Retired four-star General David Petraeus stepped down as director of the CIA on Friday, after an FBI investigation revealed an extramarital affair between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Additionally, Congress now wants answers and details about the FBI investigation. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, "We received no advanced notice. It was like a lightning bolt." Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C., is pushing for a joint bipartisan House-Senate committee to investigate the scandal.
My critical thinking question to Senator Feinstein and Senator Graham and all of Congress is, "Why is it any of your business?" America has more pressing issues, like the fiscal cliff, so butt out! Yet again, it's another example of America's emotional immaturity around sex and politics. Let Petraeus deal with his wife and family about this because it's a personal matter -- nothing that needs to concern America or Congress. If we weeded out all the politicians that have affairs, D.C. would be a ghost town.
Petraeus served more than 37 years in the Army and became the director of the CIA after serving as Commander of United States Central Command, which oversees the military efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt.
Furthermore, he has a laundry list of impressive recognitions. In 2007, TIME named him one of the 100 most influential leaders and revolutionaries of the year; GQ magazine named him in the list of The 50 Most Powerful People in Washington in 2012; and The Association of Special Operations Professionals named Petraeus as its 2011 Man of the Year. The list goes on and on.
The bottom line is this is a man who is very good at what he does professionally, and we need him. It's a major loss for our country. Cheating on your spouse is never a good idea, but what does that have to do with Petraeus' ability to run the CIA? There was no breach of security, no classified information leaked to the enemy; just poor judgment when it came to his personal life.
Powerful men like David Petraeus take these risks because the human sex drive is the most powerful force on earth that produces unparalleled pleasure. People have risked fame, fortune and their lives in the pursuit of the ultimate sexual experience. He isn't the first and he surely won't be the last.
Religious and political leaders in America are notorious for delivering speeches and sermons with puritanical fervor, while simultaneously engaging in the same acts they condemn. Whether it's the President of the United States or the hellfire evangelical, the hypocrisy among American leaders is legendary. Sex scandals are not new to America. From Ben Franklin to Thomas Jefferson, John Edwards and Bill Clinton, senators and congressmen -- all have participated in what many describe as sexual misconduct.
Critical thinking says what Americans do without infringing on the rights of others should be up to them. Whether they are straight, gay, transgender or any other orientation, they should be respected and left alone. The only area where the government should engage is in comprehensive sex education in the public school system.
No one should ever condone David Petraeus cheating on his wife, but how that's related to his professional role as director of the CIA makes no sense. I've been married to my best friend for almost 30 years, and our relationship is the cornerstone of my life. But statistically speaking, marriage as an institution is a failure. About 50 percent of married couples get divorced, and of the couples who stay married, a good percentage have affairs, are unhappy and stay married for money or children.
The number of married people who cheat is difficult to estimate, but some experts claim that 35 percent to 45 percent of spouses are cheating. The illicit affair should be avoided at all costs, as it's rooted in deception, and the potential damage is huge. It's a multidimensional betrayal of the heart, mind and soul, and critical thinking says to avoid it at all costs.
But at the end of the day if you decide to cheat, that's a personal choice that is between you and your partner, and shouldn't concern the American people or our leaders in Congress no matter who you are. In addition, it should have no bearing whatsoever on your professional career, unless of course the person you were cheating with is a direct competitor and inside secrets were being passed around, or some situation similar to that.
David Petraeus made a bad choice to cheat, but ultimately President Obama made a worse choice in accepting his resignation. Gifted leaders like Petraeus don't come around very often, and he truly was an asset to America's armed forces and our national security.