Copyright 2014 John T. Reed

The 1/3/14 Wall Street Journal has an article titled “Military Makes Ethics a Priority.”

That’s just another damned lie from an organization that is structurally incapable of telling the truth or even tolerating any telling of the truth.

What’s the occasion?

A spokesman for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, Col. Ed Thomas said the heightened attention to ethics wasn’t due to publicity over the most recent scandals, but because the military has entered a postwar transition, when it traditionally becomes more introspective.

That’s another obvious lie. It also means he is insulting our intelligence by saying that the only reason the U.S. military is now issuing media releases about increased attention to integrity is they are bored from lack of wars. Like you don’t need integrity in war; it is a peacetime luxury activity, like golf.

I have not been standing next to Dempsey or Thomas during their careers, but based on my experience at West Point and as an Army officer for four years, I would say there is a 99% probability that Dempsey and Thomas lied to achieve their current ranks and jobs, and that if they had refused to lie as young officers, they would have been forced out of the Army long ago. See my web article “Is military integrity a contradiction in terms?”

Dempsey is one of my fellow West Point graduates. The only Ed Thomas to attend West Point was a dropout of the class of 1902.

The West Point Cadet Prayer says in pertinent part:

…suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretence [sic] ever to diminish. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy. Help us to maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied and to show forth in our lives the ideals of West Point…

Dempsey’s current professed love of integrity is itself compounding the scandals over which he has presided (since 10/1/11) and a classic example of the hypocrisy to claimed to hate when he was reciting the Cadet Prayer at West Point.

But wait, there’s more.

Consider character more for promotions

They say they are going to now place more importance on officer’s character when weighing promotions. Steam comes out my ears when I see Army lifers talking like this. In my first unit in Vietnam, I refused to sign a false arms inventory. I kept adding needed exceptions that made it truthful. The company commander had it reytped three times and ordered me so sign it three times—in front of a room full of clerks. I refused and added the needed qualifier to make it accurate each time. I later heard that they forged my signature. That CO rated me 40th percentile on my efficiency report at a time when 100 was great; 99, excellent; 98, average, and 97 or less meant the end of your career. In that same unit, I was later told to sign a false motor vehicle maintenance report. I refused. I was immediately relieved as battalion motor officer and thrown out of the battalion. They punished me by sending me to another battalion where the battalion commander was apparently a stern disciplinarian and was told to torture me. He stopped me from being promoted to captain, rated me a 6 on my efficiency report, and sent me out to Firebase Wade again and again initially by jeep and then, when my platoon sergeant/jeep driver invoked sole surviving son to get out of the battalion, the battalion commander took me out to Wade again and again in his chopper but refused to bring me back so I had to hitchhike back which always took three days.

I never had a West Point graduate within four levels of me (Company XO, Company CO, or battalion XO or battalion commander) as my superior when I was in the Army except for a battalion commander for four months in the 82nd Airborne Division before I went to Vietnam. A West Pointer might have felt bad about punishing me for integrity.

What happened to me was, is, and ever shall be what happens to any officer who demonstrates character in the U.S. military. Everyone in the U.S. military knows Dempsey has no intention of changing the actual way they deal with integrity in the U.S. military. They can’t change it. They would have to fire the entire U.S. military above about E-4 (corporal) and start over. Ain’t gonna happen.

The recent scandals that Dempsey is trying to avoid responsibility for and look like he’s “doing something” about include Navy accepting bribes, sexual harassment scandals and failure to prosecute sexual harassment, Air Force officers cheating on nuclear missile tests, etc.

The military pointed out that nearly all the recent scandals were discovered by the military itself.

Give me a break. Put me in charge and give me some resources and I can probably court martial the lot of them including in the careers of the military investigators who “uncovered” the recent scandals.

They also say “military ethics units” have been added to all military education schools. Gee, I thought we already had about as much ethics training at West Point as was possible. Ever heard of the West Point Cadet Honor Code? It was in all the papers.

I have a suggestion more likely to actually work.

Prosecute the liars. And after they are convicted, demote them, dishonorably discharge them, incarcerate them. If any household name media outlet journalists are reading this, ask a military spokesperson for the list of military personnel prosecuted in the last several years for the unethical behavior the military is now so intent on stopping. I predict you will get a lot of stuttering and privacy, and I’m not sure we keep such records etc. etc. Then request in via FOIA. They evasion you will get if you ask tat question, or the tiny number of such prosecutions if you DO get the info, will tell you all you need to know about how serious the military is about this. They CAN’T prosecute anyone. Everyone in the military has too much dirt on everyone else in the military to allow any of them to be pissed off by such things as prosecution and losing their bennies. That’s why every military scandal results in nothing but field grade and flag officers retiring and E-3s and O-1 and O-2s getting a letter in their file.

They don’t prosecute, won’t prosecute, and cannot prosecute.

All they will do is pay increased lip service to ethics and integrity, period. And they will only do that “until the heat dies down” if I may use an entirely appropriate gangster movie line.

Lt. General Thomas Waldheiser (not West Point grad) will be in charge of this lip service campaign. I know nothing about him but based on my knowledge of the Army, there is a 99% probability he lied dozens, if not hundreds, of times in order to have a career long enough and “competitive” enough to achieve his current rank and position. But I would expect there is also a 99% probability that he is just the man to make a big public relations show of lip service about military ethics.

The military is working on a 360-degree review of officers. Ha! They say it’s controversial, yeah, with lifer big brass and old sergeants. 360 means they get graded anonymously by their subordinates, as well as peers and superiors. They’re working on it all right. They’ve been working on it for years. You know when they will stop working on it? When the heat dies down. When will it be implemented? When hell freezes over.

Dempsey blamed the recent integrity scandals on the high rate of deployment. That’s a lie. Going to a combat theater “for the duration” in World War II was a higher rate of deployment. It did not turn the military into a pack of liars. The officer corps turned itself into a pack of liars—during the Korean War according to Col. David Hackworth’s autobiography.

He said they have lately been “valuing competence and potentially undervaluing character” during recent wars. Valuing competence. Has he ever heard of Blackhawk Down, Lone Survivor, Pat Tillman, American forces killing more allied troops by accident than the enemy killed on purpose in Desert Storm, the disastrous Iran hostage rescue, the Marine Barracks in Lebanon, and a whole bunch of other incompetence festivals staged by the U.S. military in recent decades?

Not to mention the ultimate incompetence. America never lost a war until Vietnam and we have’t won one since 1945. In his farewell address to the West Point Corps of Cadets, General Douglas MacArthur told the cadets, “Your job is to win our wars.” By that standard, the U.S. military has not done its job in 69 years. General Dempsey wouldn’t know competence if he tripped over it.

And “potentially undervaluing character!?” In the U.S. military, exhibiting a lack of character is OPUM—Officially Prohibited but Unofficially Mandatory.

This article, including quotes from a retired general, makes a half dozen bullshit excuses for the near universal lack of integrity in the U.S. military officer corps. The wars, hubris, a sense of entitlement, stress, deployment, yadda yadda. That implies the lack of integrity is new. Ha! I was an Army officer from 1968 to 1972. And I saw and heard evidence of the near universal lack of integrity in the Army officer corps when I was a cadet at West Point from 1964 to 1968.

The U.S. military officer corps is corrupt because its top brass think corruption is the best way for them individually to meet their careerist goals. If the commander in chief or a Secretary of Defense or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs really wanted to clean it up, a whole lot of heads would have to roll. Most of the heads in the U.S. military officer corps.

There is NO chance of that in the present political situation.

The quotes in the Wall Street Journal article are simply more lying about lying and more hypocrisy by a bunch of bigger phonies than the Congress and President.

Here is a photo of an Army values tag that soldiers had to wear with their dog tag in 1998. Note that it makes no mention of competence just honor/integrity and a bunch of other values that conflict with, and trump, honor/integrity in the careerist U.S. army.

Army values tag

John T. Reed