David Petraeus , Director of CIA resigned on allegation of an extra- marital affair with his biographer Ms Paula Broadwell. So ended an impressive career of one of Americas best Generals, a four star , who made America’’s war in Iraq turnaround to its favour .
Irrespective of his shameful exit from American public life Gen Petraeus will be remembered to have shown what military strategy was all about , which today is an apt case worth emulating in Business Schools in the area of Strategic Management.
Gen Petraeus commanded the American forces in Mosul , in northern Iraq in 2003. He was not that kind of the General who followed political orders from Washington without looking into the ground realities. He believed counter insurgency operation required separation of wheat from the chaff by not looking at all Iraqis with the same yardstick. Accordingly rather than a military style evaluation of the insurgency, he was a man who thought laterally and was successful in winning the hearts of the locals in particularly erstwhile members of Saddam Hussain’s Baath party:
With a doctorate in History, Gen Petraeus believed in learning from mistakes from the past. His strategy was that the US military’s adaptation to the local conditions was far more beneficial for success in the counter insurgency operation in Iraq than military tactics, which makes the local population look at American forces as alien- the theme propagated by the rebel forces – a la Vietnam .
This Petraeus doctrine as widely known in military circles made the Newsweek magazine caption on him as ‘’ Can this man save Iraq’ in one of its edition . Obviously Gen Petraeus was not appreciated by the republican government under George Bush and in particularly Petraeus’s Political Boss Donald Rumsfeld, for his independent approach . Finally he was recalled and ‘’rewarded”’ for an outstanding performance in northern Iraq by appointing him as a police trainer in Fort Leavenworth:
Years later Obama gave him the much prestigious roll of the CIA Director which he had to now ingloriously abdicate.
It might be quite common in American Civil Life of successful men being stonewalled for a late life extra marital affair. Whether it is Bill Clinton or Tiger Woods plethora of great men has fallen to the paparazzi and became disgraceful for not being able to uphold a fictitious notion of morality in public life. In the case of Gen Pepraeus it could be argued that an affair tantamount to compromising on national security, but who knows the other women might have been his success factor
All successful and proactive men pass through a stage of intellectual void which essentially the better half of our life might not be able to fulfil not due to an erosion of love but emanating from a need for a professional camaraderie which essentially may lead to emotional entanglement.
Viewing it as an essentiality or social violation is yet another debate, but poor Petraeus had to hang his boot in disgrace and in the process The United States America lost a great soldier and statesman: