A Letter To The Ethicist
Months before General David Petraeus resigned as Director of the CIA, an anonymous reader wrote a letter to the New York Times’ Ethicist column complaining about an affair his wife, presumably Paula Broadwell, was having with a “government executive”. In response to the letter, Chuck Klosterman of The Ethicist wrote:
The fact that you’re willing to accept your wife’s infidelity for some greater political good is beyond honorable. In fact, it’s so over-the-top honorable that I’m not sure I believe your motives are real. Part of me wonders why you’re even posing this question, particularly in a column that is printed in The New York Times.
Your dilemma is intriguing, but I don’t see how it’s ambiguous. Your wife is having an affair with a person you happen to respect. Why would that last detail change the way you respond to her cheating? Do you admire this man so much that you haven’t asked your wife why she keeps having sex with him? I halfway suspect you’re writing this letter because you want specific people to read this column and deduce who is involved and what’s really going on behind closed doors (without actually addressing the conflict in person). That’s not ethical, either.
It seems to me Klosterman hit the nail on the head.