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A Rape Too Far

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

In 2007, when Dominique Strauss-Kahn was packing up to become the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Jean Quatremer, a writer for the French paper Libération wrote on his blog that "Strauss-Kahn's only real problem is his relationship to women. Too heavy … it borderlines harassment," reports the UK’s Guardian.

The Guardian says that “many politicians privately wonder[ed]” then “how he would cope in a puritan U.S. which frowns upon sexual advances.”

He may not have coped at all. He may have snapped.

I hope that I’m wrong about it, but fear that I’m not.

Strauss-Khan, a 62-year old French Socialist, was arrested in New York over the weekend while sitting in first class on an Air France jet. He’s been accused of raping a maid in a suite at the Hotel Sofitel, in Manhattan, where he had been staying.

The DA says that there is blood and other DNA evidence proving rape.

Contemporary witnesses tend to corroborate the maid’s story, they say, although there still is the presumption of innocence here. 

Whether Strauss-Khan is innocent or guilty of these charges, news accounts now make clear that top officials who trusted him with this office must have known that he had a history of unwanted sexual advances.

In addition to the reservations of the socialist Libération writer, the IMF reprimanded him in 2008 for having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. “The IMF board found that the relationship was consensual, but called his actions ‘regrettable,’” writes FoxNews “and said they ‘reflected a serious error of judgment.’"

Another woman, this one in France, is preparing to go to the police, says the Guardian, “alleging Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her in 2002.” The alleged victim’s mother, a prominent socialist politician, reportedly dissuaded her from pursuing the matter previously fearing it would hurt a Strauss-Khan, a Socialist “politician with a bright future.”

The French can pick whomever they wish to run things there. And if they want to ignore sexual indiscretion, so be it. What happens between consenting adults can be hard to judge.  

But just how did the 24 executive directors of the IMF decide to give a libertine a job making loans with American money to countries that we now realize can’t afford to pay them back?

Do they understand the gravity of the economic crisis facing the world because of spendthrift and libertine ways?  Do they understand the unparalleled crisis in confidence that many have in the banking system?

We are in a precarious position, made worse by the inebriated.

It’s almost as if our leaders have been on a drunken bender and can no longer appreciate how morally drunk they have become.   

At a time when citizens all over the world are paying for the licentious advances by banks and politicians- in their monetary policies, their bailouts, their pension mismanagement, their use of the welfare state; their payoffs for friends- it’s time for our leaders to start acting soberly.

It’s time for them to realize that every Strauss-Khan, Trumka and LaHood; for every healthcare waiver granted a crony; for every bill voted on but not read; for every war waged but disclaimed, a little more trust is eroded by the citizens.

It’s not just an American phenomenon, but a trend that’s worldwide. See the Arab “springs” or half a dozen elections in Europe over the past two years. See our own elections last fall for examples. 

The world and its citizens have lost confidence in the moral drunkards in every country who seek to rule and reign over us.

And those who have drunk from the glass when it was red had better sober up quickly.

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