

In the current situation, I agree that no longer having the benefit of the skills and talents of Gen. P. is a serious loss. Yet under the circumstances there seemed to be no other solution. According to accounts, Eisenhower had an affair, then later became president. We know of other presidents who are said to have had affairs.

The older I become, the less patience I have with what often seems like that old saying of the pot calling the kettle black -- sitting on an open fire has burned them both.

Rain Trueax said...

Good addition to this story of human beings and relationships, Joared. There was a good article on it also in the New Yorker--affairs. We are still a very puritanical society no matter what some try to claim-- and puritan values are pretty near always hypocritical.

Hattie said...

Hmm. I am not convinced that Petraeus was doing a good job. And I think I could even join the right wing conspiratorial types in believing that Obama wanted to get rid of him as CIA director. The timing is suspicious.
But I could be wrong.
What is aggravating is that we don't find out the truth of these matters until it's too late to do anything about them.

Rain Trueax said...

Obama fired generals before. If he wanted him gone, he'd have just fired him. So I don't buy into the plot but as I said earlier, lefties didn't regard him as a hero which meant this coming out before the election most likely would've hurt Romney not Obama. I don't have an opinion right now on whether he did a good job. The surge in Iraq sounds like it was all about arming one side of a civil war which has led to chaos for civilians and the talk is he was better at publicity than doing his job but honestly I don't know right now. I do know though losing his job over sex doesn't seem right. But Obama had no choice but to accept that reservations whether he wanted to do it or not.

And this stuff on the high living of the officers, the money that goes into that, the luxuries, the elite staffs, that definitely would have worked against a candidate who wanted an extra $1 trillion for the military. It's not been going to the fighting men and women nor helping them when they get home when you see programs out there like Wounded Warrior doing what I think the VA should be doing. Who wants to cut the Veteran programs even farther, who blocked jobs for veterans? You know the answer if you read the news.

Hattie said...

You bring up an angle I had not thought of before: the class issue.