This mess reads like a spy thriller with all the requisite components — sex, clandestine communications, high-ranking generals and the CIA, beautiful women. What a bonanza for the campaign weary. But what a horror for our self-respect and our standing in the world. How does one wage war against terrorists and peddle the Great American Experiment when we are so obviously flawed and out of control?
Restraint is needed
It is some consolation that the chair of the Senate intelligence committee calling for an investigation is a Democrat, Dianne Feinstein. This isn't a Republican political attack on the president, in other words. Feinstein called “unacceptable” the blocking of a report detailing a trip Petraeus made to Benghazi weeks before his resignation.
The suspense will torture the insatiable, but matters so potentially grave — and so destructive in both personal and public ways — demand restraint on the part of the media. As more facts surface, others will be proven false. As rumors circulate, and tidbits of information are blown out of proportion, we should be wary of issuing judgments.
We can't wait for the news because it's the journalist's job to uncover it. But we can and should wait for judgment. Let the investigations proceed. Let the facts be verified. Let these people survive the humiliations they are certain to suffer.
We are better than the mob — until we become one.
WASHINGTON POSTS WRITERS GROUP
Charles Krauthammer is on vacation.