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Military divorces highlighted by recent CIA resignation

The recent resignation of David Petraeus from his post as director of the CIA was unexpected, as was the truth of his infidelity. This has forced many people to consider the presence of the military divorce and the effects that it can have on the stability of the institution of marriage as well as the U.S. military.

The military history of Petraeus is extensive. In 2003, he commanded the 101st Division during the invasion of Iraq and throughout the occupation. He also led U.S. and other forces for a year and a half between 2007 and 2008. Petraeus spent more time in Iraq as commander of U.S. Central Command the next two years and spent another year in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011 as commander of coalition forces there. All of those deployments on top of the stress of leading so many military women and men is likely to cause some issues in a marriage.

Many active members of the military experience the same issues. Deployments can place a serious amount of pressure on a relationship and have done so many times. According to a therapist for the Department of Veterans Affairs, divorce rates for military couples that are married for the first time may be as high as 80 percent, a scary statistic for anyone married to a military member in Louisiana. This conflicts directly with what the government reports as the official divorce rate of the military.

According to the Pentagon, the divorce rate in 2010 was 3.6 percent. This rate was 1 percent higher than it was around the time that 9/11 happened. Other data shows that women in the military divorced at a much higher rate in 2010: 7.8 percent.

Still, many experts do not trust the rates that the Pentagon puts out. This is due to the fact that the military does not count individuals as divorced if they remarry within one year, it does not track military personnel and their marital statuses after they leave service, and it does not track overall divorce rates in general.

Source: National Journal, "David Petraeus and America's Warrior Monks," James Kitfield, Nov. 12, 2012

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