The Caine Mutiny Comes to Life

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The Washington Post reports today on Rear Adm. Brian Losey, the guy in charge of SEAL teams, who apparently went completely nuts when someone filed an anonymous complaint against him for a minor travel-policy infraction:

The turmoil began in July 2011….Enraged by what he saw as an act of disloyalty, the admiral became determined to find out who had reported him, according to the inspector general reports.

Several staff members testified that Losey drew up a list of suspects and made it known there would be consequences….One witness testified that Losey told his staff to send a message to any malcontents: “If you continue to undermine my authority as a commander, I’m going to bury each one of them. I’m going to come after them, and I’m going to [make] it very unpleasant.”

About the same time, Losey began cracking down on people whom he saw as potentially disloyal, according to the inspector general. He fired an officer who had been on his list of suspects, alleging that he had committed a handful of minor transgressions, such as using the admiral’s auto­pen without permission to sign routine paperwork. He got rid of Jones, his chief of staff, who was stripped of his title and moved into a basement office, and then moved again to an even more remote outpost at a military airfield.

Later, Losey ordered an investigation into whether civilian staff members on his enemies list had committed time­keeping and ­attendance-sheet errors that affected their pay, according to the inspector general reports. At least three staff members faced discipline as a result, although their punishment for the time­keeping irregularities was ultimately overturned. Some staffers also received poor performance reviews, which affected their compensation and careers.

….In the end, it turned out that Losey had the wrong people on his list of suspects. Investigators determined that none of the people he retaliated against had filed the original complaint about his daughter’s plane ticket.

I’m not going to be the first (or even the hundredth) to make this comparison, but this is fiction come to life. It sounds eerily like Captain Queeg’s famous shipwide search for the pantry key in The Caine Mutiny. But Losey is making out better than Queeg did: after a long investigation, he’s being “counseled,” but nothing more. His promotion to two-star admiral is now on the way.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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