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CLUSTERBALL: James Bond and the Petraeus Affair

 
Using one of those overarching dramatic titles we have come to expect in mainstream media news coverage, John Stewart summed up the Petraeus story as “Band of Boners.” It's the sort of thing that may be inevitable when so much power is given so much free rein by so much secrecy.

The nature of military and spy craft -- Sun Tzu and Clausewitz would agree -- is that it’s never what it seems. As this unfolding clusterfuck makes clear, an institution devoted to the use of violence and an obsession with secrecy can literally be caught with its pants down by the most ridiculous of petards that even its huge public relations machine can't save it from.

 Paula Broadwell and her spy, General David Petraeus Paula Broadwell and her spy, General David Petraeus

By now everybody knows the story. A female West Point graduate with a lithe, athletic body pumps up a PhD thesis on General Petraeus into a book, amazingly titled All In. She gets intimate with the general, then sends anonymous threatening emails to a sexy socialite camp-follower at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The second woman, she feels, is moving in on her general.

It's appropriate, here, to recall that Henry Kissinger said the greatest aphrodisiac is Power. Henry would know.

The MacDill camp-follower then emails her favorite FBI agent, a bulldog known for vigorously hunting terrorist suspects and for fatally shooting a man near a gate at MacDill under strange circumstances. When the agent's suspicions are not adequately addressed, he contacts right-wing Congressman Eric Cantor. Something fishy is going on, he tells Cantor. It may be some kind of political cover-up. Maybe the anonymous caller is a terrorist agent from Kenya.

At this point, the case is out of control and enters into Patriot Act snooping mode. Soon, Afghanistan commander Marine General John Allen is being scrutinized for sending tumescent emails to the MacDill camp-follower -- along with some 10,000 pages of other stuff.

Making things more interesting, as all this elite heavy breathing was being revealed, the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, was hitting theaters all over America with a thunderous, special-effects PR campaign. As everyone knows, the imperial west’s favorite spy with the license to kill is a master cocksman in the bedroom known for embedding vixens from Pussy Galore to Holly Goodhead.

Unfortunately for her, Paula Broadwell has a name almost worthy of a Bond film. This, along with her athletically hot physique, makes the “Band of Boners” story that much more fun for the American public. But it's a classic case of mass distraction worthy of study for what's not being talked about.

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