If anyone should know the military code of conduct, it is General Petraeus. Having an affair is a serious matter in the military; so serious, in fact, that soldiers caught cheating can face court martial and/or discharge from service. Therefore, it’s baffling how Petraeus could risk his career by engaging in an extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell; but apparently he has. The former Army General is under scrutiny for the extramarital affair that occurred while he was CIA director and may have occurred during his tenure in the U.S. Army, no doubt his wife of 38 years Holly Peatreaus is furious.
“Well, as you can imagine, she’s not exactly pleased right now,” retired U.S. Army Col. Steve Boylan told Yahoo News. “In a conversation with David Petraeus this weekend, he said that, ‘Furious would be an understatement.’ And I think anyone that’s been put in that situation would probably agree. He deeply hurt the family.”
He denies the affair took place while he was enlisted in the Army and instead claims that the liaison between him and Broadwell happened several months after his retirement in April 2011. While he does not deny he had an ongoing relationship with Ms. Broadwell, the question now is whether or not he was engaged in that relationship during his time serving in the U. S. Army.
Mrs. Broadwell; who traveled with Petraeus during six separate trips to Afghanistan in an attempt to produce his biography, was married at the time of the relationship as well. While this type of relationship is expressly forbidden due to the military code of conduct, it still happens at an alarming rate. Recent studies show that infidelity among military couples is almost double that of civilian couples (32% for military couples versus 17% for non-military couples). Of course, in a self-reporting study, numbers tend to be lower but the fact remains that despite the code of conduct, soldiers are still risking their careers pursuing extramarital affairs.
Being married in the military certainly has its challenges. Long separations from family and spouses, along with the constant threat of deployment and/or re-stationing may be contributing factors leading to higher instances of affairs for military families. The fact that General Petraeus traveled to Afghanistan on assignment half a dozen times with a pretty biographer in tow suggests that close proximity and common interests may have lead to the formation of their relationship. Reasons aside, the rules are the rules and if Petraeus broke those rules by engaging in an affair with Paul Broadwell during his time in the Army, then all his service will have been for naught as he will be subject to military prosecution.
News of the story broke when Jill Kelley, a long-time Petraeus family friend and supporter of the military, reported receiving anonymous harassing emails in regards to General Petraeus. The FBI got involved when Kelley made a report with the authorities and agents traced the source of the emails to a computer belonging to Paula Broadwell. In addition to the threatening emails sent to Kelley, the FBI found correspondence between Petraeus and Broadwell that detailed the nature of their adulterous relationship.
With the nature of the affair now in full public view, it may be harder for Holly Petraeus and her husband to repair their relationship away from public scrutiny. After 38 years of marriage, one would hope the Petraeus’ would decide to work it out and stay together. With instances of divorce among military couples being higher than civilian couples however; they certainly have their work cut out for them. The current investigation into whether or not Broadwell and the General carried on their affair during his tenure in the Army is ongoing.