I am beyond consumed by the David Petreaus affair, and subsequent fall-out. I am reading every detail that I can find, tweeting about it, booking guests for Monday morning at 11:00 Saturday night.
Why? Maybe it's because I know so many people who know the General. I worked quite hard in 2008 to defend Petreaus from the attacks by the Left who smeared an American hero by calling him "General Betrayus" when he was saving thousands of lives by creating the surge in Iraq. My group, Move America Forward, helped create counter advertisments and an orchestrated response to the hateful words coming from the Moveon.org crowd.
It's also because it has so many intriguing aspects to the story. An epic moment, a man for the times, the General who turned the war in Iraq from quagmire into a reasonably stable situation... to a adulterer who seems to have cracked apart by emailing his lover thousands of times, jeopardizing himself and his country.
Was there a SECOND affair? The FBI was brought into the investigation, allegedly, because another woman was recieving threatening emails from Paul Broadwell, who allegedly felt threatened by her "affection" for the CIA Director.
Who is David Petreaus?
Who knows? We can't know who he is or why he failed himself, his family and his country. Maybe at the end of the day, we can relate to a story of human frailty and pray for everyone involved.
But the serious questions remain - what did President Obama know, and when did he know it? Did he throw Petreaus under the bus in order to cover his ass on Libya? What did Petreaus do, or NOT do the night that 4 Americans, including two of his CIA covert operatives, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, who were murdered by Islamists in Benghazi.
There has got to be a movie in all of this. Angelina Jolie can play Paula Broadwell. But who will play her betrayed husband, who was apparently so shattered he reached out to a advice columnist in the NY Times?
MY WIFE’S LOVER
My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) I have met with him on several occasions, and he has been gracious. (I doubt if he is aware of my knowledge.) I have watched the affair intensify over the last year, and I have also benefited from his generosity. He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure? Should I suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project I feel must succeed? Should I be “true to my heart” and walk away from the entire miserable situation and put the episode behind me? NAME WITHHELD
Don’t expose the affair in any high-profile way. It would be different if this man’s project was promoting some (contextually hypocritical) family-values platform, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The only motive for exposing the relationship would be to humiliate him and your wife, and that’s never a good reason for doing anything. This is between you and your spouse. You should tell her you want to separate, just as you would if she were sleeping with the mailman. The idea of “suffering in silence” for the good of the project is illogical. How would the quiet divorce of this man’s mistress hurt an international leadership initiative? He’d probably be relieved.
The fact that you’re willing to accept your wife’s infidelity for some greater political good is beyond honorable. In fact, it’s so over-the-top honorable that I’m not sure I believe your motives are real. Part of me wonders why you’re even posing this question, particularly in a column that is printed in The New York Times.
Your dilemma is intriguing, but I don’t see how it’s ambiguous. Your wife is having an affair with a person you happen to respect. Why would that last detail change the way you respond to her cheating? Do you admire this man so much that you haven’t asked your wife why she keeps having sex with him? I halfway suspect you’re writing this letter because you want specific people to read this column and deduce who is involved and what’s really going on behind closed doors (without actually addressing the conflict in person). That’s not ethical, either.