Charged general’s wife: Long war hurts families
by Associated Press Wire
November 16, 2012 02:00 PM | 689 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair. When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pointedly warned young troops last spring to mind their ways, he may have been lecturing the wrong audience. The culture of military misconduct starts at the top. At least five current and former U.S. general officers have been reprimanded or investigated for possible misconduct in the past two weeks _ a startling run of embarrassment for a military whose stock among Americans rose so high during a decade of war that its leaders seemed almost untouchable. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair. When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pointedly warned young troops last spring to mind their ways, he may have been lecturing the wrong audience. The culture of military misconduct starts at the top. At least five current and former U.S. general officers have been reprimanded or investigated for possible misconduct in the past two weeks _ a startling run of embarrassment for a military whose stock among Americans rose so high during a decade of war that its leaders seemed almost untouchable. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)
slideshow
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The wife of an Army general facing sexual misconduct charges in North Carolina has written an opinion piece saying that she supports her husband and that the stresses of a decade of war contributed to recent high-profile military scandals.

Rebecca Sinclair’s husband, Fort Bragg-based Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, faces a long list of charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, violating orders, engaging in inappropriate relationships and adultery. The 27-year Army veteran was deputy commander in charge of logistics and support for the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan before being abruptly relieved in May.

Rebecca Sinclair’s piece was published just days after retired Gen. David Petraeus admitted having an affair with his biographer and resigned as director of the CIA. During the investigation into the affair, the FBI uncovered flirtatious emails between Gen. John Allen, the top American commander in Afghanistan, and a Florida socialite. Both were married.

In her piece in The Washington Post, Rebecca Sinclair said that her husband spent more than six years in the past decade away from his family and that they moved six times in 11 years.

"Spectators will try to make this scandal about many things: the arrogance of powerful men; conniving mistresses; the silent epidemic of sexual assault in the armed services. But these explanations obscure an underlying problem: the devastating influence of an open-ended war — now in its 11th year — on the families of U.S. service members," she wrote.

Rebecca Sinclair said the distance apart isn’t an excuse for infidelity. But she said this is the only time in history the U.S. has fought for a decade with an all-volunteer force.

"Nothing good can come of families being chronically separated for a decade or more," she wrote.

She said many military spouses don’t have any good options after finding out a husband or wife was unfaithful. If they leave, they risk losing the financial security of military salary, pension, housing and health benefits.

"Because we move so often, spouses lose years of career advancement," she said. "Some of us spend every other year as single parents. We are vulnerable emotionally and financially. Many stay silent out of necessity, not natural passivity."

Rebecca Sinclair also wrote that she supports her husband fighting the charges against him. She said she thinks many of the charges will be dropped because the evidence isn’t strong.

"But the damage has been done," she writes at the end of her piece. "It will take years for Jeff to shed the false image of a hard-drinking, porn-dependent aggressor. The other generals will also struggle to rehabilitate reputations they spent decades building. All of these men are human beings, with strengths and fallibilities, and they have families who are under real strain. How we address this strain will say much about what kind of country we are; it will also determine how stable and strong our military is."

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides