Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Thursday, August 11, 2005


The Carpetbagger Report has a post today on what it takes, as a General in the US military, to lose your job versus what it takes to get a promotion. Go read the post and the links.

Background: Four star general loses his job, three months from retirement, for having an affair with a civilian woman while he and his wife were separated, pending divorce (ostensibly adultery).

WashPo editorializes:

From this incident, it is possible to draw only one conclusion: It's okay for officers to oversee units that torture civilians and thereby damage the reputation of the United States around the world, do terrible harm to the ideological war on terrorism and inspire more Iraqis to become insurgents. Having an affair with a civilian, on the other hand, is completely unacceptable and will end your career.

Um, my sentiments exactly. I'll be waiting for some clarification on this so I can sleep tonight.


Blogger Dave Justus said...

I have no idea why this guy is losing his job. Obviously there is something going on we don't know about.

That being said.

Name some names and provide some evidence for those Generals you think should be punished.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

Let me put it this way, if Lynndie England is going to jail, then that arguement should and must hold true to every single officer above her in her unit and every commanding officer overseeing the detention of prisoners. Unless you are argueing that her and a couple of others hatched up this idea over cokes and a smile?
We could call it a day and just call out those who provided legal justification for these abuses. HOw about we just send Gonzales to jail? Ever see A Few Good Men. Can't say what they did in Abu Ghraib was bad without condemning their commanding officers.
Or better yet, lets fire Rumsfeld for his complete lack of understanding and complete INDIFFERENCE to the advice of field officers with regards to strategical placement and numbers of troops. we'll let him keep his job as well. Wolfowitz we just gave the medal of freedom to. Whether you agree or disagree with the war, direct and incontrovertible evidence and statements by the military have said that 1. we needed more troops and advised so and 2. we didn't plan for after the battle. Yet, every single person responsible for those aspects either kept their job, was promoted or given an award.
If you lose it for adultery, maybe, just maybe someone could take some responsiblity.
Sorry to rant, and I understand the point you are trying to make, but it only holds if you really believe no one made a mistake in the strategy of the war in Iraq and that no one higher up than Privates and Lts (with the exception of the General in charge of Abu Ghraib) is responsible.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

With Abu Ghraib there was an extensive investigation. The conclusion was that the people that did this were acting on their own, without orders and also that discipline at the facility was lax and numerous morale problems existed.

The brigadier General in charge of the facility was disciplined. She was disciplined for running a poor ship. She was not disciplined for torturing prisoners or ordering the torture of prisoners because there was no evidence that she did those things.

Moving the bar from illegal actions to ostensibly poor choices in war planning is quite rhetorical shift. It has been a long time since our military has directly punished someone for poor execution of a campaign (being relieved sometimes happens, and not advancing afterwards happens but an actual disciplinary hearing simply doesn't happen.)

Some of the various decisions made in the Iraq war are controversial. There are some that I disagreed with at the time, and more that seem like they may have been a mistake in hindsight. However, I think it is FAR from clear that any huge strategic mistakes have been made.

Bottom line is, we have invaded, conquered, occupied and are now liberating a country of 25 million people and have, in the course of 2 and a half years of this lost less than 2,000 people.

And this is a huge military failure?

What the hell was WWII then?

11:16 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

The culture of abu Ghraib began and continues with justification from the administration and the attorney general. Its going on a Gitmo and I fully understand that certain people disagree about what is torture and what is not, however, I happen to feel that the interrogation practices at our military 'prisons' have come from up high, and that the general at abu Ghraib was a scapegoat--as many other people feel. I dont think the Iraq war is a huge military mistake. I just don't think that blunders ought to be rewarded with freedom medals and promotions. Those people were rewarded for loyalty, in the face of their direct incompetance. For a four star general with a highly distinguished career to be fired for adultery, one wonders what the hell the standards are. I think its worth wondering. Do you really believe that the general at Abu Ghraib was only running a 'loose' ship and that it was ONLY her lack of leadership which lead to those abuses? C'mon now.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

That actually is a question I have been trying to figure out.

I expect that abuses will happen in wars. I don't approve of them, or believe that they should not be punished, but they certainly will happen.

Are they more common in this war than other wars? If so that would be evidence that some of the other policies may have caused this.

I don't have a for sure answer to that question, although my estimation is that they are not more common.

It is pretty clear, and I am quite convinced, that Karpinsky was a very bad leader and did a very bad job of running Abu Ghraib prison. Discipline and morale were horrible.

Under that sort of environment, I would expect abuses such as occured at Abu Ghraib to occur.

Running a prison is tough, it is VERY easy for guard to become abusive as numerous studies have shown (the state of our domestic prisons is a national shame, far worse than Abu Ghraib in my opinion) and without strict discipline abusive situations are likely to develop.

Was there some confusion generated by memos, policies etc. from the Bush administration? Possibly. However, the military has pretty strict rules and regulations. Things are 'by the book' and from what I can tell the Bush admin hasn't changed the book on POWs at all.

Guantanamo is a seperate issue, unlawful combatants DO need to be treated differently than POWs in some ways. That conversation is one we need to have on a national level, and continue to think that the Bush administration is doing a poor job of leading that discussion and developing a national consensus of how we should treat them.

That is a seperate issue though.

Shadowing connect the dots lines of reasoning are the area of conspiracy theories, not reasoned argument.

4:49 PM  
Blogger scott said...

There's a reason for the policy and it was spelled out from day one in boot camp. I, as an enlisted man, could not fool around with an officer in my COC.

An officer nor enlisted person could not commit adultery.

The rules are the rules and that is what holds a strong military together.

7:28 PM  

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