Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Second Look at GEN David Petraeus' Transgressions May Result in Loss of a Star

Seems General David Petraeus’ past is finally catching up with him.  Way back in November 2012 I wrote an article in this Blog (http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.com/2012/11/what-should-be-military-legal.html) pointing out that GEN Petraeus committed his offenses while he was still on active duty and how his punishment was inconsistent with how the Army had handled a partially similar but significantly less serious case involving another highly decorated four star General.  Although the mishandling of classified materials was very serious and for which GEN Petraeus received his Federal conviction, he was also guilty of Article 134 of the UCMJ, Adultery, which was definitely detrimental to the good order and discipline of the Military.

In other Blog articles I have already pointed out the inconsistencies in how GEN Petraeus’ mishandling of classified material was handled with a Federal prosecution while the Democrat presumed nominee Hillary Clinton has been coddled and so far let slide for doing far worse so I won’t address that miscarriage of justice here but for light reading on the subject I would invite you to read my previous Blog article at: http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.com/2015/07/both-state-dept-director-of-national.html.

Although rarely taken to Court Martial, violation of Article 134, Adultery, normally results in a significant punishment which is what happened to the another highly decorated Army 4-Star General that had an “inappropriate relationship” that some might loosely describe as an “extramarital affair.”  Although that General had been separated from his wife for over a year at the time, was in the process of finalizing a divorce, the lady was an unmarried civilian who he later married and he had made no attempt to hid the relationship, he was relieved of his command, demoted to 3-Star Lieutenant General and unceremoniously retired from the Army.

He was GEN Kevin P. Byrnes, at the time the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Commanding General, and on 8 Aug 2005, he was relieved of his command for his relationship with an unmarried civilian with no connection to either the military or even the federal government.  The General had been separated from his wife since May 2004 and coincidentally their divorce was finalized on the same day he was relieved of his command – 8 Aug 2005.

The General was a popular and highly regarded leader credited with ushering in systemic changes in Army doctrine and training.  A decorated Vietnam War veteran, he had commanded the 1st Cavalry Division and the multinational troops in Bosnia, and had been the Director of the Army Staff.   He was set to retire that November after 36 years of unblemished service beginning when he was 19 years old so his punishment was “light” and he was allowed to retire at the reduced rank of Lieutenant General or 3-Star rank.

Also, with his blatant act of indiscipline GEN Petraeus brought discredit on the entire Officer Corps and made enforcement of Military Law more difficult for all leaders  The first thing every young officer learns is he or she is “always on parade.” That is their conduct is always being watched and the higher one rises, the more this is true. By the time an officer reaches field grade (major), they are constantly under scrutiny and every transgression sets a new standard of conduct, higher or lower, for their subordinates.  Petraeus’ conduct was disgraceful and besmirch the honor of every Military officer so should not go unpunished.

While we’re at it, let’s not forget Broadwell. I don’t know what the final disposition of her case was but, as a reserve officer she was equally at fault.  Not only did she commit adultery but she also mishandled classified material.  I hope this “nut case” was not only cashiered out of the Army Reserve but criminally prosecuted.

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