Sending flirtatious e-mails is not a crime. It’s not even a social faux pas. So if that is all General John R. Allen has done, the Pentagon’s inspector general should say so as soon as possible and put this distracting inquiry to rest.
So far, Pentagon officials have declined to describe exactly what would constitute “inappropriate communication” between Allen and Jill Kelley, an unpaid social liaison in Florida who frequently threw parties for top military brass. Until they let the public know what that means — and whether Allen is guilty of it — the entire US military will be left pondering whether calling someone “sweetheart” in an e-mail violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It should not, and, barring an actual breach of national security or military rules, the Pentagon should back off.