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View Diary: Military leaders resist pressure for real change on sexual assault (55 comments)

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  •  Another Blog, another time you wont answer (0+ / 0-)

    Every time you write about this I ask about it:

    When has anyone ever cared MORE about something when they are told its not their responsibility?

    How is the military supposed to punish commanders who fail to uphold standards for investigations and trails if they are no longer responsible for investigations and trails?

    How many different kinds of justice are you planning to set up?  If there is one standard for sex crimes and another for everything else where does it end?  Do we have separate systems for every punitive article?

    Since the ability to restrict the liberty of a citizen is clearly spelled out in the Constitution, when are proponents of this change going to amend the Constitution?

    Finally once the "new" system "fails" to achieve perfect results who will get tasked with perfection next?  Given the rate of sexual assault in the military is less than 1% what is the goal other than perfection?

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 06:35:22 PM PST

    •  sell out for hookers (0+ / 0-)

      Recently two Admirals were caught selling out their country for hookers and travel.  The only harm that was done was the theft of treasure and the myth that officers have ethics.  As of now it is unclear if these models of military excellence are going to be punished to full extent of the law, or if I am going to be paying their pensions for the rest of their lives.  If they are going to be investigated for sex tourism, which is illegal if the Admirals had sex with minors, or if the caring officers are going to more concerned about the state of their own pensions and the illegal activities which they are involved.  It would seem to me that using these two admirals as an example might set a precedence that bad behavior is not going to be tolerated.  To be clear, the investigations do not seem to focus on the sexual misconduct of these Admirals, which includes sex trips to Singapore, a place known for child sex tourism.

      As far the constitution is concerned, there is only really one relevent phrase for the military.  That is that the president is commander in chief.  Otherwise a military person has volentary left civilian life and made themselves subject to set or arbitrary rules that ends with an is at the pleasure of the president.  The normal freedoms do not apply.

      For instance, if I have a civilian job, and my boss gropes me, there are a whole bunch of options available to me.  I can take sick days and contact HR.  I can take sick days and contact a lawyer and file a civil suit.  If I am raped by by my boss I can go to a hospital, report it to the police and file charges.  In effect, I can remove myself from the situation and get an independent third party involved.  Even if I don't want to get a third party involved, I can quit my job.  

      What I am not limited to is talking to my bosses supervisor, who may be biased because of friendship or other loyalty.  What I am not limited to is staying in the job because I can be charged for not obeying the orders of a rapist, which is what essentially happened with the Air Force officer who was convicted of rape and then put back in the chain of command.

      So this is what all this about.  Providing military personnel with the same rights and privileges as a citizen.  That of due process by an independent third party.  The special rules you are talking about, the restriction of civil liberties, is the current military system.  

      •  Nice story (0+ / 0-)

        but not eve close to an answer to any of my questions.

        I like how you took a pending case, made up a crime not currently charged, speculated on other crimes and then predetermined the outcome.

        So you hypothetical case.  If I am groped at work I need not take any sick days because we don't have sick leave in the military.  I would have multiple avenues to report any unwanted sexual advances.  

        First, I can make an INFORMAL, anonymous complaint.  The advantage of the informal complaint is that I can receive counseling help/medical treatment without involving anyone at my work.  The chain of command will know that there is a problem in the unit but they will not know who the victim or perpetrator are.  No action can be taken against someone for an informal complaint - either the person reporting or the person accused.

        Second, I can make a formal complaint.  Formal complaint requires formal followup.  Normally this is in the form of a Commander Inquiry, known as a 15-6 investigation in the Army.  This is first step in bringing charges under the UCMJ.  The advantages of the formal complaint are obvious - some form of action is taken and the allegations are known to all.  The disadvantages are a mirror of the advantages - the allegations are known to all.  A relatively recent change allows for punishment of individuals who bring false charges against others.  While relatively rare, there have been cases.  Unfortunately the threat of this is often enough to silence some with valid complaints.

        A third option is to contact the post or Command IG.  The IG will almost always insist on a formal complaint and unlike reporting though the normal sexual assault system the IG cannot provide services directly.  What they will normally do is direct the individual to the proper agency for services.  

        A fourth option is to see the unit IG.  In most battalion and brigade sized units the Executive Officer is also the IG.  For many this is easier because the person is likely known to them at least in passing.  For a low level issue like inappropriate jokes or lewd comments this might be the best route.  The XO can achieve quick and immediate results.  But for more involved cases, he/she would likely escalate the case unless the victim objected.  

        A fifth option is to see the Chaplain.  Along with a lawyer, chaplains are the only confidential receivers of information.  There is no doctor-patient confidentiality in the military.  Like the XO, the Chaplain can achieve fast results but unlike the XO he will likely use the commander rather than confront the person himself.  Unlike the XO, the Chaplain has resources to assist (counseling) and unlike the IG he can keep things confidential.  

        Finally a sixth option is to see the commander.  All commanders are required to have an open door policy.  This extends to everyone below them so if you are on Fort Hood you can see the III Corps Commander (3 star General) on open door policy as long as your unit falls under III Corps.  Like seeing the IG, the Commander is likely going to move directly to formal action.  Unlike the IG he has every resource of the command available.

        Now what is missing here are the police.  For an actual assault there is the option to go directly to CID/OSI/NCIS.  The MPs are not really set up for criminal investigations but there is almost always an on call investigator.  But n matter what the command will be brought in as soon as possible.  The authority of CID is derived from the commander much like civilian police rely on judges.

        As far as removing ones self from the situation, there are many opinions of that.  Some think the victim should be moved while others think the accused should go while others think neither and others both.  I think you have to judge each situation.  For someone who has been in a unit for a long time and has a support network, removing them as the victim can punish them as much as help.  In any case, if the accused is in the chain of command, the victim will immediately be removed from their authority if a formal complain is filed.  Note I said formal.  Many of the issues we have are because the victims only want to file an informal complaint and then are upset because no action is taken.  Having done this multiple times I can tell you that it is very hard to convince a victim to file a formal complaint and despite begging them not to they normally file informally.  If the AF case is the one I am familiar with the officer was accused of rape by a civilian, not someone in his command.  If I remember the case correctly, the local DA refused the case due to lack of evidence.  It was a bad case and there were no winners.

        As for an independent third party, you have apparently never met a JAG officer.  They are fiercely independent even if they wear the uniform.  And in general the standards for case and evidence in military sexual assault cases are generally favorable for the victim.  As an example it is MUCH harder to put the victims "lifestyle" on trial in the military and if you are going to accuse or even insinuate the victim is lying you had better have a lot of evidence.  

        So how about you answer just one of my questions about this bill?

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 10:28:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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