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View Diary: Old white man decides to leave military sexual assault decisions in the hands of old white men (175 comments)

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  •  Ignorant? (0+ / 0-)

    Excuse me, but the fact that some of us don't agree with the notion of wholesale changes to the military justice system does NOT make us "ignorant."

    If you want to start name-calling, I would suggest that you bring precious few specifics to the discussion, don't seem to understand the nuts and bolts of how it actually works, and throw quite a few accusations around with no supporting evidence.

    I've gathered from your comments that you have some personal connection to this particular question, but that most CERTAINLY doesn't give you the right to dismiss anyone who dares to disagree with you as "ignorant."  That's doubly true when someone presents simple facts that contradict your "everything's up to the CO" belief.

    Here's a free clue for you - I was involved in division- and battalion-level military justice operations during my enlistment, and I saw up-close-and-personal that the system, in and of itself, works.

    So, yeah, I get specific about this stuff - but don't you DARE presume to name me "ignorant" simply because I don't automatically buy into the "chuck the whole damn thing" argument.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:48:14 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  My comment (0+ / 0-)

      was not directed at you, wesmorgan1. And if you wish to discuss "name calling", please read the comments from "ksuwildcat" who has, indeed, indulged in "name calling".

      The only term I have used which, clearly, has offended you, is "ignorant" and once again, it was not directed towards you. It was in direct response to "ksuwildcat".

      My apologies if you were offended, but I will not apologize for my comments here for you, and "ksuwildcat" are ignorant of whom you comment to, my background, my experience, what I know, and what you claim I do not.

      I will admit, and already have admitted, that when it comes to topics of this nature, I sometimes have difficulty remaining objective enough to state myself concisely. However, this certainly does not mean I don't know what I'm speaking of.

      The problem here is that neither of you understand what is actually happening within the ranks, and most especially, the perspective of those who have been victimized.

      What you fail to realize is that victims are refusing to report because they do not trust the Chain of Command, of which the JAG is a part, because they fear retaliation, to include not only further harassment, but also losing their jobs.

      It is the Chain of Command's job to ensure any retaliation does not occur, but they are failing and failing miserably on this score. And victims are flat out being told that if they report, they must ensure they are aware that if it is a false report, they'll be kicked out... "so, do you still want to report?"

      Come on! When a victim knows they're telling the truth but the fear of God is placed upon them, knowing they risk their careers if they don't keep their mouths shut, do you really believe the CoC is the best place for reporting these crimes?

      The bills which were under consideration would have placed everything in YOUR hands, not the Commanders.

      You have not worked in the trenches with your brothers in arms who were supposed to have your back, stabbing you in the back instead.

      When you can place yourself in the shoes of those who serve in those trenches, then I'll have more respect. Until then, you have not earned it.

      We are all free to speak our minds here, as am I. I will continue to do so as respectfully as possible, without "name calling", but insisting one is "ignorant", as I did with "ksuwildcat" is not "name calling". It is speaking truth.

      When I call someone a bad name, they'll know it. But I don't do that. Agree or disagree, I still behave in a respectful manner.

      "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      by RoseWeaver on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:24:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I'll just say that... (0+ / 0-)

        ...when the only other people in this part of the comment thread are me and ksuwildcat, I hope you can see where I might read "you and people like you" as being directed toward both of us, especially when we are making similar "here's how the process works" comments. Sorry for misunderstanding - mea maxima culpa.

        Having said that, though, you still haven't answered my point about intimidation/retaliation.  You say that going to the civilian authorities will somehow address the perceived need for anonymity, but I don't see how.  Whether the allegations are made via military or civilian channels, the accused will still know their accuser - which means that retribution and intimidation would still be possible, so where's the benefit?

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 02:20:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Accepted, thank you. Now (0+ / 0-)

          as for retaliation, retribution, and intimidation, whether tried within civilian or military justice systems, the onus lies, once again, upon the Commanding authority to create the type of environment where this simply is not tolerated.

          To make myself clear, the OP was posting about the MJIA which would place all decisions regarding serious crimes, including murder and other assaults, along with rape and sexual assaults, in the hands of military prosecutors, who are trained legal experts. Commanders are not trained legal experts and can, and have, ignored legal advice, as well as overturned decisions made by military courts.

          This is unacceptable.

          Personally, I prefer the STOP Act put forth by Congressman Jackie Speier (CA).

          Be that as it may, the fact remains that the problem lies with the command environment. It always has. You previously pointed out to me that this is not the 1980's. You're correct, but this is what is so disturbing to me, and many, many other survivors of military rape.

          It is now 2013 and the problems still exist. The problems have NOT improved. They have become worse.

          Why is that, do you think? If Commanders, as you and ksuwildcat continue to insist, are so intolerant of rape and sexual assaults within their ranks, then please explain to me why it still happens, and why those (both men and women) who dare to report are the ones who end up being kicked out, more often than not being diagnosed with mental illnesses such as "personality disorder" and/or "bipolar disorder" so they cannot even receive benefits when what they actually have is PTSD due to an incredibly traumatic event.

          And please, do not further insult my intelligence, nor me, by continuing to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. I personally know too many individuals to whom this has happened... one whom I personally warned about entering the military for this very reason. When she insisted she had no other option, I recommended the Air Force. She enlisted in 2005 and was raped in 2006.

          I'm one of the fortunate ones. I was properly diagnosed while active duty... by a civilian shrink. And I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut in order to keep my career. But I also have enough documented within my records, medical and otherwise, to have obtained my benefits.

          I knew what was happening. My Chain of Command was NOT at all supportive, so I sucked it up. I had no choice. It was the 1980's and 1990's... the era of Tailhook.

          I'm not ignorant. It's a shame so many still are.

          As I said, it's 2013. It's time to shift with the times. Our military shifted when DADT was repealed without a problem.

          We can do the same with rape and sexual assaults. They are not all due to alcohol. It's about time we get real.

          "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

          by RoseWeaver on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 06:27:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  On those points, we agree completely. (0+ / 0-)

            As for how to go about it, the answer is a simple one that we're only now beginning to see moving into gear - persistent, public oversight.  Get enough Generals in front of Congress and the cameras, and get enough stories out there, and it will change.  So it was with integration, so it was (albeit still in progress) with gay and lesbian soldiers, and so it will be with sexual harassment and assault.  It's worth noting that we've seen several general officers relieved or suspended for sex-related offenses - a 2-star in April of this year, and 1-star last month.  It has gone higher in the past; a 4-star was relieved for adultery in 2005.

            Equally important, in my opinion, is the continued drawdown in military operations and the consequent reductions in force (RIFs).  Historically, the military has been loathe to shed able-bodied soldiers while engaged in major operations.   (Remember Patton?)  That reluctance, in and of itself, contributes mightily to the (rightly criticized) "otherwise a good troop" and "first blemish" excuses so often heard in decisions such as these.   As the military draws down, however, the emphasis shifts to keeping the best soldiers possible and many (if not most) borderline cases find themselves on the receiving end of a DD214.  We're already seeing that where all those "moral waiver" soldiers of the mid-2000s are concerned; they're being told that reenlistment "is a right, not a privilege," and more than a few have already made their exit.

            Between both of those effects, you get the proper pressure on all those intermediate commanders (the LTC battalion COs, the CPT company COs) and their senior NCOs (the E-7 platoon sergeants, E-8 1st sergeants) who realize that they'll face that same gauntlet of accountability before they either take the next step up the ladder or catch the next RIF out of the service.  (For instance, a Navy O-6 isn't getting Senate confirmation of his promotiion to RADM because of a horrible error from 25 years ago (unrelated to sexual matters)...he skated through four or five promotion cycles in spite of his history, but that's stopping with a jolt now.)  That's the REAL "trickle-down" that makes a difference for the lower ranks.

            Tossing the whole thing into the civilian justice system won't accomplish any of these things; in fact, I think it would deny a great deal of the pressure I cited in the previous paragraphs.  Letting lackadaisical COs "toss it over the fence to the civilians" will, in my opinion, actually make things worse because it relieves them of a HUGE chunk of command responsibility.

            The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

            by wesmorgan1 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:56:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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