Friday, December 10, 2004

What do the Air Force sexual assault scandal, Abu Ghraib and the Iraq fiasco have in common? Yes, Donald Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense, but more importantly, there has been no accountability for bad judgment and misdeeds. As Fred Kaplan points out in Slate, even as Rumsfeld blithely dismisses a soldier's complaint about foraging for body armor, the defense secretary also represents the Bush Administration's failure to hold Rummy and his neocon associates responsible for the mess they made in Iraq. Says Kaplan, "One sign of which way he [Bush] was headed would be whether he fired Rumsfeld and his neocon entourage or let them stay. He has now taken that test, and we all see the grim results. Rumsfeld has not merely made mistakes, he has made fatal mistakes."

Similarly, while some of the leaders of the Air Force Academy were eventually forced out of their positions there after a decade of abusive cadet conduct, they weren't booted out of the Air Force altogether or severely punished for tolerating a culture of rape at their institution. What does that say to other leaders of young men and women in our armed forces?

And what does Donald Rumsfeld's continuing hold on power say about the consequences of arrogant, foolish and abusive decisions (i.e., essentially okaying the torture of captured prisoners)? That your loyalty to President Bush will be rewarded, no matter how much you screw up.

That's a lesson neither our soldiers or commanders should be forced to learn.

Too bad the commanders of the Air Force Academy didn't pose for more photos with President Bush and become more vocal supporters; they might still be at the school.
Air Force Academy commanders faulted in sexual assault scandal

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