We know that four-star generals — or indeed any general officers other than one female reservist who claims to be a scapegoat — do not get disciplined, much less cashiered, over little things like presiding over very substantial quantities of torture by their subordinates. (We used to claim to adhere to command responsibility, so one would have accepted responsibility to flow upwards, not curdle down at the level of NCOs.)
One could even be forgiven for thinking that if having your troops stringing prisoners up with mock electrodes or beating them to death in sleeping bags wasn't the sort of thing that got a general in trouble, nothing would.
Well, it seems there is something. Some unspecified “personal misconduct,” that can get a 4-Star General Dismissed.
What could it be? Fiddling the accounts, or sleeping with the wrong person perhaps. But not torture, even if he did run the Army Training and Doctrine Command. We don't go after ranking officers for that—got to save something for the war crimes tribunals.
Update: Yup. The Washington post reports that the great crime was “an extramarital affair with a civilian.”
I suppose, in all fairness, this hierarchy of military offenses is consistent with our impeachment priorities. That said, I do find this part of the Post story more offensive than sad,
The Army has been hurt over the past year by detainee-abuse cases and has been accused of not going after top officers allegedly involved in such abuse. Army officials said relieving Byrnes was meant to show the public that the service takes issues of integrity seriously.
“We all swear to serve by the highest ideals, and no matter what rank, when you violate them, you are dealt with appropriately,” said one Army officer familiar with the case.