Hell hath no fury like the other woman. This proved true with the affair between David Petraeus and his biographer. Affairs are nothing new when it comes to public officials. Society is so desensitized to this act that it has become expected. The one thing that not even the Federal Bureau of Investigation could ignore is the anger of a bitter and probably humiliated Paula Broadwell.
Let’s rewind to six years ago. Broadwell met Petraeus in 2006 while studying at Harvard University. Her relationship with the retired general grew during long jogs while she interviewed him for her research in Afghanistan. I’m sure people observed their newfound friendship as harmless, flirty and somehow platonic. This clearly was not the case. Now everyone is scrambling in hopes that Broadwell didn’t get her hands on any classified information. Maybe if society didn’t go around accepting extra-marital affairs as the norm, then Petraeus and mankind would be better off.
Of course, this is the unfulfilled dream of a “Leave it to Beaver” family living in a 1950s TV set. It’s also the nightmare of polygamists and adulterers everywhere and nowhere near reality. The truth is that we accept the fact that government officials are human with temptations and desires like the next guy. The only problem is that when someone’s life is placed on a pedestal, his or her actions are placed under a microscope. Suddenly their responsibilities, duties and obligations don’t match up with “the next guy.”
While the next guy may have his life and his family’s lives to worry about, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency kinda has an entire country to worry about. That changes the entire tone of any relationship this person will encounter. Talks over dinner might be sprinkled with covert operations. Walks in the park might be interrupted by urgent and overheard phone calls and so on.
The most damage the average civilian can do is screenshot an incriminating text conversation and post it on the Internet. The damage done by someone involved with a government official is of a greater magnitude simply because of the information that he is privy to. Who knows what could have happened if vital information about the CIA was also sent via email to some of our most powerful enemies?
The next time we try to excuse the moral decisions of our country’s leaders, we should have the foresight to know that it might not be beneficial to our national securi