Random morality

General Petraeus should have resigned as CIA director, not for having an affair, but for being stupid. When decisions you make aren’t measured by profits and losses but by lives lost and history being made, you don’t have time to be sneaking around to have sex. In this case, the likelihood of a fellow West Point graduate being a spy is nill, but the chance of being inaccessible when something like Benghazi is taking place is inexcusable.

As the saying goes, with great power, comes great responsibility.

But the right wing nut-job idea that exposing this the day after election day and the delays are some kind of way to stop the General from testifying about Benghazi is ludicrous. I think the General has more to fear from his wife than he does from a Congressional investigation. Sixty years of work building credibility as a trustworthy leader just came crashing down in a very public way. The man knew he’d screwed up and accepted it. Time for the country to move on.

However, the idea that the four deaths in Benghazi are somehow more important than the deaths of over 6,000 US service men and women in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is where we really need to examine our moral compasses. Where is the outrage over the failings of 2 presidents to end these meaningless wars? And, when you put things in perspective, the loss of US lives pales to the numbers of Iraqis and Afghans that have died.

There are somethings that you just can’t do in some professions. Airline pilots shouldn’t be drunk or high on the job, firefighters shouldn’t be out of shape, police officers shouldn’t be visually impaired, and chiefs of our spook service shouldn’t be caught sneaking around.

But, then again, is extra-marital sex really any of our business? Should it be? Had the General been single would this have been an issue? Had he still been in the Army, Paula Broadwell is clearly a subordinate as a Lt. Col. and he would have not had any business sleeping with her. But, he was CIA director at the time of the affair and UCMJ doesn’t apply. As a single man, he would have been showing bad judgement by risking the wrath of an angry husband, who may be slightly intimidated by the fact that this man has the power to order people detained or killed (arguably not US Citizens, but even that line is getting fuzzy). The job he has requires a focus and level of integrity that just doesn’t allow for this kind of distraction. The coordination of an illicit rendezvous, sucks time and energy out of a person who has a position that isn’t forgiving of lapses in concentration and focus.

This isn’t a congressman, who isn’t on the clock 24/7/365, this is the CIA director.

Of course, the next question is what about the president? Did Bill Clinton deserve to fall for an extra-marital blow-job by an unmarried intern? In the sliding scale of things, the real damage here was between Bill and Hillary and not one for the public. Yes, Monica Lewinsky managed to take our country off track with her actions, but, in the grand scheme of things- this is because we set some kind of impossible standard for morality among our leaders that isn’t shared by other nations. People do have sex, the question to ask is how many people were affected? Clinton’s whereabouts are known 24/7- and other than the embarrassment of his private business being exposed, blackmail shouldn’t have been an issue, nor should his ability to perform his job been questioned. In fact, shouldn’t all leadership have some down time allowed?

Should we have hard and fast rules about adultery and competency? Or should it be on a case-by-case basis? The critical questions shouldn’t be about the sex- but, about the risks that are taken. Had Broadwell been single, the only question should have been who, other than the General’s wife didn’t know about his whereabouts and if it impacted his job. Had he still been in the Army, UCMJ should be applied. The only remaining question is if Lt. Col. Broadwell will get busted under UCMJ for clearly violating the standards, if she doesn’t, then, and only then should we question the true nature of this political hot-potato.

The news cycle has once again been derailed, from the important matters of negotiating our way off the self-imposed “fiscal cliff” to how we’re going to fund our schools and local government if our economy doesn’t take a radical turn. The real damage of the growing disparity between the rich and the poor is a much greater threat to national security than where a general sticks his privates.


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