Lieutenant Kelly Flinn

by Bob Wilson

Hypocrisy generally refers to someone who deceitfully says one thing, but does another. ABC news and Senator Trent Lott suggest that the Air Force is hypocritical in its treatment of Lt. Kelly Flinn, the "first female B-52 pilot" currently being court marshaled at Minot ND.

In fact, the Air Force is consistent. Politicians and the media are the hypocrites. It has always been a consistent policy of the Air Force to prohibit and discourage relationships between officers and enlisted. While the media insists that she is being "unfairly singled out for adultery" (which is also prohibited under the UCMJ) in fact, what Lt. Flinn is charged with is disobeying a direct and legal order, and lying. It just happens that what she was lying about was her adultery. She admits guilt to both charges. She was deposed by a properly convened investigative authority and raising her hand, she swore to "facts" which later proved to be knowingly untrue. She got caught (metaphorically and actually) with her pants down.

When an officer is involved in a social relationship (sexual or not) with enlisted people, the Air Force (and all the other services ) always considers a breech of discipline and a potential compromise of authority to be highly likely. Lt. Flinn was well educated in this philosophy during her four years at the Air Force Academy. In spite of this, she chose to have sexual relations with an enlisted man stationed at Minot. Then, during the same year, she chose to have an extended sexual relationship with a civilian who was married to an enlisted female stationed at Minot. When ordered to stop living with the married man, she chose to defy that order and continue. Finally, questioned under oath, she lied about the fact that she had continued to see the man she was ordered to stay away from. If the gender roles were reversed, she (he) would have been court marshaled, punished and discharged (just as scores of men in all the services have) without so much as a blurb in the local Minot newspaper.

Media pundits expressed pious outrage at the Army drill sergeant affair where senior enlisted men had taken advantage of their authority and had relations with junior recruits. The Air Force considers Lt. Flinn (similarly) to be an officer who potentially and perhaps actually misused her authority. An acknowledged liar and person of low moral turpitude, she disobeyed orders and misled a properly authorized investigative officer. She lied under oath--a military felony---and incidentally, she admittedly engaged in prohibited fraternization which wreaks havoc to good order and discipline in a military unit. Now, as the black army drill sergeant recently convicted for his misdeeds cried "discrimination," so does Lt. Flinn. That powerful defense always evokes the sympathy of the media, but clearly in her case, it is particularly disingenuous. In the eyes of the Air Force, Lt. Flinn is as bad a character as were the Army drill sergeants. In keeping with the new Army policy for female recruits, perhaps the Air Force should have all male enlisted move about the base in pairs, to avoid the potential of abuse from sexually predatory female officers. There is at least one enlisted married female at Minot who would concur with that.

At commissioning, military officers are expected, and agree to observe a higher code of conduct than the general enlisted and civilian population. Certainly that does not always happen, but exemptions from those higher expectations, based on race or gender are not in the interest of anyone but a hypocrite. The media’s failure to acknowledge the parallels between the Army sex scandals and Lt. Flinn puts them squarely in that category.

Bob Wilson is a Western businessman and former pilot who believes it is his mission to balance the outrageous liberalism of The Ethical Spectacle.