By: Edie Vaughan
A sex scandal like the David Petraeus extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell tends to kick up great disbelief, shock, and complete curiosity about the salacious details.
This, despite the fact that the tale of a married man in a powerful job position, who allows an attractive, younger woman, sometimes married, some times not, into his professional inner circle and into his bed, is as old as history.
What also sprouts up, is the debate over whether the personal indiscretions of a man in power should affect his professional leadership position. Your darn right it should.
David Petraeus was considered for the position of Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, because of his leadership credentials as a four-star, Army General. Petraeus made it his life’s goal to become a leader in an environment that spells out the rules of leadership more clearly than in any private organization or corporation.
He believed in that culture so much that he married into it. He married Holly Knowlton, daughter of the late four-star General William A. Knowlton who was also NATO commander and superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Holly Petraeus’ military roots go back four generations.
David Petraeus’ conscience decision to engage in an extramarital relationship with Paula Broadwell, another man's wife, was also a conscience decision to dishonor his professional Army values as well as his personal ones. Paula Broadwell, also married, is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves. She too is bound by the Army values, which carry into civilian life, according to the Army civilian creed.
Petraeus wasn’t just having a tryst outside the office. The Director of the world’s top spy agency was allowing his mistress into his office. In her October, Denver speech she seems to disclose information about the Benghazi attacks that not everyone may have had access to.
Petraues used poor judgment both in his personal life, and in his position as the Director of the CIA. He violated the Army code of conduct he expected his soldiers to live by during the 37 years he served as an officer in the U.S. Army before retiring and becoming CIA director.
Below is an excerpt from the U.S. Army regulation 600-100 on leadership. It’s dated March 8, 2007, when Petraeus was commander of Multi-National Force in Iraq.
Army Culture and leadership
Army culture is a consequence of customs, traditions, ideals, ethos, values, and norms of conduct that have existed for more than 230 years. DA culture promotes certain norms of conduct, and leaders who manage operations affected by the law of land warfare, require the highest level of individual and organizational discipline and moral values. The law of land warfare, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the standards of conduct structure the discipline imperative to which leaders must adhere. The moral and ethical tenets of the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Army Values characterize the Army’s professionalism and culture, and describe the ethical standards expected of all Army leaders.
The Seven Army Values
Loyalty Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other soldiers. This means supporting the military and civilian chain of command, as well as devoting oneself to the welfare of other soldiers.
Duty Fulfill your obligations. Duty is the legal and moral obligation to do what should be done without being told.
Respect Treat people as they should be treated. This is the same as do unto others as you would have done to you.
Selfless Service Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own. this means putting the welfare of the Nation and accomplishment of the mission ahead of personal desires.
Honor Live up to all the Army values. This implies always following your moral compass in any circumstance.
Integrity Do what is right, legally and morally. this is the thread woven through the fabric of the professional Army ethic. It means honesty, uprightness, the avoidance of deception, and steadfast adherence to standards of behavior.
Personal Courage Face fear, danger, or adversity. (Both physical and moral courage)