Protect Our Defenders President Col Don Christensen, USAF (ret.) was an opinion contributor for The Atlantic.
John Kelly’s over-the-top support for Porter was wrong. But Chief of Staff Kelly was only acting as General Kelly would have. His statements highlight the fundamental flaw of the military’s commander-controlled justice system. Commanders might genuinely believe a subordinate is incapable of abuse, or they might find the subordinate too valuable to the mission not to support in court. The former is naive, the latter reprehensible—and both are reason to remove commanders from the equation entirely.
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