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Military Sex Abuse And The Chain Of Command

Solving the U.S. military’s sex abuse problem. We look at the chain of command issue and what needs to change

Senate subcommittee on Personnel Chair Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., right, greets members of the third panel before the subcommittee's hearing on sexual assault in the military. (AP)

Senate subcommittee on Personnel Chair Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., right, greets members of the third panel before the subcommittee’s hearing on sexual assault in the military. (AP)

One bad headline after another on sexual assault in the U.S. military lately.

Bad numbers.  Big growth.  Bad reports of military figures who have been key in preventing sexual assault  – themselves in trouble.  Attacking.  Pimping, for heaven’s sake, we heard last week.

Everybody’s in an uproar about it.  But we’ve been there before.  What do we actually do about it?

New legislation would take responsibility for dealing with sexual assault out of the chain of command.  The holy of holies in the military. Is that a good idea?  Is it time?

Up next On Point: U.S. military sexual assault and the chain of command.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Martin, national security correspondent for CBS News.

Elizabeth Hillman, professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and former professor of history at the U.S. Air Force Academy. She currently serves on a panel appointed by Congress to make recommendations on military sexual assault.

John Altenburg, retired Major General in the U.S. Army, where he served as a Green Beret and an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. He served 28 years as a lawyer in the Army, where he represented the Army before Congress, state and local governments, and in court in the United States and Germany.

From Tom’s Reading List

CBS News: Military cracks down on rampant sexual abuse — “After a flood of sexual abuse cases in the military, President Obama summoned the nation’s military leadership to the White House Thursday. Before the meeting, Gen. Ray Odierno, the army chief of staff, admitted all efforts to stop the abuse have failed. In a classic Washington photo op, the commander-in-chief called in the top uniformed and civilian leaders of the military to order a crack down on sexual assault.”

Time Magazine: The Roots of Sexual Abuse in the Military – “Even before the Army confirmed a third military sexual-assault preventer had been implicated in sexual harassment in the past two weeks late Thursday – the charges ranged from sexual battery, to pandering, to stalking an ex-wife – the Army’s top general, and the commander-in chief, said they’ve had enough.”

The Hill: Gillibrand bill targets chain of command in sex assault cases – “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and a dozen other lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday to remove sexual assault cases from the military’s chain of command. The bill would represent a major shake-up of the military’s centuries-old judicial code by removing the decision to prosecute felony-type cases from military commanders.”

Tweets From During The Show

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  • DougGiebel

    Efforts to stop sexual abuse in the military are welcome, but there’s also a danger lurking in the details, because fear and over-zealous prosecution may almost certainly lead to both false allegations and erroneous punishment of men and women who are innocent of wrongdoing. When a “witch hunt” mentality takes over, as it has in the past, the lives and careers of those who are falsely accused can easily be ruined. It would be prudent and wise to proceed with caution.

    • brettearle

      Couldn’t agree with you more.

      That is, indeed, the problem when vulnerable populations are protected:

      Vulnerable populations NEED to be protected. 

      But, inevitably, this leads to self-righteous crusades, where people, and officials, perceive and believe things that aren’t true.

    • Kathy

      False accusations are involved in roughly 1-2% of assault accusations. In saying one should be concerned about this, you’re effectively saying that 98-99 women who are victims of actual assault should suffer so that 1 man isn’t a victim of a false accusation. 

      That’s what male privilege is all about folks.

      • DougGiebel

         NO victims of actual assault should suffer (more than they already have), but neither should anyone falsely accused be reviled and ruined where a “mob” mentality to root out the bad actors overwhelms fundamental fairness.  Whether, for example, it is acceptable that a few innocent people are executed when applying the death penalty because they are only “the few” seems questionable.

      • brettearle

        Have you ever heard of the quotation, “it is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death?”

        OF COURSE this quote should NOT be applied to Sexual Assault cases in the military.

        Nevertheless, your comment is, basically, a glib comment–unless you can prove the 1-2% figure.
        And even then, if the numbers are accurate–what are we going to do–SELL THESE VICTIMS OF FALSE ACCUSATION DOWN THE RIVER, as if to say,

        “Oh, well, that’s just collateral damage; they’re mostly men, anyway; let them rot in prison for the repulsive acts of their brethren.”

        What is your source for the numbers?

        The fact is that the more cases that are prosecuted, which result in convictions, the more such success will EMBOLDEN those who seek to manipulate the system–by using that system to pursue personal vendettas against those who are innocent.

        For you not to see that your personal viewpoint, above–of justifiably wanting to protect the innocent and at the same time sacrificing those who are ALSO innocent–is a very sad commentary, INDEED.

        It’s true it is an intractable dilemma.

        But we can’t simply TURN OUR BACKS ON PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES MAY BE DESTROYED BECAUSE OF REVENGE, HATRED, OR BIAS, on the parts of those who falsely accuse others.

        Safeguards–if at all possible–must be put into place–including substantial legal penalties for all those who, officially, make such outrageous false claims.    

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1266410766 Phyllis Craine

      Oh please – caution?  With reported incidents  over 20,000?  Give me an example of a witch hunt.

      • DougGiebel

         The “witch hunt” has not yet begun. One hopes it won’t happen. But if it does, all victims should be protected and granted fair process.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1266410766 Phyllis Craine

          John Altenburg himself said on the show that even he thinks that has proven to be a non-issue, just as Kathy points out below.

          • DougGiebel

             Yes. So apparently a few innocent people who could (or will) be persecuted/prosecuted are “collateral damage” as the engine of justice revs up. The few who may be falsely accused are a “non-issue.” Of course if Altenburg or you or I were falsely accused, it would not likely be a “non-issue” to us. By viewing false allegations as a “non-issue,” the inquisitors and the accusers have given themselves free rein to run roughshod over anyone they choose to go after. What happens to  “justice for all,” to “fair process” now?  Can sexual misconduct be totally prevented, eradicated? History and science suggest the answer is no. That does not mean sincere and reasonable efforts should be ignored. In my book, though, such efforts must not ignore fairness to a minority, since our laws are not intended to apply only to the majority and/or those with the power to wield authority and who can act as judge, jury and executioner.

          • Patro321

            As I posted up thread the false allegations resulting this year are 17% of all cases completed. Or 5x-7x what Cathy made up and 444 individuals whose careers are either severly impacted or over.

            You know what also happens when your family and friends think you are  a sex offender through a year long investigation?

            How many of those 444 inocents had their names and reputations vindicated on national radio shows?

          • brettearle

            I support your point of view.

            But I’d like your source.

          • Patro321

            I posted a link in my post up thread.

          • DougGiebel

             Here’s a P.S. regarding an example of over-reaching by those in power.
            From Glenn Greenwald’s latest Guardian column: “It is now well known that the Obama justice department has prosecuted more government leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined – in fact, double the number of all such prior prosecutions. But as last week’s controversy over the DOJ’s pursuit of the phone records of AP reporters
            illustrated, this obsessive fixation in defense of secrecy also
            targets, and severely damages, journalists specifically and the
            newsgathering process in general.”
            http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/05/20-3

      • Patro321

        That’s 20K via an anonymous survey. That’s the same methodology the Lancet used to give us 600K Iraqi deaths in 2007 which we now know was 120K over the whole war

        Use it as a guide but such things are HIGHLY suspect, the actual reported cases are around 3000 which in an organization of 1.5 million is vastly under civilian society.

        You will note they dodged the question about how many of those reports were found false or unsubstantiated. Thats because the total number is better headline material.

      • brettearle

        People like you, who deny the dark side of rape and assault convictions–that of believing that men and women do not go to jail for false accusations–DO A GRAVE DISSERVICE TO THE VERY THING THAT THEIR ADVOCACY IS SUPPORTING.

        Shame.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joan-Marie-Davidson/1031260734 Joan Marie Davidson

      WHAT IS “OVER-ZEALOUS PROSECUTION? ” pray tell.
      If a man rapes a woman who is says “No” Which does NOT mean “maybe”) is that rape?
      If a mannattacj, sits down and awakens a woman and then does his thing(s) to her is that consensual?
      Do you think that women invent such occurences?
      if so, shame in you!

      • Patro321

        I don’t think, I know. 444 at least for 2012. Or is this one of those crimes where we dispense with innocent until proven guilty thing because reasons?

      • DougGiebel

         In the military (and elsewhere), both women and men have been raped. Prisoners are raped. But in pursuing “justice,” it is necessary to PROVE that the accused is guilty. History shows that innocent women and men are sometimes convicted of things they did not do. Some are on death row. It appears that some have been wrongfully executed. As for the question: “Do you think that women invent such occurrences?” — False allegations have been made in the past and will, one assumes, continue to be made. As upsetting as it may seem to some, there are valid reasons why one should be presumed innocent until found guilty. And even then, as history shows us, truly innocent people HAVE been found guilty for a variety of reasons. Because sexual misconduct is not only limited to “rape,” crimes such as “sexual harassment” that do not allege rape have been invented by accusers in the past. While we may hope that the truly guilty are revealed and suitably held accountable, should we presume that every accused person is guilty, period? If, for example, you were falsely accused of some crime, would you really hope for an “over-zealous prosecution” that railroads you into being convicted? Would you not want the fairest possible chance to prove your innocence? Some years ago my late friend the writer and teacher Walter Van Tilburg Clark wrote “The Ox-Bow Incident” about this very subject. It and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” are worth every concerned citizen’s consideration.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    What is the psychological driver that compels so many men ( almost exclusively) to sexually force themselves on so many ? What have the case studies revealed ?

    • brettearle

      It may not simply be a psychological driver.

      It might be a psychological driver combined with an (aberrant) hormonal driver.   

  • Ed75

    I wonder why they wouldn’t have all female units. Seems logical.

    • ArmyGal

      Really?

      • d clark

        Yes, solve the problem by taking men out of the military. You all say we are the problem, YOU defend the nation.

        • ArmyGal

          I have and Did and Do.  What about you?

          • d clark

            Did so; probably long before you were born. That has nothing to do with it. I said you say men are the problem. Take us out of the equation. Go, handle it yourself ArmyGal (a little too self-serving a moniker, no?).

          • ArmyGal

            D Clark, The man, the mission, I did not say men, I said ” REALLY?”  Meaning it is not the solution.
            I served probably way before you, (Active, National Guard, Contractor, and Civil Service) The meaning that I did and to Is I have served like 4 generations of my family. I still serve supporting the soldier and future vets.

            Really? was like (Huh, are you serious), about removieng the men or having female units) I thought civil rights remedied this.

          • d clark

            That last was incoherent and our thread has gotten too small to converse. Unless you are of Vietnam time, I predate you. I’m saying women are saying anymore men are the problem. I say, since that is true, leave the defence of the nation to women and leave the culture behind. Good bye ARMY Gal HUah!

  • Scott B

    It’s not any one problem, it’s the perfect storm of many: The chain of command, where one’s immediate superior is often judge and juror, is a large factor.  But there’s also: Too few women in high ranking position, keeping it a “good ol’ boys” club, with a culture of male entitlement; a culture of making the victim the deviant and forcing them out of the service with a bad record and under a gag order; and a culture of secrecy, denial, and obfuscation to keep the services from looking bad.

  • Scott B

    In the Gulf Wars, women would say that they often carried weapons with them even when in green zones, not because of any outside threat, but because of their fellow male servicemen.  That alone should have been a cause for alarm and change as this was KNOWN throughout the upper ranks, Pentagon and White House included.

    • Patro321

      Point to one case of them using it and we can pretend this isn’t an invented anicdote.

  • creaker

    Chain of command needs to be held accountable for their decisions – currently they are not. In cases where they have allowed or facilitated sexual assault, they should be going on trial as well.

  • Scott B

    It has to be taken out of the chain of command. They’ve known the problems for decades and done nothing.  It can’t be forced upon them, because that’s what was supposed to have been done already, and nothing changed.  

    • Patro321

      Clearly the civilian judicial system should be taken out of the prosecuting civilian sexual assault, given it is a far more prevelent problem in the civilian world than the military world.

      Or is math not applicable here?

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    “Command authority has been there a long, long time”

    Why do you think the sexual harassment and rape hasn’t stopped?

    Because those in the “good old boys network” will not come down on each other.

    Besides that, doesn’t it look REALLY BAD for the command chain when it happens? They aren’t very good leaders if the troops don’t follow known rules. No surprise that relatively few assaults are reported, especially considering how the victim is treated.

  • Chucktown Runner

    On both Talk of Nation and your show, arguements have been made concerning flaws in the military’s officer corps. Isn’t this part of that problem. The Officer Corp needs to be held accountable which means at very least losing your job and at most jail

    • ArmyGal

      The problem is they need to fear losing their job from inaction, in lieu of having it happen under their watch. 
      Sadly however, this is not the way commanders are trained.

      • Patro321

        People do lose their jobs, all the time. There is, however, a limit to how much you can insert yourselves into people’s lives or the level of physical oversight you can devote to individuals when you are literally in charge of hundreds of them. Shall we install video feeds into every barracks room? Follow them off base (where most of these incidents happen)? Outlaw alcohol use period (which is a contributing factor in the vast majority of cases)? Adminster saltpeter?

        In the end the people responsible for the action is the perpetrator themselves, and as much as it might make you feel better to lash out and ruin as many lives as possible for sake of righteous indignation but there generally isn’t anything most people can do to stop these things, civilian or military, General or Private. You are fooling yourself if you think you can with specific actions instead of a general societal change and even then you will still have some instances.

        These people didn’t become the way they are because of the military, they came to us this way from the civilian world. Take a little responsibility for that. 

        • ArmyGal

          I agree the one responsible is the one committing the action. 
          there is however a strong teaching in the Military that there is a chain of command, regulation, and requirements that a soldier must report thru to get things done. As a Result if the Chain  chooses to not act, or dismiss it without investigation then the Chain of command is at fault f it happens to more than victim when the idnividual moves forward to the next assualt.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Brought down in rank? For Rape, especially of a subordinate?

    Nope, bust them to zero, dishonorable discharge.
    No pension, no health care, NOTHING.

    Maybe REAL punishment will get these people to keep their pants up and their hands to themselves.

    • creaker

      not NOTHING  – jail time is really needed here.

  • JanaHod

    I’m confused about the legal authority of these institutions (the US Military, Penn State, the Catholic church, etc.) in prosecuting anything.

    I understand the culture of impunity, the reluctance to report – but why is calling 9-1-1 not an option?  

    What’s to figure out?

  • sheryltr

    I watched The Invisible War last night on PBS and had trouble sleeping afterward. Prosecution for sexual assault and rape needs to be removed from the chain of command immediately. When men who commit rape are part of that chain of command or are otherwise intimately connected to those man, there is the guaranteed failure rate that we have seen in the past and which continues to this day. There were 26,000 assaults and rapes in 2012. That is disgusting and points to a complete failure of this system. What a better place for a rapist to hide than in the military? If there are no repercussions, how do you stop a serial rapist? I don’t know why any woman would enlist in the military! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.clark.31508076 Lynn Clark

      Had I known then what I know know I never would have enlisted.  I thought all of the structure would have prohibited sexual assault.  I never realized I was just a piece of government property.  It’s worse than a frat house.  And then the corporations hire these same men.  It’s no small wonder nothing has happened to stop the violence against women.  Time for anyone who cares about truth and justice to take a cold hard look at the American Way!

    • Patro321

      There were NOT 26K assaults or rapes, that was an an unscientific opinion poll with no verification whatsoever.

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/12/false-reports-outpace-sex-assaults-in-the-military/?page=all

      The actual number is in the thousands, and 17% of them were proven false. Granted there are unreported crimes but that is no different than in the civilian world.

      There is a problem but you are not going to solve it by using invented numbers.

  • sheryltr

    Jail time is the only real deterrent.

  • creaker

    Anyone in the service that would commit any sort of transgression toward other soldiers or allow transgressions to be committed is not fit to serve and should be removed from the service and be made to answer for their crimes. End of story.

    And that’s just not commanders – the real shame here is soldiers allow those they serve with to do this to others they also serve with.

  • d clark

    I have a solution. Just take men out of the military and let the women do it all. Problem solved!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joan-Marie-Davidson/1031260734 Joan Marie Davidson

    Is this deliberate on Tom’s part or is he simply ignorant?
    THIS pronunciation of Gillibrand’s name was done twice and is a Daily Show moment: viz. COME  – Diane,
    Yo Tombo, you with all your reading? and international as well as national experience AND KNOWLEDGE: LEARN UP, SIR.

    DR. JOANI

  • creaker

    I’d like to see a military where soldiers would not voluntarily work with soldiers who commit sexual assault.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Since when do members of the military get to choose the people they work with?

      • creaker

        Big difference between working with someone and accepting them and what they do.

  • JanaHod

    The conflict of interest in “command authority” is so stark, it’s almost embarrassing to hear the tortured explanation as to why it is too complicated to allow rape (or any other crime) that happens to occur within the military to be prosecuted in civillian court.  

  • Slacker66

    Amazing to listen to most folks who are outsiders–never served, wanting to dictate how the military runs. Yes there are issues and problems.

    But never will anyone report about all the cases where false reporting occurs, both women on men and men on women. The investigatory system is geared towards guilty until proven innocent, not innocent until proven guilty. I have watched this through my time. That’s why appeals occur. Unless on the inside and see how things are handled, you don’t appreciate how screwed up this ZERO defects system is.

    • northeaster17

      Outsiders?! The military is a reflection of our society. Not an exclusive club to be shielded from those who pay for it and to be used against some who serve. Your attitude waves a red flag as to why there needs to be serious change with the way the military handles these cases. It’s clear that the military chain of command is corrupted and that change is needed. Now is not the time to circle the wagons to keep “outsiders” at bay. Oh, and what oldest profession are you talking about, the old boy network?

      • Slacker66

        Reflection but not. Less than 1% have served. If you have, thank you for your service. If not, go sign up for the guard or reserves. Then will you understand the culture, climate, uniqueness and differences between civilian life and military life.

        The CoC is not corrupt per se. The media is failing to present the entire case, story, and reasoning rationale in MOST cases. Not all. But then again, OJ got off first time and so do Casey Anthony–nothing is certain or perfect. THese were civilian juries.

        Never said circle wagons either. Improvements need to be pursued, couldn’t agree more. But those should come from those who are familiar with the military and not civilian politicians.

        Oldest profession–prostitution and sex for something. Duh. Old Boy network is #2 or #3 oldest profession.

        And never will you see anything about the egregious number of FALSE allegations made, will you? Not popular to hear.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.clark.31508076 Lynn Clark

      False reporting must happen with just about any crime.  But why ignore the 99% of those reporting legitimate MST?  Let the investigation by outside sources weed these out.  Punish the perpetrators and those who cover for them.  Then THEY can share a cell together! 

  • PaulfromHydeParkMA

    I am hearing comments something like mine, but not quite: What part of giving legal issues to LAWYERS doesn’t the Military get, besides all of it? One caller mentioned the culture of mutual back-scratching, which no doubt plays a part in this. But issues as dangerous and life-altering as sexual assault MUST be addressed by trained professionals. Is it going to be many years and layers of work? YES! Is it going to cost a ton of money to legislate? Absolutely! Too bad!Do what it takes so women (and the few men who are victimized also) gain confidence that SOMETHING is being done! It’s ludicrous. The President should summarily separate any legal processes from the Military brass…if they are not trained attorneys with J.D.s and a clear understanding of the law, they SHOULD NOT be participating in ANY WAY, except perhaps as cultural witnesses, in the legislative process to bring the affected women justice. The military itself is committing a crime against its female members. I’m not anti-military…not at all. But the people who join the military know way in advance how rigid and anti-social the culture is. They cannot say they didn’t know (please excuse my crudeness) that they ‘were not going to get laid.’ Not honestly however. Just deal with it, the way REAL people do in civilian society. You know what that means, and it DOES NOT mean assaulting someone and hiding behind a neanderthal system of inertia and unqualified superiors who cannot possibly make the time to handle 1,000s of cases of possible assault. Those accused should get an honest process, but if they did it, they should pay the price for their crimes.

    • Patro321

      Far more men are victims than women, though less as a percentage of those in service.

  • http://www.facebook.com/denise.newmanstuckert Denise Anne Newman-Stuckert Ma

    I listened avidly to yur program re sexual assault in the military. My father served, a lifer and World War II vet, and my son is serving.  I am very proud of both.  I am appalled that the so calleld “chain of command” has not and cannot deal with this issue.  As you played on the program, back in the early 90s “zero tolerance” was promised.  That has not proven out to be the case. There is a “good old boy” network, which can serve the system well, but which can provide great disservice, too.  The convicted inspector general in Italy whose jury sentence was overturned by fiat by a Lt. General was as much to protect an old, a fellow officer, a friend, a good officer in terms of military service, and one who who had secrets of his own about the service to keep buried.  The General’s comment on your program about civillian lawyers using prosecutions for sexual assault in the military to their own advanatage is specious, at best.  This occurs in civilian as well as in military life.  The command srtructure needs to be held accountable, but who will “guard the guards?”.  When I was a federal probation officer, I had to supervise military personnel who had veen convicted of some crimes conducted on military bases, generally for shoplifting, through the U. S  District Court Magistrate.  Why cannot sexual assault cases be processed through the U. S. District Court criminal system, prosecuted by U. S. attorneys, generally out of the control of the military chain of command, and whose convictions cannot be overturned by fiat of a military commander?  Justice could then be done.  Criminal complaints would be submitted through the civilian justice system, not controllable by the military.  Any control exerted by the military authorities could result, just as in civil courts, in tampering with evidence, tampering with a victim, tampering with a witness, etc., and all prosecutable.  To prevent any untoward efforts by the military authorities, all personnel involved in the investigatioin and prosecution would be kept stateside and even locally and all readilly available to the civilian prosecutorial system.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    It should not be hard to “fix” the kids coming into the military.

    They go through boot camp where they supposedly learn to obey orders. The order is “There will be NO SEXUAL HARASSMENT, NO RAPE in the armed services.” How hard is it to understand that?

    Make it clear:
    - Conviction of sexual assault at ANY TIME in your military career will result in being booted out, dishonorable, possibly jail time and monetary fines.
    - No pension, no medical.
    - It does not matter if you have been awarded 5 stars on your shoulder or a medal of honor for valor. ALL GONE.
    - Coercion to keep the victim from reporting the crime triples any jail or monetary penalty.
    - The penalty rises as the perpetrator’s command authority over the victim rises.
    - The penalty rises with the rank of the perpetrator at the time of the assault regardless of the rank of the victim.  
    - You will be listed on the national registry of sex offenders and must abide by those rules for the rest of your life.

    If they can’t figure that out, maybe our armed services are not filled with the “best and the brightest”.

  • Norm Wright

    Female percentage at USMA (West Point) stands at just 17%.
    It should be 50%!  I attended West Point in 1977 the year after they started admitting women.  I then transferred to MIT a year later.  Both had just 5% women at the time both claimed there were not enough qualified women.  BUT… MIT made a decision in 1980 to change and they quickly increased the percentage of women to 45%. MIT is a different and better place because of that…  Wouldn’t the military be a better place if the Academies had aggressively increased the number of women attending them too?

    • Patro321

      Very few women are rejected form military academies, the standards were lowered for them as well.

      If women don’t want to go then they won’t be there. The military should not have leaders that don’t want to be there to massage the conscious of people who see the military as their pet sociology project.

      • Norm Wright

        Not true. The acceptance rate is the same (actually slightly lower for women) as a percent of applicants.  My whole point of comparing WP to MIT is that both claimed the same thing.  “Women just don’t want to come here.”  BUT MIT changed how they reached out to women using different channels and messages to get more qualified applicants to apply.  West Point should have done/should now do the same.

    • Sy2502

      Why should they join the military? To be assaulted by their fellow soldiers? To be treated like 2nd class? No thank you.

  • JobExperience

    Considering how sadistic our Empire has become we should get real and make gang rape part of basic training for all recruits. Higher ranks would have to make a date for retraining by these newly minted experts within 30 days or resign without benefits.

    This truth above is reflective of the fact that military enlistment is a modern form of chattel slavery replete with slavehunters and horror brigs. Parents of minors and dependent young adults are induced with the possibility of insurance payouts if their soldier dies in service and so are eager to gamble in that cruel lottery hoping against hope not to be saddled with a  disabled veteran, even a dishonorably discharged disabled veteran.

    So “I Drive Your Truck” is akin to “Baby, Can I Drive Your Car?” (a prostitution proposition)and it is also a sentimental half-truth. “I paid off  my house and your newly bought truck with your death benefit.” “I’m dating your girlfriend after dumping your mama.”  “Your kid is gonna be my next little Marine victim.” “I won’t see you in Heaven because mass murderers go to Hell and I’m Saved.” “Let’s Pray for Another War Before Robots Take Over.” : are just a few of the possible song titles the NASCAR kickboxing, NFL military music complex might offer in the coming months. All you zombies just hum along with the Talkspeak.

    To maintain the cash flow of the 1% all of us will have our bodies commodified before long.

  • seethingsclearly

    Having spent time in
    third-world countries where misogyny and second-class legal status for women
    are larded generously throughout the culture and religion, it struck me how
    often the same men who thought nothing of mistreating women they did not know
    were jarred into silence when asked whether they would say or do the same
    things if those women happened to be their own mothers, daughters, or sisters.

     

    The conservative,
    authoritarian mind-set that prevails among so many men, and which is a bedrock
    principle of staunchly hierarchical, male-dominated organizations like the
    military or the Catholic church, is a major cause of the mistreatment of people
    in general and women in particular.  One
    of the characteristics of that mind-set is the all-too-common inability to see
    beyond one’s own circle of family and friends and imagine that “the other” is
    actually similar to oneself.  A man able
    to ask himself “What if this woman were my mother or sister?” is clearly less
    prone to mistreating that woman.

     

    Cultivating the ability to
    see “the other” as similar to oneself is an important first step to changing
    one’s attitudes on a host of issues, among them the deeply ingrained misogyny
    prevalent among powerful men.  

     

    • JobExperience

      Hoping not to sound Hegelian may I remind you that mere mortals are no longer in direct negotiation. Corporations are Big People now and Institutions like the MIC are giants.  Thinking of wives moms and daughters may cause our military personnel to reflect and grieve, but they mostly follow orders and succumb to the sociopaths around them. And it’s the same within the corporation. One slip, you’re gone. And that is why the views of the 80% don’t matter why democracy  and journalism died.

  • Patro321

    So if you wanted an answer to the question the commentators dodged here you go

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/12/false-reports-outpace-sex-assaults-in-the-military/?page=all

    In that same report everyone is using throughout the media it is recorded that false allegation are rising faster than allegations as a whole. From 2009-2010 overall allegations increased from 3,244 to 3,374, or 4%. Of those 331 and 444 were proven false for those years respectively, an increase of 35%.

    You will note that while the first commentator did say the rights of the accused were important the panel as a whole and the General in particular stated that the percent was so low as to be unimportant. of the 2,661 cases completed in 2012 444 of them were found to be false, or 17%.

    I personally don’t consider 17% to be insignificant or small, and those 444 lives ruined to be of no concern. Thats just the individuals of course, their families bear the brunt of the destruction of lively hood.  

    Note also that that 17% of false allegations is being used to report the overall instance of sexual assault as opposed to the proven cases. They are also not applying it to the anonymous survey either, because if 17% people will lie to investigators certainly every answer in a survey with no consequences is going to be 100% correct.

    • Slacker66

      Yep… never will anyone talk about that in the MSM

    • Sy2502

      There are also false accusations by children about being molested, why don’t you bring those up too? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.clark.31508076 Lynn Clark

    Perhaps once new laws are enacted to protect the victims of MST more women will want to attend military academies.  

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Soldiers, priest, unemployed school bus drivers; all sexual abusers. Is there a relationship here ? Yes, they are all testosterone and prostate containing life forms. Where are the gentlemen ?

  • cathoryn

    Advice to chix:
    1. Join ROTC, because:
        a. you’ll know right away if you really do love the Military.
        b. it increases the possibility that Military will treat you like a
            human. When you enlist, on Day 1; you are roadkill. ROTC
            helps you develop a safety net within Military.
    2. If you can’t get into college (to join ROTC), get a job as a
        Military contractor, because:
        a. you’ll earn a whole lot more money 
        b. you’ll get the gist of being in the Military, because your
            bosses will be a whole bunch of old men, who will pretend
            that they’re combat veterans.
    3. If enlisting is your only option, remove breast implants, pump iron ’til you look like Hulk Hogan…and learn how to do a pile driver.

    • cathoryn

      …nothing like co-ed nekkid pile drivin’

  • JohnH0802

    I listened to the entire show and there was some good discussion, but there was also a lot of incorrect assumptions about how things are done.  It also appears that people are taking a few really bad examples as how it works as a whole.  I spent 13 years in the Marine Corps as a commissioned officer, and participated in several Court Martials as a member, and dealt with some of these issues as a commander.  Here are a couple of my observations:

    Allegations of any kind of sexual assault were taken very seriously, to the point that they were assumed to be true, with alleged offenders being assumed guilty until proven innocent.

    The make up of Courts Martials were dictated by UCMJ and if the person being Court Martialed was enlisted then there were a minimum number of enlisted members of the panel.  The panel was made up of members in good standing.  The convening authority of the Court Martial rarely even knew personally the members chosen for the Court Martial.  The convening authority on the General Court Martial I was appointed to I had seen once or twice at official events.

    The defense and prosecutor were allowed to challenge any members of a court martial, similar to my experiences in civilian courts.

    The court martial that I was a member of involved unwanted sexual touching, and a career Staff Non-Commissioned Officer was found guilty, given an Other than honorable discharge and time in prison.  This involved unwanted touching of a sexual nature, grabbing a woman.

    At no time was there any contact or pressure from the command during this court martial for any reason.  This was our appointed place of duty during the trial.

    Weather or not a case was prosecuted by a court martial or not was a decision that was made by the commander with guidance from his Staff Judge Advocate, a lawyer, and was made on the basis of evidence.  For a court martial, beyond a reasonable doubt, is the threshold for guilt just like a civilian criminal court.  If there was not enough evidence for a court martial then it was normally not referred, just like in our civilian court system.  The plus side of the military is that there is also the option of Non-judicial punishment.  The standard for guilty in NJP is a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt.  This tool allows a commander to impose punishment in cases where there is not enough evidence to support a conviction, a tool that is not available in the civilian side.

    Another example is this.  While I was a Battery Commander, a company sized unit of Field Artillery, I had an allegation from one of my most junior Marines in my Unit that my Battery Gunnery Sergeant had made inappropriate offer of preferential treatment in exchange for sexual favors from this Marine’s wife. 

    As background, the Battery Gunnery Sergeant is the 2nd highest ranking enlisted member of a firing battery, only behind the 1st Sergeant.  This means that I had a very personal and close relationship with this senior SNCO.  After hearing of the allegations from one of our most junior Marines in the Unit, I immediately informed my higher commander and relieved the Battery Gunnery Sergeant for cause.  Even though I had no evidence to support or deny the allegations against the Battery GySgt, I had to relieve him because of our close relationship, and to make sure that everyone in my Battery knew that there was no preferential treatment for anyone, and even the most junior Marine is just as important as anyone in the unit.

    This effectively took any investigation completely out of my hands.  This was investigated outside of any input from me, and because of the seniority of the accused was taken out of the Battalion as well.

    • Patro321

      Which essentially ruined this career non-coms career, guilty or innocent, yes?

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