General David H Petraeus was dragged over the coals in the media and the blogosphere about his affair with writer Paula Broadwell. I don’t know many of the details of this affair. You know why? Because I don’t consider the sexual escapades of our generals, our political leaders, our co-workers, etc. relevant to their ability to be competent at their job.
I think that Petraeus is an exceptional human being in his professional life. It baffles me that the media wouldn’t be ashamed to spend hours a day on this story. He fell in love with an attractive and intelligent woman who was also very successful in her career path.
I do think this is a major character flaw based on which he should resign from his marriage, but he should not be resigning from the position of CIA director. Or rather I mean to say that I wish we lived in a society in which he wouldn’t have to resign. And if he did resign for legitimate security reasons, I wish he wasn’t disgraced in the process.
We have to decide as a country about the kind of standards we hold our leaders to. If we want them to never say or do anything stupid on something that affects no one except a few individuals in their personal life, then we will get leaders who never say or do anything at all.
I’m also very sensitive to the misogyny that has dominated most of human history. I think that unfaithfullness is not automatically misogyny, but perhaps the problem is that it’s sometimes difficult to tell the two apart when so much of the details are kept secret.