Powerful men, listen up. If you’re not having an affair, you’re probably shirking the responsibilities that come with your top-level job.

Thanks for taking all the heat on this one, Paula. Photo: AP

And ladies, if you want to keep your husband, then keep yourself tidy. If you’re a little heavy or dowdy, then you only have yourself to blame if your man fools around with a younger, hotter woman.

These are the take-home messages from this week’s US Army sex scandal that was triggered by the shock resignation of CIA director, General David Petraeus.

Petraeus resigned because he had an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, a woman 20 years younger and 20 kilos lighter than his wife Holly.

Although many commentators think Petraeus was wrong to have an affair as CIA director because of possible security risks, no one seems to think any less of him as a man.

In fact, many seem to think it’s part of a powerful military man’s job description to cash in on his status, position and access to big weapons.

And if the woman pursuing him is younger, sexy and very determined, then it seem to be only natural for him to stray.

Articles such as “Why Generals Cheat” spell it out: when you are a top-ranked military man, the “sense of self-supremacy that goes with the job can extend to other realms of life”.

Looking through this week’s analysis of the scandal, the subtext is clear: Petraeus is a “foolish” man who just “let down his guard” while Broadwell is the “vengeful other woman”.

Why are women always the villains and men the victims? Or, as one commentator has pertinently asked this week: why is there no male equivalent of the word “mistress”? (Or the word “slut”, come to think of it).

According to one account, Broadwell’s “zealous devotion” to Petraeus “inadvertently ended his CIA career”.

This is absurd. Broadwell didn’t end Petraeus’ celebrated military career: he ended it himself by having an affair with her.

Despite being one of the most powerful men in the world, he’s portrayed as little more than the hapless victim of a conniving woman.

Why should we let men who cheat on their wives off the hook in this way?

Broadwell, for instance, has received much more censure than Petraeus.

In fact, she’s little more than a laughing stock given her gushing biography, and her determination to snare her man on those intimate runs in Afghanistan.

But no one much seems to be thinking about Petraeus’ wife Holly, except to insinuate that she was asking for it by letting herself go.

The way I see it, Holly is the elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge. No-one is actually saying it out loud, but all the photos the media have been using of her are very unflattering, highlighting the fact that she is grey-haired, matronly and overweight.

It doesn’t seem to matter that Holly is from a distinguished army family, has borne Petraeus two children and created a role for herself helping soldiers make good financial decisions.

Wives like her are often the collateral damage thrown aside when a younger, better-looking substitute comes along. Her right to expect her husband to do the honourable thing and end their 37-year marriage before he started seeing another woman doesn’t seem to come into it.

No doubt the future for Petraeus is rosy: TV commentary, a six-figure book advance, and approval from the sort of men who think infidelity is admirable.

Many men, after all, will agree with TV evangelist Pat Robertson. He says Petraeus shouldn’t be condemned because Broadwell is an “extremely good looking woman” and “he’s a man”.

It’s as if military leaders like Petraeus aren’t expected to show some restraint when their little soldier stands to attention.

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    • Bill says:

      05:09am | 17/11/12

      Nice try at the male-bashing, Susie, but your argument failed.

      For every male who has an affair, there is a woman doing the same (assuming a heterosexual relationship). Why you feel the need to condemn cheating men but conveniently ignore the cheating women speaks volumes about your attitude towards men…

    • Penguin says:

      09:22am | 17/11/12

      Well said. We are after all the product of millions of years of evolution which make man look for one partner and the same with woman. Culture etc in Western World is only a few thousand years old.

    • Bec says:

      10:12am | 17/11/12

      I think she’s trying to say that women who cheat are portrayed as sluts (which they are) but men who do the same thing are let off the hook a bit easier.

    • Sinbad says:

      10:15am | 17/11/12

      It is better to have such strong man like Petraeus to look after the security of the Western World. Our wishy washy politically correct leaders in Govt cannot even protect our borders from boatpeople.

    • Bertrand says:

      10:59am | 17/11/12

      How has he been let of the hook? His career is over. His presidential ambitions are probably dead. He has had details of his private life splashed across the world’s media.

    • Zac says:

      11:02am | 17/11/12

      @ Well, I agree, male bashing is quite common among female jurnos. Men are lot more strong (muscle) physically in comparison to a women and as far as Petraeus is concerned he is a very powerful man.  However, it fades in comparison to the physical beauty and sexual charm a women - if it’s not for Broadwell and kelly, I am not sure if this issue would have been interesting at all - has over a man.

      While discussing petraues-Broadwell affair, my wife told me, if a man sets out to sexually conquer a woman, mostly it wouldn’t work but that is not the case the other way around. That would tell you why powerful men fall. It has nothing to do with sexism or blame shifting.

    • Observant says:

      11:57am | 17/11/12

      Penguin that is utter garbage.

      Men do not search one partner, they search for multiple partners. Women do not search for one partner, they search for the most dominant partner they can attain at a given period of time. That is human sexual nature unadulterated by culture.

      Thus evolution has bestowed upon men a polygamous mating strategy and upon women, a hypergamous mating strategy.

      You can observe this not just amongst humans, but mammals and most other complex organisms of the natural kingdom.

      What you describe, is durable monogamy and that is a cultural; it is not biological imperative.

    • Sharz says:

      12:20pm | 17/11/12

      It is the style of the modern age over think well educated women who finds themselves either bored because they have achieved the ultimate or modern age over think well educated women that are not at peace with themselves because they are uncomfortable in who they are.

      Then there is the Julia Gillard type very well educated and conniving to break the glass ceiling, when finally in high authority will selfishly use it their advantage by grabbing everything and anything.

      Long way to go unless us women folk change our approach by first accepting and respecting how it has been for centuries in the western world. Eventually all our men folk will realize that times are changing and us women are just as good as them and in some cases are better than them. The last thing we need are females of the types I have described and please never ever play the gender card.

    • Penguin says:

      12:32pm | 17/11/12

      @ Observant. I agree with you 100%. I had a bad misprint in my previous note. One was meant to be others.

      For our beloved Sperm Whale the dominant male normally has a harem of ten females. same with monkeys,,,so monkey business?

      Penguins are ideal for our politically correct brigades.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      12:41pm | 17/11/12

      Except for following like a sheep Gillard’s phony agenda, why does it have to be one or the other being at fault or the victim. It takes two to tango and so….  But that is the left wing way with any issue; must polarise it such that all meaningful discussion is shut down. For example, if you complain and worry about radical Muslims you are anti-Muslim and hate them all etc etc etc. 

      And by the way I hope that Gillard’s inquiry into sexual abuse (which is really only for the purpose of some tangential attack on Abbott who happens to be Catholic and was at St John’s College which is probably why that has also been focused on) is going to include the issue of female genital mutilation by SOME (but no others than) Muslims. You don’t get much more misogynist that that! 
      Getting tired overall of this re-hash of feminism. It’s a bit like bell bottomed trousers; been there, done that.

    • Adam R says:

      02:22pm | 17/11/12

      Needless to say this almost has nothing to do with male/female but how we look at marriage today. It’s seen as a societal process in the relationship when it’s much more than just something cultural.

      I doubt there are many who truly understand what it means any more. Up until the 20th Century it’s never been just about love, it’s much more than that. Our understanding is warped in Hollywood, which is the worst place to get advice on how we should construct our lives and understandings of the world.

    • craig2 says:

      05:58am | 17/11/12

      Fair call about women and keeping themselves tidy, bouncing around on a couple of tires is not the most exciting ride going around.

    • phoebe says:

      07:55am | 17/11/12

      Some of us might think the same about some of the men we see ‘bouncing’ about town !  PS. Of course you meant to say tyres.

    • craig2 says:

      12:02pm | 17/11/12

      Bang on, goes both ways!

    • Mik says:

      06:16am | 17/11/12

      A similar thing is happening here with Gillard labelled by some as a home wrecker - as though Emerson was some innocent fragile little flower who was abducted and held hostage by her. He, poor dear, couldn’t possibly be held responsible for the destruction of his own marriage. Has shades of the religious fanatic’s belief that men don’t have the maturity , dignity, decency , self respect, and will power to just say"no”, or even “yes” where it is their choice.
      How demeaning. Time for a Manwhore Walk, chaps,

    • Bruno says:

      01:18pm | 17/11/12

      Really? our PM? what a slut! Personally I will definitely be voting for her now at the next election! “Promote them all I say”

    • Phil says:

      06:18am | 17/11/12

      I say bring back Erick.

    • Lisa says:

      07:24am | 17/11/12

      Can someone please tell me, whatever happened to Erick?

    • Tommy Gunn says:

      09:49am | 17/11/12

      Where are you Erick ? We miss you !!

    • Hank says:

      11:37am | 17/11/12

      Erick was black listed and banned from this site.  No real explanation was given but I suspect it was because of his right leaning views.  Mabye they got sick of the volume of posts by him.  Shame they cant do the same with acrotel…

    • Gregg says:

      12:52pm | 17/11/12

      You will survive without Erick Phil, just don’t be a dill.
      Erick has likely found greener pastures Lisa
      That would put Erick in a fattening up paddock somewhere Tommy.
      Wishful thinking Hank, and maybe there was just too much of a repetitious nature to his posts that some started to find tiresome.

    • Bruno says:

      01:13pm | 17/11/12

      I second that. Even though most of his opinions work the other way to mine. I must respect a good competitor.

    • Durrrr... says:

      03:57pm | 17/11/12

      lolz ... like most cowards Erick didn’t go away - he just posts under different names.

      You’d have to be extremely unobservant to detect which posts are his.

    • Adrian says:

      06:27am | 17/11/12

      Who cares where Petraeus puts his penis? The man was responsible for a string of disastrous failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, for making misleading statements about the attack in Benghazi, the illegal imposition of Christianity on American troops and the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians in the Muslim world.

      Yet here you are, along with most of the Western media, unable to get past the train wreck of his personal life, as if it was any of your business.

      It’s sleazy and pathetic.

    • Bertrand says:

      07:28am | 17/11/12

      I actually think the big issue is the abuse of surveillance powers by the FBI that brought this whole thing to light in the first place.

      The Guardian ran an interesting story on the chain of events that led to the affair being uncovered. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/13/petraeus-surveillance-state-fbi

      As for the affair. The moral sanctimoniousness of people who seem to think someone’s legal sexual activities make them disqualified for a job is ridiculous. Do people believe that every person who has an affair deserves to lose their job over it?

      I wouldn’t go as far as you in your criticism of Petraeus’ job performance. He seemed to be the one person who sorted out the mess in Iraq, but certainly made mistakes elsewhere. With reference to his job, it is for these mistakes that he should be held accountable, not for who he decided to have legal, consenting sex with.

    • Haxton Waag says:

      08:36am | 17/11/12

      Statements like these need some documentary support: so far, you are the only source I know of.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      09:22am | 17/11/12

      I don’t get it either;
      So apparently, if Wikileaks tells everyone about foreign policy failures (like Afghanistan), it’s bad,
      But the sex life of a public official is an incredibly important thing we all need to know?

    • Petery says:

      10:55am | 17/11/12

      maybe he spent too much time on his sex life and not enough fighting the war. there could well be a strong connection between the two.
      frankly, I am fascinated if he was so focussed on his job, how the hell did he find time to devote to sex. it will be fascinating if he tells the truth in his memoirs.

    • Gregg says:

      01:02pm | 17/11/12

      @Bertrand and a Concerned Citizen
      With an affair that his wife did not know about there is always the possibility of blackmail as small as that may have been but obviously of concern where a position is held such as CIA head.
      It was Patraeus himself who offered his resignation and he has been quite open in his view that his actions have not been appropriate for both his position held and that of his past family status.

      That is all there really is to it and as for all the media interest, just think juicy in as much as this something to work over and over and over, like how often do we have a former 4 star general of his standing making out with an attractive younger woman, or lets say we do not get to hear about the events so often if they are occurring.

    • St. Michael says:

      01:33pm | 17/11/12

      Looks like the Hunch ate my response here, so trying again…

      “As for the affair. The moral sanctimoniousness of people who seem to think someone’s legal sexual activities make them disqualified for a job is ridiculous. Do people believe that every person who has an affair deserves to lose their job over it?”

      As I’ve said before, the issue with high office needing to be morally clean isn’t their morals as such.  It’s because they cannot be trusted to do the right thing if they are blackmailed with their indiscretions.

      Exhibit A is “Have a cigar” Clinton himself.  Amid the Jimmy-Carter-esque fondness people have for him now, they tend to forget that he was prepared to lie straightfaced to the media and later to a grand jury in respect of whether he’d had an affair with Monica Lewinsky.  Bearing in mind that whilst lying to media is not a crime but generally lying to a grand jury is close on perjury, that illustrates how far out of whack a President’s morals can go when issues dear to their private lives is put to question.  We wouldn’t expect a President whose daughter had been kidnapped to continue in the office while she was still missing; why should we expect that other subjects equally or more explosive are any less capable of bending a person’s will given the right circumstances? As in, blackmail? Given Clinton’s reactions, suppose it had been Al-Qaeda who found out about the Lewinsky affair first? Or any of the US’s “allies” in the Middle East?

      And if the prospect of a President being blackmailed is bad, imagine the prospect of the head of the CIA—the shadowiest of G-men in the US—being similarly held over a barrel.  Indeed, there’s a precedent for this: J. Edgar Hoover, outwardly as WASP as you can get and inwardly as gay as you can get, was blackmailed by the Mafia into avoiding action against them—even going so far as to deny the Mafia’s existence—by the threat of revealing, shall we say, paper proof of his intimate relationship with Clyde Tolson.

      Frankly I don’t think anybody really cares where Petraeus puts his penis.  His main problem is that when he put it elsewhere than his wife’s vagina, he was both breaking a promise and proving himself dishonest in arguably the most significant personal relationship in his life.  That’s pretty good grounds to eye him with suspicion in relation to his less significant relationship—like that of his employer, the US.

    • Bertrand says:

      02:45pm | 17/11/12

      The blackmail point is a good one I hadn’t considered.

    • Haxton Waag says:

      02:48pm | 17/11/12


      “The moral sanctimoniousness of people who seem to think someone’s legal sexual activities make them disqualified for a job is ridiculous. Do people believe that every person who has an affair deserves to lose their job over it?”

      I tend to think that these things are done more for political reasons than moral ones. The narrow minds of ordinary people in a democracy are used as a political tool to clear your opponents out of the way. The people forcing Petraeus out of his job most likely do not care much that he had an affair.

    • TheRealDave says:

      05:25pm | 17/11/12

      Actually Adrian,

      Patraeus is the reason why the US was able to get itself out of Iraq and wind down the war quickly and undoubtedly saved thousands of American AND Iraqi lives doing so. But you wouldn’t know that given your utter lack of understanding on not only the conflict but also what he did that was such a paradigm shift in US military doctrine. Maybe try reading a bit about the bloke instead of copying and pasting Fox News crap for a change? You might learn something.

    • Bris Jack says:

      06:29am | 17/11/12

      I think she has a ruggy fettish.

    • Max says:

      06:42am | 17/11/12

      Any criticism of Broadwell at all?  Any evidence that she didn’t set out to have the affair?  Fifteen minutes of fame?  A devious schemer wanting to achieve her personal celebrity?  Promote her book?

      Biased judgement reserved for one, seems to say it’s completely acceptable for a woman to have an affair.

      Seems to be completely deliberate action on her behalf, she didn’t just happen to fall on a General’s privates.

    • Richard M says:

      07:45am | 17/11/12

      And she has a husband and 2 young children.  Apparently, for Ms O’Brien, this cuts no ice at all.  It is the nasty older man who is the villain.  She’s just a hapless victim of the aphrodisiac of power, presumably.

    • Rose says:

      09:29am | 17/11/12

      Broadwell is fully responsible for cheating on her husband, Petraes is fully responsible for cheating on his wife.
      Whatever the circumstances leading up to the infidelity, they each took the decision to cheat on their spouses. You can’t say that either of them is a vulnerable victim. They were both educated, financially secure and free to decide on their own course of action, neither was tricked or coerced. They both made an informed choice to betray their respective spouses.

    • maddy says:

      06:44am | 17/11/12

      I’m so sick of the idea that if a man cheats it’s because his wife isn’t attractive enough.  Both Shane Warne and Tiger Woods behavior show’s that’s a crock.

      I don’t think I can agree that Petraeus should have ended his marriage before seeing another woman. I think that throwing away a 37 year old marriage away just because he wants a roll in the hay is a bit hard on both in the couple.

      Sorry to say but the real problem I find with his behaviour as a husband and as head of the CIA was giving his mistress access to his email accounts and getting so emotionally involved.

    • Richard M says:

      07:47am | 17/11/12

      And what about the woman who gave no thought to her own husband and two young children?  No problem there, I suppose.  She was just doing what came naturally with a powerful man.  Talk about double standards!

    • Tubesteak says:

      11:02am | 17/11/12


      Men are only as faithful as their options. Monogamy is not in our programming: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monogamy#Evolution_of_monogamy_in_humans

      “That is, before 18 000 years ago, many females would be reproducing with the same few males”

      A wealthy and powerful man is at the pinnacle of male attractiveness. He will be pursued by many females. Just as a young attractive healthy woman is at the pinnacle of female attractiveness.

      It is unrealistic to expect a wealthy or powerful man to remain faithful as monogamy is not natural for humans.

      Women that shack up with these men are deluding themselves if they think they are going to have a faithful and loyal man for all their lives. Moreso when they get old and dowdy. If they want a faithful man then they better go for the men that can’t get any woman except themselves. Sexual selection in humans is predominantly the domain of women. They should make a wise choice when they have the assets to do so.

    • Hank says:

      11:41am | 17/11/12

      Its got nothing to do with looks maddy.  Its called the “chicken sandwich syndrome.”

    • marley says:

      06:22pm | 17/11/12

      @Tubesteak - monogamy may not be natural, but I don’t see why integrity shouldn’t be.  If you don’t believe you can live by your marriage vows, don’t take them.  If you thought you could, but change your mind, tell your wife, leave, and sort things out from there.  Soldiers, especially senior ones, have codes of honour. lf those codes don’t apply to the people closest to them, who do they apply to?

      And by the way, while his wife isn’t exactly a model these days, Petraeus isn’t Adonis either.  He got married fresh out of West Point, when he was nothing but a junior lieutenant with an unknown future and no looks to speak of.  I suspect he was lucky to get a woman of Holly’s quality at the time.  He should have had the decency to end his marriage before embarking on one or more affairs.  He owed her that much.

    • Mayday says:

      06:53am | 17/11/12

      “Powerful men, listen up. If you’re not having an affair, you’re probably shirking the responsibilities that come with your top-level job.”

      Bill Clinton set the precedent and he was the President of the United States of America, the highest office in the land.

      Clinton betrayed the office of president and he is still very popular, perhaps its a bit of “there but for the grace of god go I?”

      Betraying your spouse and family undermines not only your personal integrity but your professional standing too, it comes down to discipline and setting the right example.  Both Clinton and Petraeus failed in my opinion.

    • P. Walker says:

      07:23am | 17/11/12

      Mayday, Clinton and Petraeus failed in your opinion, but they are still there, as are the women that Bill (Post number 1) speaks of.  Life goes on, mostly what breaks marriages is other people’s interference, like journos,  that neither party can reclaim.

    • Pat says:

      08:23am | 17/11/12

      How do you know what was really going on in these people’s sex lives?
      Clinton and Petraeus have both been good and respected in their jobs.
      What they do in bed shouldn’t be judged by people like you. Try judging them by the job they are paid to do.

    • Mayday says:

      11:26am | 17/11/12

      Hilary is looking at the big picture, the marriage is a sham.

    • TChong says:

      07:15am | 17/11/12

      Whinge, whinge, whinge.
      Same old femisinist slant - a cheating woman isnt being unfaithful and duplicitous- she is self liberating, self fulfilling .
      A cheating man is a cad.
      “Shirley Valentine”, “Eductaing Rita"and the like, have made leaving a less than desirable partner, and shacking up with some one new , a right that needs celebrating for women, so why not for the men?

    • iansand says:

      07:18am | 17/11/12

      Powerful men, listen up.  If you have an affair you are risking your powerful job.  You will lose your shot at the Republican nomination for President in 2016.  But apart from that you will get off scot free.

      Get the blinkers off, Ms O’Brien.

    • Sickemrex says:

      07:30am | 17/11/12

      There are certainly equivalent names for male cheaters, have you not heard of man whore or pants man? Sleaze? Personally, I think the married cheater of either gender is more ethically wrong than the single person. The married or otherwise committed person has made some sort of promise of faith to their partner, the single person certainly should know better but has made no such commitment.

      The gender doesn’t come into it. Oh, and for those defending husbands for cheating on their fat wives, does it work in reverse? Does the wife who keeps herself fit get to go out and play up on her overweight husband in your world?

    • Haxton Waag says:

      03:01pm | 17/11/12


      I have to admit, I have never heard the terms “man whore” and “pants man”. Guess I should get out more.

    • ronny jonny says:

      07:37am | 17/11/12

      What is the American fascination with where powerful men put their willies? Who cares? The only thing here is that he has compromised his position as head of the CIA and should be sacked for that but the rest is a non issue. We don’t know what was going on inside the relationship between him and his wife and we never really will. Maybe the poor man hadn’t had a root for 20 years… then again maybe he is a lecherous arsehole, we don’t know and it’s none of our business.

    • Petery says:

      07:40am | 17/11/12

      I have never been married and so probably no bugger all about what it takes for a marriage to be successful. Then I am probably in the same boat as someone who has been married three or four times, because clearly they don’t know what it is all about in any case.

      No relationship works if you are constantly separated from your partner. Given Petraues’s job, I am amazed he had time for anything resembling a personal life. In those circumstances I find the idea of being attracted to someone else totally understandable, particularly if that other person is around you all thetime,and the other is nott

      marriages fail because there is too much belief in fairy tale happy ever after romance or that the Hollywood bullshit happy ending is real life and not fantasy. The reality is that some people may be lucky enough to experience a life long relationship, but unlike in the movies you have to work hard at it to maintain it.
      in the real world, the rest of us must compromise by settling for something different

    • TracyH says:

      10:23am | 17/11/12

      You make sense, petery. I also think it’s unrealistic not to stray at some point in life, due to periodical depression or all sorts of other reasons. It’s when it becomes emotional that the hurt really begins. The vast majority of people who have strayed may well go on to have life long satisfying marriages. Other people interfering doesn’t help. I found out after 20 yrs if marriage that a few times over those years my husband strayed - but I’m glad I didn’t know, because we still had 20 good years. Good for ME. We did separate and divorce for other reasons, but that was our mutual decision. Why do people think spouses WANT to know??

    • Gregg says:

      11:35am | 17/11/12

      That’s rather funny Petery for you claim to know bugger all about marriage and then go on to tell us all about why relationships will not work and marriages will fail.

      You’re not a frustrated marriage counsellor by any chance are you?
      A good marriage can actually be one where maintaining it is not seen as hard work at all and if it is seen as that way, I would suggest that one or both may feel somewhat trapped and the relationship will just deteriorate, that coming from experience btw.

      Separation alone will not cause failure and if anything there is some truth in the old saying of separation makes the heart grow fonder and stronger.
      And sure, in the give and take of all relationships there will often need to be compromises of different levels for continuation of a relationship.

      And then of course, there will also be the regular or just opportunistic straying that Tracy refers to.

    • Nick says:

      04:38pm | 17/11/12

      Spouses that treat spouses like sex obsessed perverts for wanting a cuddle, let alone sex, are a dime a dozen.  There are as many solutions to the problem as there are couples.  For all you guys know Holly was happy for her husband to dip his wick anywhere he wanted so long as it wasn’t in her.  She probably couldn’t give a toss except she looks like a loser if her husband is openly bonking hot 40yo women and not her.

    • Gregg says:

      07:53am | 17/11/12

      Susie you do make some outlandish claims and Patreus has taken the situation squarely on the chin and not attempting to shift the blame, that some measure of his character.
      Just as surely, whatshername at twenty years or whatever younger than his wife is bound to have a different shape, age kind of doing that to you as you’ll no doubt discover and that it can be not so kind.
      ” According to one account, Broadwell’s “zealous devotion” to Petraeus “inadvertently ended his CIA career”.

      This is absurd. Broadwell didn’t end Petraeus’ celebrated military career: he ended it himself by having an affair with her. “

      It does not appear to have been Broadwell’s devotion so much as a zealous streak of possessiveness and Patraeus’s celebrated military career was already finished when he finished up with the army and took the CIA position, maybe a new sexual position conotation there!

      Anyway, according to reports, it was because of Broadwell having sent an email to a family friend of the former general and Holly and her complaint to authorities that the FBI then started looking at more correspondence and then it was hey four star David, what’s this other starring role and thus the reason for the inadvertent description.

      Patraeus has openly condemmed his own behaviour both from a marriage point of view and also for the position he held, all a bit dumb on his part really to think that he could have a personal closet with secrets in an organisation like the CIA.

      There are often no winners in the affairs stakes no matter what the distance run and now there are pieces for the picking up and moving on for those that can.

      And then with your opening paragraphs
      ” Powerful men, listen up. If you’re not having an affair, you’re probably shirking the responsibilities that come with your top-level job.

      And ladies, if you want to keep your husband, then keep yourself tidy. If you’re a little heavy or dowdy, then you only have yourself to blame if your man fools around with a younger, hotter woman. “

      Is there a different write up for when you have powerful women doing the affairing with ladies men?
      That revelation is more befitting our shores.

    • AndrewT says:

      08:06am | 17/11/12

      People should just mind their own business. Sex lives should be private! We don’t need to know!
      It’s like a sick obsession, everyone wants to know who’s rooting who and seem to get their kicks from judging people regarding their “private” sex activities.
      It’s not our business! Sex lives belong to those involved, no one else. Boss’s, journo’s included!
      Sacking people or repremanding them becuase they have an affair? what rubbish! It’s an issue for him and his wife!

    • Pavlo says:

      08:07am | 17/11/12

      Er… hang on Susie, there is also a woman with young children cheating on her husband. And who was really doing the pursuing in this case?

      Almost without regard to a man’s looks or age, many women will always… ALWAYS make themselves sexually available to men in power, men in positions of authority or popularity, (e.g. presidents and pop stars). I’m not making a judgement on that, just observing it as fact. Two sides to this story.

    • Roscoe says:

      08:08am | 17/11/12

      What is it you still don’t understand? I’ll explain it for you. Don’t get fat.  Don’t lose your sense of sexiness and style.  Don’t cut your hair as short as his because its comfortable and easier to manage.  Don’t dress in shapeless mumu’s. Don’t absorb yourself so much in your children that you forget he exists.  All of these things will lead to a straying man.  It’s been going on for centuries - why can’t women play by the rules?  Don’t like the rules - expect to lose your man. 
      The only men who stay with women who let themselves go as I’ve described above are the ones who can’t do any better themselves.  This bloke could.  So could Clinton. So could Warney. You can moan and bitch and call them arrogant pigs - but secretly you women want men like these.  That’s why there’s a never ending line of women waiting to pounce on some Alpha male whose wife treats him like an afterthought.
      For every cheating man there’s a dozen women wanting to accommodate him - and you know it.

    • expat says:

      02:30pm | 17/11/12

      Too true Roscoe.

    • LaDiva says:

      04:42pm | 17/11/12

      And never age beyond 25, right?

    • martinX says:

      08:13am | 17/11/12

      “intimate runs in Afghanistan”. Tell me that is said sarcastically. Or ironically (always did have trouble with that one). Anything but seriously.

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      08:17am | 17/11/12

      Putting aside the anti-male slant for a moment…

      What does this adultery have to do with anyone else, let alone Susie?

      Unless it affects you personally—it’s your husband or wife—then it’s really none of your business.

      The only reason you’re interested is because it’s about SEX.

      And SEX sells.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      08:29am | 17/11/12

      I’m sorry, is this now a trashy magazine?  This is (or should be, if it were not for people with too much interest in other peoples private lives) a private matter.

      His position of power is irrelevant.  If we were to condemn everyone, in the professional life, who has an affair, we’d have a ridiculous unemployment rate.

      With everything that’s going on, if this is the best you can find to write about, perhaps a career change is in order, or at least a change to New Idea where they care about facile nonsense like strangers relationships.

    • CD says:

      10:29am | 17/11/12

      Expect it to get worse if Ms O’Brien is to be an ongoing contributor.  Punch can ban Erick but push agendas like O’Brien’s with fervour. I gave up on her bias and lack of critical thinking in her HS columns long go.

    • Bruce says:

      08:42am | 17/11/12

      Ah !  The casting couch ! Some good jobs have come about as a result of the “casting couch” !!

    • KimL says:

      09:01am | 17/11/12

      I find that offensive ..And ladies, if you want to keep your husband, then keep yourself tidy. If you’re a little heavy or dowdy, then you only have yourself to blame if your man fools around with a younger, hotter woman. Especially coming from a woman. My husband cheated on me I had been married for 23 years..yes she was younger 21 years old but way fatter and had not much in the brain department, she already had 3 children to 3 different men at that age. No I don’t blame her despite that, I blame my husband, he should have kept it zipped.  I divorced him and she left him after she cleaned him out.. he is now a drunk.. so far no happy ending for him..but I am fine..still thin even though I am older and happy and healthy..you can’t ask more than that.

    • Bitten says:

      09:08am | 17/11/12

      Why do women constantly seek to demonise rather than rationally and proportionately sheet home responsibility?

      Whether you like it or not dear, there are THREE players in this particular snafu. The general, the wife and the biographer. The general is a weak-willed, unprofessional, thoughtless and inadequate individual who has no place in public office or in a marriage. I’d argue that such an individual has very little in terms of character or strength to offer as a father to his children. But that’s a separate matter.

      The biographer is an envious, inadequate and socially-retarded individual. Search her history and you will doubtless find a string of men who enjoyed the ride but didn’t take it any further because she has too much crazy happening. Too much ‘Why didn’t you call me, I texted you 23 second ago?’ Women like that get laid. They don’t get relationships of substance with high quality men. She’s ‘fun’. End of sentence.

      The wife is a bit of an enigma but there is no denying she has decided that, in typical woman-logic, her husband’s sexual needs are unimportant and certainly take a backseat to her desires to be lazy and feign indifference to the laws of attraction.

      You’re claiming many are defending or implicitly supporting the General under the guise of solidarity borne out of the fear of ‘there but for the grace of god…’ Yet in the same piece, YOU are the one defending a woman who has decided that, despite every person having the right to a healthy sexual life just as every person has a right to a healthy emotional life, she doesn’t have to play along. She has no responsibility, it’s all men’s fault for having disgusting sexual needs.  Because she’s fat, the sisterhood is being supportive out of the same fear ‘There but for the grace of god…’

      I know you girls don’t like it when someone points out your hypocrisy, but it’s too glaring in this case.

      And don’t play the ‘you’re a dude, you wouldn’t understand and anyways you’re just sexist for having an opinion which men aren’t allowed mmmmmkay’ - I’m female.

    • Anthony says:

      09:32am | 17/11/12

      My father had affairs because my step mother stopped wanting to have sex with him. I don’t blame him.
      There’s more to what goes on in marriages than, “he cheated”. No one should judge people about their sex lives when they don’t really know what’s going on. And what this has to do with someones job leaves me at a loss.

    • Rose says:

      03:09pm | 17/11/12

      Why didn’t he just divorce her? Cheating is about the lying and the betrayal, the sex is secondary. A thoroughly decent man would have just said this isn’t working and would have ended the marriage before he went elsewhere so he didn’t have to cheat.
      Is it possible that your step mother stopped wanting to have sex with him because he was having sex with others?
      In terms of some one’s job, it only goes to integrity, if a person’s family can’t trust some one, why should anyone else? this is not important to all jobs, but when some one is basing their career prospects on their integrity, it’s relevant to question it!

    • Tim says:

      09:38am | 17/11/12

      Petraeus should be applauded for being so vigorous. We need that type of man in the top job.
      How do you know that his wife wasn’t fully accepting of his affairs? Perhaps she just liked being the wife of such a powerful man.

    • Michael says:

      10:08am | 17/11/12

      Maybe she didn’t want to have sex with him so he went elsewhere for it.
      Happens often.
      What it has to do with his job and the media is beyond me.

    • I hate pies says:

      09:45am | 17/11/12

      I really don’t understand why this story is news in Australia.

    • St. Michael says:

      09:56am | 17/11/12

      “Many men, after all, will agree with TV evangelist Pat Robertson. He says Petraeus shouldn’t be condemned because Broadwell is an “extremely good looking woman” and “he’s a man”.”

      Perhaps many women will imagine that Broadwell shouldn’t be condemned because Petraeus was an “extremely powerful and interesting man” and “she’s a woman”.

    • AdamC says:

      10:13am | 17/11/12

      This article goes to show that, when it comes to gender wars, people simply see whatever slant, bias or injustice they want to see. Realty is irrelevant.

      To me, it seems that straight chicks have been projecting themselves at powerful, wealthy and attractive men for millennia, whether said men are married or not. And the targeted men have been falling for the charms of the women, and sometimes regretting it, for just as long. Nobody is perfect. It is only when messy personal lives spill over into one’s professional affairs that there is an issue.

      Or when you lie under oath about it (Clinton); share too much sensitive information with your bit on the side (Petraeus); or have a squeaky clean image to maintain (Tiger Woods).

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      10:35am | 17/11/12

      The Americans, & increasingly Australians, are obsessed with Sex. We can expect this from Australians who regard the whole thing as a bit of Fun. The Amercians are completely different. Other than all those silly men & women who impose sexual repression on themselves by becoming Celibate priests & nuns which inevitably leads them into having improper sexual relations with others - the Americans must be the most anally retentive, sexually inhibited people on earth.
      Who cares where men & women are putting their “things” - or who with?
      What do we seem to hear from married men & women who have been married even for the shortest time?
      “Sex with him/her? You’ve gotta be joking that all stopped after the honeymoon!!”
      If those claims are true then it is no wonder men & women go looking for a bit of the old rumpy-pumpy elsewhere is it?
      It seems, again if the reports are true, that even couples, some of whom have been together for many years & throughout that time have enjoyed a Full, Frequent & Satisfying “Sex life” the moment they get married “Celibacy” sets in!!
      How silly is that? What is it about the formal nonsense of “Marriage” which puts a stop to the very thing it is supposed to encourage??
      What about those so frequently ignored “Vows”? “To have & to hold from this day forth eschewing all others till death do us part”. “What (mythical) God has joined in Holy Matrimony, let no man/women put apart”
      Yet the very first thing to go out the door is that Full, Frequent & Satisfying Sexual activity thos couples were enjoying before some accurs-ed priest or marriage celebrant started interfering!!

    • Arthur says:

      10:45am | 17/11/12

      I’d like to see what would happen if a woman doing such an important job had an affair. But that would be rare as a woman’s desirability peaks at around 30-35.

      The fact is his life has been much harder than hers, and quite frankly there’s not enough respect for that out there. There’s a meme that we should automatically see them as greedy, corrupt white men. Which I find is kind of a self fulfilling prophecy, nerd bashing makes nerds bitter and then makes them want to be bastards, or at least apathetic. So after decades of having a hard life if he gets a bit on the side it’s hard to blame him.

      Where as a woman like that, all she has to do is walk into a night club and she’ll have men begging her for sex in about 5 minutes. 

      Quite frankly real character is almost non existent in today’s society, especially at the top levels where life is very machiavellian.  Tell me where are these awesome incorruptible people? So it’s pointless to try and be so judgemental about it.

      Not that I am condoning it. I am all for marriage and sticking to it until death.

    • St. Michael says:

      01:53pm | 17/11/12

      “The fact is his life has been much harder than hers, and quite frankly there’s not enough respect for that out there.”

      Whoa, whoa—how hard has Petraeus’s life been again? Despite appearances from the cakeboard of medals he proudly displayed on his chest, Petraeus is an Army careerist who has never been in battle and the only risks he’s faced are the much-dreaded theatre of office politics.

      Read his bio carefully.  He never served any time in Vietnam despite graduating from West Point in 1974; his deployment was to Italy—where, you may be interested to know, the line of promotion was faster because everyone else wanted to go to Vietnam to get their combat tickets punched, so there was a shortage of officers in the US’s European theatres.  The entirety of his career has been assignments like that: cushy back line assignments until 2003 when he finally was deployed to Iraq.  Again: never saw combat, never really at risk.

      You might wonder how a guy like Petraeus who managed to avoid combat command for, oh, 30 years or so has more medals on his chest than people like Dwight Eisenhower.  Short reason is because most of the medals are for attendance or bureaucratic work—not combat or valour.  They are not combat decorations.  And the only decoration which is arguably for combat—Bronze Star with V device—is highly suspect on present assessments.  (In that sense, the fact he got that medal as a general illustrates how dumb he is: it’s only if something’s gone really, badly wrong that a general should be winding up in actual combat.)

      Petraeus has in essence been a career public servant.  Do not mistake him for people like Col. David Hackworth, who *was* the most decorated US Army officer of the 20h century (side note: Audie Murphy doesn’t count here, because Murphy was NCO and Hackworth an officer) and who had eight Purple Hearts.  Life ain’t that hard for an officer in the US Army; his wife would have gone to every deployment he went to bar the combat operations.  In a sense, she’s the one who had the harder life.  She couldn’t pick where the family would live.  That was up to the US Army.  The only gunfire injury Petraeus ever suffered was when some moron shot him by accident on a training course.

    • Bho Ghan-Pryde says:

      11:30am | 17/11/12

      So Susie, since when did this man’s sex life and that of Paula become any of your business. It may be the business of his wife but it is definitely not the business of you or the Punch Team or the media. You should stay out of other people’s bedrooms. In addition, why did this only come out after the US election - along with much worse employment figures in the US and a war in the Middle East all the bad news has come out since the vote. Nothing suss there.

    • MM says:

      11:35am | 17/11/12

      Why do we let cheaters off the hook?
      Usually becuase we know their partners aren’t giving them any sex.

    • Zac says:

      11:36am | 17/11/12

      “why is there no male equivalent of the word “mistress”? (Or the word “slut”, come to think of it).”

      Would Menstress or Mrstress do? But it will create Stress and cause more Mistrustss.

    • BJ says:

      12:05pm | 17/11/12

      Why did Ms O’Brien criticise the cheating man more than the cheating woman?

    • Bill says:

      04:59pm | 17/11/12

      Because she hates men. That’s why.

    • Anjuli says:

      12:21pm | 17/11/12

      Patraeus is no worse and no better than a past president of the USA ,I am sure there a lot more in history who have done the same,kept quiet about it. It happened to a family member of mine betrayed 4 times that we know of, after 24 years of marriage, she kept herself trim taut and terrific it made no difference .

    • Wilma J Craig says:

      02:00pm | 17/11/12

      Ask yourselves these simple questions. I’ll suggest an answer or two!!
      Q:Does having sex make you a happier person?
      A: Yes
      Q: Does having sex with another person make you any less capable of doing you job?
      Q: Does having sex with another person, partner or no, make you more capable of doing your job?
      A: Of course it does!
      A: No
      Q: Are you a normal human being who likes to have sex for “rest & relaxation”?
      A: Damn right
      Q: If your regular partner (male or female) refuses to have sex with you, do you have the right to have (legally) elsewhere?
      A: Damn right, again!
      Q: Other than those involved (husband,wife or ex-marital sex partner) is what any man or woman does in the bed, back seat, motel room, laundry or kitchen any of anyone else’s business?
      A: NO

    • marley says:

      06:29pm | 17/11/12

      And then ask yourself these questions:

      Q:  Did you, a senior Army officer and then head of the CIA, let classified information slip while you were pursuing this woman?
      A:  Umm, not sure.
      Q:  Did she have access to any of your e-mails? Could she have seen or noticed things while she was with you that might have given her access to that sort of thing?
      A.  Umm, not sure.
      Q:  Did she have classified information on her computer, the source of which can’t be identified?
      A:  Yes, but I don’t think it was me.

      Q: Right, do you see a problem here for someone whose positions depend absolutely on adherence to the strictest of security protocols?  Who would discipline a junior office for security breaches, or even potential security breaches, of this kind?  Who can’t head an agency by talking the security talk if he can’t walk the security walk?
      A:  Yup.

    • petery says:

      02:15pm | 17/11/12

      I marvel at the wide range of judgmental nonsense leveled here at the motives of both Petraues and Broadwell for having an affair. As far as I know neither has spoken up about why, yet so many people throwing around terms like slut,home wrecker,uncontrolled emotions,  claim to have godlike knowledge of what happened. I just wonder where they got their information,if it was not from god,maybe the devil.

      It was damn lucky at least for Petraeus that the affair became public after he left the army,because he could have been subject to a court martial under army regulations. I do not imagine that the CIA like the idea of their chief being friendly with a reporter either.

      it might not matter a damn, as some people put it, where Petraeus and Broadwell put their things, but I would hate to think that mistakes were made in intelligence or on the battlefield because the man on the top was more preoccupied in making a decision about which position he favored in bed.Petraeus showed integrity when he did the right thing by resigning. When you have a position of such responsibility and you choose to have fun instead, then you must expect to suffer consequences If you get caught out.

      say what you want about Clinton he was not in the front line when he committed his indiscretion

    • Rebuttal says:

      02:27pm | 17/11/12

      You are totally on the money with this article Susie.  Sad to see how deeply mysogenistic bias is embedded in such a large number of male bigots (see comments from others on this piece)

    • hmv says:

      03:34pm | 17/11/12

      Sad to see how deeply misandry and femcentric bias is embedded in such a large number of female bigots (see article above and comments from females and Rebuttal above)

    • St. Michael says:

      03:58pm | 17/11/12

      New from the Drum forums, I take it?

    • BruceS says:

      03:13pm | 17/11/12

      Thank you for your disingenuous but interesting article. By the way, in Australia we have “Cheats”, not the mispelt name of a very very fast cat.

    • Stormy Weather says:

      06:47pm | 17/11/12

      These men are so motivated by their erections that they are easy prey to an “attractive” woman.
      I think it’s funny.  Obviously not for the loyal wife, but from an outside perspective it shows men to be rather weak.

      The sad part for the wife is the years she has put into the relationship caring for the children, especially as an army wife who would have raised those children alone a lot of the time while hubbie climbed the ranks, being constantly transferred, having no time to care about her own appearance. Only to be rewarded by her husband’s disloyalty and public humiliation.

      Is it any wonder women and men are so picky these days but then who can really tell who a cheater is going to be?

      I think cheaters of both genders are just as bad as each other. I think going to a prostitute is actually a better option, there is no emotional betrayal, it’s just sex.
      Either way, if you aren’t happy or emotionally/sexually satisfied, why be with each other?

      I think the women who have affairs knowingly with attached men aren’t innocent though. They are predator like.
      It’s all about the excitement, the risk of getting caught, the power their sexuality has over all men even the ones already taken.

      It’s what makes it hard for many of us single women/mothers to have friendships with couples. Many married/attached women avoid you in fear of you stealing their partners away or becoming a home wrecker.
      Sure, it’s justified in some ways as it’s a woman’s prerogative to guard her relationship/family/territory, but as if their partners are actually our type. Sometimes the fear is irrational and purely based on a stereotype.

      Holly is the collateral damage while hubby get’s a pat on his back like he’s some super stud.  I think though, even if Holly was attractive and young it wouldn’t matter, look at JFK or other powerful men who cheated on their beautiful partners. Holly’s dowdiness is being used as a justification for his cheating but he’d have probably done it anyway because he could.


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