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August 14, 2005 - A Four-Star General is Fired

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That happened August 9, as reported in the Washington Post here -


In a rare move, the Army relieved a four-star general of his command amid allegations that he had an extramarital affair with a civilian, Army officials said yesterday.


Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes, 55, led the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., where he supervised the recruitment and academic programs at 33 Army schools, from basic training to the war colleges. Byrnes, who several military sources said had a previously unblemished record, was set to retire in November after 36 years of service.


The Army released few details about the decision to relieve one of its 11 four-star generals, with spokesmen saying only that Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, relieved Byrnes of his command on Monday as the result of an investigation by the Defense Department's inspector general. A spokesman said Army officials could find no case of another four-star general being relieved of duty in modern times. ...


Very odd. 


Arianna Huffington here


Now, it long ago became clear that the Bushies inhabit a bizarro, topsy-turvy universe - a place where being utterly wrong about slam-dunk WMD earns you a Medal of Freedom, dismissing a "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S." memo earns you a promotion to Secretary of State, signing off on torture makes you AG material, another 123 American soldiers being blown up is the mark of an enemy in its "last throes", and outing an undercover CIA agent (and then lying about it) merits a vote of confidence instead of a pink slip.


Nevertheless, the Byrnes firing is still stunning. Consider: in modern times, no four-star general has ever been relieved of duty for disciplinary reasons; prior to this incident Byrne had a spotless military record; he has been separated from his wife since May 2004; the allegations do not involve anyone under his command or connected to the DoD; and he was already set to retire in November.


Something doesn't add up. Would the Army really can a four-star General with 36 years of service, three months shy of his retirement, because he screwed someone other than his wife... in the middle of a war? We are at war, right? No wonder speculation is mounting that there has to be more - much more - to this story than is being told.


Was the affair with a man? Was the man underage? Did he not only ask, but also tell? Was, say, one of the Bush twins involved? Did the illicit liaison entail incredibly kinky behavior... something involving a dog leash, women's panties, fake blood, a Koran, and a Lynndie England mask?


… Is this what it takes for Rummy and company to continue seeing themselves as paragons of virtue who will do whatever is necessary to hold people accountable for their private conduct... while turning a blind eye to the wanton assault on decency and morality that has marked our handling of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Bagram?


… In other words, it's the s-e-x, stupid! The GOP base will eat it up.


The message is clear: overseeing a system that led to prisoners being buggered with chemical lights and having electrodes attached to their genitals will get you a leg up in Bush's military; giving the high, hard one to someone other than your wife will get you booted out the door.


Over in Tin Foil Hat Land there's another theory from Wayne Madsen (scroll down to August 10) –


What has not been reported is that recently, one of Byrnes' subordinate commands, Fort Rucker in Alabama, had been told to stand by for an influx of 50,000 military trainees - a level the base has not seen since the Vietnam War.  Byrnes' relief of command came on the heels of the Pentagon announcing that it might permit Spanish-language entrance examinations.  Byrnes, who was in charge of Army training, would not only face recruits with lower education levels and past criminal records, but a lack of proficiency in English.  Pentagon insiders report that it was Byrnes' policy disagreements with the Pentagon neo-cons over the new recruitment policies and the potential for calling up Army retirees and reinstating military conscription without adequate TRADOC funding that resulted in his firing.  The personal misconduct charges were concocted by the Pentagon to cover up the fact that there are serious disagreements with Bush and Rumsfeld among the flag officer ranks in the military.


Byrnes was also associated with a group of officers who spent time at the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania.  The Army War College has been a center of opposition to the war in Iraq and it is believed that Byrnes was recognized by the neo-cons as one of the unofficial leaders of a group of Army flag rank opponents of Bush's war in Iraq and potential military action against Iran.


There may be a revolt brewing in the ranks of the military?  They were heading off a military coup that would toss out the neo-cons?


Maybe.  Maybe not.


There was an interesting comment, and long one, from Major Bob Bateman, serving in Iraq, here - and this is some of it -


Yesterday the news hit the wire that General Kevin Byrnes has been relieved of command.  A four-star general, sacked, while we are at war.  What sort of massive misbehavior must he have committed?  Well, if CNN is right, he is under investigation for "Sexual Misconduct."  Usually, though not always, that means adultery in some form.


… Soldiers, deployed far from home, in a foreign land with people trying in earnest to kill them, will spend their days mooning about events half a planet away. It is illogical, it is also eminently human.  The possibility that it is another soldier, back at the home-station, who is the proximate cause...


A morale thing?  With some of our guys getting "Dear John" letters in Iraq, and other wondering if they will, maybe sex does matter, and that was what that this was about after all.




Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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