FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Unbecoming Conduct

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

 

What defines conduct unbecoming an officer?

Major General Thomas Fiscus, judge advocate general of the Air Force, opposed the harsh interrogation techniques approved and later rescinded by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for use on Guantanamo prisoners. Subsequently, General Fiscus has been reprimanded for a dozen sexual affairs during the last decade and may face disbarment proceedings.

As the affairs were consensual with civilian and military women, one doesn’t know whether the general is being punished for sticking up for human rights or whether the US military thinks abstinence is a requirement of general officers, with sexual license left to the Dominitrix of Abu Ghraib.

Punishing a general for sex is inconsistent with the macho “burn, kill and destroy” image being cultivated by the US military in Iraq. Can an imperial army be commanded by saints?

Gen. Fiscus’ punishment is unlikely to stifle sex in the military. His punishment can, however, be defended as an attempt to uphold rules against fraternization and conduct unbecoming an officer. However impractical these old rules might be in a military integrated with women and homosexuals, it these rules are not enforced, other rules will go by the wayside, and the rot of demoralization will take hold.

What jumps out from this reasoning is the extent to which the US military, which abandoned the Geneva Conventions against prisoner torture and the US War Crimes Act of 1996, is being a stickler at enforcing its rules against sexual affairs. Is the military clutching the rule against fraternization closely to its breast because it is the only rule the military has left?

Alas, such may indeed be the case. White House Counsel and Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush in January 2002 that all laws and conventions against torture could be swept away simply by declaring detainees to be outside the protection of law and international agreements. Gonzales advised President Bush to turn his back on the “obsolete” and “quaint” requirements in the Geneva Conventions for the humane treatment of prisoners. A year later a Pentagon task force reasoned that the president had the authority to approve any policy needed to protect the nation’s security.

These are the “moralists” who are compelling General Fiscus to retire at a lower rank because he misbehaved with a dozen women.

Numerous reports, including reports from the FBI, have made it clear that torture of prisoners is more widespread than the White House has admitted. Numerous reports have made it clear that US troops, whether from confusion, fear, or sport have slaughtered Iraqi civilians. Marines destroyed the city of Fallujah, and the commander on the scene claimed no Iraqi civilians were killed.

But General Fiscus has behaved unbecomingly.

President Bush, VP Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and being involved with the September 11 terrorist attack on the US. The consequences of these lies: tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians and countless others wounded, Iraq’s infrastructure in ruins, 1,325 dead US troops and another 21,000 maimed and wounded and the toll is mounting, 150,000 US troops tied down by a few thousand ragtag insurgents, US alliances and reputation in tatters, and America roundly hated throughout the Middle East.

But General Fiscus behaved unbecomingly for an officer.

Yes, he did. And President Bush behaved unbecomingly for a commander in chief. Dick Cheney behaved unbecomingly for a Vice President. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz behaved unbecomingly for civilian leaders of the military.

But no one is being held accountable except General Fiscus.

Is this right? Is this what Americans want? Do we want to punish General Fiscus for violating “obsolete and quaint” rules against consensual sex but not punish government leaders who tell us lies about Iraq and get our sons, fathers, husbands, brothers, and daughters killed as a consequence? Do Americans really want to be led by people who believe in the efficacy of torture, military might and propagandistic manipulation of an unsuspecting public?

If so, where is the virtue that neoconservatives claim justifies American hegemony?

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

 

 

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail