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General stripped of his four stars — affair or more?

In yesterday’s Blend post, the article was not clear why this general got into such hot water. Reports now say it was over an affair. As you read the story, Rummy pops up as a past foil. Is this a slow a railroad job or just a guy that couldn’t keep it in his pants? You can’t tell me, even though adultery is illegal in the military, that this was the only thing that brought this guy down. Hmmm…

An official announcement yesterday did not specify why Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes, 52, was removed from his command of all soldier training and doctrine development, but two retired Army officers said it was for having an extramarital affair.

Adultery is illegal in the military, constituting conduct unbecoming an officer. The sources said they think the woman was not a subordinate of Gen. Byrnes at U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va.

…Gen. Byrnes faces the possibility he may retire at a lower rank, forfeiting tens of thousands of dollars in retirement pay.

Retired officers, who asked not to be named, said Gen. Byrnes had been under investigation for some time and had been in the throes of a divorce. They expressed dismay at Gen. Byrnes, for whom a number of officers went to bat in 2002 when Mr. Rumsfeld threatened to end his career at lieutenant general..

Mr. Rumsfeld was upset at Gen. Byrnes for fighting proposed troop cuts being outlined by the defense secretary’s aide, Stephen Cambone.

And in another article, in the Washington Post, the rarity of this sort of discipline is also underscored.

Having an extramarital affair can be deemed adultery and a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. But such cases rarely go to court-martial and usually end in administrative punishment such as a letter of reprimand, according to military lawyers. Relieving a general of his command amid such allegations is extremely unusual, especially given that he was about to retire.

The story also adds more information — the allegation against Byrnes involved an affair with a private citizen (as opposed to another officer or subordinate), and that he had been separated from his wife since May 2004. The divorce was finalized on Monday — the same day he was relieved of command. This really doesn’t add up, does it?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding