ADULTERATED STANDARDS

WHAT'S THE PENTAGON TO DO WHEN SCANDAL SNAGS THE TOP CANDIDATE FOR CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS?

As Air Force General Joseph Ralston sought to become the nation's No. 2 military officer last year, he pledged to the Senate to be "very candid and forthright" while harnessing "traditional values" to help curb sexual misconduct in the military. But last week Defense Secretary William Cohen released Ralston from that vow, declaring that Ralston's secret, adulterous relationship 13 years ago wouldn't "automatically disqualify" him from becoming the nation's No. 1 military officer this fall.

Or so Cohen thought. The Defense Secretary's assertion, while technically justified under military law, hit Capitol Hill like the heat-seeking missiles Ralston once fired from his...

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