Guest post: Brass bawls

Guest post by Reese Matthews.

Some in the US military’s chain of command are upset with the judicial system which has convicted at least one soldier of rape and harassment.

In their minds, any convictions amounts to an unfair trial system.

Dustup Over Military Appeals Judge Delaying Cases

Dozens of military criminal cases have been thrown into limbo because of a legal challenge over whether Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel improperly appointed a judge to the Air Force’s highest court, with attorneys raising questions about the judge’s independence amid increasing pressure over the military’s handling of sexual assault cases.


“The Secretary of Defense has been making a lot of statements related to sexual assaults, and here he is appointing Judge Soybel at will,” defense attorney Philip Cave, whose client was convicted in a sexual assault case now on appeal, told The Associated Press. “That creates not just an appointment problem, but a perception problem of whether or not Judge Soybel will be fair.”

The Air Force insists Soybel, who left the court in October, was unbiased and properly appointed. No hearings have been scheduled in the dispute.

Really? So sayeth the republicans and the defenders of the status quo. A memo that Hagel wrote on August 14th, 2013 was leaked, in which Hagel explicitly directed the courts to be impartial.

And by impartial, that means capable of rendering guilty verdicts when proven, not sweeping crimes under the rug.

Hagel aims to blunt Obama remarks on military sexual assault


“There are no expected or required dispositions, outcomes or sentences in any military justice case, other than what result from the individual facts and merits of a case and the application to the case of the fundamentals of due process of law,” Hagel wrote in the Aug. 6 memo, first reported by the New York Times.

In a directive dated Aug. 14, Hagel laid out those measures which include routine, independent reviews of sexual assault investigations, improving victim legal support, notification of top military leaders immediately after cases are reported, and prohibitions on inappropriate relations between trainers and trainees.

“Preventing the crime of sexual assault remains our focus,” Hagel wrote.

“When a crime does occur, we must ensure that victims’ rights are respected, they are provided responsive and timely support, and related investigations and judicial proceedings, if appropriate, are conducted in a thorough, professional, and fair manner.”

How unsurprising it is that the people who now complain about “impartiality” after legal convictions were the same people who supported George Bush’s kangaroo courts back in 2005. Bush and his gang of four (Rice, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Cheney) blathered about “the worst of the worst”, creating a sham court system to guarantee convictions. Instead, of more than a thousand held captive at Guantanamo, barely a handful have been convicted despite a weighted court.

And now that barely a handful of soldiers have been tried or convicted of rape, the same people are crying foul.

Nothing ever changes. And that’s exactly what some people want.


To my surprise, Ms. Benson asked me to write this item. My thanks to her for the opportunity.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    I was puzzled by the time-stamp on the comment pre-dating the OP.
    and wondered if you had developed arcane powers

  2. says

    Getting back to the article, thanks for posting it, it’s informative but quite unsurprising. I think it’s down to specks and beams in eyes, but being good Christians the people complaining wouldn’t know anything about that.

  3. says

    Why am I not surprised? One of the military prosecutors has been charged with sexual assault. So much for “not needing civilian oversight”.

    US army’s top sex assault prosecutor suspended over assault claims

    The top prosecutor in charge of sexual assault cases for the US army is under investigation and has been suspended for allegedly assaulting a lawyer working with him two years ago.

    News of the investigation of Lt Col Joseph “Jay” Morse, who supervised the army’s almost two dozen special victims prosecutors in charge of cases of sexual assault, domestic abuse and crimes against children, was first published in Stars and Stripes on Thursday. The story was confirmed to the Guardian by an army official.

    According to the Stripes website, a female army lawyer alleged that Morse tried to “kiss and grope her against her will” in a hotel room while they attended a 2011 conference on sexual assault. To date, no charges have been filed in the case, it said.

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