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Panel of (white, overwhelmingly male) military leaders at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assault.
Gee, they looked so open and forthcoming.
The military's failure to prevent or punish sexual assault adequately extends to a refusal to be transparent or accountable on exactly how bad the problem is and what policies are leading to the overall failure, Darren Samuelsohn reports. From instituting new sexual assault policies without telling Congress that it planned to do so to not releasing information on prosecutions that are occurring to taking more than two decades to set up a criminal database ordered by Congress, the military makes clear that it doesn't believe it's answerable to anyone for the appalling rates of sexual assault in its ranks—rates we still don't know the full story on, thanks to lack of transparency.

This may best convey the attitude:

But a senior military lawyer said there’s also a limit to how much the public should expect to weigh in on internal Pentagon policies.

“At the end of the day, this is not the public’s problem,” said the Pentagon attorney. “This is the military’s problem, and so there’s no stakeholder that would be brought in by vetting things along those lines.”

Sure, I don't get to walk in off the street and tell them how to do things. But Congress has oversight powers and yet can't get answers. And, more, the leadership is absolutely locking out people with a very deep interest in what's going on and a right to know how their own safety is being protected and justice ensured:
For example, the Service Women’s Action Network is battling the Pentagon in federal appeals court over a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, seeking the files on nonjudicial punishments that military commanders frequently use instead of a court-martial. SWAN’s lawsuit also asks for data on the department’s social service work with military families — a place where domestic violence reports often are made instead of to the military police.

“We’re not bringing cases about confidential informants in Pakistan. We’re talking about how our government treats its own citizens and service members on issues like internal discipline and medical care,” said Michael Wishnie, a Yale Law School professor who is representing SWAN in the lawsuits. “The question it leaves in my mind, and for a lot of people, is, what are they hiding?”

And the closer you look at it, the harder it is to conclude anything but that the military has a lot to hide when it comes to sexual assault.

Tell the U.S. Senate to take action against sexual assault in the military by passing Sen. Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 07:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism and Daily Kos.

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