Knox: No proof of meat in scandal sandwich

Jack Knox Victoria Times Colonist / Kamloops Daily News
November 19, 2012 01:00 AM

Glad to see the Taliban has weighed in on the CIA-spy-chief, David Petraeus, scandal.

Without the gravitas offered by those grim-lipped fun-suckers, the whole affair might have taken on an air of farce.

Still not sure where the actual news is. Been trolling through story after story for proof of meat in this sandwich, but can't find anything but cheese, tomatoes and hot sauce.

"The Petraeus Affair: A lot more than sex" read the headline on CNN.com.

Really? Could have fooled us. Without proof of a pillow-talk security breach, this just looks like another tawdry affair dragged into the Entertainment Tonight spotlight for the public's enjoyment.

To maintain at least a veneer of respectability, a good political sex scandal should have implications beyond those that could be found on an episode of Jersey Shore. We're not supposed to care about what Newt does with Snooki unless Tehran ends up with the launch codes as a result.

Canada's first political sex scandal erupted in the 1960s after it was discovered that Gerda Munsinger, a suspected Soviet spy, had slept with several government officials, including a couple of John Diefenbaker's Conservative cabinet ministers, before being quietly deported to East Germany.

Among her partners was the associate defence minister, Pierre Sevigny, the sound of whose wooden leg - he had lost the real one in the war - hitting the floor was said to be clearly audible on RCMP surveillance tapes. Canadians were shocked: they couldn't imagine Diefenbaker Tories sleeping with anyone at all.

In 2008, Stephen Harper's foreign affairs minister, Maxime Bernier, resigned after it was found he had left sensitive NATO documents in the home of his then girlfriend, who had had ties to the Hells Angels.

At least those cases involved potential security leaks. Not so the greatest political sex scandal of them all, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair, which outraged Americans and confused the French, the drama finally ending when Clinton narrowly escaped impeachment on perjury charges. "Close but no cigar" was the headline in the New York Daily News.

More recently, the U.S. had New York governor Eliot Spitzer and his taste for $1,000-an-hour call girls (jeez, was he hiring prostitutes or plumbers?) and the appropriately named Anthony Weiner, a Congressman whose pioneering use of Twitter, graphic self-portrait division, proved his undoing.

And to repeat, no one has shown that the rest of the story goes any farther than an unfortunate bit of cot-hopping by the general in particular and, according to the Taliban, the U.S. in general.

"This shows how shameless all the American troops are, starting from the top commander to the soldiers," an Afghan spokesman was quoted as saying. "Having unlawful relations with a woman is very normal in America."
Yes, and so is using said relations as a source of public titillation, under the guise of significant news.

"There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation," Pierre Trudeau said. Does the nation have a place in the bedrooms of the state?

jknox@tc.canwest.com


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