In the 1962 Howard Lindsay-Russel Crouse-Irving Berlin Broadway musical, "Mr. President," one of the songs in the production is titled "The Secret Service," which begins, "the Secret Service makes me nervous..."
If allegations are true that at least 11 Secret Service agents and several members of the U.S. military consorted with prostitutes prior to President Obama's arrival in Cartagena, Colombia, it should make a lot of people nervous. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has pledged that lawmakers will be "looking over the shoulder" of the inspector general as the Department of Homeland Security office investigates the allegations. The accused have been placed on administrative leave and their security clearances have been revoked.
Self-discipline is more effective than imposed discipline. When a child is disciplined for bad behavior, he can be punished, but punishment doesn't always change his attitude. One who disciplines himself, however, is better able to control his actions and foresee what damage bad behavior would cause to his reputation and family. With such foresight -- and with hindsight to see how bad decisions have caused others to run amok -- he can avoid a personal and professional train wreck.
Was there no one among the Secret Service agents and military service members in Cartagena wise enough to say, "Don't do this"? What about the honor and noble history of the Secret Service, created in 1865 to stop the spread of counterfeit currency, and the reputation of the nation you represent? Has honor gone the way of fidelity and what we once called "morality," before morals became self-defining?
If any of these men are married, shouldn't their wives have an expectation that their husbands will live up to their marriage vows? What if there are children? If these allegations are true, divorces will surely follow, as will the fallout of divorce, which will be brought down on the heads of kids, damaging their lives. Is a one night stand with a prostitute worth such destruction?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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