Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: November 16th, 2012
Why do we care about the Petraeus scandal?

I just read this and I don’t know why it irks me, but it does. The woman that General Petraeus had the affair with is being billed as the author of “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” but she isn’t. She’s the person who had the “in” with the source. The book was written by Vernon Loeb, a Washington Post editor who wrote the narrative for the book in his basement while sifting through rafts of emails and documents to create the story. She had complete editorial control over the final product, but from what I read, he wrote it.

In addition to not being on the dust cover of the book, he wasn’t in the loop about their affair, either. His fast-becoming well-known quote, “My wife says I’m the most clueless person in America” reveals the extent to which he was duped.

And I feel duped, but I don’t have a clue why. I mean, I don’t know either of the two involved in this latest scandal, and I could have lived perfectly happy without ever knowing any of it. But, like most Americans, I’m pulled into this scandal and I don’t know why. It’s not like high profile people having affairs is new or even interesting anymore. Maybe it’s due to the theory that national security might have been breached because of it, as if that is anything I could do anything about anyway. Perhaps it’s because adultery can expose someone to the threat of extortion and this military man putting himself in that position seemed just plain incredible. Again, what’s it to me?

It bothers me that I’m still captivated by the unfolding of this melodrama. I don’t give a hoot who people sleep with. I mean, no laws were broken, the two people involved were consenting adults, it’s really none of my business, and I doubt if there was any real breach of national security. Shouldn’t it be enough that politicians, generals, even celebrities do their jobs well and the rest of it be damned?

I don’t know. I ponder this because I’m not sure where I fall on this issue. After all, I put up with a lot of morally-gray conduct when it comes to people in power, including lying, strong-arming, truth spinning and the like. But the minute they step out of line sexually and get caught, the noose is ready to hang ‘em high and dry.

I suspect that we, and I include myself in that ‘we’, do enjoy being on moral high ground.

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