- By Uri Friedman
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.
Like many of us, the makers of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which goes on sale this week, apparently didn’t see the David Petraeus sex scandal coming. As Kotaku‘s Stephen Totilo reports, Activision’s much-anticipated video game casts the former general and CIA chief as the U.S. secretary of defense in 2025, serving a female president who, according to Totilo, "looks a whole lot like Hillary Clinton" (I don’t see the resemblance as much, and Petraeus refers to "President Bosworth" at one point):
At least Petraeus wasn’t spending his off-hours at the CIA working on the game, though maybe that would have helped him avoid his current jam. A rep for Call of Duty: Black Ops II publisher says Petraeus was "not involved in making the game." Actor and political impressionist Jim Meskimen is credited with voicing the game’s Secretary of Defense.
Minor Black Ops II spoilers follow.
Petraeus doesn’t do much in the game, and there’s no sign of Paula Broadwell, the woman with whom Petraeus had his affair. When we first see Petraeus, he’s receiving a terrorist prisoner on board the [USS Barack] Obama. Another mission in the game starts with Petraeus and the Clinton-esque President Bosworth on board a futuristic version of Marine One before it is shot down over L.A. The crash should kill everyone, but this is Call of Duty. The important people tend to survive. We don’t see Petraeus again, but an audio message indicates that he survived.
You can check out the scenes Totilo describes here. Call of Duty, of course, wasn’t alone in predicting a bright political future for the general. After the election, a number of assessments of who would compose President Obama’s second-term national security team — including one at FP — floated Petraeus’s name.
And hey, a decade from now the folks at Activision could have the last laugh. If the long history of political scandals has taught us anything, it’s that we may not have seen the last of David Petraeus.