You would not want to be at war with General David Petraeus. He plays to win, and it’s personal. Last fall it was revealed that, months earlier, he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The general had quietly undergone two months of radiation treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, maintaining his full schedule throughout—“It was like it never happened,” said one of his aides. And that’s the way the general planned to leave it—as if it had never happened—until a reporter from The New York Times got a tip and asked a direct question.But, as in all things, what's more badass than a badass general?
So his Central Command staff in Tampa drafted a terse press release, laying out the bare facts. As with everything that comes from his office, Petraeus reviewed the statement. It disclosed the diagnosis and the successful treatment, and explained that the general had declined to announce his ailment because it was a “private matter.” But the general added a line of his own. He added one more reason for not disclosing his condition: “to avoid giving al-Qaeda hope.”
The staff balked.
“Absolutely not, sir” was the gist of the response from his public-relations advisers.
“Leave it in,” ordered the general. “End of discussion.”
There was only one avenue of appeal. The staff felt strongly enough about it to send the release to the only authority in-house capable of overruling the general. Holly Petraeus returned it without comment, but with her husband’s addition deleted.A badass general's wife.