Speaking of high-ranking military officials who cannot keep their pants on despite choosing careers that require this elusive skill, now comes “news” that the US Army has decided retired general David Petraeus will face no consequences for his crimes. In case you get confused between Gen. Petraeus and Pvt. Chelsea Manning—I know I sure do—Petraeus is the one who gave eight notebooks full of highly classified material to his mistress and biographer before leaving the Army to head the CIA. The general maintained the notebooks in 2010 and 2011 while serving as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan: they “contained code words, war strategy, the names of covert officers and other sensitive information” and “outlined deliberative discussions with the National Security Council and President Obama.”
Petraeus also admitted to lying to the FBI, which I think I heard somewhere is a big no-no?
Anyway, as part of a plea deal during federal criminal court proceedings earlier this year, Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials, for which he received two years probation and fine of $100,000. Instead of subjecting him to a court-martial for his crimes and risking a reduction in rank that would cost the general tens of thousands of dollars every year in pension payments, Army brass has wisely decided that this poor man has clearly suffered enough.
Chelsea Manning on the other hand is the one who provided evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan to Wikileaks, and was sentenced after a court-martial to 35 years in prison, reduction in rank to private, forfeiture of all pay and a dishonorable discharge.
I CANNOT KEEP THESE TWO PEOPLE STRAIGHT IT’S SO CONFUSING.
Maybe I’ll write to Chelsea Manning at the prison in Fort Leavenworth and ask her what she thinks about the Army’s treatment of Petraeus. I’ll be sending her a holiday card anyway.