David Petraeus and Public Morality

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About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is an Editor-at-Large at Good Men Project, and possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.


  1. I do find this unrolling – unfurling – expanding story quite odd. I’m not sure if the full details have come out and I get a whiff of there being yet more to come. The Triangle is not yet balanced.

    But, I do I agree that it is so odd that anything below the belly button has folks apoplectic and in quite a tizzy. I have seen one blog which was getting quite religious over it all and even mentioning the Big Ten given to Moses.

    I was looking at the “Thou Shalt Nots” and wondered about theft. What would have to be stolen to get the same level of reaction? I did think Air Force One, but then remembered that you can even steal an election and it gets literately No Comment – and you have covetousness thrown in for good measure.

  2. Maybe it’s not the sexual sin that is so horrible, but the sin of betrayal. Banging someone isn’t news; banging someone you’re not supposed to bang, now THAT’S a scandal. The lines you speak of are not so “imaginary” for a lot of people; the lines around loyalty, to God or Country or Spouse or whatever, are pretty damn real and permanent and powerful. Otherwise loyalty would have no meaning. In this case, Patreus was disloyal to his wife and his country, both big boundaries to cross.

    That said, I do tend to agree that, in general, we conflate sexual misconduct with a serious character flaw. A Good Person would never carry on an affair because that is Bad, so if you carry on an affair, you cannot be a Good Person.

    But there are other immoral acts that can get you written off as a Bad Person too. See also: hubbub over Romney’s dog on the car roof.

    • Not being overly familiar with all of the intricacies of US Politics, I do find it highly troubling that an OP and thread addressing sexual behaviours and the reaction of Joe and Joanna Public to being caught out have a comment that links the subject to Mitt Romeny On the Roof Of A Car With His Dog! ‘P^0

      Is reader caution advised before I hit Google?

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