By Teresa Welsh |
Despite the claims of many people, the resignation of David Petraeus as director of the CIA will benefit the country, the Army, and his family.
It is hard to believe that Petraeus could be an effective leader of the nation's premier intelligence agency once his extramarital affair had become public. Can you imagine him testifying before the Congress on the Benghazi affair this Thursday, when the focus would not only be on his own affair but on the exact timing of events and the E-mails he and Paula Broadwell exchanged?
Moreover, there are many competent people who are qualified to take over the agency. The CIA can turn to Michael Morell, Petraeus's deputy, or John Brennan, President Barack Obama's chief counterterrorism advisor, who might have had the job were it not for unsubstantiated claims about his role in torture. There are also many very qualified people who have not been able to be confirmed because of lesser problems. For example, the late Ted Sorensen removed himself from consideration as CIA director under President Carter over a trivial matter, his having been a conscientious objector.
Petraeus's resignation also sends the right signal to the men and women in uniform. Petraeus is probably the best known and most revered officer of his generation, and, while the affair occurred after he left the Army, he is still referred to as General Petraeus and looked up to by many soldiers. Moreover, Broadwell is also a West Point graduate, and Army Reserve officer, married, and the mother of two children. Petraeus's resignation will confirm that expectations of personal conduct extend to all levels of the national security set-up.
His resignation will also be good for his family and that of Broadwell. By leaving the spotlight and returning to normal life, Petraeus will allow his and Broadwell's family to heal out of the glare of the public eye.
About Lawrence J. Korb Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress
Heather Hurlburt Executive Director of the National Security Network