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U. S. President George W. Bush (2nd L) hosts a meeting with U.S...Congressional leaders to discuss differences between the parties while..working on a national energy policy in the Cabinet Room of the White..House, September 17, 2003. From L-R are: Rep. B
Thanks again, W.
Why should the military leadership's current vows that sexual assault will not be tolerated be taken seriously even though military sexual assault remains high—and despite similar vows being made in the past? Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey had an interesting answer to that question from Sen. Joe Manchin:
“I think what happened in the 1990s is that we focused on victim protection. We immediately focused our attention on victim protection. Versus prevention. And then, as we reflected on it, we entered this period of 12 years of conflict. And frankly—I’ll speak for myself—I took my eye off the ball in the command that I have.”
We already knew that George W. Bush's wars cost untold lives and strained the federal budget. Add disrupting progress at combating military sexual assault just at the time the military swelled to that toll.

At the same time, if combating sexual assault is really a priority—something everyone at the hearing repeatedly insisted it is—then it shouldn't be a ball you take your eye off of. So we learned a little there about the limits on how much leadership really focuses on this.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 10:31 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  shouldn't they (7+ / 0-)

    be able to do both at once?

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 10:44:08 AM PDT

    •  Well, you have to prioritize (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RadGal70, JML9999, irishwitch

      Can't get sidetracked from killing bad guys you know.

    •  They must do many things at once. Sex is not ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JML9999, FindingMyVoice

      ... one of them.

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:08:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly you are serious (0+ / 0-)

      Fight one war
      realign force to fight war different than structured for
      Train more people to fight it better
      fight second war
      fight civilian leadership to man and equip properly for that fight
      lose and fight with two few and too little
      reorganize to fight completely different war than planned
      start nation building
      fight insurgency caused by civilian leadership ignoring sound advice
      continue to train more people to fight new way
      rearm and reequip to fight different way
      develop doctrine to match new equipment and enemy
      switch back to first war because it was starved for resources and is now a bigger problem
      redeploy thousands of troops and 8 years of stuff
      deploy thousands of troops and their equipment in short order to new old fight
      rearm and requip because stuff used in last fight  - the one that started after this one - doesnt work in mountains like it did in a desert
      do all this in coordination with disparate allies with differing agendas
      simultaneously maintain pressure on emery spread across globe
      fight pirates - no really, pirates
      field missile defense system that really works
      find and kill most wanted man in the world in the back yard of trusted "partner" in war
      deal with crazy ass guy in Korea
      deal with is crazier son when he dies

      and....deal with idiots in the ranks who still dont get that sexual assault is wrong

      Please forgive General Dempsey - who I know to be one of the most straight arrow, no compromise, no excuse guys around - for not getting it all right every time.

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

      by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:32:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Navy WIfe here. SPent msot of the 90s (0+ / 0-)

        on a base in Japan. They weren't doing anything useful then. I'd pick up Stars and Stripes and all too frequently  IU'd read about yet another sexual assualt case or sexual harassment. The defense was alwaysm "This is man with a sterling record. a Senior NCO/ Young O with potential--or these young women accusing him?"

        Their idea of approaching h eproblem was a p[rogram with the old "Green Light--Yellow LIght--Red Light" crap I heard fromt he nuns in high school in 1966.  

        Ignore the typose. I don't know the general--but I DO know that there was no real arrempt to halt rape in the 90s--or else older men wouldn't be meeting young women in the E CLub, getting girls who had never befopre been able to drink, passed-out drunk and taking em back to the rooms and fucking a passed out girl. Happened all the time.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:29:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Shouldn't war time be precisely when (6+ / 0-)

    the military leaders INCREASE prevention programs (knowing that soldiers under stress often find inappropriate ways to relieve that stress.)

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 10:52:05 AM PDT

    •  In time of war, nothing's more important than rape (0+ / 0-)

      to paraphrase Tom Delay 2003 on tax cuts.

      Rape is a tool of war and has been for centuries, so that is not the time to train male soldiers to remember that women are people.  

      One more reason to wage peace, and from my perspective a compelling one.

      "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

      by LucyandByron on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:20:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Should military and dicipline be use in the (6+ / 0-)

    same sentence?

    Get the 'oopsie' out of 'keep and bear arms' see GunFAIL and Gun Crazy diaries weekly.

    by 88kathy on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 11:02:02 AM PDT

    •  Only if bondage is added nt (0+ / 0-)

      I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

      by JML9999 on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:18:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They lost discipline (0+ / 0-)

      because the Bush administration had an agenda that was counter to the military discipline.... torture and profit.  Soldiers sailors and marines were taught the Geneva convention rigorously prior to W's adventures, (yes, there was the crap out of the school of the americas, etc.).

      But to satisfy W's perversions, to enable the theft of billions of dollars in pallets of cash, in order to fatten the wallets of contractors while providing second rate equipment and facilities to the troops,  discipline had to be relaxed

      The sexual harassment is a horrific symptom of a much wider breakdown of discipline, DoD wide, that will take decades to fix.

      These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel. Abraham Lincoln

      by Nailbanger on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:02:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have no patience with the excuses (5+ / 0-)

    I am old enough to have worked through the change in attitude in corporate America on sexual harassment.  You know when it stopped?  Exactly when corporate management ordered it to stop and held managers accountable.   You don't cure every predator but curing the culture starts at the top and it is implemented by example from the top down and by punishing those who don't follow orders.  

    •  The most appalling thing… (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nailbanger, NoMoJoe

      …is that our Commander-in-Chief has yet to fire, or even relieve from duty both Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin (oooh, he had a promotion blocked) and Lt. Col. James Wilkerson.

      An immediate a swift removal from duty for both of them is the clearest sign President Obama could make to show there is no tolerance for this rape and sexual harrassment. There is no excuse that the White House can give me that makes the failure to relieve both defensible.

      Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

      by DemSign on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:40:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dont be stupid (0+ / 0-)

        That would be like expecting the President to fire your local postmaster for something.  

        Firing a LTC is the job of the first 2 Star in the chain of command (exactly who fired LTC Allen West).  Firing a 3 Star is the SecDefs job.  You sound like the stupid people who think President Obama should have personally flown to Libya to fight the terrorists at Benghazi.  

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

        by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:47:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And the President can… (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nailbanger

          …and should have already, ordered the Sec Def to fire Franklin and his replacement to fire Wilkerson. Unlike Benghazi that is an issue that could be fixed today. Failing to do so is leaving the wound open and festering.

          Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

          by DemSign on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:54:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because the President is so bored (0+ / 0-)

            that he needs to get involved in personnel decisions at every level of the government.

            "Mr. President we have an issue with 1 percent of the total government work force and it requires your personal attention.  If you could just give us a decision on these....yes I know its over four thousand separate personnel actions but if you just work on 10 a day and then 40 a day for December we can get it all done in a year.......yes I know you have a lot of other things but its only 1 percent of the 4.4 million federal employees and well you are the one everyone blames for this......"

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

            by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:19:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He had no problem firing at the IRS (0+ / 0-)

              nor did he have problems at Agriculture a few years ago.  Firing generals is something every president should do once in a while.

              These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel. Abraham Lincoln

              by Nailbanger on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:04:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Apples and Oranges (0+ / 0-)

                IRS is a major function of the Department of the Treasury.  Both the Treasury Secretary and the head of the IRS are APPOINTED positions.  The President PICKED THEM.

                The President picks the SecDef and expects him to run his department.  But Generals are not appointed by the President.  The President Commissions them.  In the Case of General Dempsey, he received his Commission from Richard Nixon.  He might be one of the few people in Federal Service who goes back that far.  General Officers are nominated by the President and Confirmed by the Senate much like Cabinet but short of blatant misconduct it is extremely rare for a President to interfere in the Sec Def conducting General Officer Management.  

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

                by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:00:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  The whole point of being top dog (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nailbanger

                is that you can reach down into the chain of commannd and perform needed actions when necessary. Should Obama refrain from personally firing misbehaving subordinates? Sure, okay. But NOTHING prevents him from telling the guy who has the proper rank to discipline his subordinates. Obama can call in the 2-star or the Colonel or whoever and say "Get your people to toe the line!"

                I'm also puzzled by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Dempsey's apparent belief that there's some sort of conflict between victim protection and harrassment prevention. Seems to me they'e the same thing.

                Like all such management problems, "the fish rots from the head" (Not bilogically accurate, but a good description of how human organizations work). When I was a sailor back in the 1990s, we had lots of sexual harrassment prevention training. Now that Iraq is more or less over and Afghanistan is winding down, we can get back to that.

                •  No he cant (0+ / 0-)

                  Its called "Command Influence" and it is strictly prohibited by military regulation.  No commander can tell another commander how to conduct discipline.  I have seen commanders relieved for trying to do so.  I have also seen punishment overturned because of it.

                  A commander can take away from a lower commander the ability to adjudicate certain offenses.  As an example, it is normal in an Army Division for the Division Commander (2 Star) to retain all officer misconduct cases.  Since no one in the Division is senior to him, it is both practical and good incentive to fly right.  I have seen Commanders retain DUIs too because of past instances when guys covered for their buddies.

                  Once a commander renders punishment, jeopardy is attached and they cannot be punished again.  Now if the higher level commander is mad enough he can relieve the lower commander but he cannot change the punishment.

                  All of this applies to the Commander in Chief too.  He cant TELL commanders how to punish.  If he doesnt like it, he can relieve them but noting else.  

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

                  by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:10:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  And just an FYI (0+ / 0-)

        If you dont think the President is taking this seriously you are wrong.  He currently has a personal representative visiting every large command in the country to get a sense of the issue.  She has complete access to anyone she wants to talk to.  Other than the military itself, no one wants this solved more than President Obama.

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

        by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:52:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Words vs Actions (0+ / 0-)

          Words = Sending a representative to every large command

          Actions = Firing Franklin & Wilkerson

          Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

          by DemSign on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:59:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry (0+ / 0-)

            I was wrong.  You dont SOUND as stupid as the Benghazi people, you ARE as stupid as they are.  

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

            by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:19:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you for the rousing debate (0+ / 0-)

              You never contradicted anything I said, advising that personnel decisions must go through the chain of command is hardly a contradiction, then you called me stupid. Bravo. You must have come in last place in all your high forensics competitions.

              Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

              by DemSign on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:37:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Stupid = (0+ / 0-)

                someone who think the President of the United States should become personally involved in the personnel decisions of all 4.4 million federal employees.  

                He has staff for a reason.  Only a micromanaging idiot bypasses his staff to do their jobs.  Going to take a swing for the fences and guess that you are a micromanaging type.

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

                by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:50:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You think the White House hasn't been… (0+ / 0-)

                  "…involved in the personnel decisions of all 4.4 million federal employees"? Two words: Shirley Sherrod.

                  Shirley Sherrod was just railroaded.

                  Firing, sorry asking for Franklin & Wilkerson to "retire", would set an important policy marker.

                  Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

                  by DemSign on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:56:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  This guy and Toru Hashimoto should get together -- (0+ / 0-)

    I bet they have a lot in common.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 12:13:25 PM PDT

  •  The Pentagon is so bloated (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, VictorLaszlo, Lowgun

    they could have easily solved this. They didn't want to.

  •  Cuz, killing bad guys is important (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, vicki

    chicks not so much.  (At least that's what I heard.)

  •   Military and Catholic church - Bastions of male (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VictorLaszlo

    Chauvinism.

    They both spew excuse after excuse for covering sex abuse scandals

    I cant honestly tell anyone to join these institutions when they are led by morons.

    They both disgust me.

    •  The gratuitious anti-Catholic b.s. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksuwildkat

      is way too tolerated on DailyKos.  

      •  Gratuitous? (0+ / 0-)

        10,667 abused children beg to disagree.

        Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

        by DemSign on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:49:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Enough (0+ / 0-)

          This is not a diary about the Catholic Church and there are too of them anyway.  

          There are still tens of millions of practicing Catholics in the Democratic Party from Pelosi to Biden.   And you cannot win a national election without us.  You cannot.

          Some of you are working darn hard to drive us away and the party is not exactly offering me much to cheer for these days anyway.  

          But hey, you are going to just love President Christie after you've done so much work to elect him.

          •  Some of us left the Catholic Church… (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wuod kwatch

            …on our own. Maybe if Father C hadn't "entertained" some of my friends in the rectory I'd be more sympathetic.

            Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

            by DemSign on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:18:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't care if you left the Church (0+ / 0-)

              but we're not going to disband it anymore than we're going to disband the armed forces.  

              But if you think you are going to elect any more and better Democrats at the national level with this relentless over the top, off the subject Catholic bashing, I repeat you are going to really enjoy President Christie.  

              With the centrists out to cut my Social Security and the "progressives" convinced that religious bigotry is a feature instead of a bug, heck, I might even vote for him.

              And since I guess you haven't been to Mass in awhile you might not know that priests are getting as much Spanish into the Mass as they can.

            •  I am a buffet Catholic (0+ / 0-)

              I treat the church more like a social club, helping out fellow (wo)man in the areas of education and medicine and other social services. Its where I hang out with loved ones and friends once a week.

              The other crap they offer I just ignore, except of course  the freakin red wine I imbibe gloriously after mass with guess who? Father!

    •  You are an idiot (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lowgun

      The military is the ONLY large institution in this country where women ROUTINELY supervise white males.  Not only that, they are often minority women.  

      And yeah, sine you called me a moron I have no issue calling you an idiot.

      BTW - have you spent even one day in the military?

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

      by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:35:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's a bullshit answer, plain and simple. (3+ / 0-)

    It's a transparent attempt to play on the heroic role of the military to gloss over the fact that this has never been a priority.

    •  It's more a transparent admission of uselessness (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dartagnan

      We were distracted from a pretty elementary duty of any organization because we were told to carry out the defining duty of our particular organization!  This is pretty awesome, if you ask me:

      We couldn't install the fire detectors--we were too busy housing orphans!

      We couldn't pay our employees--we were too busy making widgets!

      We couldn't deliver your newspaper for the last week--we were busy breaking a big news story!

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:10:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The issue with them lowering standards to meet (0+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:18:12 PM PDT

  •  Wait - so you're saying that war has negative (0+ / 0-)

    consequences?

    Who knew?

    It turns out that the skill set required to get elected is completely different than the skill set required to effectively govern.

    by VictorLaszlo on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:25:53 PM PDT

  •  Dalas Morning News Columnist not buying it (0+ / 0-)

    http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/...

    It has been a while since I’ve heard a bigger pile of garbage than the self-serving pushback from the nation’s top military brass over proposals to  remove sexual assault allegations from their hands and place these cases into the hands of outside prosecutors.  
    * * *
    Perhaps commanders are infallible deities in their own mind, but stopping sexual assaults is not about the commanders’ authority. It’s about justice for the victims.And it is the same reason sexual assault cases shouldn’t be judged in university panels or the allegations against priests. Sexual assault is a crime, and it should be investigated by those outside the system. Anything short of that gets dangerously close to an unacceptable blaming of the victim.
  •  So now the military is offering excuses? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blw

    I don't remember that being acceptable as a defense in the military.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:32:47 PM PDT

    •  Reason, not an excuse (0+ / 0-)

      General Dempsey gave a REASON not an excuse.  I have heard him say a lot of things a lot of times and I have never heard him give or tolerate an excuse.

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

      by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:50:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think this is true. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ksuwildkat

        If you say, "I took my eye off the ball," you're saying you fucked up. You're not saying you didn't fuck up. (Which isn't, of course, an excuse. A commenter, above, gives excuses. Dempsey does not, because he's honest enough to know that aren't any.)

        "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

        by GussieFN on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:13:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bull (0+ / 0-)

       Nice try, but it isn't fighting a war(s) causing them to take their eyes off of it.

        A short story from many years ago. We had an issue with a few dimwitted sailors cause problem in the female barracks. Memos were issued, there was captains call were it was discussed. Problem continued. Finally base commander had enough. All a sudden we had officers being made to stand watch in the female barracks, and wouldn't you know it, all a sudden the problems stopped, why because then it was impacted people high enough up that they gave a damn.

       To fix this issue, all we need to do is put the careers of some O6's and up on the line, and they will find away to fix it.

    "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." T. Roosevelt

    by Lowgun on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:36:07 PM PDT

  •  BTW (0+ / 0-)

    He is not the Joint Chiefs of Staff chair, he is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.  If you are going to defame someone, at least get his title right

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

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:48:55 PM PDT

    •  "Obama nominates Dempsey to chair Joint Chiefs" (0+ / 0-)

      USA Today Headline.  
      The Chair, to chair, Chairman: to use this as some sort of defense is silly

      These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel. Abraham Lincoln

      by Nailbanger on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:11:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Apparently they took their eyes off the ball (0+ / 0-)

    in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Just more collateral damage.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:35:51 PM PDT

  •  I. Hate. This. Person. (0+ / 0-)

    How does one advance in life with this sort of attitude?

    One doesn't. One is a total, complete, undeniable asshole.

    ::

    "If Clint can shuffle back on stage, so can I." ~~billmon

    by vicki on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:54:05 PM PDT

  •  All is fair in rape and war (0+ / 0-)

    Is that what they are sayin?

    Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

    by Kayakbiker on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:54:10 PM PDT

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