We Live In A World Gone Mad

In the post immediately below, Scott recaps some of the recent developments in the Petraeus scandal. I want to add one or two more, and also elaborate a bit on one of the items that Scott mentioned.

The most significant of the recent bombshells, I think, is the report that Eric Holder knew about the scandal as of late summer, when the FBI contacted his office to get permission to interview Petraeus and Paula Broadwell. Holder apparently claims that he never mentioned this potentially election-derailing news to his boss and good buddy, Barack Obama. I find this claim–that, while many others in Washington knew of the Petraeus investigation, including Congressmen like Eric Cantor, Obama himself was blissfully ignorant until three days after the election–wholly implausible, just as I find implausible the claim that it was sheer coincidence that the scandal didn’t become public until then.

The least significant development, but one of the weirdest, is the replacement of the FBI agent who began the investigation on behalf of the bureau. The agent, whose name apparently has not been disclosed, was removed from the investigation after he “grew obsessed” with it, and specifically with Jill Kelley, to whom he sexted shirtless photos of himself.

Jill Kelley

The story I want to return to is the one involving another general, John Allen, who succeeded Petraeus as the commander of American and allied troops in Afghanistan. As a form of collateral damage, apparently, the FBI has found that General Allen, like the FBI agent, is obsessed with Jill Kelley. She must be quite a woman! Allen reportedly exchanged “20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails and other documents” with Mrs. Kelley. Ponder that for a moment: 20,000 to 30,000 pages? In Search of Lost Time is only 3,200 pages long. If you assume a standard 250 words to a page, you can fit the complete works of William Shakespeare into around 3,540 pages. The Bible can be printed, in most editions, in under 1,500 pages. So what on earth were General Allen and Mrs. Kelley writing so as to fill up 20,000 to 30,000 pages? Poetry? Love notes? The longest military treatise ever? Assume it took General Allen a mere five minutes to either read or write one page–no doubt a low estimate, when it comes to writing–and use the mid-point of 25,000 pages. That would mean that Allen devoted 125,000 minutes to his correspondence with Mrs. Kelley, or 2,083 hours–in other words, a full work year (40 hours times 52 weeks). No wonder we aren’t winning in Afghanistan!

I used to think the armed forces were an oasis of sanity in an otherwise-crazy world, but that view obviously needs to be reconsidered.