Friday, 16 November 2012

Two comments on my Facebook page started me thinking... “Joanna Grey: Does it shock you that I think why does anyone care about this? Why do we assume the security of the nation is at risk because of it. Could he be blackmailed? Not now that everyone knows. OK, investigate the security issues and if there's a problem there then get rid of him. But otherwise, bottom line, does he do a good job? I mean has anyone in public life not had an affair? I think the public is so jaded on this topic no one really cares anymore but the media continue to beat these topics to death." Ian Lidster: "I agree wholeheartedly, Joanna. If interested I have posted a blog about it on my page. Covers similar ground.” Joan and Ian, as re the Petraeus fracas: I agree that I don’t care what the man does regarding his marriage vows, other than I find the betrayal of vows personally repugnant. I have a few issues here, and I think he should most certainly be removed from his position as head of the CIA. Once he began, what is now being reported as a series of affairs, which then set into play a soap opera of emails, threats to other women who may or may not have been involved, and a cascading series of events that left him trapped in a public spotlight with no high ground on which to stand, he needed to step down. If he were not head of the CIA, I would not give the situation a passing glance, but you cannot have someone as head of one of your intelligence agencies who has put himself in a position to be compromised, a leader who has been proven to have poor judgment. What is a fact, is that he lied about his activities, and those are only the lies we know about. It begs the question, ‘What else has he lied about, and would he do it again?’ As to why fire him after the affair was made public: how could his subordinates trust his judgment? How could he have the needed respect from his people and the public to run such an agency? How can we be certain he will not put himself in this situation again? He chose to put himself in that dilemma when he accepted the position at the CIA. The other huge issue for me is the blatant hypocrisy. In 2001, AFTER 9/11, when Arabic translators were at a premium, and there were bloody few of them in the American intelligence community- the CIA fired its two best translators because they were Gay! They were not in the closet where they would put themselves at risk of compromise; they were both in a stable, long-term relationship yet these vital resources were tossed unceremoniously to the curb. The military, and the intelligence community have a desperate shortage of linguists trained to translate invaluable information and convey it to the war zone. The lack of qualified translators has been a pressing issue for some time — the Army had filled only half its authorized positions for Arabic translators in 2001. Cables went untranslated on Sept. 10 that might have prevented the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Today, the American Embassy in Baghdad has nearly 1,000 personnel, but only a handful of fluent Arabic speakers. “I was an Arabic translator. After joining the Navy in 2003, I attended the Defense Language Institute, graduated in the top 10 percent of my class and then spent two years giving our troops the critical translation services they desperately needed. I was ready to serve in Iraq. But I never got to. In March, I was ousted from the Navy under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which mandates dismissal if a service member is found to be gay. “Over 11, 000 service members have been discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’ Tell; more than 300 of them with critical language skills.” Yet, because Petraeus is (male and) heterosexual, his unprofessional and possibly dangerous actions should be shrugged off? I don’t agree. Ian, I shall come over a bit later and read your blog post

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