Professionally, David Petraeus understood a helluva lot more than John McCain conveyed to Roger Simon in two minutes of conversation. For one thing, if Mr. Simon wanted to be honest, he might acknowledge that it was Petraeus who saw the morass that was Iraq even as it began, who famously turned to a journalist on the march into Baghdad with the 101st Airborne and declared openly: I know how this begins, but explain to me how this ends? That alone makes the man more astute and more valuable than an entire White House, most of the Pentagon, and much of the American press corps, which itself failed to raise much worry when war in Iraq was being debated, or rather, not seriously debated at all. It certainly makes Petraeus smarter than most of America, which largely supported that disastrous intervention.
To characterize Petraeus now as having failed to save either Iraq or Afghanistan is facile and dishonest and, of course, necessary to Mr. Simon’s argument that the sexual misadventures of a human being can then reveal that perhaps this fellow wasn’t smart enough in the first place. After all, he got caught, didn’t he? A smart fellow would have taken more care. No emails. Only whispers. And affections only for cunning and discreet ladies. No undue emotions, please.
Having had a sexual misadventure, this guy can’t be smart, and therefore, let’s make him completely clueless by dint of a solitary, secondhand conversation with one distracted politician. No other context is required."
— Mike D’Antoni talking about Jeremy Lin