Monday, November 12

Today's reading on the Petraeus resignation

1. A Tale of Two Victories and Two Falls

Friend Mark Safranski's take. He surmises deeper and more nefarious things going on. I'm not convinced, yet, but I respect him greatly.

2. Former aides wonder: Did Petraeus stumble in unfamiliar terrain?

John Nagl shared this on Facebook, saying 'Greg Jaffe with the best analysis yet of how this likely happened.'

3. As Details Emerge on Petraeus Affair, Fallout May Echo Far Beyond Resignation
John himself spoke on PBS tonight (shared on Facebook). Here's the transcript of his part:

GWEN IFILL: John Nagl, you have known General Petraeus for some time. Have you been in communication with him since this all broke?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL (RET.), President, Center for a New American Security: I have.
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: He is devastated, deeply contrite, very, very sorry about the harm he has caused to Holly in particular, his wife of 38 years, who has been really stalwart through his many deployments.
And he really feels that he's let the team down.
GWEN IFILL: How much of a surprise was this for you, having worked with him?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: It was absolutely a kick in the gut. I was astounded. I was shocked. I was very hurt and very surprised.
He has been a role model to me for literally decades, for nearly 25 years, a man I have admired and looked up to, a man I still think very highly of in many ways, but who clearly made a grievous, unforgivable error.
GWEN IFILL: Because there are so many people who have said that -- just what you just said, that they are great admirers of General Petraeus, what does this do to his reputation as a military man and also as a civilian leader?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: My hope is that, although it obviously and should damage his personal reputation -- his long reputation of personal integrity and good character, I think that reputation will never fully recover.
But I don't think it eliminates the fact or we should ignore as we look at the totality of the man the fact that two different presidents called on him in their hour of need.
And in both cases, he went to the sound of the guns and performed admirably under two very difficult conflicts.
GWEN IFILL: Do you have any reason -- have you had any reason to meet Paula Broadwell or know anything of her work?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: I do know Paula.
She's a very smart, very attractive, very driven woman, a fellow West Point graduate who has been very present in the Washington policy community and the national security debate.
And I am also sickened by the damage this will obviously do to her, to her husband, Scott, who I have met, to their children. And this is a very sad story for all concerned.

4. A General Lesson: David Petraeus was a decorated leader and strategic thinker. Why did he risk everything on an affair?

Shared by friend Patrick O'Connor. Interesting backgrounder on West Point.

Saturday, November 10

A few thoughts on Petraeus' resignation

1. Had a very good discussion by my excellent Facebook friends on a post over there.

2. The first report I saw giving a deeper reason for the events was this one:
Official tells me sevrl people who knew Petraeus got anonymous harassing emails. So investigation started. Emails then traced to Broadwell. -- @MarthaRaddatz via Bryan Jones
3. In some ways, the whole thing is just all so depressingly cliche. It was obviously a serious relationship (v. a passing fling), if Paula Broadwell had his Gmail password. That she would write anonymous emails from that account shows more shockingly bad judgement on her part.

4. I wanted to find out more about Broadwell. Her personal website is down, but that's why we have Google cache.

This quote, particularly, about the biography she wrote hits the wrong note in retrospect:
While conducting research over the past three years, Broadwell was afforded extensive access by General Petraeus, his mentors, his subordinates, and his longtime friends. Over the course of Petraeus's command of ISAF-Afghanistan from July 2010 through July 2011, Broadwell embedded with the general, his headquarters staff, and his soldiers on the front lines of fighting across Afghanistan to chronicle the experiences of this American general as they are brought to bear in the terrible crucible of war. All In draws on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with Petraeus and his top officers and soldiers and on Broadwell's frontline reporting experience to tell the inside story of this commander's development and leadership in war from every vantage point.
5. What about the children? Each had two, and Broadwell's are comparatively young.

All in all, this is a big disappointment. We really could have continued to use Petraeus' excellent public service.

Wednesday, November 7

Thoughts on the election

+ Nothing has changed -- President, House, Senate -- so I think we can reasonably expect nothing much to continue happening in the next 4 years. I happen to think this is preferable to a Romney presidency and a Republican mandate.

+ Wow, did Nate Silver ever nail it. He was one of the big stories of this election. I've read a lot about him lately.

This was the first video I watched of him, and my first, unfiltered thought was something like 'He's got a face for radio.' Not good, I know, I think I'd just built him up into sort of a rock star in my mind. I was taken aback a little at first that he wasn't dripping with charisma and good looks.

Triumph of the Nerds: Nate Silver Wins in 50 States

Hmm: can't find the best article I read about Silver today...

+ Interesting post about the changes that had begun and will now go into effect because Romney would lead a repeal: Obama’s second term: Change you can really believe in

Thought I had more to say, but I guess that's it.