The Pentagon is considering retroactively demoting retired Gen. David Petraeus after he admitted to giving classified information to his biographer and mistress while he was still in uniform, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast.

The decision now rests with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who is said to be willing to consider overruling an earlier recommendation by the Army that Petraeus not have his rank reduced. Such a demotion could cost the storied general hundreds of thousands of dollars—and deal an additional blow to his once-pristine reputation.

“The secretary is considering going in a different direction” from the Army, a defense official told The Daily Beast, because he wants to be consistent in his treatment of senior officers who engage in misconduct and to send a message that even men of Petraeus’s fame and esteemed reputation are not immune to punishment.

Carter is the fourth Secretary of Defense under Obama, and each of his predecessors have slammed their erstwhile boss, who is far more eager to go to war against the American Midwest than any enemy in the Middle East. (And then there’s Israel, a onetime-ally whom Obama essentially treats as an enemy.) Demoting Petraeus — heck, even just Carter’s saber rattling — sends a message to everyone in the military not to discuss how badly Obama has wrecked morale and wrecked the Middle East since 2009. And it illustrates how badly Carter apparently wants to suck up to Obama in the final days of this craptacular administration.

It’s also reminiscent of how Harry Truman treated Douglas MacArthur. As Jeffrey Lord wrote at the American Spectator in 2010 when Obama fired General Stanley McChrystal, “MacArthur Defeats Truman: The Real McChrystal Message.” Lord noted that while Truman dismissed MacArthur, the showdown led to Ike’s victory in 1952, and MacArthur’s strong anti-Communist stance “shaped decades of Cold War politics.”

And presumably Cruz, Rubio and Trump are following this story carefully as well.