Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Retired Lt. Col. Paul Yingling: I haven't anything to say to you regarding H.R. [McMaster]. He is my friend and my advice to friends is private. However, I would like to clarify a point regarding the honor code of the officer corps. An officer may not tolerate a lie. It is not enough that everything an officer says is true. This standard is too low; it allows an officer to omit facts that are relevant to the matter at hand. It is not enough that everything an officer says is true and complete. This standard is too low; it allows an officer to remain silent while others lie.

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An officer may not tolerate a lie. This standard requires not only that everything an officer says is true and complete, but also that an officer must correct anyone who lies in his or her presence. An officer can never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.

A minor example illustrates this point. Prior to my retirement, my chain of command insisted that I have a public retirement ceremony. Such a ceremony would include the public reading of an award citation stating that the secretary of the Army valued my service. I informed my chain of command that if they read such a statement in my presence, I would be obliged to correct the record. They cancelled the ceremony.

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The problem is that most of the time, politics will trump (no pun intended) codes of conduct.

#1 | Posted by shane at 2017-05-17 03:15 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Boaz... are you reading this?

#2 | Posted by moder8 at 2017-05-17 03:24 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

An officer can only be completely truthful by voluntarily leaving the military. That is why Paul Yingling is now a teacher.

#3 | Posted by pumpkinhead at 2017-05-17 03:30 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

His beer is pretty good.

#4 | Posted by danni at 2017-05-17 03:34 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

It's not a lie if you believe it
- George Costanza

#5 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2017-05-17 03:35 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

An awful lot of officers tolerated an awful lot of lies that were used to justify invading Iraq.

#6 | Posted by danni at 2017-05-17 03:35 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"An awful lot of officers tolerated an awful lot of lies that were used to justify invading Iraq."

The military has its own version of "Overton's Window" in order to gin up support for armed conflict-- support from both within (military personnel) and without (civilians and media).

They move it around when necessary. A recent example of this was the whole "Syria Chemical Weapons" story tha has popped up during Obama's terms and now, Trump's.

#7 | Posted by pumpkinhead at 2017-05-17 03:41 PM | Reply

Boaz... are you reading this?

#2 | Posted by moder8

That Boaz character sure tolerates and even spreads an awful lot of lies.

#8 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-05-17 04:07 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Colin Powell

#9 | Posted by truthhurts at 2017-05-17 04:20 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Reality is that code of conduct is kind of funny if you talk to anyone in the service. Shane is spot on Politics wins.

#10 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2017-05-17 04:21 PM | Reply

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I am sure there are officers who are impeccably honest. But ALL wars are based on lies and military officers cannot possibly follow their commanders and maintain complete honesty in these circumstances. The only way to live a life as an officer without lying is to have your career entirely within peacetime. Even that is no guarantee.

#11 | Posted by nutcase at 2017-05-17 04:29 PM | Reply

This sounds like the biggest load of crap in the world.

#12 | Posted by sully at 2017-05-17 04:32 PM | Reply

Like "thou shall not kill" that philosophy loses meaning outside of your "group".

#13 | Posted by Lohocla at 2017-05-17 04:42 PM | Reply

Great article. Thomas Ricks is one of my top three favorite writers at FP. (the others being Rosa Brooks & Kori Schake)

#14 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017-05-17 11:02 PM | Reply

#2 | POSTED BY MODER8
"Boaz... are you reading this?"

#12 | POSTED BY SULLY
"This sounds like the biggest load of crap in the world."

It does have an odd scent to it, but I'd really like input from Boaz as to if and how much Yingling is paraphrasing or embellishing this code, or if it's just Yingling's own interpretation of the code's wording.

And surely Boaz isn't the only US Army officer who posts here, retired or otherwise.

#15 | Posted by TheTom at 2017-05-18 12:01 AM | Reply

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