While ousted CIA Director David Petraeus eats dirt for his extra-marital affair, some people would like him to answer for much more serious crimes.
There is evidence that Petraeus, when he commanded US forces in Afghanistan, oversaw the intentional bombing of funerals and civilian rescuers with drones, which constitutes a war crime according to The International Criminal Court.
For years the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) has reported on the use of the double tap—a strategy used by terrorists that involves bombing a strike site multiple times in relatively quick succession to maximize devastation—and there are documented instances that Petraeus employed this tactic as CIA director.
In September the NYU and law schools released a report detailing how double taps affect the Pakistani population, noting that several international law professors have said that “intentional strikes on first responders may constitute war crimes.”
The CIA used the tactic in Pakistan and Afghanistan In May and June of this year, and the killing of a Red Cross worker in Yemen—the first overt example of “explicit intelligence posthumously proving” that an innocent civilian has been killed—is a prime example of an extrajudicial execution.
Nevertheless the retired four-star general could face a court-martial if he began the affair with Paula Broadwell while on active duty in the army, since adultery is formally barred under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Petraeus, 60, says the affair began a couple of months after he became CIA director in September 2011 after relinquishing command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in July 2011 and retiring from the U.S. Army the following month. But his story is challenged by the timeline of their interactions: Petraeus met Broadwell in the spring of 2006, began being studied by her in 2008, was visited by her six times over the course of the year after he took over allied troops in Afghanistan on June 30, 2010, and according to Michael Hastings, took Broadwell along with him on a government-funded trip to Paris in July 2011.
But we don’t expect the court martial to happen either, since the U.S. Army would have to reinstate Petraeus to active duty before the trial and consequently add to the shame being heaped on the highest tier of the U.S. military.