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Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert, delivers his opening statement during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assaults, June 4. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp)

We have all expressed outrage, in articles and in comments, at the rampant sexual abuse scandals in the military — almost an “epidemic.”

Last year alone, the Pentagon estimated a disgraceful 26,000 cases of sexual assaults in the military, of which 6.1 percent were estimated to be on women and 1.2 percent on men.

The President said

I don’t want just more speeches or, you know, awareness programs or training — but ultimately folks look the other way…[When] we find out somebody’s engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable; prosecuted, stripped out of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period. It’s not acceptable.

We are all demanding that something be done about this despicable trend — perhaps take the military commander out of the process and let independent military judges handle such cases.

Well, almost all.

While some Republicans, such as Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Deb Fischer of Nebraska — both members of the Armed Services Committee — have taken a lead on pressing the Pentagon for answers, according to the Washington Post:

Others, however, have railed against this attempt to shed light on the problem. Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, for example, took to the Senate floor yesterday to argue against the idea that sexual assault cases should require a different approach from other criminal behavior in the military. He is the ranking Republican on Armed Services.

“To take the commander out of the process will invite failure,” Inhofe said Monday. ”These commanders have to make decisions to send our brave troops into battle. How ludicrous is it that we would say to our commanders, you’ve got to make a decision to send one of our kids into battle where they may end up losing their lives. But however, you can’t participate in the justice system of the troops. It doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Texas Senator John Cornyn sounded a similar note. “The problem is the military is a little different than other institutions and if you take accountability and responsibility out of the hands of the commanding officer, we shouldn’t do that lightly.”

The Post notes that in opting for the status quo in this matter, these two Republican senators face “a substantive problem — the status quo has been a detriment to women in the military — and a political one,” and expands:

In addition to its opposition to abortion and expanded contraceptive services, the GOP will be on record as unwilling to take steps to deal with sexual assault in the military. When you combine this with rhetoric from activists like Erick Erickson of Redstate.com, you have an overarching approach that promises to further alienate women from the GOP. It’s as if some Republicans are actively trying to take the party’s weaknesses, and amplify them.

What are such “party’s weaknesses”?

The Republican Party is on bad terms with a long list of voters. It has no credibility with African Americans, almost none with young voters, little with Hispanics, and is on the rocks with women. The latter is partially a result of positions taken by GOP politicians — in particular, the nationwide push to restrict abortion access and the fight last year over Planned Parenthood, Sandra Fluke, and the administration’s contraception mandate.

And, while, since the election, “Republicans have made small rhetorical moves toward repairing their standing with women voters, by emphasizing proposals meant to improve life for mothers and children,” and while “

here’s no evidence — yet — that this has been effective,” the rhetoric of these two GOP senators on the sexual abuse scandal in the military, threatens to undo any gains — if there have been any — according to the Post.

Read more here

Edited to add image

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
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sheknows
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sheknows
3 years 3 months ago

The rug sweepers are out in full force. They don’t want to solve the problem in the military, they want to HIDE it…ASAP.
“Republicans have made small rhetorical moves”…..”proposals meant to improve”…blah,blah. That’s all they ever do is talk and try to placate the outraged people they hold in such total disregard, whether it is women, minorities, poor, elderly, whatever.

DaGoat
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DaGoat
3 years 3 months ago
DDW I have to say I am very surprised at the level of sexual abuse. As you know I was in the Air Force in the 80’s and even then it was impressed upon that this was not something acceptable. We had yearly mandatory movies and lectures going over not just sexual abuse but also fraternization and sexual discrimination, stressing that even the appearance of wrongdoing was unacceptable and would carry heavy consequences. I think non-military might have an impression that these things are generally accepted in the military with a wink and a nod, but that was not my… Read more »
The_Ohioan
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The_Ohioan
3 years 3 months ago

A poor and poorly educated class entering the military and the dehumanizing effect of multiple deployments to war zones could account for part of the problem. The rest is the fact that the military brass has the same mind-set as the Catholic church’s brass with the same results; protection of the perpetrator rather than the victim.

The only difference is the church’s victims can and did sue which changed things. I don’t think that is allowed in the military; maybe Congress can change that.

zusa1
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zusa1
3 years 3 months ago

“protection of the perpetrator rather than the victim”

I think it has to do with protecting the institution’s reputation.

The_Ohioan
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The_Ohioan
3 years 3 months ago

zusaI That, also, but the real problem is that the victims increase when the perpetrators are not stopped. And in both cases, it seems outside intervention is necessary.

KP
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KP
3 years 3 months ago
I have two daughters and a wife and cannot condone sexual abuse or harassment, anywhere. I am trying to understand why the numbers appear so high in the military and why so many cases are not acted on to satisfaction. Dorian, do you think that the young age of so many in the military make the population more like that of a college campus than a corporation? The risk of sexual assault or harassment on college campus is very high. As well, is it true that what amounts to sexual assault in the military might not rise to that level… Read more »
slamfu
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slamfu
3 years 3 months ago
I have a friend who was a JAG officer. While never getting into any specifics, he told me the amount of rape in the military shocked him, as well as the extent to which it puts up hurdles for prosecuting it. He will never let his daughters or any woman he knows get near signing up for the military after his stint. That being said, how wonderful of the Ayyotte and Fischer to take a look at a broken thing and say, “we can’t change it because then it would be different than it was before”. This to me is… Read more »
KP
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KP
3 years 3 months ago
Thanks for understanding I wasn’t making excuses. I worded my comment carefully for that very reason, starting with the first sentence. I am highlighting how poorly all men and women in America are combating sexual abuse. Then, whether the military is even worse than the dismal record rest of America is compiling. I bring up age in the military and college campuses because by some reports about 25% of American college males admitted to sexual coercion in some form. Another study done by the National Institute of Justice estimated that 20-25% of women in college are victims of sexual assault.… Read more »
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