Disgraced general’s wife speaks out on misconduct probe

INT

As a US Army general faces a string of sexual misconduct charges involving female officers, his wife is seeking to stir a broader look at often taboo subjects in military marriages: adultery, the strain of separation and the stress of war.

Rebecca Sinclair stayed away from the days-long hearing earlier this month at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where the allegations against her husband, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, were revealed in detailed testimony. Women officers described an affair, forced sexual encounters and a series of explicit email exchanges with the former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.

But his wife has since made a public face of his defence, and of what she sees as the toll of a decade of war on military couples, many of whom have found themselves in a repeated pattern of deployments, homecomings and moves.

"I am not condoning anything, and I'm not excusing my husband's infidelity. I'm not saying just because we're on this deployment cycle and because of the war, that causes infidelity," she said by phone Monday from New York. "I'm just trying to understand it, and I'm trying to get conversations started so that people can look behind and see the bigger issue."

Her piece came as adultery in the military has flared up as an issue, following retired Gen. David Petraeus' resignation as CIA director over an affair with his biographer and the disclosure of what officials have described as suggestive emails between a Florida woman and Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan; he says he's done nothing wrong.

It also comes as Jeffrey Sinclair waits to hear whether he'll be court-martialed on charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, misusing a government travel charge card and possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed. The 27-year Army veteran was relieved in May of his duties overseeing logistics for the 82nd Airborne.

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