Military Brass Refuse to Address Sexual Assault, and That's a Problem

Sexual assault needs to be addressed, but they don't want to hear it.

The people in charge of our military services have been presented with a possible change in how they operate, and they don't like it. I have the feeling I've heard this song before.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is sponsoring a bill to address the endemic problem of sexual assault in the ranks. It would revoke the authority of commanders to dispose these and other criminal allegations as they see fit. Instead, such cases would be handed over to professional military prosecutors.

Commanders would no longer be allowed to bar prosecutions. Nor could they overturn convictions or sentences. Impartial judicial processes would make the determinations. Crimes that are unique to the military, like desertion, and the equivalent of misdemeanors would not be affected.

Why is the change needed? Sexual assault is a problem the military has in abundance. The Defense Department says about one of every three women in the services has been the victim of this crime -- about twice the rate in the civilian population. Men are also violated.

An estimated 26,000 sexual assaults took place last year, the Pentagon says, but only 3,374 were reported. There were 302 court-martial trials and 238 convictions -- less than 1 percent of all the attacks.

One reason rapes and other sex crimes go unreported is that victims see no point in speaking up. A Pentagon survey found that half of those who kept quiet thought that nothing would be done or that they would suffer some punishment.

Last year, Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, said to Marines at Parris Island, "Why wouldn't female Marines come forward? Because they don't trust us." He complained that in many cases, "We've got an officer that has done something absolutely disgraceful and heinous ... and we elect to retain him."

In fact, one of every three of those convicted is allowed to remain in uniform. In May, the guy heading up the Air Force's sexual assault prevention office was arrested for grabbing a woman in a parking lot.

But Amos and the other service chiefs think Gillibrand's solution is worse than the problem. Appearing before her subcommittee in March, a parade of military lawyers rejected the idea.

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary said commanders need the authority over these cases "to hold everyone in their unit accountable to preserve that good order and discipline to accomplish their missions." Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Harding agreed that preserving the power of commanders is "incredibly important" for "creating a responsive, disciplined force."

Does that line of argument sound familiar? It should. It's exactly what the military has said whenever it has been presented with a new requirement proposed by elected officials dissatisfied with existing policy.

In 1941, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall advised that efforts to bring about racial integration "are fraught with danger to efficiency, discipline or morale." Adm. Chester Nimitz agreed that segregation was essential to "harmony and efficiency aboard ship."

The brass took the same view of admitting women to the service academies. In 1974, Air Force Academy Supt. Lt. Gen. Albert Clark said that "the introduction of female cadets will inevitably erode this vital atmosphere." When the idea of putting women on Navy ships arose, a survey of sailors found most thought it would have "a negative impact on discipline."

We got a reprise of this critique whenever anyone mentioned allowing gays in the military. During the 2010 debate in Congress, more than 1,000 former generals and admirals signed a letter saying the ban was needed to "protect good order, discipline and morale."

But somehow our military managed to survive putting blacks and whites in the same billets. Somehow it became the most powerful fighting force on Earth following the intrusion of females. A year after gays were admitted, Amos said, "I'm very pleased with how this turned out."

The people in charge of the services may have the best of intentions in dealing with sexual assault. But they have a habit of rejecting reasonable changes on the basis of fears that turn out to be unfounded.

The Gillibrand bill aims at curbing sexual assault through impartial treatment of violent predators. That would be good for women -- and for the military they serve. She grasps what the Pentagon apparently does not: When you're trying to promote order and discipline, sexual assaults can really get in the way.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Look, sexual assault is a traditional tool for invading forces. Will we deprive our military of a system that our enemies wield?

  • anon||

    If our military doesn't rape our enemies into submission, who will?

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Me!!! Me!!! -- San Diego Mayor

  • ||

  • ||

    There's no question that the military needs to do more to address the problem of sexual assault. Nevertheless, when you look more closely at the statistics, there's much less reason than commonly assumed to condemn the military. Although the New York Times editorial board insists that the military has an "entrenched culture of sexual violence," rates of sexual assault in the military in fact appear to be substantially lower than rates of sexual assault in comparable civilian populations. And although underreporting remains a serious problem, military personnel are substantially more likely than civilians to report sexual assaults to the authorities.

    Relative to the size of the military population, 26,000 sexual assaults means that 6.1 percent of female servicemembers (and 1.2 percent of male servicemembers) experienced unwanted sexual contact during 2012. If you favor your glass half full, you might prefer to note that 93.9 percent of female servicemembers and 98.8 percent of male servicemembers had no unwanted sexual contact.
  • ||

    To evaluate levels of sexual assault in the military, we need some points of comparison. First, consider sexual assault rates in the U.S. population as a whole. It's virtually impossible to get apples-to-apples comparisons, as various studies use slightly different definitions of sexual assault and look at different timeframes. But as Micah Zenko and Amelia Mae Wolff noted in a May 21 Foreign Policy article, the available evidence suggests that sexual assault rates in the civilian population are similar or higher than in the military. A 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 18.3 percent of civilian women had been raped at some point in their lifetime, while 27.2 percent had experienced "unwanted sexual contact."
  • ||

    It's also useful to examine sexual assault rates in another kind of institution populated mainly by 17- to 24-year-olds: the civilian university. Here again, direct comparisons are impossible due to variations in the available studies, but the evidence again suggests that sexual assault rates in the military are, if anything, lower than in similar civilian settings. One major study published by the Justice Department in 2000 found that 3.5 percent of college women reported a rape or attempted rape, while an additional 15.5 percent of college women reported that they had been "sexually victimized" in some other way during the academic year in which they were surveyed. Of these "non-rape" sexual victimizations, 7.7 percent involved physical force. Another 2007 Justice Department study found that "13.7 percent of undergraduate women had been victims of at least one completed sexual assault since entering college."
  • Agammamon||

    ". . .and 98.8 percent of male servicemembers had no unwanted sexual contact."

    I think that's yer problem right there. The sorts of people who work as sexual assault 'activist' tend to use the definition that *unwanted* means *didn't accept the offer* rather than most women's definition of *no-way in hell creep!*.

    21 years I served in the Navy, not a single mixed sex unit I served with had a sexual assault. That doesn't mean there wasn't *unwanted* advances. Hell, I had one of my female subordinates tell me that a felloe sailor offered her $400 to strip for him. She declined his offer and that was the end of the matter but if you define that as assault, then yeah - just about everyone in the Navy has been assaulted.

  • John||

    Chapman is an idiot who knows nothing about this subject and this article is an infuriating joke.

  • ||

    A little actual investigative reporting rather than just finding articles that fit the narrative might have been more appropriate.

    I thought Reason questioned the MSM narratives?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    ^THIS

    Since when do Reasonistas or we the Commentariat swallow government statistics that happen to intersect with sexy media narratives and feminist claptrap?

  • John||

    I about choked when he offered up the DOD stats. Since when does Reason take anything the government let alone the Pentagon says at face value?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Since when?

    Unless it is a pet issue, like the drug war or immigration, Reason generally accepts the media narrative as a starting point.

  • lap83||

    anti-military is a Reason pet issue

  • Agammamon||

    I've never seen Reason as particularly anti-military.
    Anti-war certainly, anti-adventurism definitely, anti-spending more than the next ten countries combined on defense and cutting checks to crony defense industries - oh yeah.

  • jdgalt||

    I agree. The only people who believe in a "rape epidemic" are female supremacists who use bogus definitions of rape. (Hint: if you didn't "know" you were raped until your "consciousness was raised" at a later date, you simply weren't raped.)

    If anything, civilian law enforcement would do well to adopt military rules of thumb such as, "No woman was ever raped in [the guy's] upper bunk."

    Instead, we're getting the usual mix of hysteria and phony emergency that the left tries to use to win all debates. How about a piece in Reason complaining about new Dept. of Education regulations requiring tax-funded universities to use the "preponderance" standard when deciding whether to expel someone for sexual assault?

    The more serious the crime and the higher the penalty it carries, the MORE careful both government and private institutions have a duty to be before imposing that penalty. To suggest the opposite is outrageous and unAmerican.

  • Agammamon||

    "How about a piece in Reason complaining about new Dept. of Education regulations requiring tax-funded universities to use the "preponderance" standard when deciding whether to expel someone for sexual assault?"

    Dude, they've already been on that - why don't you go back and read some of the archive before complaining about what they *don't* cover.

  • John||

    The Defense Department says about one of every three women in the services has been the victim of this crime -- about twice the rate in the civilian population.

    And because DOD says so, it must be true. This is a new low point for both Reason and for Chapman.

    The people in charge of the services may have the best of intentions in dealing with sexual assault. But they have a habit of rejecting reasonable changes on the basis of fears that turn out to be unfounded.

    So because they objected to gays it is now okay to turn lose a bunch of civilian employee fanatics lose on the ranks?

    The bottom line of this whole thing is that reasonable doubt makes it really hard to convict people. And when young people are drinking and in very intimate and close quarters, proving rape beyond a reasonable doubt is well neigh impossible. The only way you are going to do anything about "sexual assault" is to either decide constitutional rights to a fair trial and proof beyond a reasonable doubt don't apply in these cases or stop having women in the military. I doubt Chapman would support those.

  • anon||

    Of course, the DoD would probably consider a man patting a woman on the shoulder and telling her "Well done." to be a sexual assault.

  • John||

    Yes. That would meet the technical definition of sexual assault. And that is another slight of hand Chapman plays. He uses the term "sexual assault" as the same as "rape". And the two terms are not the same. The whole article is fucking appalling.

  • PapayaSF||

    Possibly, but certainly the term would put goosing someone or copping a feel in the same category as rape, which clouds and magnifies the issues, as John says.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Is "beyond a reasonable doubt" a necessary threshold of proof in the UCMJ?

    I'm asking because I don't know.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    In criminal prosecutions it is. In administrative proceedings like Article 15s and such, it is not.

    As a side note, Gillibrand's bill is going to be a great way to absolutely grind the courts-martial to a halt. Every time a female claims sexual assault against a male, no matter how patently ridiculous the claim is, you have to refer to the prosecution.

    Great.

  • John||

    Actually, Article 15s do require that level of proof. In order to convict, the commander has to sign the form saying he finds the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Article 15s just don't require trials and are left to the judgement of the commander.

  • Boomer||

    Article 15 of the UCMJ provides military commanders a tool to impose punishment without involving military courts and without burdening the offender with a federal criminal record. It's supposed to save time and manpower, and enhance the authority of Commanders to maintain discipline. Before offering non-judicial punishment, however, the commander must ensure (s)he has the evidence to support a conviction for whatever offense (s)he believes has been committed. That's because the person accused has the right to refuse Article 15 punishment, at which point the Commander must either convene a court martial, impose administrative punishment (the record for which typically doesn't follow an individual to his/her next duty assignment) or drop the matter entirely.

    As you can imagine, pursuing either of the latter two options after offering an Article 15 would make a Commander look petty, weak and incompetent, mainly because it would then be clear they sought to punish someone for an offense they didn't believe they could prove in court. Consequently, Commanders are typically very careful to be sure they can obtain a conviction (by conferring with the Staff Judge Advocate) before offering non-judicial punishment.

  • John||

    Yes. It is. The rules of evidence and burden of proof in the UCMJ are identical to the federal rules with a few small exceptions. A military courts martial runs almost identical to a federal criminal court trial and any US attorney could stop into one and feel perfectly at home.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I see.

    This bill seems to want to fix something that is not broken.

  • John||

    It is political. It is the product of feminists living in a dream world pretending that women never lie about rape and any accusation of rape or sexual assault is provable in court.

  • PapayaSF||

    Leftists hate the military. The more they can hobble it, the better. The push for women in combat and gays is partly that. There's already blather about the plight of transexuals in the military. Soon I expect a push to stop the military from "discriminating" against transexuals, the physically disabled, etc.

  • John||

    And it is very sad to see Reason fall into that out of cultural solidarity to the left. Reason is supposed to be better than that. They should be looking at this issue rationally and not letting their overall views of the military color it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Now, I see the objections to the bill, but doesn't Rand Paul support it? He could always be wrong, of course.

  • anon||

    This bill seems to want to fix something that is not broken.

    So, just like every other bill?

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    "So, just like every other bill?"

    CORRECT!

  • Agammamon||

    They only thing that this bill will do is change the fact that *technically* a commander could give an accused rapist an art 15 hearing vice a court-martial. He wouldn't, but he could.

    And contrary to what some of you think, an art 15 proceeding does not have the same rigor as a court-martial/civil trial. The CO is the sole arbiter of what can be entered into evidence or who can testify with far looser rules sbout each.
    Art 15's are very informal and I've never seen one last more than 30 minutes.

    Typically its "did you do it?", "No I didn't", "Well I have a lot of evidence here that says you did, so guilty, here's your punishment."

  • John||

    In fact, one of every three of those convicted is allowed to remain in uniform.

    Bullshit. That is an out and out lie. Where did that statistic come from? Lets see a citation. There is no way that is true. My guess is that one in three of those convicted do not receive a punitive discharge at trial. But that does not mean they stay in the military. They are kicked out later with lesser discharge. And the reason why they didn't get a punitive discharge is because the jury and or judge didn't give them one. That has nothing to do with the command and setting up special prosecutors would not change that.

    Chapman clearly knows nothing about this subject and has no interest in learning or doing anything other than repeating talking points some activist group gave him. Proof once more Reason doesn't have editors.

  • Bobarian||

    I suspect somebody used Art. 15 Non-judicial punishment figures when trying to make this shit up.

    As a service member and former commander, I can say that I never had any cases of provable sexual misconduct between soldiers, but I did give a small number of article 15's and letters of reprimand to both male and female soldiers for executing poor judgement in allowing themselves to get into inappropriate situations and relationships.

    This current shitstorm is due to a Michael Moore style documentary that found a few horrible incidents that were used to paint the military as a whole. I'm at the tail end of 30 years in the military, and I'd feel much safer about my daughter being in the Army than I would about her being back in college.

    Close to 50% of the military is College age and if you compare the figures between those populations, it shows that this is really a media/feminist driven meme.

  • John||

    I can't imagine there are many Article 15s for sexual assault cases these days. I bet they took the numbers of people not given punitive discharges after conviction. When you consider the kind of fairly minor conduct that can constitute sexual assault, it is unsurprising that juries in 1/4 of the cases don't give BCDs.

  • Bobarian||

    John, like you said below, depends on how you define the crime. I didn't give any charges of sexual assault out, but there were sexual incidences involved. That doesn't mean someone didn't use the sexual portions to include these in their figures.

    Any cases of actual sexual assault were out of my hands before I ever even found out about them. I usually was notified by CID or civilian authorities and just had to act as jailer for pre-trial.

    As to art. 15s, they are non-judicial punishment and do not require the same burden of proof as a court martial. They just required enough proof to bring a court martial, and enough fear by the accused to opt to not stand court martial,

  • John||

    As to art. 15s, they are non-judicial punishment and do not require the same burden of proof as a court martial. They just required enough proof to bring a court martial, and enough fear by the accused to opt to not stand court martial,

    That is not true. Go read the manual. They require the same amount of proof, just less due process. Article 15s should not be used as a fall back in cases where you can't prove the case. That is against the manual and also a threat to the whole system. If you don't have proof, the soldier will talk to a lawyer and turn the thing down and quickly all soldiers will start turning them down and the whole system will fall apart. Don't give Article 15s to people you think might have done it.

  • Bobarian||

    I never gave an article 15 to anyone that wasn't guilty, and always gave it for the parts that were provable.

    An E6 who fucks an E4 in his platoon is guilty of fraternization. The E4 got a LOR for underage drinking with an E6.

    But the lowering of due process you talk about is a de facto lowering of the burden of proof.

  • John||

    But the lowering of due process you talk about is a de facto lowering of the burden of proof.

    We are arguing semantics. But it really isn't. If it were, you couldn't have won those cases at court martial had you been forced to.

  • Bobarian||

    You're right, an Article 15 is a de facto form of plea bargain in practice.

  • Rasilio||

    Wouldn't this...

    "An estimated 26,000 sexual assaults took place last year"

    kinda indicate that maybe this...

    "The brass took the same view of admitting women to the service academies. In 1974, Air Force Academy Supt. Lt. Gen. Albert Clark said that "the introduction of female cadets will inevitably erode this vital atmosphere." When the idea of putting women on Navy ships arose, a survey of sailors found most thought it would have "a negative impact on discipline."

    might just have been true even if the impact was limited to sexual misconduct and not a more general erosion of discipline?

  • John||

    The presence of women has produced a rash of sexual assaults. But the military was just insane to think it would ever effect moral and discipline.

    Good catch. Of course what happened was that introducing women meant the sailors did what all people do, screwed like rabbits. And when you have screwing you are going to have all sorts of sorted situations that are impossible to sort out in a court of law.

  • Rasilio||

    I would say that the integration of women into the force has produced a rash of sexual issues, some assault, some rape, some false claims of such, and some just general bad decision making and all of it was inevitable because you'd be sticking huge numbers of 18 - 24 year olds in close quarters under high stress with limited other diversions.

    Sure the brass could have dealt better with it, sure they probably need to be spending a whole lot more time training recruits on proper behavior but in the end the only way to eliminate these issues is to get women out of the military (or at least out of deployed and combat units).

    Now I'm not advocating that, I think the solution is worse than the disease but on the flip side instantly turning ever military lovers quarrel into a court martial offense is just as asinine. Just treat the issue more seriously, actually investigate when allegations are made, make sure officers are trained to go into the investigations with an open mind and no preconceived notions, then take whatever administrative or legal actions necessary as a result but make sure that victims never fear to report by or face sanctions as a result of their coming forward.

  • John||

    But they do treat it seriously. And they do investigate these cases and they try a ton of them. The problem is that whenever the result is something someone doesn't like, jackasses like Chapman and dragon take it as evidence that the military doesn't care. There is no winning. They could turn it over to civilians and conviction rates would go down as more juries acquitted people for lack of evidence. Then they would want to get rid of the military jury. Basically, the only thing that will satisfy these people is sending more people to prison.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    But they do treat it seriously. And they do investigate these cases and they try a ton of them.

    Sure. Just like the cops take officer misconduct seriously. Investigations were performed! Procedures were followed! This is obviously just a training issue and why do you hate our beloved heroes in blue?

  • John||

    Yeah. They are called criminal trials. And many times people are acquitted at them. Even guilty people get off. And you just can't stand that.

    Just admit it, you don't like fair trials and you don't like it that the government has a burden of proof in cases where you don't like the defendant. That is what this is about. You want more people in prison and anything that gets in the way of that is a problem.

  • Bobarian||

    This^^

    The military actually tries a lot more cases than civilian court.

    Civilian prosecutors don't try cases they don't think they can win.

  • John||

    They try a ton of cases and then have jackasses like Chapman kill them for having a lousy conviction rate.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Because obviously, all men are just barely under control would-be-rapists who can't possibly be expected to control themselves around female soldiers. It's all their fault for provoking our poor heroes into raping them!

  • John||

    Because obviously, all men are just barely under control would-be-rapists who can't possibly be expected to control themselves around female soldiers. It's all their fault for provoking our poor heroes into raping them!

    No dipshit. Because when you have a bunch of people living in close quarters things happen that are impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And people get jealous and lie about things and so forth.

    Are you really so fucking stupid you don't grasp the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Really? I've spent significant portions of my life in close quarters with other people and I've never raped one of them. How many people have you had "things" happen with?

    And yes, I get the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It's not "well, this guy is my buddy, so I don't think he did anything regardless of the evidence".

  • John||

    And yes, I get the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It's not "well, this guy is my buddy, so I don't think he did anything regardless of the evidence".

    Sure it is not. But you have at most one case of that happening here and no proof that is what occurred there.

    That is not what is occurring here and thus has no bearing on the topic.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Close quarters in the military has no civilian counterpart, other than Antarctica and the space station.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    In fact, to add a little, if you have never been in the military, you can't even understand the basic assignment process. You can't quit and they can't fire you, so to speak, unless you commit a crime.

    If that means nothing to you, then you have no relevant experience and you cannot imagine it. Trying to do so just makes you look like a damned ignorant fool.

  • Rasilio||

    No, because obviously 18 - 24 year olds forced to live in close quarters under high stress with few entertainment options outside of beer and sex will tend to have far more instances of poor sexual conduct than society at large, this goes for both the men and the women.

    Yes there is some rape but the overwhelming majority of these cases are not so simple as one soldier forcing themselves on another or taking advantage of an incapacitated comrade.

  • John||

    Last year, Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, said to Marines at Parris Island, "Why wouldn't female Marines come forward? Because they don't trust us." He complained that in many cases, "We've got an officer that has done something absolutely disgraceful and heinous ... and we elect to retain him."

    Because the powers that be second guessing jury verdicts leads to such good places. I wasn't aware Reason supported minimum mandatory sentences. is this new?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Considering the thing they commanders are complaining about is losing their ability to unilaterally overturn jury verdicts (e.g. Lt. Gen Craig Franklin), this complaint is positively Orwellian.

  • ||

    I knew Franklin personally. You will NEVER meet a better man. If he threw it out, it was complete bullshit.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Well gee, why are we wasting his super human abilities as a general? Apparently we can get rid of the entire trial system and ask the infallible saint Franklin to decide the matter. I mean obviously that entire jury was composed of scum buckets because even though they sat through an entire trial that St. Franklin has admitted he didn't even bother to read the transcripts of, they couldn't possibly be right if he disagrees with them.

  • John||

    So because one guy reversed one case, about which you know nothing, clearly the entire system is shot. Ever occur to you that maybe the guy was innocent? Maybe the guy did justice? Why do you automatically think the decision was wrong other than the fact that you are an ignorant nasty little fuck who is just fine with innocent people going to prison provided they belong to an organization you don't like?

  • ||

    Apparently we can get rid of the entire trial system and ask the infallible saint Franklin to decide the matter.

    Because, infallible juries.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I find it far more likely that one person, who knows the defendant and admits not having read the trial transcripts, messed up than that 12 people, who didn't know the parties involved and who sat through everything, all messed up.

  • John||

    So clearly this means that no one is ever punished for sexual assault and the military thinks it is just great. And how do you know any of that is true? Sorry, but citations to activist groups do not count as facts or as representations of the full truth.

  • ||

    Where did it say he knew him?

  • ||

    Admitted he didn't read the transcripts?

    Try again.

  • John||

    Yes, that is called clemency. Do you have a problem with governors overturning jury verdicts? Got you are an ignorant hateful little bastard. I am glad this topic has finally allowed you to let the mask slip completely.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Do you have a problem with governors overturning jury verdicts?

    I do if it's because they personally know the defendant.

  • John||

    I do if it's because they personally know the defendant.

    Even if the person is innocent? Even if the trial got it wrong?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Imagine how fucked our civilian system would be if some un-elected bozo in archaic dress could just overturn a conviction by fiat.

  • John||

    YEah, they are called appellate courts and pardon and parole boards or governors. And in fact, our system would be a lot better if executives took their pardon and commutation powers seriously.

  • jdgalt||

    *cough* Eric Holder and the New Black Panthers voter intimidation case. *cough*

  • anon||

    OT: Are women still not allowed to serve on submarines?

    I can see that creating all kinds of unnecessary drama.

  • Redmanfms||

    OT: Are women still not allowed to serve on submarines?

    Nope they are, rule changed last year.

    I'm left wondering how the Hell they are going to implement the required berthing and bathing requirements. I was on a missile boat (which are pretty damned big), but the crew had 5 toilets, 4 urinals, and 4 showers. I'm sure they'll make an all-female bunkroom and end up giving the aft head to women. So, the will mean 100+ men will have to share 2 showers. The Navy will never allow enough women on board for pregnancies to allow a boat to miss patrol/deployment (after their experience with women on surface ships coincidentally getting knocked up just prior to scheduled deployments).

    Women also aren't required to meet the same personnel standards. Most obvious is the fact that their PT standards are lower, but they also aren't discharged for having sole custody of children. Men are routinely discharged for parenthood, because they are no longer deployable. Women get cushy shore assignments. The number of women on shore duty has likely had an impact on the sea/shore rotation as well (but that's just a theory of mine).

  • PapayaSF||

    I continue to be astonished at how many women get pregnant in the service. They don't lack knowledge of birth control or access to it, do they? Is there some some of perverse incentive that encourages this?

  • John||

    Yes, it is called deployment. Pregnant women don't go.

  • Redmanfms||

    Yes, it is called deployment. Pregnant women don't go.

    Bingo.

    Deployments, despite all of the promises about port calls and the like, fucking suck. Pregnancy offers an easy out that doesn't involve (for women at least) discharge from the service.

    Strategic deterrent patrols (like I did), usually have zero port stops (that are almost never in foreign countries). They are 90+ day grinds of shit capped off with either a TRE or an ORSE.

    And submarines, because of their smaller crews, are less able to absorb the loss of personnel. I was in a fairly large division (Machinery), and one guy got hurt in an car wreck which put three watchstations "port and starboard" (which means 6 hours on, 6 hours off). Being port and starboard for an entire patrol is the biggest pile of suck I've ever had to experience. It was exhaustion on a level I still have trouble fully contemplating.

  • PapayaSF||

    Since it seems like an expensive version of malingering, can't they impose some penalties? Especially (or maybe only) for the unmarried women. I suppose that would be un-PC, of course.

  • Redmanfms||

    Well, you'd think women would be held to the same physical fitness standards too, but that isn't the case either.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I knew a relationship that ended because soldier's boyfriend at the time wasn't willing to knock her up to keep her from getting deployed, or at least that was my impression of the situation. Good for him, I say.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Nope they are, rule changed last year.

    It seems like a bad idea for the military to keep women submerged in a vessel filled with seamen for such a long time, but I guess there is room for reasonable people to disagree.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Why is the change needed? Sexual assault is a problem the military has in abundance. The Defense Department says about one of every three women in the services has been the victim of this crime -- about twice the rate in the civilian population. Men are also violated.

    When you claim a 33% victimization rate, that's a really good indicator that you're full of shit. The DoD has been blowing this problem wildly out of proportion for years and years and years.

  • John||

    Yes they have. And note the term sexual assault. What does that mean? Hint, it doesn't mean what Chapman wants you to think it does.

    I really don't understand why Reason prints this crap. This is Huffpo or Slate level bullshit.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is against the military and Rand Paul has signed onto Gillibrand's bill. There was a post on this last week that was incredibly substanceless about what Gillibrand was doing.

  • John||

    Which makes Reason just as agenda driven as anyone else. They need to throw Gillespie's sorry hipster ass out and put in an editor who is interested in credibility and the truth instead of mindless agenda driving.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Yeah! Doesn't Reason know they're job is to reflexively oppose anything a Democrat opposes? Besides, this is the military we're talking about here. And as we know, all soldiers are Real American Heroes, so anyone who accuses them of anything less than saint-like behavior is obviously lying!

  • John||

    Go fuck yourself you ignorant twat. This is criminal courts and criminal rights we are talking about here. We talking about railroading people into prison. Since you are dipshit liberal on here concern trolling, I am not surprised you love the idea of railroading people into prison for the political good. I expect a bit more out of Reason.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    There's only three possibilities here:

    1. Sexual assault is something that cannot be handled within the chain of command, in which case putting responsibility in an independent court is perfectly appropriate.
    2. Sexual assault can be handled within the chain of command, but our current officers are incapable of doing so, in which case they ought to be fired for incompetence.
    3. Sexual assault can be handled within the chain of command, and our current officers are capable of doing so, but are deliberately choosing not to, in which case they ought to be court martialed for insubordination.

    I'd really like to see someone put a high ranking general on the spot by asking which of the three is the case.

  • John||

    There is a forth possibility.

    Sexual assault can be handled by the chain of command, our current officers are capable of doing so, but the requirements of proof necessary to get a conviction make convictions in these cases difficult to obtain.

    Your entire post assumes that there are all of these sexual assaults that have both occurred and can be proven in a court of law but the command is refusing to take to court out of some kind of kindness towards the defendant.

    And that is just total nonsense. A lot of these accusations are simply not true. Women do lie about such things. Reason seems to understand that in every other context. More often, these assaults occur under circumstances where proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not possible. If there is no physical evidence of force, the parties knew each other, and no witnesses, a conviction before a fair court is going to be impossible.

    What is occurring here is that people don't like the criminal court system when it doesn't give them the results they like. And Reason of all magazines should be the first to stand up for the rights of the accused in these circumstances rather than jumping in with the mob because they don't like the military. Just fucking disgraceful.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If there is no physical evidence of force, the parties knew each other, and no witnesses, a conviction before a fair court is going to be impossible.

    Again, I'm not complaining about cases where someone was acquitted by a fair court. I'm complaining about cases where the fair court's verdict was ignored because someone had a personal interest in helping the defendant escape judgment.

  • John||

    Then you are complaining about one case, the facts of which you don't even know. Meanwhile there are multiple people on this thread who have actually dealt with these cases in the military who are calling bullshit on Chapman's article.

  • Boomer||

    There's an easy way to determine this: What is the ratio of alleged sexual assault to cases actually prosecuted in military, and how does that compare with the general public?

  • Rasilio||

    There is a problem here that both of you are ignoring.

    The fact that the overwhelming majority of alleged victims does not come forward because the fear reprisals just for making the accusation.

    Whether or not the trials in and of themselves are fair the fact that the majority of assault victims fear reporting their assault to the chain of command is a problem in and of itself. Obviously in some of these cases it is because they suspect that what happened to them does not legally meet the definition of rape but if that high a percentage of victims is really not reporting it then it is quite clear that the bulk of actual rapes and assaults are going unreported and that has to stop.

  • John||

    Where is the evidence of that? And if it is not reported how are we to know that it actually occurred? And isn't the same claim made about such assaults in the civilian world?

  • Rasilio||

    From Francisco's link questioning whether there really was a rape epidemic in the military...

    "That's a whole lot of unwanted sexual contact -- and whether it involves drunken groping or violent rape, sexual assaults can shatter careers and psyches. That's particularly true when the chain of command responds inappropriately, which still happens more often than it should. In the Pentagon's survey, some 67 percent of female servicemembers who said they experienced sexual assault never reported the assault to authorities -- and of those "non-reporters," 66 percent said they felt "uncomfortable" reporting the incident, 51 percent lacked confidence that their report would be treated confidentially, and 47 percent said that fear of retaliation or reprisal prevented them from reporting the assaults."

    The first 2 reasons listed are common to both the civilian and military worlds and a part of rape/sexual assault itself, the 3rd however is specific to the military and combined with ample anecdotal evidence of actual accusers facing reprisals from their chain of command shows that it is a problem in at least some commands.

    The fact that ANY victims are afraid of reprisals is a BIG problem regardless of whether their fears are grounded and needs to be addressed.

  • John||

    As I said below, the fear of reprisals comes from the closeness to the person they usually accuse. You can't imagine how close knit a unit can be. They live and work together year around. Choosing to accuse someone of rape in that environment is always going to be a nasty decision.

  • ||

    OR...

    The the allegations that sexual assault in the military are complete bullshit.

    Read the article I posted above.

  • ||

    The the allegations that sexual assault is rampant

  • John||

    This is a good subject. It lets the world know that people like Dragon are just authoritarian fucks who are happy to railroad people thy don't like.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    No, I'm just not a misogynist who thinks women are committing a crime by being in the military and wants to look the other way when people attack them because he thinks sexual assault is an appropriate punishment for their actions.

    Suggesting that officers shouldn't be allowed to give their buddies out of jail free cards isn't the same as demanding railroading. If an independent trail finds them not-guilty than that fine. But if an independent trial finds them guilty, someone with a personal relationship with the defendant shouldn't be allowed to ignore the jury's verdict.

  • John||

    I'm just not a misogynist who thinks women are committing a crime by being in the military and wants to look the other way when people attack them because he thinks sexual assault is an appropriate punishment for their actions.

    No. you are just an idiot who thinks everyone accused of a crime or at least this crime must be guilty and any court that doesn't find them so is clearly biased.

    Suggesting that officers shouldn't be allowed to give their buddies out of jail free cards isn't the same as demanding railroading.

    And you have absolutely no proof that is occuring. All you have is one case you know absolutely nothing about. What you are suggesting is that no jury verdict on a sexual assault case should ever be overturned and anyone that was must have been the result of the war on womenz.

    You dangerous idiot stormy or wants innocent people to go to jail so you can have your stereotypes and bigotries confirmed.

  • ||

    There's only three possibilities here:

    After reading the entire thread those are the only three possibilities you can come up with?

  • Brandybuck||

    Wait... so it's not just Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church that cover up and hide sexual predators? Do you mean to say that any large organization can contain bad apples? [gasp]

  • John||

    Next you are going to tell me it happens in public schools.

  • justiceday||

    the comments being left here show how sick this world has become, rape is never acceptable, and the fact our military is raping its own,civilians and kids in the US and around the world shows they are criminals not hero's! Then again they seem to be enlisting criminals to begin with!

    http://www.theusmarinesrape.com/FaceBook.html

  • Rasilio||

    Um, No one here has said that rape was acceptable, they have said that you cannot convict someone solely on the basis of an accusation and that in the majority of these cases there is not enough evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt

  • Stormy Dragon||

    No, they're taking more of a "Obama goes to Egypt" approach: if we don't want to deal with a coup, we'll just refuse to call it a coup.

  • Not an Economist||

    Actually they are saying the military system works as well as or better than the civilian system and a few bad anecdotes shouldn't cause a total revamp of the system for one particular crime.

  • Redmanfms||

    Oh look, a concern troll with a bullshit agenda, how original.

    Back to the kiddy table, adults are talking.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "rape is never acceptable"

    Wow, you sure refuted all those pro-rape people!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I wonder what the experts here think of a (hypothetical) bill by which commanders can suspend a conviction until and unless the President specifically refuses a pardon? That would give the Commander in Chief the final say, befitting his role, and impose some uniformity, but if the President does nothing the conviction is expunged.

    I am skeptical about creating an special prosecution corps, having seen what happened with the "Independent Council" law. Prosecutors would be incentivized to built their careers on the backs of defendants, swinging their dicks around just to show that they're "cleaning up the Augean stables of the military," etc. And they'll be looking over their shoulders at Congresscritters who will scream bloody murder if they *don't* prosecute the scandal-of-the-week. "Congress and the media want this prosecuted - I better do it and let the military courts sort it out and take the blame in case of an acquittal!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Also, by the Fifth Amendment military members don't have the benefit of grand juries, so there would be no civilian panel reviewing the cases of the civilian prosecutors.

  • ||

    If you give it to the President the decision will be one based on politics.

  • lap83||

    I thought Sowell had a great column on this about a month back
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full

    The "don't blame the victim!" crowd which is behind this bill is the prime example of feminists at their most illogical. I'm reminded of stories that would be in the news periodically in a college town I lived in a few years back. It was always the same thing, a drunk college girl spent the night at a frat...sleeping on her guy friend's house. Then she gets raped by the roommate! OMG! The online comments would always split along predictable lines: 1. Maybe she shouldn't have gotten so drunk that she made herself vulnerable to men she didn't know. 2. BLAMING THE VICTIMZ!!!!!111 WHY DO YOU HATE WOMEN??///

    To these people, it's makes more sense to try to change the world so you can do anything you want without worrying about your safety than to avoid dangerous situations in the first place. They are insane.

  • lap83||

    *sleeping on the couch

  • John||

    Rapes are nasty horrible crimes to try and solve and prosecute. Rassillio mentions above how women don't report. I can tell you why they don't and it is not because the command is out to get them. It is because most of these cases arise within units and they tear units apart. The unit splits down the middle supporting each side. It is not the command that goes after accusers. It is the accused friends who think she is trying to railroad their friend. I am open for suggestions on how to fix that.

    I will give you an example. Woman goes to a party and gets in a fight with her boyfriend. Boyfriend leaves. Women gets drunk and says she passes out only to have two guys raping her. Two guys say that is not what happened at all. That women got pissed at her boyfriend and consented to get back at him and now has buyers remorse.

    What happened there? You tell me. And then tell me how to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Rasilio||

    There is no legal solution, you can't call it rape because there is no evidence to support it unless that is she is really drunk and they are sober, in which case they should know better than to take advantage of her inebriated condition.

    As far as unit cohesion, the only solution is to immediately transfer both parties involved to new duty stations, not just different units on the same base but entirely different bases. This however presents a problem for the navy when it happens on a ship deployed at sea

  • John||

    You are right. There is no legal sollution. But that means sometimes guilty people go free. Chances are t he woman is telling the truth there. But chances are is not beyond a reasonable doubt. But, if you don't prosecute the case or you do and the jury properly acquits, you get dickheads like Chapman screaming about how the military doesn't care about rape victims.

    And transferring both people sounds nice. But that is not always possible. And doing so can often screw the careers of one or both parties. So it is not that simple. Move every accuser and the victim advocates will have a fit about how you are stigmatizing them and hurting their careers. And they do move the accused. But that doesn't keep his friends from being pissed off.

  • J_West||

    This is the critical passage:

    [The bill] would revoke the authority of commanders to dispose these and other criminal allegations as they see fit. Instead, such cases would be handed over to professional military prosecutors.

    It's an attempt to undermine military discipline. Diminish the authority of the commander, and when it comes to combat, military discipline falls apart.

    The real problem here is the issue of having women in the armed forces. I speak as a veteran and someone who originally advocated for a co-ed military. But it is becoming increasingly evident that there is a downside. One is that it brings in the usual feminist traveling road show of hysteria over "rape and sexual assault," as well as false accusations and in the end, more government circumventions of the rights of the accused. I think just about everyone here has seen enough of this.

    What is the solution?

    The easy one is to ban women altogether from the military. But this would mean the loss of some very good female troops.

    Alternatively, there could be segregation of the sexes. Battalions, aircraft squadrons and ships' crews could be entirely all-male or all-female, but no mixing of the sexes. Be interesting to see how all-male units perform versus all-female.

  • J_West||

    There's another point I want to address here:

    The brass took the same view of admitting women to the service academies [as they did to integrating blacks].

    This is not quite the case. I was in the Army when they began fully integrating female troops, and everyone appeared to want it. After all, it meant you got to play with girls with guns.

    Thing is, there are differences in men versus women as opposed to blacks versus whites: the most obvious one is physical. Women lack the body strength of men. And there is the reality that women can get pregnant, something that takes them out of duty in the field, not to mention combat.

    But there is something deeper, and that is psychological. [continued]

  • J_West||

    [continued]

    When faced with crisis, females tend to react by going into hysteria and then getting men to compete to save them. Look at slutwalks, take back the night marches, and vagina monologs. Women use sex to manipulate men. We can see this now with the rape-and-sexual-assault(tm) road show this article highlights.

    Women = victims.
    Men = victimizers/rescuers.

    All this wrecks unit cohesion.

    All it will take is one female troop going into hysteria and that hysteria spreads. And then white knight males will start thumping their chests to protect the females. And at this point you no longer have an army but an armed mob.

    Maybe I am wrong. The opening of combat arms to female troops will give us an opportunity to see how integration of the sexes works. Imagine a battalion of female infantry storming a Taliban mountain stronghold in Afghanistan.

    That's where the theory is put to the test.

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