The Best Defense

What lessons will the Army take away from Petraeus? My fear is, the wrong ones

The lessons of the Petraeus mess, are I think, that people have a breaking point, and that he hit his after four combat tours and many years of stress. Also, I think that retiring from the military after 40 years of service and earning 4 stars is more disorienting than we realize.

But I fear that the Army -- especially its generals -- will conclude that:

--Petraeus was too smart for his own good. So don't try for a PhD in a good civilian university,  see where it leads? Thinking critically is overrated.

--So are new ideas.

--Talking to reporters always will cost you down the road. So hold the media at arm's length. Or more. Don't engage unless ordered to do so.

--You can be mediocre as long as you keep your pants on.

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

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