Not meaning to be disrespectful to the tragic Korean women who were horribly abused by Japanese soldiers during World War II, the phrase “comfort women” does ring a bell these days. What is so shocking and explosive and disturbing is that two United States generals, no less, seemed to have needed them just like the crazed and over stressed Japanese warriors In Korea (and elsewhere, let’s not forget it!.

DCIA David PetraeusOf course, this time the “comfort women,” Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley, were perfectly at ease and by all means, happy and content in their roles.

There is another difference as well. This is not just sexual comfort as it was in Korea. These lovely ladies, Paula and Jill, provided “emotional comfort.” Paula’s flattery and idealization of David Petraeus was, to my mind, of great help to the emotional stability of our General, who was nobly trying to run an impossible war in Afghanistan. Too much for any man! And then as CIA chief, poor guy, head of the Security of the greatest nation in the world, he can’t hide his own emails. What do you expect? He needs comfort.

As for Jill Kelley she seems to have been the ultimate “comfort woman” at the Tampa base, emotionally and maybe sexually. Who knows? Can you imagine thousands of sweetsy emails going back and forth between her and General John Allen? This is the man slated to run NATO forces in Europe. It dazzles the mind.

To top it off, in return for Jill Kelley’s emotional comfort, John Allen and David Petraeus, write letters of support for Jill’s sister in a child custody case, a woman who was deemed mentally unstable by a justice of an American court.

What do we do about the need for these “comfort women” in our great leaders who are all stressed out? Remember Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office? That was another one.

The mental health gurus at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington ought to get on this right away. Or maybe these great leaders and their comfort women need to make a visit to Park Avenue Relationship Consultants in New York City. I bet we could do a better job with this problem.

Harriet Pappenheim, LCSW

New York City

Got thoughts or opinions on this topic? A helpful anecdote you want to share? Feel free to leave a comment below.

PARC © 2012. PARC (Park Avenue Relationship Consultants) is a group of highly skilled and experienced New York relationship therapists with private offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Riverdale and Long Island. Each PARC therapist is fully licensed and certified by New York State, and has extensive clinical training and experience working with couples, families and individuals. Privacy and confidentiality are guaranteed. Out-of-network only. For more information, please call PARC at (917) 340-7592 or visit