"Since November 2012, when an adulterous affair felled David H. Petraeus, the CIA director and most renowned Army general of his generation, the armed forces have struggled to cope with tawdry disclosures about high-ranking commanders. The Navy has been humbled by a spiraling sex-and-bribery scandal, as well as a gambling incident involving a three-star admiral who authorities say they caught using counterfeit chips at a riverfront casino. The Air Force relieved a nuclear commander after investigators said he went on a drinking binge in Moscow. The Army fired one general for allegedly groping a woman, forced another to retire after he accepted expensive gifts from a foreigner, and demoted its top commander in Africa after an investigation found he treated himself and his wife to a $750-a-night Caribbean hotel suite at taxpayer expense. The subject is painfully sensitive inside the Pentagon, where many generals and admirals say they are appalled but reluctant to openly criticize their peers." Washpost
It would be foolish to imagine that flag officers have not taken personal advantage of their rank in the past. Most civilians will not be surprised that this is true because civilian life is largely about placing personal gain above all else. Nevertheless, it is true that military life demands something better. A life dedicated to the readiness to sacrifice all for the state demands something more.
These generals and admirals have not met that better standard and there seems to be an epidemic of that sort of behavior. Why? IMO this has been caused by the kind of expansion of the size of the officer corps that always accompanies prolonged war. What happens in such wars is that standards are inevitably lowered in order to have the people needed to fight the war. After the wars end, a Reduction in Force is alway done for the purposes of re-sizing the force and also to discard the deadwood and detritus accumulated in the the officer corps in the course of the war. After Vietnam some 10,000 officers were put out on the street by board action. These were, in the main, reserve officers on active duty in their commissioned ranks. A lot of them had enlisted ranks as well and many were put back in the ranks. This was painful but necessary.
During these latest wars standards fell far. Promotion rates to the field grades (major, lieutenant colonel and colonel) became ridiculously high in a system which is designed to function in an "up or out" manner within a steeply pyramidal rank authorization structure. I lecture several time at the service war colleges in the last ten years and can only say that many of the field grade students I saw there would not have been selected for the war college before 9/11.
Prolonged war can twist men's souls. The finer sides of our nature are hard to hang on to in those circumstances. Some people remain virtuous servants of the state. Some do not. These disgraceful flag officers are products of that phenomenon.
There should be a purge. pl