I know I shouldn’t let her bait me like this, but I can’t help myself. The two-facedness of it is among the worst I’ve yet seen in the Canadian press.
Last weekend, Canada’s favourite plagiarist, Globe & Mail columnist Margaret Wente, published an extraordinary broadside against young women, complaining that they weren’t charging enough for sex anymore and that, as a consequence, men were becoming lazy, boorish louts. In her day, she claimed, women wouldn’t have sex until you gave them some shiny baubles, or at least some food. Now they give it away for free. This, says Wente, is a Very Bad Thing.
It just so happens that a very high-profile American general has just been caught in the wrong bed. David Petraeus, the head of the CIA, has now resigned in disgrace, and there is an FBI investigation ongoing. It’s the sort of salacious story that the media loves. You see, grown-up responsible journalists find tittling over sex much more important than, say, doing their jobs. And for that reason, Wente just couldn’t resist:
I feel sorry for David Petraeus. He is the victim of a political establishment that is completely rattled and confused by sex. The right response to the revelation of his impropriety is: So what?
Irony abounds. On the weekend Wente was all about how cheap and easy sex would ruin society. But only if young people are having it. Older men? Journalists and biography writers? No problem at all!
Here’s the even more extraordinary part, though:
The fact that he happens to be the most heroic military figure in recent U.S. history is not enough to save him from resigning in disgrace over a perfectly legal extramarital affair that involved no national security issues or anything else of consequence.
You’re a journalist. You have three columns a week. Surely, somewhere in your exceptionally busy schedule, you might still have been able to find some time to check some basic facts on this story before you submitted it to your editor. It also doesn’t take a hell of a lot of imagination to come up with a few reasons why a government might view the secret philandering of senior intelligence officers as a potential security risk. You can look it up in the dictionary, under “B.” Here’s how Wired explains the rules for CIA employees:
The CIA… has no policy against infidelity. In fact, Langley explicitly says extramarital affairs are OK — as long as you tell the Agency, as long as you tell your partner, and as long as no foreigners are involved.
Since she brings up the law, it’s also worth pointing out that the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to which I assume Petraeus as a senior officer is subject, happens to outlaw adultery, with a maximum punishment of 1 year’s imprisonment and a dishonourable discharge.
For the record, I’m really not all that interested in who Petraeus has sex with. The difference is, I’m also not interested in who university students have sex with, either. I’m consistent: I don’t care.Tweet