As callous as it may sound, I found myself welcoming America’s sex scandal
as a blessed relief from the sordid revelations that have dominated our own
media for many weeks.
Of course it’s sad and demeaning for David Petraeus, the
head of the Central Intelligence Agency, to lose both his job and his prospects
for high office after admitting an affair with a married woman. But his fall came about not because he offended
American morality but because he may have compromised American security.
Public tolerance of extra-marital affairs these days,
in Britain as in America, can be
both disparate, according to religious belief, and variable, depending on the
times, but it is surely united in accepting that a sex scandal involving two
consulting adults appears much further down the scale of disgust than one
involving helpless minors. In the
Petraeus scandal there were no victims – other, possibly, than Mrs. Petraeus
(though anything assumed about any marriage is fraught with peril).
As foolish and careless as Petraeus has undoubtedly been,
he neither attracted nor deserved the opprobrium that has been heaped on our own
scummy band of offenders. He has been a
clot, and ought to be forgiven. Our
offenders have been vile, not to mention criminal, and ought to suffer for the
rest of their lives.
The Petraeus scandal will soon blow over – unless
there is more titillation to come from the exchange of ‘flirtatious’ emails between
the general and a ‘socialite’ that has already been revealed. Sadly, our own scandal will soon
Petraeus is hardly the first powerful man to risk
exposure and ruin in exercising his libido, and it’s certain he won’t be the
I for one don’t wish to sit in judgement.