More complicated is the relationship between Petraeus and Broadwell, if only because of an investigation into questionable e-mails she sent to Kelley, whom she apparently considered a rival. Broadwell is allegedly being investigated for “cyberstalking” and also in regard to classified documents found on her computer. …

Nevertheless, Broadwell’s reputation has been tarnished well beyond the sin for which she has expressed sincere remorse. The married mother of two has been characterized by an increasingly tabloid press as the scarlet woman, the “mistress,” an outdated word that indicts a woman but rarely the man, smirkingly suggestive of “kept-ness.” …

As much as we sympathize with the painful upheaval suffered by the families involved, let’s pause a moment for Broadwell and recall that she was an Army officer, a West Point graduate, an accomplished, yes, ambitious, elite member of the military who, as it turns out, happens to have had a relationship with a man for whom she apparently had strong feelings.

Did she cause others pain? Of course, and for this she is suffering by all accounts. Does she deserve to be pilloried in the public square? Or does she deserve the same second chance any similarly accomplished man would be accorded?