Tom Junod Gets It
I agree that these “real scandals” are scandals indeed, and cause for ongoing concern about the health of the republic. But they are not the real scandal. In yesterday’s iteration of his ongoing online conversation with Gail Collins, David Brooks said that Petraeus “didn’t do anything that the legendary C.I.A. director Allen Dulles didn’t do dozens of times over. Dulles had an affair with a member of the royal family of a foreign government, for crying out loud.”
This is an inapt comparison. For while Petraeus might have done what Dulles did, in committing a sexual indiscretion, Dulles didn’t have the capacity to do what Petraeus did. He didn’t have the capacity to transform the CIA into a paramilitary organization distinctive for its lethality and lack of accountability — the killing machine that spearheads the Lethal Presidency. He didn’t have the capacity to order, and then preside over, the executions of hundreds of people.
I should really go back and reread Junod's piece "The Lethal Presidency," in the September issue of Esquire. It contains some wonderfully clear prose on the state of affairs in Washington regarding our Executioner-in-Chief.