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Commissioned Officers Gone Wild!

Though it possesses explicit constitutional recognition (and the concomitant respect that derives therefrom), we mustn’t let this fool us into forgetting the simple fact that the military is still a government enterprise and, therefore, suffers from all of the corruption, incompetence, and lethargy common to such enterprises. I’m reminded of this by the following (especially annoying) example.

For some 18 months now, the head of US Africa Command, 4-star General William “Kip” Ward, has been un…

  1. Foxfier

    He didn’t do this totally out of the blue, nor alone; of course there’s only going to be token punishment, because he’d burn a dozen others at minimum if they tried to take him down.

  2. Last Outpost on the Right

    Don’t they teach Ethics at West Point? Or is that the problem … that ethics needs to be taught as a class.

  3. DocJay

    Fascinating.   Abuse in government is at an all time high.   

  4. At The Rubicon

    This post hits very close to home for me too.  Gen. Ward’s roots are Airborne Infantry, same as my son.

    I’ve known many Infantry officers who’ve seen combat. Each one subscribes to the Infantry leadership motto “Lead from the Front”.  They are some of the finest men to grace the planet. Leaders by birth, Warriors by training, Infantry by the grace of God.

    By his actions, Gen. Ward has brought shame and disgrace to the Airborne Infantry.

  5. Dave Carter
    C

    Oh man, does this post ever hit close to home.  I worked for close to two dozen flag officers during my time as an historian.  Something happens in that rarified air, and the rules just don’t apply like they do for others further down the food chain.  In the late 80s, on a deployment to Germany, I witnessed such a total break down in discipline due to obvious double standards, that enlisted people stopped saluting rated officers.  There are so many stories like this that I personally witnessed. This is still a sore subject, to be honest.  

    Your comment that, “…the military is still a government enterprise and, therefore, suffers from all of the corruption, incompetence, and lethargy common to such enterprises,” is absolutely spot-on, by the way.  

  6. Hibernian

    The “U” in UCMJ stands for “uniform.”  That is, a  single legal standard for ALL military personnel from a recently-recruited private E-1 all the way up to, and including, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.  One of the primary reasons I got out of the Army after my enlistment expired was the double  standard practiced by the senior NCOs I served with; Do as I say, not as I do.  This was literally demoralizing.  It looks like the senior officer corps is no better.  I’ve always taken it as fundamental elements of leadership to set a good example, don’t ask a subordinate to do anything that you are not prepared to do, & don’t play favorites, particularly with yourself.  If true, this general should face criminal prosecution & spend his retirement years doing hard labor at Ft. Leavenworth . . . you know, like a junior enlistedman or a company-grade officer who did the exact same thing.  

  7. Look Away

    I believe that Gen. Dempsey has set the military, and the US Army back decades. Compare the treatment that Gen Ward gets vs. LTC Dooley:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/09/19/Lt-Col-Matthew-Dooley-Loses-Teaching-Position-at-Joint-Forces-Staff-College-For-Criticizing-Islam

    As a retired US Army officer I am ashamed of Gen Dempsey. He is way over his head.

  8. Eeyore

    Part of the Black Panther voter intimidation case, Christopher Coates quit the Justice Department partially due to being informed there should be no black defendants in civil rights cases. Could this have a similar “there shall be no prominent black disciplinary demotions…”?

    Or is it just “no corruption shall be noted…”?

  9. Crow

    As an officer, I am disgusted by this sort of disgraceful fraud, waste, and abuse. He should be demoted. Especially in light of the special faith and trust of our office, this sort of behavior shames all of us.

    When anyone submits a retirement resigning nation package, there is a statement included to effect that ‘I do not owe the united states gov’t any money to my knowledge.’ Clearly not true in the General’s case, and he should be paying some of this back to the taxpayers he’s been defrauding. 

  10. flownover

    I am glad he took his wife with him, but the “staffer” staying at the Ritz……bet that wasn’t his wife !

    This is , after all, a government bureaucracy . Such behaviour should be expected to some degree . 

    Top heavy, unaccountable, and spending opm like drunken sailors ?

    Could be any governmental body . 

    There are probably as many admirals in the Navy as there are ships.

  11. KC Mulville

    I’ll say the obvious – thanks, Michael, for bringing this to our attention. I hadn’t heard of this until your post.

  12. Michael Labeit
    Eeyore: Part of the Black Panther voter intimidation case, Christopher Coates quit the Justice Department partially due to being informed there should be no black defendants in civil rights cases. Could this have a similar “there shall be no prominent black disciplinary demotions…”?

    Or is it just “nocorruption shall be noted…”? 

    I think it’s his rank, not his race, that is shielding him from UCMJ retribution. Rank solicits far more consideration than race. Soldiers just want competent leaders.

    KC Mulville: I’ll say the obvious – thanks, Michael, for bringing this to our attention. I hadn’t heard of this until your post. 

    My pleasure.

    Dave Carter:

    Your comment that, “…the military is still a government enterprise and, therefore, suffers from all of the corruption, incompetence, and lethargy common to such enterprises,” is absolutely spot-on, by the way.   

    Thanks again.

  13. dogsbody

    Thanks, Michael, for telling us about this.  When I worked for the Army I met some really superb officers, but also heard a talk by a retired general who seemed to think that every sentence he uttered was a pearl of wisdom, no matter how obvious.  I suppose he’d been told that when he was active duty.  Generals are among the few in our society who are treated with the deference usually reserved for royalty, and it has bad effects on some — like this character.

  14. Michael Labeit
    Dave Carter: In the late 80s, on a deployment to Germany, I witnessed such a total break down in discipline due to obvious double standards, that enlisted people stopped saluting rated officers.  There are so many stories like this that I personally witnessed. 

    I can imagine. Must have been worse then, because saluting here is typical of enlisted/officer interactions.  

  15. Michael Labeit
    dogsbody: Thanks, Michael, for telling us about this.  When I worked for the Army I met some really superb officers, but also heard a talk by a retired general who seemed to think that every sentence he uttered was a pearl of wisdom, no matter how obvious.  I suppose he’d been told that when he was active duty.  Generals are among the few in our society who are treated with the deference usually reserved for royalty, and it has bad effects on some — like this character. 

    All true. It seems to me that generals face nefarious incentives. They rarely receive subordinate criticism and, as you say, are treated as superstars. Thus, humility, I imagine, may be lacking among some flag officers. That’s why the civilians in charge of the armed forces need to constrain their military underlings – bluntly, if need be.

  16. Grendel

    As one “low-ranking-enlisted-swine”* to another, right on!

    *Epithet courtesy of one of my NCOICs.  He was, of course, joking and treated me with the utmost military courtesy and professional respect. 

  17. EThompson
    Michael Labeit

    Rank solicits far more consideration than race. Soldiers just want competent leaders.

    That’s the good news, no? This specific observation is one of the most impressive aspects of the military in the mind of this civilian.

  18. Bob W

    When I worked for a government contractor we would regularly have meetings with our counter parts in the Air Force.  Not high ranking  by any means.   It was customary to provide coffee and doughnuts.  One day we got the word that Air Force attendees would be required to purchase there coffee and doughnuts, please provide a container for the money.  No gratuitees from contractors were alowed!  The secetaries  didn’t even know what to do with the  few dollars collected!   These junior officers had to pay 10 cents for a doughnut and this guy is going through tens of thousands!!  Only the government.

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