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Poor judgement has serious repercussions

A veteran like Petraeus should have known that some decisions can have consequences beyond family

Gulf News

CIA director David Petraeus’ resignation over an extramarital affair and fall from grace will be talked about for a long time. The lives of the protagonists will be scrutinised by the media and getting back to normal life for both Petraeus and Paula Broadwell will not be easy.

One of the most decorated retired generals in the US and chief of the leading spy agency did not lose much time in handing in his papers once he realised he was being probed. But there are questions which remain unanswered.

Petraeus says he showed extremely poor judgement by engaging in an extramarital affair. For those who have worked with him and have followed his life, this is difficult to understand. A soldier who has made hundreds of key decisions at the senior-most levels of the military would know that some decisions would have consequences beyond the family. In this case, it has hurt thousands who knew him and millions who admired him.

What is more disturbing is the fact that his private or CIA’s email accounts could have been compromised. Although the FBI has so far not found evidence of a security breach, fact remains that loss of classified material is a serious security breach for the country.

It does not take much time for a brilliant career to be derailed. Petraeus’ story is a case in point. A 37-year-old marriage, the hopes of a nation and the respect cultivated over decades have now become fodder for newsprint.