Oddly enough, this is not the question the valiant Washington press corps is asking. Rather, in General Petraeus's case, the only real issue seems to be whether President Obama should or should not have accepted his resignation. I'm not sure this question even makes sense. Refuse his resignation? It's a measure of how undone Washington is over this disgraced hero.
As Glenn Greenwald has (hilariously) pointed out, in all other sex scandals involving Washington bigwigs, the smarm is thick enough to shmear your poppy seed bagel with (my words, not his). While straining to keep a straight face, and delighting in every lurid, salacious detail dredged up on the embarrassed public official, the media always play sex scandals to the hilt. Nothing is condemned as harshly as marital infidelity, as Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer and many others have found out. Every Washington reporter, every Congressperson, every D.C. bureaucrat instantly becomes functionally Amish.
But this is the military we're dealing with, and, to boot, a four-star mega-hero who has salvaged (so the legend goes) two completely unnecessary wars and prevented them from becoming unsuccessful unnecessary wars (not that it would matter, heroism-wise), and kept us safe from terror which would not exist were we not waging war in the Muslim world all the time. And in my book (and it better be in your book, too), all that we can be, as far as General David Petraeus is concerned, is eternally grateful, and wipe that smirk off your face, soldier.
We'll get puff pieces, however, on new "insights" into infidelity. (Adam was probably faithful to Eve so long as no other options existed, but it was all downhill from there.) Still it must be "analyzed," psychologists, sociologists, urologists, must be consulted to find out why people have sex when they can. Here's the actual title of a piece on the Huffington Post by Lisa Belkin, who's something called the Life/Work/Family Senior Columnist:
Why do powerful men cheat?
I simplified this as follows:
I realized I could ask another question:
Why do powerful women cheat?
And as before:
Reducing to simplest terms, and using a collective noun:
Why do (wo)men cheat?
Or: Why do people cheat?
My answer was as follows:
Because they’re people.
Something told me that this would not be the answer from the expert on the the Huffington Post. And sure enough it was far more nuanced and complicated than that. Belkin said: "What is unclear is why."
That's why I'll never be the Life/Work/Family Senior Columnist on The Huffington Post.