Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

In the wake of investigations of former CIA Director David Petraeus, (Gen., U.S. Army Ret), and ISAF Afghanistan Commander Gen. John Allen (USMC), Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has ordered the Pentagon to find out why so many generals and admirals have become embroiled in legal and ethical problems. Allow me to suggest what such a review is likely to find.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

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17 Responses

  1. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Homeland Security (HLS) Intelligence

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    Hello Ed, I am still awaiting for a lucid response from the DOD re: General Carter Ham’s relief from command, reinstatement, and retirement all within hours.

    As well as Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette’s removal from the Med. Task Force that over saw the Libyan front ‘inappropriate leadership judgment’?

    BTW, Great info. Thnxs. JP

    Posted by Jim Prouty

  2. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Wartime Professionals™

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    Think the perspective in this article is realistic – our society has lost it’s legal, moral and ethical compass – only have to watch mainstream television or box-office films to see a tedious and unhealthy preoccupation with promiscurity and money/success by any means upheld. Seems out of kilter when civil society seems to only to criticise the military. As noted in the article – if the same standards were applied to government administrations and they got fired – not many their offices would open either side of the Atlantic.

    Posted by Marina Knife

  3. Andy Rice says:

    Your article is on time and on target. The only thing I take exception to, overall with society and I think what I understood as your perspective too be, is the judgment of someones personal and moral character based on their sexual habits or appetite. First, we are the only country in the world, with the occasional exception of England, that spends entirely too much time and focus in worrying about the sexual relations of our political and military figures. Second, it’s none of our business what these folks do in their bedrooms to relive the unbeliveable amount of stress felt each and every day of their lives. In positions such as these men are in, there comes a point when you have to “step out of the real world” for just a minute to relieve the unbeliveable strain on the mind and body these jobs cause. Needless to say, each person does this in their own way and I hate to dissapoint everyone, but for most peple, that is done thru sexual liasons.
    It is also ludicrous to think that a man of Gen Petraeus character and steel personal fibre, coupled with his warrior training and career, would engage in a sexual liason that could compromise our National Security.

  4. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: ICAF Alumni Network

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    We are no less human than others–but we have been trained to expect and perform at a higher level of integrity, honesty, and accountability than non-military. We have schooled the public to expect near perfection, but being human, it’s unlikely we will always provide that. At the highest levels, the degree of service to us, the isolation that can become pervasive, and the tendency to be regarded as nearly infallible can get under your skin and lead you to believe that you truly are infallible. The best of us resist and stay clean, OR, if we fail, come forward and confess, and hold ourselves accountable. I credit Gen Petraeus with the latter actions. What we also do, hopefully, as he did, is step forward and accept the consequences as wholly earned, without trying to avoid them or seek absolution. The consequences are his, owned up to without excuse. Our role now is to honor his service, accept this latest as an anomaly but nonetheless unquestionably the end of his service role, and move on. Privately, he deserves support from family and friends for recovering in his personal life, and he may well at some point move on to new service publicly.

    Posted by Ro Bailey

  5. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Wartime Professionals™

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    I agree with the article for the most part. We must not forget we deal with humans and there is not one of us who can deny we have moments of stupidity. We set the bar higher for our military leaders fairly or not that is what we do. Even Ike had is moments of weakness.

    Yet we set the standards for our political leadership must lower. Some will debate otherwise but that appears to be fact. Betrayal of a spouse or a friend always raise questions by others if he or she did that to someone they care for what would they do to me? That may not be right but it is another element of being a human. Many will say so what? There is a code of honor that every one should be held too. The question is do we forgive for that moment of weakness. Or is there a pattern that must be dealt with that just cannot be tolerated. It sure appears to be the case of the deputy commander of the 82nd. He violated some core principles, if they are true should be dealt with so others will know we will not tolerate this and justice will be swift and harsh. Hopefully others will learn and think twice before traveling down that road.

    The situation with General David Petraeus is not in that realm and I hope he and his family find a way to heal and forgive. The military like many human institutions are a mirror of the society that we live in. This is a lesson that all of us can learn from. I just hope we do.

    If we look at our founding fathers we can find many had character flaws that did not stop them from having a positive influence on creating a nation, that has given hope to many. Liberty to many who would never have had that opportunity. The ability to achieve greatness. For common folk like many of us the opportunity to raise a family and hope they could build on what we taught them by action, character and deed and through what limited success or failure we may have had.

    Posted by Michael J Moylan

  6. Ed, Well said, although it’s not NATO/CentCom but Eucom as you should know. As to Jim Prouty, RDML Gaouette was no where near the Med during the Libya event and GEN Ham’s change of command and retirement was in the works long before Sep 11. Both stories are Internet BS. We are all curious however as to what precipitated Gaouette’s removal. The wording was unusual.

  7. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Defense Executive Network

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    In my past experience, I’ve found that too many times there exist latent blind spots in the system which some flag officers decide is too, too great an opportunity to take advantage of, than to ignore. That’s when the standards of flag officer integrity go right out the window. And it tends to compound itself for, as time goes on, the likelihood of discovery of the wrongdoing increases, more and more, and to protect themselves, they will commit greater and greater indiscretions, which have a kind of ripple effect, increasing their likelihood of discovery and prosecution. The steps they take to hide behind, are often caches of indiscretion and unethical behavior toward others. And often when some do appear threatening to their illegal acts, they make even bigger mistakes by retaliating, leaving a trail right back to their indiscretion and misconduct. What we don’t do enough of, however, is make certain they can’t (or at least are very strongly disincentived to) commit such wrongdoing in the first place. That’s an area where the system needs to be improved and brought up to date.

    Posted by Dr. Jack Shulman

  8. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Defense Executive Network

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    Having personally observed many flag officers, the bad ones (and I have seen some of the worst) are truly the exception! In most cases they have arrived at their positions via demonstrated excellence and have worked for generals/admirals in route to their positions.

    At each increase in rank there is a tremendous amount of due diligence prior to assuming the next grade. Currently, most officers and higher ranking NCOs will not tolerate, endorse or participate in malfeasance by their senior … there are established methods of reporting such incidences without being branded a traitor or rat fink and harming a person’s career.

    If an O-7 or above abuses his authority and his subordinates do not report it, they should also be held responsible. Sucking up and “overlooking” discretions is just as bad as committing the situation.

    In a very recent news item, the general did not participate in a liaison without someone being aware of the relationship … not possible or his subordinates are dumbbutts!

    jo
    Posted by John Oleson

  9. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Wartime Professionals™

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    As a former command advisor and Senior Noncommissioned Officer, I worked for two General Officers and two Colonels who became General Officers. I gained their respect by speaking up and calling out commanders who were the worst of the worst. The West Point Club was the worst and they enjoyed protection from the highest levels. ROTC and OCS officers caught hell for DUI\DWI and sleeping with enlisted members. I wonder how much has changed especially seeing how emasculated the Senior NCO corps has become!

    Posted by Herbert Nelson Jr

  10. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Defense Executive Network

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    Wel, unfortunately, John, the number has been increasing, leading to a much larger number of Internal Affairs, Intelligence Internal Affairs/Special Intelligence Service and Inspector General investigations. So, what you’ve observed as to these cases being exceptions, while true in the immediate past, appears to be changing: increasing in number substantially enough to even cause the usually unflappable Secretary of Defense Panetta to become somewhat unnerved by it all. Sadly, I’ve seen enough to know that there was more likely a club of silence that shielded many past cases of flag officer misconduct from discovery than should have ever gotten away with it.

    And, I certainly do agree with you: those who remain silent are nearly as derelict as the misconduct being committed by those flag officers perpetrating the crimes and misdemeanors.

    But not quite on the same par or magnitude as the perpetrators, and certainly not anywhere near enough to shift attention, blame or as much punishment over in their direction. Such is often used to blame those who remain silent, while those who committed the crime are distracted from by same. Alas, I’ve also seen cases where those who did not remain silent who were killed or nearly killed by the perpetrators. So sometimes it’s not because they are ‘dumbbutts’ as you suggest, but because they wished to remain among the living or to have a future.

    Sadly, legitimate Whistle Blowers who did not just go out to the Press, but instead reported things to the Authorities, have frequently been mistaken for criminals by those in our government with a chip on their shoulder, and some targeted for assassination (or terrorizing and blacklisting, or all three) by their superiors involved in the crimes.

    Posted by Dr. Jack Shulman

  11. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Wartime Professionals™

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    I am a recently retired Enlisted man. so my opinion I am sure is weighted due to my back ground. Most GO/FO’s are so self absorbed and surrounded by boot lickers they have little to actual insight into what is real. Even fewer even care what happens to the men they are intrusted to command. Flag officers spend half of their time looking for their next assignment, half of their time preparing for their retirement, and half of their time getting their arses spit shined. If all flag officers evaporated overnight the only effect it would have on the military is that efficiency would quadruple in the same amount of time and the amount of oxygen in D,C, would double.

    Flag officers are constantly in moral jeopardy (most do not make the press). I believe it is do to how insulated they are. They select staff officers that keep them insulated and do not listen to the SEAs. From politics to the military, it seems to be the fall of Rome. Petraeus is just more visible and was targeted by the nasty political machine that controls the US, he was ill equipped for real life has he has spent most of his in a very protected cocoon.

    Posted by Kent Brewer

  12. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Tea Party Connect – From A Business View

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    It is a largely US-American problem. Could anyone imagine the head of the Russian, Chinese,…secret services to be fired for an extra-merital affair? Or a commander? I know the argument well that adultery shows something about the character of an official. But that comes from the very same country with the highes reate of adultery on earth. Should not people clean up before their own doorsteps before they call the neighbour dirty? Go back in history and see the greatest secret service people, both leaders and agents and have a look at the military too. You can find those who were loyal to their spouces and you can find those who were not. And guess what: No difference in success rates. Military people have to be risk takers. Otherwise they would not risk their lifes in defending their nations. And then the very same nation measures them uch stricter than their civilian populace. And remember one thing: The only famous leader who was a non-smoking vegetarian without any affairs and who remained monogamous and loyal to his fiancee and finaly wife was The Leader. And that one did not shower the World with joy and good. Just because somebody constrains his instrincs does not mean he is a nice guy. Actually, some of the heads of the British Secret Service were not quite of a sad personality, to put it that way. And that did not hinder them to create a secret service that was for long at the peak of its pack. The British secret service was so good that the above mentioned leader said he feared it more than anything else from the British. And right he was, see Overlord and Enigma and all. It did not affect the Brittish secret service negatively that many of its members were enjoying life as long as it lasted.

    Posted by Ingo Potsch

  13. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    It is a shame Petraeus, Allen, et al, are involved in these matters. Although I am not condoning their behavior, they are human and it happens all the time, particularly so with people in positions of power. A regrettable situation to be sure but one that is being acted upon, I believe, swiftly and correctly.

    Posted by Danny Lesa

  14. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    The news release of the scandal seemed rather coincidental, however the unexplained dismissals of GEN Ham and Rear Admiral Gaouette seemed to have been washed under the bridge. Nothing like sex to divert our attention.

    Posted by Jerry Smith

  15. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    Very interesting discussion. I am sure these types of discussions are being had right now as I type through the military community. I do hope something good comes of it. We need to get back to our moral convictions of wearing the uniform and maintain those standards that the American prople we serve deserve.

    Posted by Walter Pletch, MSEd, PMP

  16. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Discussion: GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

    Power corrupts. When accountability is as lose as it is that far up the chain, do you expect less? Just like the police, policing the police. Minor infractions are overlooked, audit is rare and when caught they quietly retire with 100K + pensions. Tough life.

    Posted by Stephen Lappe

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