Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Four-Star General Fired For Extramarital Affair!

While the GLBT community is engaged in the debate of whether to out politicians who are hypocritical, the U.S. Army apparently has a zero tolerance policy. The Washington Post reported today that a four-star general has been relieved of his duties for having an extramarital affair with a civilian! According to the report, General Kevin P. Byrnes led the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., where he supervised the recruitment and academic programs at 33 Army schools, from basic training to the war colleges. The Post reported that he had an "unblemished record" after 36 years of service and was prepared to retire in November.

His defense attorney, Lt. Col. David H. Robertson, told the Post that the allegation against Byrnes involves an affair with a private citizen. The allegation against him does not involve a relationship with anyone within the military or even the federal government," Robertson said, emphasizing that the allegations do not involve more than one relationship. "It does not involve anyone on active duty or a civilian in the Department of Defense."

Apparently, under the Uniform Code of Justice, having an extramarital affair is adultery, which is a violation of the Code. The military's removal of a four-star general for having an adulterous affair is unprecedented according to Neal Puckett a military expert. The only good side of the report is that Byrnes will probably not be meted out any further punishment by the Army. "Usually there is no incentive to bring criminal charges, because they are taking his career and flushing it down the toilet," Puckett told the Post. "There's not much more that you can do to a high-ranking officer like that. His legacy is ruined." One army officer said, "He's had an extraordinary career, but at the end of the day, the Army has to hold people accountable for their conduct." Ouch!

Can one imagine if we held our elected public officials to the high standards imposed by the military? If the Army's standard were applied to our public officials, many of them would be gone in a New York minute. So the next time you hear someone complain about exposing a public official's private life because it contradicts the public positions he/she has taken, recall what the Army's punishment was for General Byrnes. Like the Army, in the end we have to hold people accountable for their conduct, no matter how extraordinary their career. So what do you think Micah Clark will have to say about the Army's policy towards hypocrites?

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