It has not been a good year for America’s armed forces. David Petraeus’s extramarital affair dominated headlines; 25 instructors are under investigation for systematic sexual abuse of cadets at Lackland Air Force Base; and a rash of senior officers—at the rank of colonel or higher—have been reprimanded for serious misconduct.
Last month, Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote to all four-star generals and flag officers asking for institutional soul-searching. Has the military’s behavior, he seemed to be asking, threatened the “sacred trust” among top officers, the men and women they lead, and the American people?
“I know you share my concern when events occur that call that trust into question,” Dempsey wrote in the memo obtained by National Journal. “We must be alert to even the perception that our Nation’s most senior officers have lost their way.”
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