Petraeus, MLK and JFK: Why I Don’t Demand Fidelity From My Political Leaders

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  1. What the author (and Petreaus) totally does not grasp is the fact that:
    1) infidelity is…. ‘infidelity’ – you vowed something when you got married and you don’t stick to it. How (un)trustworthy does that make you in other parts of your life (mainly: work)?
    2) as a powerful person, you may be blackmailed – either by people that ‘planted’ the lovebunny, by the lover him/herself or others that accidentally find out – throughout history it has been one of the main methods to ‘influence’ people – as it seldom fails…
    3) and, related to #2: it is a surefire way to get confidential/secret information.

    So, it is not about infidelity as such (I don’t care what people do – there are many valid reasons why people cheat – I will never hold that against them) – it is about becoming a liability – particularly in an ‘intelligence’ agency. The only sensible thing he could do was resigning.
    But, it is telling that people don’t even care about their (supposed) leaders as such anymore – lowering standards yet complaining about lack of integrity at the top…

  2. The author says that she expects ” a promise.. to consider the long-term consequences of our actions, to view issues from all sides and with regard to all constituencies.” Doesn’t infidelity demonstrate that the person in question has serious issues keeping just such promises? Not to mention what Jay mentions regarding the blackmail question, which is ultimately why he had to step down. Clearly when Gen. Petraeus engaged in the extra marital affair he was not thinking about long term consequences and what it might mean for the security of his agency. And here’s the thing, I think that the evidence shows that such affairs are not typically one off events, especially at the General’s age. They typically represent a pattern of behavior. The pattern speaks volumes of the over all ability of the person in question to keep the very kinds of promises the author expects of her leaders.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Not sure how puritanical we are. Although somebody remarked that Bloomberg would have dealt with the blizzard that hit NYC a couple of years ago muc faster if someboy had told him New Yorkers were enjoying it.
    Point is, a guy who cheats lied. Lies and lies through it. Rather have a guy who doesn’t cheat. There was speculation that P had already been blackmailed. That is, his first post-Benghazi brief talked about mobs and not terrs. Even though he knew better. Turns out not to be true. It was the admin that scrubbed the terrs and inserted the video. Still, the question arose because he had been vulnerable.
    Show me a guy who cheats and I’ll find something else to look at. But when his responsibilities include authority and responsibility over me and my country’s welfare, it is my business.

  4. courage the cowardly dog says:

    He seemed like a good egg, like someone I could trust.

    Gee, that is what his wife thought too and you’d think she knew him better than anybody. But she was wrong as were you. If the guy can’t be truthful with his wife what makes you think he is going to be truthful with you or anybody. When our leaders tell us what they want to do for our country if we support their vision, it requires that we believe and trust them to do what they say, but what if they figure out what you want to hear and tell you that without any intention of delivering on what they promise. The leader’s infidelity is a view into the leader’s mind, which we rarely get, which why the guy should thrown with the trash. It has nothing to do with media frenzy or however you want to characterize it. The infidelity is a measure of integrety and character. When he spoke words came out of his mouth and those words and his delivery of those words led you to believe he was someone you could trust and that is exactly what he wanted you to believe. He played you like a fiddle (I am certain it is not the first time). I completely disagree with your premise that infidelity is not a measure of a leader’s character, it may be one of the most revealing things of a leader’s character. BTW, JFK I think was one of the most overrated presidents in our history and while MLK, did some amazing things, he was a fundamentally flawed individual whose work could have been achieved by any number of other civil rights leaders of the time. You are nothing more than an apologist for people of weak character.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Courage, you forget the self-awarded cachet for those who announce they tolerate the previously intolerable.

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