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What About This…? 1.23.2014

By Wayne William Cipriano

It happens with such regularity that it does not even “clang” any­more!

I’m not just talking about Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary At War, the new Robert M. Gates book, but so many “tell-all” books and articles that assail us each time someone retires from or a change is made within a political administration.

We all know how competent administrations regularly recruit members of differing political phi­losophies to take advantage of new points of view, abilities, and values, understanding the considerable risks taken by inviting a potential political opponent aboard. Newbies must become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of that administra­tion as well as information and tactics usually kept diligently in-house. When these people leave, should a certain time period pass before such exposés are considered seemly?

We have always respected and admired the individuals who find themselves in such a momentous moral dilemma that they can in good conscience only present their resig­nations. Not because of a few differences of opinion, nor some minor personal slights, but due to a choice between loyalty and integrity that cannot be compromised.

We can have an interesting discussion about what constitutes a choice of such magnitude that sep­aration rather than accommodation is required, but isn’t this truly rare occurrence almost always the prod­uct of a single important issue, not a laundry list of items and behaviors that have now broken the camel’s back and can no longer be tolerated?

And, in the latter case, if those many issues were so egregiously mishandled that these character-riddled folks, immediately upon their exit, even before the ink dries on their contracts with law and / or lobbying firms must immediately report those issues to us, then tell me this ––

Where were these individuals, so overflowing with civic responsibil­ity and ethical duty when we needed them? When these disastrously bungled issues were real issues, not historical footnotes? Were they floundering in Hamlet-like indeci­sion? Interviewing for their next positions? Peddling their “tell-all”?