Generals and their gals: a satirical look at loose lips sinking generals' ships

The Petraeus affair is almost like an episode from some TV sitcom, “Generals and their Gal Pals.” Photo: General David Petraeus AP

SAN FRANCISCO, November 27, 2012 — Military historians who have studied sexual rendezvouses of powerful generals are stunned by the utter ineptitude of CIA chief, General David Petraeus, at covering up a routine affair. “He really has destroyed the mystique of the CIA with this,” said a disgusted agent. “Clearly he cannot be trusted to run an espionage agency. He’s embarrassed us all with his shameful inability to hide even one girlfriend.”    

“He makes Eisenhower’s affair with Kay Summersby look as brilliant as the Normandy Invasion,” says historian Arthur V. Depew. “Ike managed to keep the indiscretion secret until his death. Kay later confessed to the affair in a memoir, but Eisenhower handled it like the professional tactician he was.” Depew believes Petraeus should have three stars ripped from his uniform for conduct unbecoming a high-ranking Army skirt-chaser.

How Petraeus could have bungled his sexual liaison with Paula Broadwell, and possibly Jill Kelley, boggles the mind of historian J. Carter (Screaming Eagle) Snoops, the author of “Bayonets and Babes: 1865-1995,” considered the definitive examination of the military-sexual complex. 

 “Your average supply officer would have kept an affair with a nurse more secretive than Petraeus,” scoffs Col. Hartley W. Slaughter (Ret.), who teaches a class at West Point in the fundamentals of covert hanky-panky. The course includes such rudimentary elements of field maneuvers as deploying Pentagon spokeswomen to far-flung desert outposts for moonlit dinners on the sand.

Petraeus met several times with Ms. Broadwell in Libya, never realizing that Benghazi is a classic hotbed of illicit military liaisons. Said another historian, Thurston C. Bagley Jr., author of “Officer’s Mess,” a novel about a 5-star general who gets mixed up with a female munitions officer: “The Libyan paparazzi were out in force, licking their chops when Petraeus arrived for meetings with his biographer, Broadwell. One look at this tomato and you knew something was up — if you catch my drift.”

Veteran Afghan gossips suspected Petraeus was also turning up in Afghanistan a little too often. One Marine officer, Lt. Leroy Fraggis, said, “It’s such an obvious ploy — meeting a gorgeous dame who’s writing your biography. I was just very disappointed in David that he would use such a tired cover story. That one went out with Napoleon!”  

What shocked several veteran military and espionage experts is how Petraeus could be so naïve as to leave a trail of emails sent to Ms. Broadwell, but Fraggis responds, “Hey, the guy was in love, for God’s sake!”

Petraeus, though considered a shrewd military tactician, never seemed to catch on to the CIA culture for covert operations regarding extra-marital affairs. Said outgoing agent Matthew T. Burlap, who worked with Petraeus in his first few months at the CIA, “David thought he knew everything about keeping a girlfriend hidden because he was quite the flamboyant man-about-Afghanistan, but it’s a helluva lot different here at the CIA. You’re under more scrutiny. That old wink-wink stuff may work in Benghazi, but you gotta be a lot more cagey if you plan to keep a bimbo or two stashed away at Langley.”    


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Gerald Nachman

Gerald Nachman is author of  "Right Here on Our Stage Tonight: Ed Sullivan's America" and "Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s."

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