By Andy Weddington
Friday, 17 August 2018
Leadership is a choice, not a position. Stephen Covey
Thirteen years ago this month I was appointed to conduct an investigation into senior officer misconduct.
It was ugly. Evidence overwhelming. And lying compounded the problematic substantiated misconduct.
Then it got worse.
During Article 32 testimony, an attorney implied the accused's combat service merited consideration for leniency.
Excuse me! What DoD Instructions, SecNav Directives, Marine Corps Orders, policies and memorandums or sections of the UCMJ exempt accountability for misconduct if a combat veteran?
Officers senior to the senior officers substantiated of misconduct wrongly engaged in due process to "save them" - to preempt justice.
Those officers exploited rank and reputation knowing their shenanigans, if reported (it was), would not face scrutiny (they were right).
To this day, I want to throw up.
As to exploiting rank and reputation ...
Yesterday was published a letter, in support of John Brennan, by Admiral William H. McRaven, U. S. Navy (Retired) to President Trump requesting his security clearance, too, be revoked.
With comments in italics, following is the Admiral's letter, by paragraph.
"Dear Mr. President:
Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don't know him."
(I do not know John Brennan nor Admiral McRaven. Never met either man. But a paragraph of nonsense. Considering what is now publicly known about Mr. Brennan's service and connections to a scheme to undermine a candidate for President (and President), Admiral McRaven holds strange understandings of public service, protecting this country, integrity, honesty, and character. Strange.)
"Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency."
(Mr. President, to the Admiral's request momentarily. Did he mean to say add his name to the list of men and women who colluded to corrupt our election process and undermine your candidacy and presidency?)
"Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs."
(Americans who voted for you [and some since won over], Mr. President, are ecstatic you are carrying out your promises. You, Sir, are the President America desperately needed. Those same Americans hope you will aggressively pursue justice against John Brennan et al. Now there seems grounds to add Admiral McRaven to the investigatory list. After all, one is known by company kept.)
"A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself."
(Mr. President, a good leader does not "try." I good leader does, no matter what. Thank you for doing - for putting America first and getting things done - Mr. President. A good leader is out front setting the example. A good leader eats last - literally and figuratively. Ask any Marine! Americans do not expect perfection from you, Mr. President. But leadership demanded. You are delivering, your way.)
"Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation."
(Mr. President, Admiral McRaven is confused. Barack Obama has been out of office more than 18 months. And Hillary Clinton was not elected.)
"If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be."
(Mr. President, criticism is one thing. Subterfuge another.)
Admiral McRaven (rank, reputation, and service moot) is not exempt from scrutiny. A SEAL (and I am friends with some senior ones), a reasonable man concludes he has revealed a faulty flipper. And that makes impossible swimming an azimuth true on the moral compass.
Thank Admiral McRaven (graciously) for dedicated and selfless service to country and honor, with America's national security of foremost concern, his (snarky) request (which he has no requirement to hold a security clearance anyway).
Revoke, today, Admiral McRaven's security clearance.
Mr. President, understand, Sir, many in uniform (and no longer clad) are watching; closely.
Lead! A good leader does what's right, no matter what.
To close ...
Recalling that distasteful and disappointing experience with (corrupt) senior officers 13 years ago and after digesting yesterday's likewise distasteful and disappointing letter by a distinguished senior officer and writing this commentary, I want to throw up; again.