The comparison only goes so far. As far as I know right now, Paula Broadwell did not kill a bunny and leave it to boil in pot at the Jill Kelley residence. And of course she was not terrorizing her lover’s family, just a woman three years younger and arguably better looking, who also enjoyed easy access to the famous general. But she does seem, from those ill-advised e-mails, bat-shit crazy.
People are wondering of Petraeus: How could he do it? What on earth was he thinking? With all due respect, I think this is one of the least mysterious phenomena in the known universe. Men facing a full-court charm offensive always seem to convince themselves that it’s all about them, that the worship and affection of a pretty woman is a direct confirmation of their own innate awesomeness. They are never quite aware that women have their own motivations in affairs of the heart and the groin. Paula Broadwell seemed pretty self-assured throughout a stellar career, but not so much that she could resist threatening the life of someone she saw as a rival. But then she knew what a lot of other people did not: for all his discipline and rectitude, General Dave can be made to cheat.
Petraeus is undoubtedly a talented leader, and I’ve read a lot of stuff saying that he shouldn’t have resigned. He’s only human, after all. But a director of the Central Intelligence Agency has to be a little more than human in the conduct of his personal affairs. There’s reason the post wasn’t offered to former Rep. Anthony Weiner. Maybe national security wasn’t compromised in this case, but given Broadwell’s apparent instability, maybe it was only a matter of time. Petraeus did the right thing by quitting. I can only hope that Paula Broadwell’s book sales suffer as a result. But probably they’ll only soar.
One other thing: If I hear the word “Benghazi” one more time in connection with this incident, I’m going to go bat-shit crazy myself. Some folks are trying a spin a cheap affair into some sort of pre-election conspiracy to occlude the “truth” about the murder of our ambassador there. What the hell are you people thinking? Can you even identify the continent in which Benghazi is located? Just shut up.