WASHINGTON - When Defence 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 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 has risen during a decade of war.
The four-star foibles have rocked the military and shocked the Obama administration even as it wrestles with a host of international challenges.
The missteps suggest the possibility that the senior officer corps is troubled by the same strains haunting the rest of the force.
But it also may reflect the old adage about the military: Rank has its privileges.