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Ever since CIA Director David H. Petraeus resigned, one question has risen
above all others: Why? Yes, he had an affair with a woman 20 years his junior
(quite the mentor), but hey, there was once a top federal official who had sex
with an intern his daughter's age right in the White House Oval Office,
and he didn't step down. So, why the retired general?
There's an easy answer: Mr. Petraeus is a man of honor, even with his rather
sizable transgression, and he felt he could no longer lead a team of men who put
their lives on the line for America every day. Even though the West Point
graduate had devoted his entire life to serving the U.S. — from an infantry
officer to commander of the 101st Airborne Division to a four-star general in
charge of Central Command and the surges in Iraq and Afghanistan — he could see
no way forward with his integrity compromised.
But that simply doesn't add up. It's the 21st century and Americans are a
forgiving people, even for such a personal lapse. In the case of President Bill
Clinton, Americans were angry — more, disgusted — but they looked past the man's
misdeed, labeled it a personal matter between him and his wife, and moved on.
Most likely, they would have done the same with Mr. Petraeus, after a period of
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