A General Pays the Price for Opposing Torture
The Peach found itself intrigued by a brief Reuters item buried at the bottom of page A14 in today's New York Times, reporting the U.S. Air Force's decision to formally reprimand Maj. Gen. Thomas Fiscus, the Air Force's former chief military lawyer, for "improper relationships with more than a dozen women." According to the Air Force, General Fiscus's habit of engaging in sexual affairs constitutes "conduct unbecoming an officer." General Fiscus has been ordered to forfeit pay, but General Donald Cook, the commander overseeing the investigation, has indicated that he thinks harsher measures should be in order. He has recommended that General Fiscus be forced to retire at a lower rank and is seeking General Fiscus's disbarrment.
Buried at the end of the article is the interesting part. It notes that General Fiscus was among those senior military lawyers who raised questions about American policy toward military detainees. In particular, he opposed the harsh interrogation techniques approved by Donald Rumsfeld (which approval was later rescinded) for use with detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
This set The Peach's fuzzy little brain cells whirring. We found it interesting that the article made no mention of how or why the Air Force came to be investigating General Fiscus's private sex life to begin with. There is no suggestion that General Fiscus is married, for example. The article further notes that the General's "affairs were generally consensual" and makes no mention of any complaint against him that might have touched off what sounds like a fairly extensive investigation over some three months.
Only the article's otherwise inexplicable juxtaposition of the investigation information with the paragraphs on the General's opposition to administration policy seems telling. The SCLM doing its desperate best, in these difficult times, to hint at a causal link? Is Reuters trying to suggest -- without coming out and saying so -- that perhaps, just perhaps the Air Force engaged in a campaign of personal demolition against General Fiscus because he opposed administration policy?
The Peach will leave it to its readers to contemplate the ramifications of an administration policy that seems to call for the systematic, taxpayer-funded personal destruction of its critics. And alas, we must leave it to the likes of Reuters to perhaps, one day, report the connection between investigations such as this one and criticism of the administration, rather than merely hinting at it.