(CNSNews.com) – Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said former CIA Director David Petraeus’ recent resignation due to an extramarital affair “has opened the Pandora’s Box” for the Obama administration when it comes to standards of morality in the military.
“I think we should be very concerned about what’s happening in the military. General Petraeus isn’t the only one. We’ve seen other general officers that are currently either under investigation or have been disciplined for similar behavior, and I think we should be concerned when we are losing a moral standard in the military,” Perkins told CNSNews.com.
Perkins said immoral behavior in the military can damage military effectiveness, which is why military personnel can be prosecuted for having affairs.
His comments came in a recent interview CNSNews.com, in response to the question: “Do you see this issue as something that [Defense Secretary] Leon Panetta is going to have to deal with in the next four years?”
Perkins responded: “Unfortunately, I think this administration has opened the Pandora’s Box as it pertains to standards of morality in the military. They have pushed open homosexuality, it’s going to be hard to differentiate between different types of sexual behavior, and so it’s almost ‘anything goes’ in the military.”
He added: “And this is not from a moralizing standpoint this is from a standpoint of effectiveness in national security and this is a problem and it’s a growing problem and I think it’s going to get worse in our military and under the policies of this administration.”
On Nov. 9, former Army Gen. David Petraeus resigned as director of central intelligence, citing an extramarital affair. According to reports, Petraeus was having an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, whom he met in the spring 2006, prior to becoming U.S. Commanding General in Iraq.
On Nov. 11, historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin, speaking on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” in reference to the Petraeus scandal, called for making the personal behavior of public figures off-limits: “We've got to figure out a way that we give a private sphere for our public leaders. We're not going to get the best people in public life if we don't do that.”
In response to Goodwin, Perkins, a former Marine Corps officer, publicly raised the question of whether leaders should be trusted by voters if they can’t be trusted by their spouses, a question he repeated to CNSNews.com.
“If a wife or a husband cannot trust their spouse, why should voters? And to think that if someone will violate their most sacred oath of marriage, why would you think they would not violate their oath of office?” Perkins said.
“So I think character counts and it’s not just about competency, competency minus character leads to corruption,” he said.
Perkins also said that Petraeus’ resignation was “a sad ending to a very distinguished career.”
“It’s unfortunate because you spend three decades serving your country in honorable fashion and what people are going to remember is not all that you did in service to your country but how you violated one of the most sacred oaths that you’ve taken. And that’s sad,” Perkins told CNSNews.com.