On Friday, Duke Cunningham's defense lawyers issued their Sentencing Memorandum, asking for six years incarceration. The memorandum included a psychiatric evaluation. Enter Duke's mind:
A psychiatrist says Randy “Duke” Cunningham's fall from Vietnam War hero to corrupt politician grew out of “an outsized ego and a mantle of invulnerability” that allowed him to rationalize his behavior.
That mindset evolved from a military career in which Cunningham was taught to embrace aggressive tactics and ignore danger signs and enabled him to perform heroically during the Vietnam War, the doctor said.
Those traits, imperative for fighter pilots, were so engrained in Cunningham that although he was expected to behave differently in Congress “the psyche cannot make such a U-turn easily,” said Dr. Saul Faerstein....
Faerstein said Cunningham's “extraordinary deeds in the service planted a subconscious sense of entitlement which fed his rationalization to accept these gifts for his sacrifices.”