The Best Defense

Another Navy skipper deep-sixed in bribery-and-prostitutes scandal. Also, what's in David Petraeus' mailbag today?

Bribes and prostitutes, kind of the ham and eggs of crime. Anyway, the captain of the USS Bonhomme Richard got escorted off his ship by Navy officials. This was a surprise because, from the little I know, he has a good reputation. BTW, this is related to the similar handling of the skipper of the USS Mustin the other day. You gots to wonder how many more shoes are gonna drop in the Pacific fleet.

Meanwhile, a "friend" of David Petraeus mailed a fake hand grenade to his New York City office.


The Best Defense

Accountability breaks out in the Marines as the commandant fires two generals -- for inadequate performance in combat

The Marine Corps commandant fired two generals for inadequate execution of their duties in Afghanistan.

Yow. This is good to see. I am weary of generals being relieved for zipper malfunctions and other personal issues, while all sorts of combat and professional incompetence are tolerated. For too long the message sent has been, you can do things that get troops killed, as long as you don't make the team "look bad."

To my knowledge (and I studied this issue for several years while writing The Generals), this is the first relief of an American general for combat incompetence since the firing of Army Maj. Gen. James Baldwin in 1971. That incident actually was pretty similar to what happened to the Marines at Camp Bastion: Baldwin commanded a division that had an outpost, Firebase Mary Ann, with poorly prepared defenses. It was raided by the Viet Cong, 30 American soldiers were killed and 82 were wounded, and Baldwin was blamed.

The Marine action is a major signal about enforcing accountability for the top ranks. It also sends a message to the troops that "different spanks for different ranks" will not occur here, with sergeants getting punished while generals escape reprimand.

All in all, I am pretty impressed. Youse?