Why is it that adultery can ruin a man’s career but rarely a woman’s? In so-called civilised countries, that is. (In Saudi Arabia an adulterous woman is stoned to death.) An American diplomat slated to become the next ambassador to Iraq, Brett McGurk, lost his chance because of an affair with a reporter, who is now his wife. Why is it suddenly criminal to sleep with the opposite sex? Gays the world over must be over the moon. Who says that government officials are stewards of the public trust and that includes what they do in the bedroom?
Poor Petraeus. A lifetime of public service gone down the drain for knocking off a leggy social climber. Dwight Eisenhower did it with his female driver, Kennedy did it daily while president, not to mention Warren Harding and Grover Cleveland, the latter fathering a child outside marriage while in the White House. Bill Clinton does not rate a mention because his women were such slobs, and that includes Hillary. General Patton was a fabled womaniser, as hard-charging tank commanders are bound to be, with the exception of Erwin Rommel, whose uxorious behaviour contradicted his aggressive tactics while leading the greatest fighting unit ever — 25th Panzer of 7th Panzer Division.
There was no crime or breach of security in the Petraeus affair, hence no hint of blackmail. So why resign? His wife’s ancestors were generals in the Civil War, and those guys got quite a bit back then when away from home. The Spartans even openly borrowed older men’s wives in order to give them children and produce strong warriors. Lycurgus, the Spartan lawgiver, had a high opinion of this practice, and called it an act of liberality, laughing at those who thought the violation of their bed an intolerable affront.