After more than a decade of war, the military is combating a new threat: ethics violations.
It seems U.S. officers aren’t just taking fire — they’re being fired for record cases of misconduct.
The Associated Press furrowed plenty of brows with the news that the military’s character problems start at the top, as internal investigations have caught hundreds of top brass in webs of gambling, corruption, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault, and taxpayer waste.
According to internal documents, the lapses in judgment have exploded in the last three years, as the number of misconduct firings tripled. The crisis of character seems to be taking the biggest toll on the Army, which lost as many as 387 officers in 2013 (a far cry from the 119 forced departures in 2010).
Not surprisingly, the trickle-down effect has been huge, as the enlisted cases for breaking ethics rules doubled from 5,600 in 2007 to 11,000 last year.
While the Pentagon scrambles to explain these “worrying” trends, others blame the relaxed standards on an overworked and under-monitored Force.
“…[T]he fact of the last 10 or 12 years of repeated deployments, of the high op-tempo — we might have lost focus on this issue. Sometimes in the past, we’ve overlooked character issues because of competence and commitment…” Gen. Ray Odierno admitted.
But, he said, “We’re paying a lot of attention to it now.”
If the military is scrambling to identify the problem, look no further than the commander-in-chief.
Like the rest of the administration, these officers are serving under a President who also picks and chooses which laws he’ll uphold.
He refuses to hold accountable his own leaders — including an attorney general so ethically-challenged that he was held in contempt of Congress.
He changes the laws on a whim without legal authority (18 unilateral changes to ObamaCare from the White House alone), and has been systematically removing the moral foundation of the military since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Why do we expect order and discipline when this administration has bred chaos and contempt for the rule of law?
General Odierno realizes the impact these moral shortcomings have — not just on the military, but on the global perception.
“As we conduct operations around the world, we represent the United States with our moral and ethical values. We believe we should be held to a higher standard.”
If only our President felt the same.