Unbecoming Conduct

What defines conduct unbecoming an

Major General Thomas Fiscus,

Judge Advocate General of the Air Force,

the harsh interrogation techniques approved
and later rescinded by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
for use on Guantanamo prisoners.

Subsequently, General Fiscus has
been reprimanded for a

dozen sexual affairs
during the last decade and may
face disbarment proceedings.

As the affairs were consensual with
civilian and military women, one doesn`t know whether
the general is being punished for sticking up for human
rights or whether the US military thinks

is a requirement of general officers,
with sexual license left to the
Dominatrix of Abu Ghraib.

Punishing a general for sex is
inconsistent with the macho "burn, kill and destroy"
image being cultivated by the US military in Iraq.

Can a hegemonic army be commanded
by saints?

Gen. Fiscus` punishment is unlikely
to stifle

sex in the military.
His punishment can, however, be
defended as an attempt to uphold

against fraternization and conduct unbecoming
an officer.

However impractical these old rules
might be in a military integrated with


, if these rules are not enforced, other
rules will go by the wayside, and the rot of
demoralization will take hold.

What jumps out from this reasoning
is the extent to which the US military, which abandoned
the Geneva Conventions against prisoner torture and the
US War Crimes Act of 1996, is being a stickler at
enforcing its rules against sexual affairs. Is the
military clutching the rule against fraternization
closely to its breast because it is the only rule the
military has left?

Alas, such may indeed be the case.

White House Counsel
and Attorney General nominee
Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush in January 2002
that all laws and conventions against torture could be
swept away simply by declaring detainees to be outside
the protection of law and international agreements.

advised President Bush
to turn his back on the
and "quaint" requirements in the
Geneva Conventions for the humane treatment of
prisoners. A year later a Pentagon task force reasoned
that the president had the authority to approve any
policy needed to protect the nation`s security.

These are the "moralists"
who are compelling General Fiscus to retire at a lower
rank because he misbehaved with a dozen women.

Numerous reports, including reports
from the FBI, have made it clear that torture of
prisoners is

more widespread
than the White House has admitted.
Numerous reports have made it clear that US troops,
whether from confusion, fear, or sport have slaughtered
Iraqi civilians. Marines destroyed the city of Fallujah,
and the commander on the scene claimed no Iraqi
civilians were killed.

But General Fiscus has behaved

President Bush, VP Cheney, Defense
Secretary Rumsfeld, and Deputy Defense Secretary
Wolfowitz lied about Iraq having weapons of mass
destruction and being involved with the September 11
terrorist attack on the US.

The consequences of these lies:
tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians and countless
others wounded, Iraq`s infrastructure in ruins, 1,325
dead US troops and another 21,000 maimed and wounded and
the toll is mounting, 150,000 US troops tied down by a
few thousand ragtag insurgents, US alliances and
reputation in tatters, and America roundly hated
throughout the Middle East.

But General Fiscus behaved
unbecomingly for an officer.

Yes, he did. And President Bush
behaved unbecomingly for a commander in chief.

Dick Cheney behaved unbecomingly
for a Vice President.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz behaved
unbecomingly for civilian leaders of the military.

But no one is being held
accountable except General Fiscus.

Is this right? Is this what
Americans want?

Do we want to punish General Fiscus
for violating "obsolete and quaint" rules against
consensual sex but not punish government leaders who
tell us lies about Iraq and get our sons, fathers,
husbands, brothers, and daughters killed as a

Do Americans really want to be led
by people who believe in the efficacy of torture,
military might and propagandistic manipulation of an
unsuspecting public?

If so, where is the virtue that

claim justifies American hegemony?


Paul Craig Roberts is the author with Lawrence M. Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good
Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are
Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice



for Peter Brimelow`s

Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the
recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.