In an era of unaccountable government, one shining exception stands out

Many Americans are disgusted with the lack of accountability for government bureaucrats.  The spectacle of Hawaii convulsed with a phony warning of a missile attack – sending over a million people into a life-changing panic, saying goodbye to their loved ones, and hiding their children in sewers – with nobody held accountable and the miscreant's identity kept secret, is only the latest example of immunity conferred on government officials.

The government protects its own.  The rest of us can be fired, demoted, and penalized when we screw up, but the worst that seems to happen to a senior bureaucrat like Lois Lerner is a cushy six-figure retirement.

With one exception: the United States Military.

The United States Navy is now starting a ruthlessly unforgiving  lesson to all on accountability.  Geoff Ziezulewicz and  report in the Navy Times:

The Navy's decision to level criminal charges against the commanding officers of the destroyers Fitzgerald and John S. McCain is forcing the surface warfare world into a grim reckoning on how it operates, and the consequences of sailors dying on a leader's watch.

The Navy announced on Jan. 16 that negligent homicide charges will be sought against Fitz [C.O.] Cmdr. Bryce Benson, and McCain [C.O.] Cmdr. Alfredo Sanchez, for their roles in the deaths of 17 sailors in the Pacific last summer.

The unprecedented move sets in motion a military justice proceeding that will begin with a preliminary hearing known as an Article 32, which will evaluate the evidence and determine whether to send the officers to court-martial.


Cmdr. Bryce Benson, left, and Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, right, face criminal charges for their roles in the fatal collisions of their respective destroyers.  (Navy.)

I do not think it is coincidental that the United States Military enjoys far higher levels of trust and respect than the rest of the federal government.  Those are qualities that must be earned and then ruthlessly guarded.

Ed Timperlake commented to me in an email that the lessons of accountability start right away when a civilian enters the service:

As a Plebe at Annapolis, one of the very first responses we learned when challenged with doing something wrong – "No excuse, Sir." 

We could use a healthy dose of that throughout the federal government.  President Trump might wish to consider appointing a federal commission to study means of ensuring accountability in the non-military branches of the federal government, with healthy representation of the military on it. 

Many Americans are disgusted with the lack of accountability for government bureaucrats.  The spectacle of Hawaii convulsed with a phony warning of a missile attack – sending over a million people into a life-changing panic, saying goodbye to their loved ones, and hiding their children in sewers – with nobody held accountable and the miscreant's identity kept secret, is only the latest example of immunity conferred on government officials.

The government protects its own.  The rest of us can be fired, demoted, and penalized when we screw up, but the worst that seems to happen to a senior bureaucrat like Lois Lerner is a cushy six-figure retirement.

With one exception: the United States Military.

The United States Navy is now starting a ruthlessly unforgiving  lesson to all on accountability.  Geoff Ziezulewicz and  report in the Navy Times:

The Navy's decision to level criminal charges against the commanding officers of the destroyers Fitzgerald and John S. McCain is forcing the surface warfare world into a grim reckoning on how it operates, and the consequences of sailors dying on a leader's watch.

The Navy announced on Jan. 16 that negligent homicide charges will be sought against Fitz [C.O.] Cmdr. Bryce Benson, and McCain [C.O.] Cmdr. Alfredo Sanchez, for their roles in the deaths of 17 sailors in the Pacific last summer.

The unprecedented move sets in motion a military justice proceeding that will begin with a preliminary hearing known as an Article 32, which will evaluate the evidence and determine whether to send the officers to court-martial.


Cmdr. Bryce Benson, left, and Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, right, face criminal charges for their roles in the fatal collisions of their respective destroyers.  (Navy.)

I do not think it is coincidental that the United States Military enjoys far higher levels of trust and respect than the rest of the federal government.  Those are qualities that must be earned and then ruthlessly guarded.

Ed Timperlake commented to me in an email that the lessons of accountability start right away when a civilian enters the service:

As a Plebe at Annapolis, one of the very first responses we learned when challenged with doing something wrong – "No excuse, Sir." 

We could use a healthy dose of that throughout the federal government.  President Trump might wish to consider appointing a federal commission to study means of ensuring accountability in the non-military branches of the federal government, with healthy representation of the military on it.