What Paula Broadwell Tells Us About David Petraeus's Meritocracy In Decline

If you can somehow get past the shirtless G-man photos, the threatening emails, or the elaborate love triangles, then the most startling subplot in the Petraeus affair is the way Paula Broadwell insinuated herself into his world in the first place. As Broadwell herself has recalled, she met the general at a dinner for West Point alumni in 2006, then emailed him in 2008 while writing a paper on his theory of leadership. They took a run along the Potomac and stayed in touch, until one day she turned up in a war zone to write his biography. “I shot him an email, and said ‘I’m gonna to go for it,’” she told Jon Stewart in their now-famous interview. Before long, Petraeus had set her up with VIP housing at the NATO compound in Afghanistan and granted her total access. 

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