GET PETRAEUS BACK TO WORK
…Is there a better man to fill Petraeus’s CIA seat than Petraeus himself? He is blackmail-proof and more than qualified for the job. He not only was a four-star general, a West Point grad and a Princeton scholar but, in the quite recent past, he held the director’s job himself. The United States would not only be getting the best man for the job but also striking a blow against the sexual McCarthyism that has destroyed so many careers and, in wretched silence, has aborted many a political career before it was even announced. At dinner one night, I sat opposite Holly Petraeus. …I can only imagine her hurt. But this is her matter – and her husband’s – and not ours. He betrayed her, not his country. No more need be said. Now get back to work.
OBAMA THE DEALMAKER
NEW YORK TIMES
Some on the left are suggesting that he adopt a strategy of confrontation and conquest. The president should use the advantages of victory to crush the spirit of the Republican House majority, they say. Reject the Grand Bargain approach. Instead, take the country over the so-called fiscal cliff. Blame it on the Republicans who are unwilling to even raise taxes on the rich. Wait until they fold, and then you will have your way. … This is not the Republican Party of 2010. Today’s Republicans no longer have an incentive to deny Obama victories. He’s never running again. Most of today’s Republicans understand that they need to decontaminate their brand. They’re more open to compromise, more likely to be won over with deal-making than brow-beating.
THE FLAW OF AN HONORABLE MAN
… So why, exactly, should marital infidelity be disqualifying? This is not an easy or simple determination in any field of public leadership and responsibility. With human beings, it is necessary to leave room for complication. … By all accounts, Petraeus’s personal failure did not involve the abuse of power, criminal acts or security breaches. But his case also demonstrates how messy infidelity can quickly become – messy enough to involve harassing e-mails and to attract the attention of the FBI. People at their most ardent are also at their least rational. And this is most damaging in fields, such as intelligence, where the essence of leadership is judgment.
THE SPYMASTER’S SECRET
…Some have questioned whether Mr. Obama should have accepted Mr. Petraeus’s resignation. The CIA director was found to have committed no crime. Adultery, which he confessed to, is not uncommon, including presumably among his agency’s staff. However, in our view the president made the right call. Mr. Petraeus’s failing was not merely an illicit relationship; he recklessly used a Gmail account to send explicit messages and, as a result, was swept up in an FBI investigation of alleged cyberstalking. Such behavior would not be acceptable in the private sector, or in the military, as Mr. Petraeus recognized. …It is a harm brought about by his own actions, for which he has taken responsibility. But it will hurt the country no less.
SEX, LIES AND GMAIL
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Above all, Mr. Petraeus’s affair raises questions about what the general was telling Congress and the public about the mess in Benghazi that saw four Americans killed. We know Mr. Petraeus can be direct when he wishes. …News reports in the aftermath of the attack suggest that Mr. Petraeus backed the White House line when he briefed Congress. … Given what we know now about the consulate attack in Benghazi, we need to find out whether Mr. Petraeus’s personal troubles influenced what he said to Congress. In short, America still needs to know what Mr. Petraeus’s unvarnished view of Libya was, and is.