Saturday, November 17, 2012

Manly Men

It isn't often that I think David Horsey misses the point, but his most recent column sure fits in that category.  While what he has to say has some truth to it, he is overlooking some pretty sizable issues.  Ironically, his cartoon hints at those issues, but his column completely overlooks them.

After discussing the World War II affair which General Eisenhower, later to become President Eisenhower, had with Kay Summersby, Horsey laments the current state of affairs in this nation.

This is all fabulous news for media gossip mavens, but not so good for the country. The sudden subtraction of Petraeus’ leadership skills and international expertise is a real loss. There are few, if any, other countries in which a romantic fling would force a man of Petraeus’ stature into retirement. Of course, we can be proud of insisting on such high ethical standards and probably, in the long run, our military and our government institutions are better for it. Still, this is a case where the price for rectitude seems especially high.

Would America be better off if Ike had been brought down by his stolen kisses in time of war?

Yes, yes, yes.  Our puritanical nation loves itself some sexual scandals.  This time, however, there is a bit more going on, and I'm not talking about the "compromised security" bovine excrement. 

First of all, the emphasis of the coverage has shifted from Petraeus and Allen to Broadwell and Kelley, the latter of whom is referred to as "Tampa Kardashian."  The seductresses are getting the blame.  What chance did these poor men have under such sieges?  In other words, it's the women's fault, not the four-star generals' fault.  The women were asking for it, yes?

Tell that to the service women who have been raped and sexually assaulted by soldiers and, yes, major officers (including other generals and admirals), and who have been sexually harrassed up and down the chain of command.  The misogyny is palpable, and such coverage seems to give justification for it.

Which leads me to my second point:  these four-star generals are supposed to be the cream of the crop, the exemplars by which all other officers and service people are judged.  They are supposed to be leaders, with the self-discipline to embody the qualities we expect from our military.  Instead, with feet of very soft clay, they embody entitlement, a sense of "I'm in charge here, and I get what I want," the rules be damned.  This is not disciplined leadership.  It's massive fail.

So, a couple of careers are wrecked? 


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