Bribes, mistresses, sex parties, cheating on exams –the military’s professional ethos has turned into a culture of rot. The keeper of America’s moral center has more secrets in its attic than a V.C. Andrews novel. The military is scandal plagued. According to Donald Vandergriff, a retired Army officer who lectures on military reform, “The military system that’s evolved over the last 100 years does not test moral courage, strength of character, or the ability to tell the truth.”
Military scandals aren’t just the work of young, jocular cadets, the Maverick and Goose types that operate in a fraternity of unchecked masculinity and hero worship. The ethical corrosion starts at the top of the chain of command. Over the years several generals and top brass have been involved in scandals by acting as if they’re bulletproof and above the law –this is what happens when hubris collides with a culture of tradition of privilege. According to “Narcissism and Toxic Leaders," a widely cited article in Military Review, 80 percent of the officers and NCOs polled in an Army study observed toxic leaders in action, while 20 percent had worked for one. With ethical lapses and outrageous behavior ranging from the tawdry to the criminal, here are 10 shocking military scandals. Ooh Rah!
10 Women Secretly Filmed at West Point
9 Downfall of Gen. David Petraeus
8 USS Acadia
7 Nuclear Exam Cheating Scandals
6 Tailhook Scandal
5 The Plame Affair
4 The Fat Leonard Scandal
3 DEA Sex Parties
2 Abu Ghraib
1 My Lai Massacre
The My Lai massacre took place on March 16, 1968, but news of the atrocity didn’t reach the American public until November 1969. “This is what you’ve been waiting for - search and destroy - and you’ve got it.” Angry and frustrated because of heavy losses, Lt. William Calley ordered his men to enter the Vietnamese village of My Lai firing their weapons. In the end, over 300 unarmed civilians were murdered. Journalist Seymour Hirsch leaked the story, and a military investigation resulted in Lt. William Calley being charged with murder.
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