Petraeus-Allen Scandal Shakes Military’s Ethics Code
In the chaos and heat and noise of combat, weapons and ammo and manpower are all important — but one critical intangible is trust.
Sergeants hammer it into their young troops: “Do the right thing when no one is watching.”
As spreading scandal enfolds two of the military’s most respected leaders, retired Army Gen. David Petraeus and Marine Gen. John Allen, there is growing concern that the appearance or reality of senior leaders not “doing the right thing” will have a damaging effect on a military that relies so heavily on trust.
Petraeus has acknowledged an extramarital affair, and senior officials have confirmed the relationship with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, after Petraeus retired from the Army in order to become CIA director in September 2011. Allen, currently the top U.S. and allied commander in Afghanistan, was set to become NATO commander. His nomination was put on hold after the FBI uncovered thousands of potentially inappropriate emails between the general and Tampa, Fla. socialite Jill Kelley.
The sudden fall from grace of two of the nation’s most admired leaders has sent shock waves deep into the military ranks, where the bond of trust is considered almost sacred.