Military ethics and morality


Although sex in politics and extramarital flings are not unheard of in USA, things have changed since mid 80s.The process of reformation and strict adherence to code of ethics is essential for any state or institution to survive and flourish. Former NY Governor Eliot was forced to resign in 2008, when it was discovered that he was a regular visitor to a prostitute working in an escort service located in his state. Gary Hart a front runner for Democratic nomination in 1988 US presidential election, had to pull out when it was revealed that he spent a night with a woman who was not his wife on a luxury boat.
No public office holder in USA has ever escaped accountability for financial irregularities, abuse of power and conflict of interest. One wonders when will our elected ruling elite, including paid civil and armed bureaucracy, submit themselves to accountability and assume the moral high ground expected of them, especially since our constitution mandates that all laws will be in conformity with Islamic laws and principles. The institutional and economic nightmare that Pakistan faces is a consequence of abuses of power by successive military juntas and political governments who failed to follow the vision of Quaid-e-Azam, who led this country by example.
Those holding public office are expected to adhere to a more conservative moral and ethical code during their tenures. In the US military, adultery is not allowed for officer corps, during their tenure of service and is punishable with termination of service, dishonourable discharge without any benefits and even prison. While extramarital affairs are considered a private matter for ordinary American citizens and evidence of infidelity can only be used for divorce proceedings, there being no criminal penalty involved.
In any system of governance, including democracy, the basic principle is that power comes with responsibility. Gen Petreaus, a four star general who commanded the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, retired from active service and was appointed as head of CIA. As head of CIA, he was expected to behave in a more responsible manner and have moral authority to enjoy respect of the officers and staff that worked under him.
Although this alleged extramarital affair is believed to have occurred after his retirement, its exposure resulted in his retirement. As head of CIA, he had access to confidential intelligence information which could impact American national interests. Any such display of succumbing to human temptations, such as an extramarital affair, or receiving other undue favours, financial or otherwise, can jeopardise position of public office holders who may subsequently be susceptible to blackmail etc.
Illinois, USA