Two dueling and paradoxically supporting reports surfaced today.
The Daily Beast published a story by Rep Duncan Hunter reference the falling lack of trust soldiers have in their Generals. The belief that senior military leaders have the best interests of their soldiers at heart dropped from 53% in 2009 to 27% last year. He cited CPT Swenson’s ‘lost” Medal of Honor citation. CPT Swenson was quite vocal about the lack of support he received, embarrassing senior leaders. I‘ve addressed it earlier. Hunter also mentioned a case where soldiers awards were lost likely due to a suspected conflict with a superior leader, a Special Forces Army Major that was investigated for over a year over alleged war crime allegations and the case of LT Lorance sentenced to 19 years in Leavenworth for ordering his troops to engage suspected Taliban.
Hunter has a great point but it’s not just the Army that has these issues. The previous Marine Commandant exercised extreme command influence to skew the justice system and punish Marines. Later actions were taken against the Marine defense lawyer and even the Marine Corps Times to punish them for resisting the party line. Gruntsandco has extensively covered the issue.
Recently, an Air Force General attempted to intimidate officers by telling them they were committing treason if they spoke against the A10 to Congress.
Various flag rank officers have not spoken honestly on the eve or after military operations including Adm Mullen did not before Libya.
The Army does have a problem with Generals acting like politicians but they are far from the only ones.
The paradoxical story was published in Military Times and listed a litany of officers that have been court martialed, suffered non judicial punishment (Article 15), relieved and/or reprimanded. The numbers include over 40 court martials of officers in the grade of lieutenant colonel or higher, almost 130 relieved battalion and brigade commanders and over 1400 instances of non-judicial punishment.
On the one hand, the record of punishment implies deep issues within the officer corps though the Army states cases are slightly down. On the other hand, the action by the Army to address misbehavior in officer’s ranks contradicts the long held belief that officers are on the positive side of a double standard when addressing officer misbehavior.
I have commented vociferously on the growing political nature of our Generals. I’ve voiced concern about the health of the officer corps. I’ve also rejected unfounded or biased attacks against officers. The Army and the military need to clean house but be careful of those holding brooms. Some do not have the military’s or the nation’s best interests at heart.