Petraeus Scandal Reveals 4-Star Generals' Swanky Lives

It's like being Jay-Z, says one expert

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 18, 2012 10:44 AM CST

(Newser) – Huge mansions, private jets, drivers and security guards and gardeners and aides and chefs, presidential-size police convoys: These are the perks that come along with being a four-star general. The David Petraeus scandal shines a light on the swanky lifestyle he and other top military leaders enjoy—including benefits that, the Washington Post reports, are more luxurious than those granted to anyone in the government other than the president himself.

Some are wondering if those benefits ultimately led Petraeus to behave so badly. "There is something about a sense of entitlement and of having great power that skews people’s judgment," says former defense secretary Robert Gates. Adds one expert and author of a historical book on American commanders, "Being a four-star commander in a combat theater is like being a combination of Bill Gates and Jay-Z." But many in the military disagree, saying the tough life Petraeus led while fighting two wars is more likely to blame for his infidelity.

In this June 29, 2010 file photo, Gen. David Petraeus testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this June 29, 2010 file photo, Gen. David Petraeus testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
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Being a four-star commander in a combat theater is like being a combination of Bill Gates and Jay-Z. - Thomas E. Ricks, author of The Generals

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