Robert Winner


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Why Petraeus's Affair Matters (but Bill Clinton's Didn't)

In the case of CIA Director Petraeus's extra material affair much attention has been directed to honor and ethics. However Bill Clinton who had many affairs and was impeached for purjury and settled a lawsuit to Paua Jones for $850,000 there was no mention of honor, ethic, morality. He lost his right to parctice law in Arkansas and cannot appear as a lawyer in front of the supreme court as a result. Hillary is not clean either as she was linked to Whitewater, Castle Grande, and the book "It Takes a Village" which she claimed to have written, but if fact was written by others which she did not acknowledge. The Clintons have been labled as congenital liars and there seems to be evidence that they have strayed from the truth often.

This all come to light again as the twentith anniversary of the 12 year affair with Gennifer Flowers is this month and she was on TV. They also stated that there has been more than twenty documented affairs by Bill in both the Arkansas governors mansion and the white house. Is honor only limited to Generals and not Presidents.

So the question is why is Perraeus condemed and Clinton not. Why in the face of so many proven lies and infidelities do the people still love Bill Clinton.

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    Nov 30 2012: Clinton knows how to play politics better than Petraeus. I think when you sink to the level of not taking responsibility for others as is the case with Clinton and with Obama they are malleable ( I mean gelatinous) so that they are apparitional targets. Petraeusis is not and was used the coincidence with Benghazi does not pass the smell test.
  • Nov 30 2012: "So the question is why is Perraeus condemed and Clinton not"

    I think you are exaggerating both sides of this. To the best of my knowledge, Petraeus has not been widely condemned. It was Petraeus that initialized his resignation, and the President reluctantly accepted. This affair becoming public was a shock to everyone because Petraeus had such an immaculate reputation. It was shocking that he had an affair and, because of his position, it was shocking that it became public.

    Bill Clinton's extramarital affairs amount to a bad joke, at the expense of all men. He has been condemned, by the impeachment, the courts and much of the public. The most dishonorable aspect of his affairs was the breaking of his marriage vows. While we all understand that marriages are suppose to be monogamous, we also know that many marriages are open to outside sex, by the agreement of both spouses. To the best of my knowledge, Hillary has remained silent on this subject, so it is possible that he did not violate his marriage contract with Hillary. To me, the most shocking part of the Monica Lewinsky affair was that she was a federal employee at the time, and that aspect is rarely considered an issue at all.

    This involves two double standards. We do not expect politicians to have good morals, especially sexually. While we expect generals to be honorable, and have more sense and good judgment.

    Our standards for sexual behavior of men and women have always been different, and apparently that has not changed as much the feminists would like.

    Personally, I find Bill Clinton's continued popularity to be a mystery. He does have a great smile.
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      Dec 1 2012: Let's not forget that the Impeachment was not about sex. it was about lying to the Grand Jury. If you or I had done that. we'd have served time in prison.
      • Dec 1 2012: The reminder is timely and relevant, but I fail to see how it replies to my comments.
  • Nov 30 2012: This is not a "debate". This is you just being grumpy and trying to go back and smear a president who has been out of office for 12 years. Do you have any real issues with Clinton that are still relevant?

    Petraeus' affair in my opinion matters a lot more because it symbolizes the colossal failure of the jingoistic war hawk machine that has been our nation's foreign policy in the 00's decade. He was more of a celbrity than a general.
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      Nov 30 2012: Why are you so angry at the facts. You are obviously a liberal as you describe the general as a "war hawk" and defend the Canada draft avoiding Clinton.

      So again the question without the emotion. Why is one affair more significant than the other.

      Thanks for the reply grumpy.
      • Dec 4 2012: Im not grumpy. I didnt describe the general as a warhawk i was speaking about our foreign policy.

        Your welcome talking cat. :)
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    Gail .

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    Dec 1 2012: Patraeus was working under the Unified Code of Military Justice, which makes it a criminal offense to have an affair.

    Why do I like Bill Clinton so much? Because he talks to me like I am intelligent.

    Ultimately, I don't care about either affair. Just not my business.
    • Dec 1 2012: To the best of my knowledge, Patraeus had already retired from the military. So the Unified Code of Military Justice did not apply to him.

      To the best of my knowledge, Patraeus did not break any law.
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        Gail .

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        Dec 1 2012: Retired military who draw pay are subject to the UCMJ, for life. If tried (and Patraeus will not be), it is punishable by dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and even a one-year prison term.
  • Dec 1 2012: That's the point - President Clintion was impeached. Then we had 9/11 Maybe Patraeus's problem is not so important. Most of the World is laughing at us when we go Puritan. Let he who is perfect cast the first stone. Maybe we should state this in a positive way - Okay positive to some of us. - Clinton and Patraeus proven to be heterosexuals. Just go off and be your happy/gay/Puritan selves you Porker conservative!
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      Dec 1 2012: George, Just so that I understand your reply .... you are saying that if more people were unfaithful to their wives and we all had no moral, ethic, or honor then 911 would not have occured and the world would respect the obviously hetrosexual United states.

      Happy/gay/puritan porker conservative .... George was that ment to be an insult? Work on it George ... that does not reflect the heterosexual image of a lust nation you desire. Sounds a little feminine. However your disrespect for women is showing.

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    Nov 30 2012: I have a hypothesis and admit I have not followed the details of this story.

    First, there seemed to be a security risk of the girlfriend having access to sensitive information, at home, that she should not have had there.

    Second, the affair came out because said girlfriend seems to have threatened yet another woman over relationships with Petraeus.

    Third, the threatened woman and her sister seemed to be managing to leverage their relationships with Petreaus for personal ends- financial, child-custody.... which suggests a possibly bigger mess at hand.

    In the case of Clinton, with the whole grand jury investigation and tremendous resources that went into the investigation, if there had ever been a credible hint of security risk in that relationship, I think we would all know.
    So while one might consider the extra-marital relationships themselves a problem from a moral standpoint, there seemed to be more public risks in the Petreas case.
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      Dec 1 2012: That is a nice story, but it still don't pass the smell test.
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        Dec 1 2012: As I said, lots of people probably know better what is really going on than I do. Maybe one of our former military or formerly military intelligence guys. Are you such a person?
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          Dec 1 2012: No but I have rather good olfactory glands regarding this sort of thing.
  • Dec 9 2012: What I don't get is why these politicians, actors, sports stars etc. get married in the first place? No one would have cared if Tiger Woods was humping half of Florida if he wasn't married. The real question should be, if someone has money and power and can have women anytime they want, why do they get married in the first place?
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      Dec 10 2012: Good question. Both partners should know that their lives are under a telescope and a media person is camped out with super cameras to take a picture. In the case of tiger, his wife was also rich and famous. So the question is really why would anyone want to go under that magnifing glass. The answer is they want to be a part of the big picture. Say if you or I married a movie star ... we would now live in a mansion, have access to her money, cars, jet set life style, and go from Tomas Jones truck driver to Thomas Jones the man who lives other peoples dreams. Easy to write a female side of that story.

      Being single and as you say "humping half of Flordia" also has it pit falls. How many girls would claim rape, pregnacy, common law wife, or even blackmail.

      In Clinton's case I think it is ego and as a psyc observer I think that he really hates women and "uses" them but has no respect for them or much of anything. Why after so many affairs would his wife Hillary remain.

      All the beat. Bob.
  • Dec 3 2012: "Why Petraeus's Affair Matters (but Bill Clinton's Didn't)"

    Petraeus worked in the CIA which has strict reglations regarding affairs, still, he wasn't discharged, he resigned himself, we don't know for certain he would have been discharged otherwise, though it's likely. What we do know is that he could have kept his job if he had not kept his affair a secret (because then he couldn't have been blackmailed with it).
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    Dec 2 2012: You realise the USA is the only country where either affair would be of any consequence.
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      Dec 2 2012: It seems to be that British PMs make the news about their affairs often. But that is of little concern as it did happen in the US where we profess morals, honor, and ethics are important.

      I cannot judge the morals and ethics or even the lack of in other countries.
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        Dec 3 2012: I think the difference is the high level of respect, a POTUS for example, gets in the US can result in unrealistic expectations. In many countries politicians are looked on with suspicion rather then respect so immoral behavior isn't such a disappointment. We don't care who they sleep with or even if they rort the system a bit as long as they do all the stuff we want them to do
    • Dec 3 2012: Peter, you are right that American prudishness is exceptional in the developed world but most countries would discharge the head of a spy agency over a secret extramarital affair because it makes that person vulnerable to blackmail.
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        Dec 4 2012: I can see your point but blackmail is unlikely now that we all know about it. It's a bit of a catch 22 as the risk of blackmail only exists before the affair comes out.
        • Dec 4 2012: We only know about it because of the investigation, he did keep the affair a secret as long as he could and that means that without the investigation he would have continued to keep it a secret and the CIA cannot trust him anymore in the future.
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        Dec 4 2012: There is a certain irony to the fact that the leader of an espionage agency has been sacked for sneeking around behind peoples backs ;-)
  • Dec 2 2012: The rest of the world does not worry so much about these things. Are we right or wrong? I was just noting that the President was tied down with this mess when Bin "Loden the evil was only a minor problem. If we reread our old thermodynamics texts, material on carrying capacity, Ricardo, and Malthus We are Concerned when we look at the current economic mess. Okay, I am just suggesting that that a great deal of what we read distracts us from what we should be dealing with - misdirection if you wish. Always watch your wallet or whatever. This was not meant to insult anyone - I am just noting that people are just people. Men like Gandhi only happen a few trimes in a century. Fortunately, for we lesser men our Judeo Christian and Islamic if you wish heritage tells us that the sins of men like Nixon or Clinton are forgiveable and so the American people did forgive them. Maybe I am overly concerned that we are trying to deal with structural problems with software. Look at the great similiarity of the candidates in the recent Presidential election. All the best Robert - Both men have paid a big price. Unfortunately, when our best aren't dealing with important tasks we all suffer.
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    Nov 30 2012: Mrs Clinton is a strong woman who has been consistently supporting her husband even in stressful times. Such strength is not common these days.
    President Clinton may not be perfect, but he did his best as governor and as president; General Petraeus may not be perfect but only a man of honour would serve the nation as he has done.

    We should not be obsessed with the love of people; we all have our weaknesses, but we should use our strength for excellence.
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      Nov 30 2012: Again, why would one matter and the other not matter. Your answer indicates your support and like for the Clintons. Why in the face of all information available to us.
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        Dec 1 2012: It is interesting that the posters who come across as strongly liberal avoid the question all together. The bottomline for me is, anytime you have an extra marital affair you are putting yourself in a position to be blackmailed, and that poses a security risk. If you have an "open-marriage" there is no affair. If these men were willing to appear in public with these women and let everyone know about their relationships, there would be no security risk. The evidence though appears to be to the contrary.
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    Nov 30 2012: I think adultery is a private issue only, because it is connected to marriage, which is the most private legal form of all partnerships.

    And as long adultery does not conflict with official laws, it is non of the public business at all.

    By this I do not advocate for adultery, because I disapprove it if it is done 'secretly' and against the trust of the other spouse. If it is done on mutual and open agreement, I would not have any problems with that if couples choose to do so. Personally this would not be of my liking, but who am I to judge others on theirs?

    The difference in 'honor and ethics' in the case of Petraeus and Clinton may have its cause in legal terms.

    I learned that under 'Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, adultery is considered a crime by the military. The statute states that having an affair brings discredit upon the armed forces.' (

    I don't know if a similar law applies to the US president, but if it doesn't, it would explain to me the differences in the given discreditation as well as the public involvement in this matter.

    I also think Article 134 is a relic from the past and should be deleted without substitution.

    Why should anyone be less honorable than others if they choose to have a 'open marriage' on mutual agreement?

    And because of the privacy issue I stated above, it is non of the business of any armed forces in the first place.