Skip to main content

Panel of (white, overwhelmingly male) military leaders at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assault.
But don't worry, they swear they take sexual assault seriously.
A U.S. Army general forfeited $20,000 in pay and received a reprimand but was spared further punishment in a plea deal over sexual assault charges. Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair:
... admitted to adultery and mistreating the captain but maintained that the affair was consensual. The case began to unravel over questions about the woman's credibility, and the defense vowed to further undermine her at trial, but then the proceedings were halted earlier this month.
Of course, the good-old "questions about the woman's credibility." One of the key skills of the sexual predator is the ability to choose victims who can be effectively undermined. But let's say that the woman's allegations, aside from whatever "mistreatment" Sinclair is admitting to, are false. We're still left with an Army general who had an affair with someone significantly junior to him in rank and age who was under his direct command and "mistreated" her. Even if you set aside the sexual assault allegations—which I'm not saying you should do—this is abuse of power. And it wasn't Sinclair's only such abuse. He pleaded guilty to:
... two other improper relationships. He also admitted to making derogatory comments about women and, when challenged by his staff, replying: “I’m a general, I’ll say whatever the [expletive] I want.”
But it's the woman who says he sexually assaulted and threatened to kill her whose credibility is in question. Now, Sinclair is going to retire. Maybe the Army will demote him as he retires, maybe not. But whatever happens, Sinclair has taken every concern about how far we can trust military commanders to make real changes for the better in the military's culture of sexual assault and he's outlined them in blinking lights, with vuvuzela accompaniment.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:13 AM PDT.

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

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  The message that the military sends (15+ / 0-)

    is very clear: sexual assault, including rape, is not a serious concern and women can't be trusted to tell the truth. It's still an Old Boys Club.

    •  So, then, you expect... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries, Sparhawk

      ...prosecutors to press ahead no matter what, even if they don't think their evidence sufficient to gain conviction on charges of forcible sodomy?

      Are you suggesting that prosecutors should have no leeway?

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

      by wesmorgan1 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:45:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that the answer is the just defeated bill (13+ / 0-)

        that would have turned military sexual assault cases over to
        civilian prosecutors. The military tends to look out for its own re high ranking officers.

        •  We all know that civilian prosectors... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, hawkseye, penguins4peace

          ...NEVER cut deals, or make plea deals when the evidence is iffy. **chuckle**

          The simple fact of the matter is that this was a very weak case.  It seems that everyone who is predisposed to accept the accuser's statements as credible forgets that she, too, is a military officer who knowingly and willfully violated the UCMJ for three years...until the affair went south.

          How many civilian prosecutors do you think would have proceeded with assault/sodomy charges in a case with no physical evidence and only the statements of a witness who needs immunity before testifying?

          Sinclar is a dirtball - no doubt of that - but what little has come to light has rendered me completely unsurprised by the plea deal...not for "protect the service" reasons, but rather for "it's a weak case" reasons. I have issues with the sentence--he should have been dismissed from the service--but not the ultimate charges to which he entered a guilty plea.

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

          by wesmorgan1 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 01:54:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  One of the problems with this crime (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sunspots, starduster, dandy lion

            is the assumption such as wes makes here, that unlike other crimes, victims of this sort of crime must be perfect. Any failing of any kind, and the doer gets a free walk out.  Sexual assault is one of the few crimes where victim perfection is a requirement, no matter what the guy did.

            And part of what is cynically amusing here is that one of the reasons the adjudicators here gave the guy the good decision was a claim that there was political pressure to change the way things are done for these crimes, to make them adjudicable in a way less favorable to defendants. For living in that time, the deft gets a walk. Gee whiz. Why am I not shocked.

            •  No, let's be VERY clear... (5+ / 0-)

              I am not suggesting that the victim must be perfect.

              What I AM saying is that, as an officer in the military, the alleged victim operates under the same set of legal expectations as does the alleged perpetrator - and that she willingly, intentionally and repeatedly violated those aspects of military law for a period of three years. It was only when the affair "went south" that the accuser decided to report the matter.

              You make reference to 'what the guy did', but I would say the exact same thing if the two officers involved were of the same gender, or if their genders were reversed.

              This is, to me, a significant difference between he-said/she-said cases among military personnel, as opposed to similar cases in the civilian world. With very few exceptions (only UT and SC, I think), adultery is not illegal under civilian law.

              It's also what made the assault/sodomy charges a weak case - in the absence of physical evidence (the accuser couldn't even remember when the events occurred, and wound up specifying a 3-month period), a ridiculously detailed history of the affair (seriously, have you read what came out in court?) and a less than cooperative accuser (she openly stated that she didn't want the more serious charges brought forward), I'm completely unsurprised that the prosecutors went with a plea deal. I strongly suspect that civilian prosecutors would have done the same.

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

              by wesmorgan1 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:19:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  no, they don't have to be perfect (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but it would help if they didn't lie on the stand under oath.

            •  ,,,and anyway, she wanted it ,,, (0+ / 0-)

              Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

              by hawkseye on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 01:34:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Rape defense ALWAYS attacks the victim (4+ / 0-)

            It's usually all they have.  A rape trial is a disgusting thing.  Although there are theoretically protections now, it's still essentially Rush Limbaugh's view of women.  She must be a slut.

            After working with rape victims (many very clear cases), I would never report it if I was raped myself.

            The days of No-Rape-Unless-There's-An-Independent-Witness aren't really gone.

            •  Rape was neither accused nor charged. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Square Knot, Sparhawk, geez53

              The accusation was one of forced oral sex on two occasions. That's why the charge was two counts of 'forcible sodomy,' not two counts of rape.

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

              by wesmorgan1 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:20:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Wait what? (0+ / 0-)

              So our single biggest problem is underreporting of sex crimes.  Predators take advantage of the fact that most crimes go unreported.  Yet what this Diary and may more buy Ms. Clawson rail against is the military not doing enough about sex crimes.  And the biggest club she uses to beat the military with are the UNREPORtED crimes that are not punished.  And then you say you would not report a crime if it happened to you.  Please explain how we punish unreported crimes?

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

              by ksuwildkat on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 04:04:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Because civilian prosecutors (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          are more unbiased than military ones?

          Not that the military is a bastion of perfection, but if the political world of civilian processors got intermixed i can only imagine things would get worse.

          On both that sides of the fence, prosecutors in this modern age seem to be incredibly erratic.  Going after cases which they should never touch, and dropping really significant ones.

          The state of the law profession is an embarrassment in this nation.  

    •  THe message that the military sends (7+ / 0-)

      is that they are bloody incompetent and a bunch of yahoos who couldn't manage an organization decently.  I'd say that the entire top command needs to be fired and perhaps get some civilians in their who know how to find their own butts with both hands a map and a flashlight.  I can't believe we waste trillions on these nincompoops.

      •  So its hang um high? (0+ / 0-)

        I guess it would be ok if an admitted criminal and proven liar said you did something, presented no evidence and then we held a trial with a predetermined outcome and found you guilty.  That is the system you are ok with?

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

        by ksuwildkat on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 04:06:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obviously since he say what the fuck he wants (8+ / 0-)

    he is also fucking credible since he is a general.

    Don't we have a front we can send him to?

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:28:14 AM PDT

  •  This guy is a complete sex addict and mysoginist (9+ / 0-)
    Instead, Sinclair faced a maximum of 18 months in jail for inappropriate relationships with junior female officers, possessing pornography on his laptop while deployed in Afghanistan, misusing his government credit card to visit his mistress, using derogatory language to refer to female officers, and obstructing the military investigation into his conduct.
    Makes you wonder what else he got away during his long career.
    And this from WaPo;

    Disgraced Army general, Jeffrey A. Sinclair, gets $20,000 fine, no jail time

    He was only the third Army general to face court-martial in 60 years, a measure that critics called emblematic of the military’s reluctance to hold senior commanders accountable for all kinds of wrongdoing.

    Although Sinclair was pleased with the outcome, his chief accuser and some advocacy groups for sex-crime victims expressed deep disappointment. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) called the sentence “a mockery of military justice” and a “laughable punishment.”

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:35:12 AM PDT

  •  Forget those pipedreams about the most principled (6+ / 0-)

    ...holding the positions of power in this country. Clearly, nowadays it is the least decent amongst us who hold the power.

    Including, but certainly not limited to, rapists like Sinclair.

    "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy"-- James Madison

    by Bad Cog on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:38:08 AM PDT

  •  Please do better research. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, Victor Ward

    It isn't "mistreatment," but rather maltreatment; it's a specific charge under Article 93 of the UCMJ. If you go read the particulars for Article 93 in the Manual for Courts Martial, you'll see that (for all intents and purposes) it is the "lesser charge" where assault/harassment are concerned.

    Military courts can work only within the framework of the UCMJ. If you don't like the fact that Sinclair was able to cut this deal, then no shuffling of commanders or prosecutors can change that; you need to be working on Congress to change the UCMJ. (Oh, and you'll also need to explain why such plea deals should be stricken from military proceedings while they remain an everyday occurence in the civlian courts.)

    Oh, and despite your gratuitous shot at "military commanders", it should be noted that the commander involved in this case did exactly what you've been advocating - he sent the case to a court martial, as the preliminary Article 32 hearing recommended. He didn't derail the process, and he didn't overturn the sentence. You should have no heartburn with the commander in this case whatsoever.

    Your beef is with the UCMJ and the specific court martial, not the commanders who sent the case to trial.

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

    by wesmorgan1 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:56:39 AM PDT

    •  My beef is with a culture in the military that... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Penny GC, arlene, tgrshark13, Sunspots

      ...tries to sweep sexual harassment under the rug. It is not just the UCMJ that needs changing, laws can always be circumvented.

      Do you agree that there is a problem?

      The first step in a recovery is admitting you have a problem.

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:03:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course there's a problem. (4+ / 0-)

        Forgive me for speaking bluntly, but there's also a problem for prosecutors/judges when it comes to discerning between wanted and unwanted sexual contact/conduct.

        Both the General and his accuser violated the UCMJ when they initiated their affair. They continued to do so for three years - it was only when the affair went south that the accuser filed charges. (Those details came out during the court martial process.)

        That's a VERY different situation from that of a superior forcing unwanted attentions on an unwilling subordinate.

        Is Sinclair a dirtball? Absolutely. Was there enough credible evidence to convict on assault/sodomy charges? Let's just say that I'm not surprised that both sides went for a plea deal. Read the article I linked and see what you think...

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

        by wesmorgan1 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:41:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because women in an established (0+ / 0-)

          Relationship can't be raped, or something?  Because abuse of all kindsisn't more likely once a relationship has lost its luster and no one is trying any longer to impress?  No wait, that's not true.  You may think you're just trying to be fair here, but there are several quite toxic myths about rape and sexual abuse embedded in your assumptions.

        •  This General seems to have a (0+ / 0-)

          Serious problem with "initiating affairs".  Of course his "initiation" packs a hell of a weight, those he initiated not so much.....but nothing to see here...just your average run of the mill affair where one participant can utterly destroy the other if they don't play along.

      •  Sure there is a problem (0+ / 0-)

        with PEOPLE.  PEOPLE.  As long as PEOPLE believe its ok, there will be a problem.  Please direct me to perfect land where this dent happen.  Name ONE business, university, government that has not had issues with this?  PEOPLE do this.  Is it totally lost on you that the only reason you know about this is that the SYSTEM brought charges against him?

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

        by ksuwildkat on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:30:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I love how you want to be considered (0+ / 0-)

          An average human being.  It lasts only as long as your desire to be average.  It is then replaced by desiring hero status in protecting the nation and taking the lives of other beings when ordered.

          I prefer hanging with my spouse thank you very much to ever hanging with you.  In the military, particularly when you have acquired some rank and can order the lives of others, you are no longer average.  With your power comes an equal responsibility to others, you are no longer average and should never seek solace or hide in such cowardly words.

          •  Don't flattery yourself (0+ / 0-)

            Please lets get one thing clear - I never ever ever want to meet your crazy self.  How you took anything I said here was wishing to "hang" with you shows how crazy you are.

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

            by ksuwildkat on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 08:02:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't flatter yourself either (0+ / 0-)

              Wasn't offering any sort of meeting or relationship.  I steer clear of abusers, as far away from them as I can get.  But underlings in uniform don't have such choices, and the pigs run wild being protected by other pigs.

    •  No facts please (0+ / 0-)

      They don't agree with the narrative of military bad.  

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

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:28:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is getting painfully obvious in this country (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, glitterscale, Sunspots

    that there are two sets of laws: one for the powerful and one for you and me. Be it a general who was found guilty of sexual assault charges or Wall Streeters who shattered this country's economy with devastating effects on ordinary citizens, jail time was not part of their punishment.

    This glaring injustice is outrageous, made more so by the men (it usually is men) who misuse their power in their affront of equal justice. In our democratic society it is Congress that is supposed to balance the scales of justice and see that equal justice is evenly applied. Think of that when your Congressperson fills you with malarkey and asks for your vote.      

  •  Oh, and I'll say something even more unpopular... (0+ / 0-)

    When a person subject to the UCMJ admits to violations, their credibility as a witness IS affected. In this case, the accuser engaged in a consensual affair--by her own admission--and filed charges only when the affair went south after three years.

    So, that's really "Yeah, I knowingly violated the UCMJ for three years, but now I'm filing charges against the person with whom I violated the UCMJ."

    As the Washington Post reported in the article linked above:

    It was an illicit and volatile love affair that spanned two war zones and four countries. The married general couldn’t stay away from a captain on his staff. She fell hard for her boss and called him “Poppa Panda Sexy Pants.”
    During a pretrial hearing last year, the woman testified that the pair had sex in the general’s quarters in Iraq, in her car in a German parking lot, in plain sight on a hotel balcony in Arizona and in her cramped office in Afghanistan, among other places. Some soldiers wondered and snickered about their relationship, but nobody reported it.

    The depth of their passion might have remained hidden if the general and the captain hadn’t bombarded each other with explicit text messages. Defense attorneys have read many out loud in court.

    “You are my heart and world you beautiful magnificent man,” the captain texted the general in September 2011, during one of their tamer exchanges. “I need you and I mean really deeply profusely need you.”

    Many of the text messages betray a dark side to the affair — angry accusations from the unmarried captain, as well as threats to kill herself or expose the affair to Sinclair’s superiors. During an evidentiary hearing at Fort Bragg, she testified that they fought continually but usually made up afterward.

    It should be noted that the accuser secured immunity for herself - she won't face any charges under the UCMJ. Here's a question for you - what kind of commander do you think she will make, given that she's already spent years violating military law?

    I don't think this was as open-and-shut as some folks seem to believe.

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

    by wesmorgan1 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:26:10 AM PDT

    •  So, I guess he's just another poor SOB that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was led down the path to perdition by some vixen with a pretty face. Is that really what you mean? That's what it sound like you are saying.

      Sorry, I still find it really difficult to shed any tears for this a-hole, regardless of her character.

      "I guess you think you can psych me out by saying really random stuff." -Sora, Hollow Bastion, KH2

      by SphericalXS on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 02:34:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, heck no....he's a total dirtball... (8+ / 0-) I said in several other comments.  Sorry, I should have made that clear in this comment as well.

        I thought that the charges to which he entered guilty pleas should have been sufficient to dismiss him from the service. That punishment was available to the court under the UCMJ, but I strongly suspect that the finding of "undue political influence" made that a near-impossibility.

        This is actually the other side of the coin where civilian control of the military is concerned.  Yes, when the President goes public and basically says "I want people who do this thrown out," you're going to get the argument that officers sworn to obey the Commander-in-Chief are likely to take that advice in mind when considering sentences.

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

        by wesmorgan1 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:25:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  no it means (4+ / 0-)

        it was two officers who completely abdicated their responsibilities under the law and their honor.

        Of course, the General, as the senior of the two, has a greatly increased responsibility and is greatly more culpable, particularly when he no doubt signed off on punishments for junior folks who did the exact same thing he did.

    •  Unequal power (0+ / 0-)

      There are reasons officers aren't supposed to have sexual relations with people whose lives they control.  There are many cases of retaliation, even when control is not as complete as in the military.  

      There would have been consequences if she had rejected him, whether they were explicitly laid out or not.  And, as a military officer, she was conditioned to obedience.

      •  Conditioned to obedience? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        riprof, Sparhawk, penguins4peace

        Are you suggesting that all those text messages and emails brought forth during the trial were just...acting on her part?  For three years?  Across multiple continents, two war zones, and all the rest?

        From the Washington Post article I linked:

        During an evidentiary hearing in November, she said that she still had feelings for Sinclair and that she had not wanted the Army to charge him with forcible sodomy or a violent crime.

        “It’s tearing me up, and in a [expletive] way I still love him, and I don’t want him to be upset with me,” she said. “I know it’s very messed up, but there’s a part of me that wants to believe that he really did love me and that I just misinterpreted his actions.”

        These words are coming from her state of being "conditioned to obedience"?

        I think not.

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

        by wesmorgan1 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:29:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, many of us are (0+ / 0-)

          Look up trauma survivors and some of the ways they betray even their souls attempting to survive trauma and abuse. Given this man's rank, his initial coming on to you was an abuse. This guy is a predator, and he was always fishing.  That is what trying to get other female soldiers to send him nude photos was about, predator busy fishing.

      •  actually that's not the reason (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, geez53, penguins4peace

        or at least not the sole reason.

        It certainly is a concern, but another concern is favoritism.  If you are sleeping with the boss you may get or be perceived to get favoritism, and in an organization that preaches meritocracy always, that's a killer thing to have happen.

        There may or may not have been consequences if she rejected him.  We don't know if he went after her, her after him, or it was a mutual attraction.

        I'm a military officer, and I am far from "conditioned to obedience."

    •  Again, you attempt to bring FACTS (0+ / 0-)

      to an arguement.  Its not worth it.  The original diary is part of the long term narrative that the military is bad.  Nothing will change that.  Not facts.  Not truth.  

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

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:33:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  roll/models (0+ / 0-)

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 12:45:59 PM PDT

  •  so the fact that she lied on the stand (5+ / 0-)

    during a pretrial hearing means nothing then?

    That's the "question about her credibility."
    Until that point, there were no real questions about her credibility.  It was when she likely committed perjury that questions arose.

    If the allegation is false, as you begrudgingly seem to concede, then you are left with a General who did some bad, but consensual things that have nothing to do with sexual assault.

    I personally would have liked to have seen a bigger punishment.  However, the Judge knew/knows that a retiree review board will effectively cut his retired rank to LTC and that's a fine of about $800K.

    I'd guess he'd trade a few months in jail if he could recoup that $800K.  I would have rather seen a dismissal which means no pension/retirement at all, but generally speaking, more senior folks don't have that happen for these types of crimes, and junior folks don't tend to get trials for these types of crimes, they get administratively punished.

    •  Therein lies the problem :(. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have no knowledge at all about the veracity of her claims, and since I'm not a party to the trial I accept them as true until shown otherwise.

      Having said that, it's indisputable that having a victim who has been documented in lies in the past makes a case very, very difficult - obviously, liars can be raped, but this was a horrible case to be tried in the national media.

      I believe that the way the military handles sexual assault desperately needs reform, but this case is not a good example of those problems for either "side" in that debate.  Sometimes cases just fall apart, even if the state's prosecutors sincerely believe the victim, and this is one of them.

      What I do find perverse is that UCMJ courts martial are taking President Obama's statements that more needs to be done about sexual assault in the military and turning them on their head, saying that they amount to undue command influence and using that to water down charges.  The POTUS may be at the top of the chain of command but he's also a politician and a leader and it's his job to take positions on important issues like that.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 12:14:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the issue there (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        geez53, penguins4peace, ksuwildkat

        is that the President is the ultimate "convening authority."

        The concern with UCI (undue command influence) is that you do not want panel members to think that because someone above them wants them to get tough on sexual assault crimes that they must in any particular case apply a different standard under the law then that given to them by the judge or the Constitution or the UCMJ.

        So, you don't want LTC Snuffy saying, well I know the standard is beyond reasonable doubt, and the government hasn't met their burden, but the General (or President) said he wants to get tough on sexual assault, and if I don't convict, my OER might not look so good.

        The dual role of the President here is the concern.  Members of Congress can say what they want.

        It's not perverse so much as it's complex.

        What reform do you believe the military needs in their justice system? What do you believe that reform will bring?

        •  Good argument(s) ....... Bad case for showcase (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          penguins4peace, wesmorgan1

          Amen to this:

          It's not perverse so much as it's complex.
          Whichever or whoever thought this case was a good rally point, because of the rank involved, should have slept on it for another day.  

          The only real winner here is media infotainment.

          21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

          by geez53 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 01:41:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And of course that is exactly what is happening (0+ / 0-)

          Effective 1 April every Evaluation Report for both Officers and NCOs will have a mandatory statement reflecting how the rated person dealt with any cases of a sexual nature.  It doesnt take a rocket surgeon to figure out what will get you a positive or negative version of the statement.  Worse, the BEST course of action is to have NOTHING to put in the block because you were not involved in any cases.  So we have incentivized "See no evil, hear no evil."  Someone starts telling you about something even remotely involving sex, stop immediately and punt them to SARC.  See an interaction that might possibly be not quite right?  Turn around an go the other way.  Nothing good can come from getting involved.  You thought victims were isolated in the past?  You aint seen nothing yet.

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

          by ksuwildkat on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:52:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  "Demotion" technicality (0+ / 0-)

    The question is Brigadier General, is that a temporary rank or a permanent rank?  In the old days, a person was promoted to a temporary rank which became permanent two years later, after remaining on active duty.

    So if a person retired before the two year obligation was up, they would retire at their "permanent rank" which was typically one grade lower.  To civilians this appears to be a demotion.

    Now, if he has a permanent rank of Brigadier General, then he could be demoted, but it is unlikely.  He will retire at whatever his permanent rank presently is.

    I'm from Johnson City.

    by Al Fondy on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 12:11:30 PM PDT

  •  as a vn vet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53, OleHippieChick

    i again proclaim the military are not an example of what america should be looking up to or telling its young to replicate.

  •  And those who make excuses for the men (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who rape are saying the problem is not the culture within the military that allows predators to get away with it, and for rank to make a difference in punishment, but that society's recent focus on sexual abuse pressured prosecutors to pursue bad cases.  

    What is a good case?  From recent history it would be a former nun who was raped at high noon on the parade ground with a thousand witnesses.  None of them in the military.

    She was drunk?  Her fault.  The sex went on for years?  Her fault.  The military seems to still believe that sexual assault is about sex - it's not, it's about power.

    •  A more clear-cut case... (0+ / 0-)

      ...would be an accuser who didn't participate willingly (and thus violate the UCMJ themselves), provided clear testimony, and came forward as soon as something untoward occurred.

      This case failed on all three counts.

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

      by wesmorgan1 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:02:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your comment makes me so fucking (0+ / 0-)

        Angry it isn't even funny.  When your commander makes it clear he/she wants a "deeper" relationship with you, you have two choices....and none that will be good for you in the existing system.  You succumb or you expose what they have attempted to do to you and a horrible he said she said unfolds that is usually very damaging to the subordinate/victim.  Your choices once your commander has crossed the sexual boundary line is damage and damage.

        With those being your choices within the framework of the existing system, some will choose to play along in order to survive and kick confronting the crime down the road.  It is very emotionally damaging though.  It is common place for victims of such abuse to invent feeling realities that do not exist in order to survive the abuse too.

        •  If, by "choose to play along"... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

 mean all this stuff:

          * continuing the affair for three years,
          * introducing him to her parents after he allegedly threatened to kill them,
          * keeping a private diary describing the relationship in "much more positive terms" than those of forced/pressured intimacy,
          * sending him birthday cards, and
          * exchanging thousands of intimate/explicit text messages and emails,
          then I think you're off the mark. I find it difficult to put all of these behaviors in the context of your 'forced to play along' suggestion.

          Sinclair is an absolute dirtball; there's no question on that point, and I thought he should have been dismissed from the service. However, it seems that he's going to pay a $2300 fine per month for the rest of his life (he's apparently going on the retired list as an O-5 instead of an O-7), which will exceed $800,000 in all if he lives another 30 years; that's pretty hefty.

          There are many, many details of this case that have not been discussed here; this Balloon Juice post is chock-full of links to various media reports and other information.

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

          by wesmorgan1 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 10:14:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So he pays a hefty fine, so what! (0+ / 0-)

            The basic morale and good order is destroyed here.  He gets off lightly.  I'll bet anything you only know a fraction of who he preyed upon. That's one thing you don't seem to be able to understand.  The closed system of the military provides an excellent climate and authority driven atmosphere for sexual predators to flourish in and the military has once again proven it has no way to really protect anyone from them as the system of consequences currently exists.  Any punishment exacted is laughable compared to the damage and abuse this man rolled in and spread.

            He was never on an equal playing field with his "mistress".  From day one power and intimidation were part of the core of whatever relationship he developed with her.  What a horrid abuser, and destroyed more than just the trust of a few women.

            I don't know what is going to stop this sexual corruption among individuals who possess such power over others.  The only thing I see being able to put an end to this abuse of those we entrust with their care are sting operations.  At this point sexual predators with a bit a rank have little to fear in real consequences.

        •  Oh, and even the prosecutors... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...were questioning her credibility after she changed her testimony in the face of computer forensics that flatly contradicted her earlier statements concerning her discovery of important evidence.

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

          by wesmorgan1 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 10:37:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Apologize (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Did he say he was "sorry if I offended anyone"? (standard scoundrel apology)

    "The more firearms a man owns, the smaller his member"-- Abraham Lincoln

    by truthronin on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 01:25:08 PM PDT

  •  General walks????? (0+ / 0-)

    Enough of this crap. It's time the ladies formed a Bobbic Brigade. A few nether parts hanging from the front gate as a lesson to the others perhaps. Your father(sic) has forsaken you. Time to resolve this yourselves.

    •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

      So being accused is enough to advocate for physical harm to someone.  You are disgusting.  More disgusting is the many people here who agree with you.

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

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:57:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The fucker is guilty (0+ / 0-)

        Was he ever leaving his spouse for any of these relationships that were fulfilling the needs I guess he couldn't have met at home?  This bastard is a predator.  He preyed upon women who he had incredible power over.  The fact that you claim to be in uniform and you experience no sense of shame over what a peer has done here is telling as hell....YOU are part of the problem.

        •  OMG (0+ / 0-)

          Are you really saying that the real problem is that he wasn't going to leave his wife and victimized the poor women who only wanted him to marry them instead?  You know, the women who knew he was married when they entered into a relationship with him.  

          Are you really blaming his wife for not "giving him what he needs"?  Head on over to RedState, they will welcome you with open arms.

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

          by ksuwildkat on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 08:00:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The picture says it all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The boys club is not going to punish one of their own.

  •  Guess I was wrong... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Militarytracy, waterstreet2013

    This stuff has to come out of the normal chain of command.  Sen. Gillibrand was/is right after all.

    ObamaCare! Sign-up by phone: 1-800-318-2596

    by mwm341 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 02:48:05 PM PDT

  •  Big Bad General (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This guy probably sent men and women to the brig for tossing cigarette butts on the ground.  Now, look at the break he gets.  I hope it changes his outlook on the world, but I doubt it.

    "The more firearms a man owns, the smaller his member"-- Abraham Lincoln

    by truthronin on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 05:15:08 PM PDT

  •  I wonder how long it takes after he retires (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    before the general gets hired by a TV network to provide "expert commentary" on sex abuse trials for a large salary.

    It's the great circle of life. . .

  •  A PLEA Deal? He had no mercy on the woman, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    yet he gets to ask for mercy and receive it? Makes me sick.

    Strange but not a stranger.

    by jnww on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 05:56:00 PM PDT

  •  Military Pensions (0+ / 0-)
    The new pension rules were part of the 2007 Defense Authorization Act to address concerns that the military would lose too many experienced generals and admirals during wartime.
    Previously , the maximum annual pension was based on an officer's pay at 26 years of service. Now, a four-star officer retiring in 2011 with 38 years' experience would get a yearly pension of about $219,600, a jump of $84,000, or 63% beyond what was once allowed. A three-star officer with 35 years' experience would get about $169,200 a year, up about $39,000, or 30%.

    Sinclair will have about 28 years.

    •  He will face a review (0+ / 0-)

      A board will be held and it will determine when his last "honorable" service took place.  It is likely they will determine it was as a LTC.  

      Im not sure what the point of posting that was.  Are you trying to make some statement about military pensions?

      What was left out of that was the REASON for lifting the cap at 30 years (the article is wrong about it being based on 26 years).  Previously the cap on additional retirement after 30 years was tied to when it was no longer possible to hold people on active duty.  A 30 years every service member was allowed to retire even if the military wanted them to stay.  Secretary Rumsfeld didn't like that.  he wanted to be abel to keep them past 30 years.  But since the law didn't allow for retire pay to continue increasing, it faced a certain legal challenge and loss in the courts.  Solution - change the laws allowing service members to continue increasing their retired pay past 30 years.  Now you have to serve to 40 before you are guaranteed retirement.  

      That change has created some very strange situations were Admiral Fallon was actually PAYING the military to come to work every day.  He had more than 40 years in the military and therefore was entitled to 100% of his pay.  But all military pay is capped at the "Level II of the Executive Schedule which is $15,125.10." (2014 number)  Once he retired Admiral Fallon was entitled to his actually pay - about $4000 a month HIGHER.  So for the last 4 years he was on active duty he was PAYING the military about $40,000 a year for the privilege of working 60-80 hours a week.

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

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 08:09:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A past JAG attorney at Talkleft brings up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The real dilemma.  This guy gets off because of undue command influence.  Claire McCaskill's bill preserving command influence has now become nothing more than a joke because look here.....commanders cannot after all exert morale saving and adjusting influence in rape and sexual assault cases.  Her bill is now just a damn joke and nothing more.

  •  "They're All Whxres, Aren't They?" (0+ / 0-)

    Neat motto. For the whole U.S. Army.

    That's a replacement for the prior "This We'll Defend" and "Keep It Simple, Stupid" and such as "Death From Above."

    They've gone from trying to impress their girlfriends to hating the lot of them. Women are worthless sludge.

    We have an Army General living, breathing a Grand Theft Auto mentality.

    So put it over the entrance to the building. Make it official. Get a pro to translate it to Latin. Get it right.

    And put that on the seal.

    "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Paul-Koch Ryan

    by waterstreet2013 on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 12:07:44 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site