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Petraeus scandal puts four-star general lifestyle under scrutiny

Posted on November 19th, 2012 at 15:12 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


Of the many facts that have come to light in the scandal involving former CIA director David H. Petraeus, among the most curious was that during his days as a four-star general, he was once escorted by 28 police motorcycles as he traveled from his Central Command headquarters in Tampa to socialite Jill Kelley’s mansion. Although most of his trips did not involve a presidential-size convoy, the scandal has prompted new scrutiny of the imperial trappings that come with a senior general’s lifestyle.

The commanders who lead the nation’s military services and those who oversee troops around the world enjoy an array of perquisites befitting a billionaire, including executive jets, palatial homes, drivers, security guards and aides to carry their bags, press their uniforms and track their schedules in 10-minute increments. Their food is prepared by gourmet chefs. If they want music with their dinner parties, their staff can summon a string quartet or a choir.

The elite regional commanders who preside over large swaths of the planet don’t have to settle for Gulfstream V jets. They each have a C-40, the military equivalent of a Boeing 737, some of which are configured with beds.

Since Petraeus’s resignation, many have strained to understand how such a celebrated general could have behaved so badly. Some have speculated that an exhausting decade of war impaired his judgment. Others wondered if Petraeus was never the Boy Scout he appeared to be. But Gates, who still possesses a modest Kansan’s bemusement at Washington excess, has floated another theory.

“There is something about a sense of entitlement and of having great power that skews people’s judgment,” Gates said last week.

  1. Cripes, the man had an affair with a hot woman who was close to him for an extended period of time. Yes, it’s bad judgment for a man in his position, but there’s nothing difficult to understand about it, is there?

    Also, I think I’d “settle for” a Gulfstream over a C-40, thanksverymuch.

  2. I generally prefer my Gulfstream over my C-40. The C-40 is more of a Weekend Flyer, when you’re flying with the kids and all three wives.

  3. @florian: You’re lucky, my three husbands won’t stay in the same town much less fly together.

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