A lot of people are outraged over the David Petraeus affair. Quite frankly, I’m outraged over the outrage. People are breaking their ankles as they race to get to the moral high ground and boldly proclaim, “How could he have done this?!?”
The answer is simple: He’s human. More specifically, he’s a man.
Someone once told me that a man is only as faithful as his options. Of course, at the time, that guy was going through his third divorce. But I think his point is a valid one.
I don’t mean to be crass, but think about it. You have a highly decorated soldier who, as the head of the CIA, was one of the most powerful men in the world — and there is no greater aphrodisiac than power. And then you have a beautiful, intelligent woman who is given the job of writing his biography — which is essentially a platform for her to ask him, “Tell me again, why are you so awesome?”
What man among us wouldn’t love that situation?
Then let’s look at his wife, who I’m sure is a wonderful woman on every level, but — and this is a big but (no pun intended) — she can’t compete with an attractive, vivacious younger woman. You have a wife of 37 years on the one hand, who is probably nagging Petraeus about taking out the recycling, and a young hottie who worships at his altar on the other hand. Are you kidding me? I totally understand why he did this. This is how guys are wired. I hate to break it to you ladies, but we love the attention of beautiful younger women. We don’t all stray like Petraeus did, but there’s not a man alive today who doesn’t absolutely love a smile and a wink from a younger woman.
That’s how it’s always been, and I’m sure that’s how it’ll always be. It may not be fair, but that’s how it is. When a beautiful woman smiles at you, it makes you feel young again. And it makes you feel like the world is full of possibilities. So don’t be shocked that this happened.
Even one of our founding fathers — Thomas Jefferson — had a wandering eye. And let’s not forget the exploits of William Jefferson Clinton, which are rather well documented.
I’m not trying to absolve Petraeus for his deed, and I’m not asking you to forgive him, but I am asking you to understand. As my mama used to say to me, “Y’all without sin cast the first stone.”
Marc Sterne is the long-time sidekick “Nigel” on “The Tony Kornheiser Radio Show.” He’s been in radio for over 15 years — primarily in Washington, D.C. — working in music, sports, and news talk. He’s also a standup comedian.