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Over Easy: The Purge of Generals Revisited

Remember last fall when the right went berserk with the notion that Obama was purging high level military officials who opposed Obama’s policies? At that time, nine senior commanding generals were sacked for seemingly minor infractions, mostly sexual in nature, leading to speculation that the firings were purely political.

Obama speaks at a podium during a visit to Bagram Air Force Base

Revisiting why the Obama administration fired top generals.

I have to admit, the firings seemed a little suspicious. Three of the generals were involved at least tangentially in the Benghazi incident, which was curious. Two were assigned to the ongoing hot war in Afghanistan. Two were in charge of massive arsenals, one nuclear submarines and the other intercontinental ballistic missiles. The final two felt miscategorized with the others and worked in recruiting and military education.

The Washington Post FOIA’d the investigations and found a number of tawdry, inappropriate, and shocking incidents among the officials fired as well as a number of other cases of misconduct among officers of high rank.

Since November 2012, when an adulterous affair felled David H. Petraeus, the CIA director and most renowned Army general of his generation, the armed forces have struggled to cope with tawdry disclosures about high-ranking commanders.

The Navy has been humbled by a spiraling sex-and-bribery scandal, as well as a gambling incident involving a three-star admiral who authorities say they caught using counterfeit chips at a riverfront casino. The Air Force relieved a nuclear commander after investigators said he went on a drinking binge in Moscow. The Army fired one general for allegedly groping a woman, forced another to retire after he accepted expensive gifts from a foreigner, and demoted its top commander in Africa after an investigation found he treated himself and his wife to a $750-a-night Caribbean hotel suite at taxpayer expense.

It is still entirely possible that a few generals were fired for political reasons, even General Petraeus who headed the CIA during Benghazi episode. However, it looks like many of the fired commanders had enough ammunition in their files to justify termination.

As always, Off Topic is welcome at Over Easy and lurkers are encouraged to join the conversation. See you in the comments.

Public domain photo by David House / US Air Force 17th Public Affairs Detachment.

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