Is something deep and dark afoot in the upper regions of military command?
Since the Sept. 11 Benghazi, Libya, massacre, President Barack Obama has sacked his CIA director and two of his top military commanders, demoted one and found another caught up in the scandal involving the CIA director. This many top commanders being relieved at one time is unprecedented in U.S. history.
So, are sexual misconduct and corruption that rife in the military command? Or is Obama making a point about staying on script in the Benghazi incident? Or is the President purging a group of rogue commanders who were planning a coup?
The recent casualties of the high command are CIA Director (formerly top Afghanistan commander) David Petraeus, General Carter F. Ham (AfriCOM) and Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette (Carrier Task Force Stennis), who were sacked; General William “Kip” Ward (former AfriCOM), who was stripped of a star; and Afghanistan commander Marine General John R. Allen, who has been tied to the Petraeus “sex scandal” in a guilt-by-association sort of way.
This is reminiscent of Joseph Stalin’s and Adolf Hitler’s purges and executions of top military commanders who did not toe the line — without the bullets.
Petraeus was either sacked or chose to resign, perhaps because he was galled by being forced to claim something he knew to be not true: that the attack was the result of an amateurish video denigrating Mohammed as the pedophile and murder he was. So a sex scandal story was fabricated — or used after being held in abeyance — to try to shut him up or embarrass him. Now, he says he’ll testify before Congress. He should watch his back in the coming days.
The dismissal of Ham is interesting because there are reports that he had assets in place set to rescue Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his team but was ordered to stand down. According to Tigerdroppings.com, Ham was receiving the same emails the White House was receiving requesting support as the attack was under way. Ham got a rapid response unit ready and communicated that with the Pentagon. When he was told to stand down, Ham responded he was not going to obey the order. Less than a minute later, his second in command told Ham that he had been relieved of his command.
In a highly unusual move, Gaouette was relieved while deployed “pending the outcome of an internal investigation into undisclosed allegations of inappropriate judgment,” according to a report by The Stars and Stripes (since scrubbed from its website). But the Russian intelligence agency GRU reports that Gaouette’s firing was due to his disobeying orders when he ordered his forces to “assist and provide intelligence for” American military forces ordered into action by Ham.”
The whole Benghazi cover-up story took an even stranger turn with revelations that the man who succeeded Petraeus in Afghanistan had sent hundreds of emails to Jill Kelley, the woman who supposedly caused the FBI to open its investigation into Petraeus. The emails were then reported to be of the “phone sex” variety.
And finally there’s Ward, who had been under investigation for a year and a half over charges he had spent $82,000 on lavish travel and other unauthorized expenses.
Being among the top brass is an increasingly dangerous business.