THIS business of Gen. David Petraeus spending unseemly amounts of time with a woman reporters described as "one of his biographers' - then becoming director of the CIA only to be blown up by an FBI investigation of a ditzy socialite's complaint about threats from the paramour - well, it's all mesmerizing.
It turns out the FBI agent who sparked the investigation had sent a shirtless picture of himself to the socialite.
It turns out Marine Gen. John Allen, who drew the task of handling operations in Afghanistan after the Obama administration ordered a drawdown against military advice, also corresponded with the socialite.
Petraeus and Allen also intervened in the custody battle of the socialite's twin sister.
In the same week, the four-star who was chief of the Africa command was removed and lost a star because of outrageous spending on behalf of his wife.
Good grief. The unraveling of all this will knock Lindsey Lohan off the front pages for months.
But as lurid as this brassy military drama is, it's a sideshow. Americans should not lose sight of the far larger drama taking place on the world stage - American loss of face.
The United States invaded Afghanistan after al-Qaida's attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. Afghanistan, a failed state, had fallen into the clutches of Muslim fundamentalists, and was the base for those attacks.