Who is going to resolve the problem of sexual assault in the military?


These people.

milcom

Fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?

Comments

  1. says

    I’ve always argued that heterosexuals should be banned from military service.

    (That’s a joke, but we should be aware that male-on-male sexual assault is quite common in the military. I know people who work at the VA who say that it’s a pervasive part of traumatic history. Most sexual violence in the military is committed against women, but I suspect that victimization of males is more common than it is in society generally as well.)

  2. says

    Clearly the best men for the job.

    I’m sure they will follow the best practices of old white male dominated panels and show the universal knowledge and universally applicable life experiences that can only come from being the most dominant of groups.

  3. says

    In response to a proposal from Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY) that would give military prosecutors the power to decide which sexual assault cases will go to trial, removing commanders from the process and clearing the way for service members to report crimes without fear of professional retaliation, Odierno bristled: “Making commanders less responsible and less accountable will not work.”

    How could commanders possibly be less accountable than they are right now? The whole point of this is that they’re already irresponsible and unaccountable. How could it get any worse? What kind of psychopathic Hellraiser-style horror scenario would the army have to be for them to be less accountable than they are right now?

  4. David Wilford says

    Sam the Eagle from the Muppet Show wouldn’t look out of place in that lineup.

  5. consciousness razor says

    In response to a proposal from Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY) that would give military prosecutors the power to decide which sexual assault cases will go to trial, removing commanders from the process and clearing the way for service members to report crimes without fear of professional retaliation, Odierno bristled: “Making commanders less responsible and less accountable will not work.”

    Wow. That dude is from outer space. It’s bad enough that it would stay in the military, but I guess that’s just not enough of a fucking compromise. How could taking it out of the chain of command make them less responsible, rather than, let’s say, ensuring that if they are responsible there’s at least a slim chance that they might be prosecuted for it? They have to be able to command what is and isn’t a crime? “Yes, sir. I was not assaulted, sir. Thank you for your time, sir.” Fuck these people.

  6. barfy says

    And you wonder why the MRA’s talk about you bashing men?
    I bet you couldn’t name one of these men, nor speak to their integrity.
    Your dumbass stereotyping proves the point of man-bashing that you have been accused of engaging in. You are a fucking idiot when it comes to this subject. Blinded by a cantankerous and toxic nature that freely engages in sexism, as long as it’s against the proper sex.

    Now, if you want to talk about a patriarchal SYSTEM whose history and current practices need serious revision – fine. And yes, these men represent the highest levels of that system. But, although I don’t know this to be true, I would GUESS that every one of them is disappointed and possibly infuriated at the sexual harassment that plagues the military.

    Anyway, when you throw pictures up of people and slime them due solely to their sex…shame on you.

  7. consciousness razor says

    And you wonder why the MRA’s talk about you bashing men?

    No need to wonder. They’re clueless assholes like you. That’s why.

  8. says

    Barfy, I think the point is that these are the same guys who have been in charge all along. Now suddenly they’re going to reform the system they came up through and have been running for years, when they never even seemed to notice this problem before while it was happening all around them?

  9. karmacat says

    I wish for every military sexual assault that a million dollars would be taken out of the defense budget and given to the VA. I bet they would then have enough motivation to stop sesxual assaults. Can’t let those poor little defense contractors go without money

  10. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Clenched jaws all the way down.

    Ha, I was just about to call them “The Jaw Bunch,” but you beat me to it.

  11. WharGarbl says

    It looks like a line-up of four stars generals.
    Sadly, Ann E. Dunwoody (the first and ONLY woman to achieve the rank of 4-star general) retired last year, else we MIGHT get a woman in there.
    Might.

  12. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    And you wonder why the MRA’s talk about you bashing men?

    Pointing that everyone in the photo are men does not mean that men are “being bashed”. Logic fail.

    I bet you couldn’t name one of these men, nor speak to their integrity.

    And yet this problem has been happening under their watch. Also, just because a person is a leader in the military does not mean that integrity is part of their make up. Watch out for those stereotypes.

    Your dumbass stereotyping proves the point of man-bashing that you have been accused of engaging in.

    Oh, stereotyping is fine as long as you are trying to make a rhetorical point.

    You are a fucking idiot when it comes to this subject. Blinded by a cantankerous and toxic nature that freely engages in sexism, as long as it’s against the proper sex.

    So barfy (And may I say, the perfect name for the likes of you.) are you so blinded by your own repeatedly demonstrated hatred of PZ Myers that you are willing to ignore the real problem of sexual assaults in the military.

    Also, why not make the same argument to Chris Hayes and every other person who pointed out that there are no women in that panel?

    Oh, wait, it was just your time to yell at PZ again.

    (I will say no more about barfy on this thread. I have derailed enough as it is. Let it get back on topic.)

    Now, if you want to talk about a patriarchal SYSTEM whose history and current practices need serious revision – fine. And yes, these men represent the highest levels of that system. But, although I don’t know this to be true, I would GUESS that every one of them is disappointed and possibly infuriated at the sexual harassment that plagues the military.

    Anyway, when you throw pictures up of people and slime them due solely to their sex…shame on you.

  13. Susan says

    My friend Geri Lynn Matthews and her husband, Michael–a MST (military sexual trauma) assault victim–could easily tell you just how little the upper echelons of the military care about the subject. Yes, white men (like Michael) in command letting it go and dismissing it, Barfy.

    I suggest two movies in which Geri Lynn and Michael had a part (the first one won an award at Sundance and was up for the Oscars for best documentary. the second premiers this weekend in Albuquerque, NM)::

    http://invisiblewarmovie.com/ (100% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes)
    http://www.justicedeniedmovie.com/

    Maybe Barfy’s eyes will be opened.

  14. says

    I bet you couldn’t name one of these men, nor speak to their integrity.

    Actually, I can.

    However, this is about the failures that have occurred on their watch. This is, judging from their responses, about their apparent lack of understanding of the problem. This is about an institution that resists necessary reform by treating it as a threat to the authority of the leadership.

    As the men at the top of the command chain they must take responsibility and their failures to date, their appalling reaction to criticism and to proposals for improvement, do not give me confidence they will do anything substantive in the future unless forced to by a civilian authority.

  15. says

    I would GUESS that every one of them is disappointed and possibly infuriated at the sexual harassment that plagues the military.

    I guess you didn’t bother to read the actual article. I’ve even quoted one of the problematic points above.
    Reading, fact checking; who needs that shit when you’ve got opinions.

    Anyway, when you throw pictures up of people and slime them due solely to their sex…

    Nobody has done that, you lying sack of shit. They’re being criticized for their words and actions, not their gender.

    You might be taken more seriously if you respond to what people are actually saying, rather than your bizarro-world reinterpretations. Yeah, fat chance.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    cervantes @ # 1: … male-on-male sexual assault is quite common in the military.

    The people who made the powerful Invisible War documentary have a follow-up coming (Justice Denied, due this month) on this very subject.

  17. dickspringer says

    As a former enlisted man I know that some commanding officers are brilliant but too many are self-important fools. Giving the fools the right not only to give out “Get out of jail free” cards to their favorites but also to railroad subordinates they see as trouble makers is the antithesis of a justice system. The powers that be want to keep all power in the hands of those who now have it.

  18. Gregory Greenwood says

    All men, all middle aged or older, all white – oh yeah; there is obviously nothing unbalanced or prejudicial about having a panal like this deal with the issue of sexual assault in the military…

    How can anyone not see the glaring problem here?

    ————————————————————————————————————————–

    barfy @ 10;

    And you wonder why the MRA’s talk about you bashing men?

    We don’t wonder, we know why – it is because they are ranting, misogynistic bigots who react to anyone pointing out the existence of systemic sexism against women in society as if it is all part of an evil conspiracy to oppress men. Confronted with their unearned privilege, they refuse to examine their own behaviour, and instead lash out at women and those men who don’t toe the dude-bro-approved sexist line.

    I bet you couldn’t name one of these men, nor speak to their integrity.

    Given the prior track record of the military on issues of sexual assault – a military in which these men have almost certainly held significant power for a number of years given their rank – it seems highly doubtful that they have the commitment to issues of social justice that you seem to fondly imagine. But even if, against all odds, they are all bastions of progressive values and human rights, it doesn’t alter the fact that this is a panel dealing with sexual assault in the military – a crime that disproportionately effects women, and in particular women from marginalised groups – and every single one of them is a white man all drawn from a comparatively narrow middle-age bracket. Even with the best will in the world, they are simply incapable of understanding or reflecting the interests and concerns of the people who are the most likely victims of rape and sexual assault in the military. The panal, as it stands, is simply incapable of being fit for that role, even if its members are all well meaning. Intent is not magic.

    Your dumbass stereotyping proves the point of man-bashing that you have been accused of engaging in. You are a fucking idiot when it comes to this subject. Blinded by a cantankerous and toxic nature that freely engages in sexism, as long as it’s against the proper sex.

    It is hardly sexist to observe that the best people to deal with a systemic problem of sexual assaault may not be the very people who have presided for years over the system that allowed the crisis to arise in the first place, and neither is it sexist to observe that an issue that disproportionately effects women is not best dealt with by a panal consisting entirely of men.

    I think you need to ask yourself who it is in this conversation that is being ‘blinded’ by ‘cantankerous and toxic’ sexism. We aren’t the ones who think it is fine to entirely freeze women out of any position of authority when dealing with the scourge of rape in the military, afterall…

    Now, if you want to talk about a patriarchal SYSTEM whose history and current practices need serious revision – fine. And yes, these men represent the highest levels of that system. But, although I don’t know this to be true, I would GUESS that every one of them is disappointed and possibly infuriated at the sexual harassment that plagues the military.

    What makes you suppose that this patriarchal system simply arose and exists independently from the people who benefit from it? Has it occured to you that one of the things that maintains any system of patrirachy is the fact that there are classes of people who derive unearned privilege from that system, and so work to defend that privilege? And in a system of patriarchy, the principle beneficiaries of the system are those men who already hold high status? You are suggesting that we should set the wolf to guard the flock, and cursing us as being wolf-phobic for suggesting that this might not be the best idea.

    And as for your guess at their motivations; we have solid reasons for our doubts as to their good faith given the existing track record of the military with regard to this issue – a clearly toxic, patriarchal authority sustem in which they have held high rank and power for a substantial period of time. Your guess as to their good intentions seems to be based either on wishful thinking, confirmation bias, or an amazing skill for mind-reading hitherto unknown to science.

    Anyway, when you throw pictures up of people and slime them due solely to their sex…shame on you.

    You really don’t get it, do you? This is not about the fact that each of them is individually male, it is about the fact that the entire panel dealing with sexual assault in the military is exclusively male. That distinction is rather important.

  19. magistramarla says

    I wouldn’t even be comfortable with giving MILITARY prosecutors the power to decide which sexual assault cases went to trial. They are still part of the chain of command, and so are part of the good ol’ boy military network. I feel that sexual assault crimes should be reported to local civilian authorities and prosecuted by the local prosecutor’s office in the community.

  20. says

    Most of the guys in the military line up look like reasonable, mostly nice white guys. No doubt they are expert in various fields. However, they also look like guys who were raised in an environment that was largely clueless about women, and then their career paths protected them from getting a clue.

    This is going to be a hard nut to crack.

  21. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?

    No.

    No it does not.

  22. No One says

    Here you go “barfy” a direct quote from the article:

    “But they collectively resisted some of the more robust changes that have been proposed. “I recommend a measured approach,” said Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff.

    In response to a proposal from Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY) that would give military prosecutors the power to decide which sexual assault cases will go to trial, removing commanders from the process and clearing the way for service members to report crimes without fear of professional retaliation, Odierno bristled: “Making commanders less responsible and less accountable will not work.” ”

    Note that Sen. Gillibrand did not ask that commanders be less responsible and accountable. But the suggestion was reframed to keep the power in the “good old boys” network.

  23. David Marjanović says

    And the corners of the mouth of every single one point strictly downwards.

    I bet you couldn’t name one of these men,

    What for?

    nor speak to their integrity.

    The issue is that, as men (especially of their age), it’s highly likely that they have no first-, second- or even third-hand experience with sexual assault. Integrity won’t help them when they simply don’t understand the subject matter.

    That’s probably why they haven’t done anything so far.

    As stated

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    I wouldn’t even be comfortable with giving MILITARY prosecutors the power to decide which sexual assault cases went to trial.

    The only reason I can see for allowing the military its own system of justice is that sometimes in war it has to go fast and there’s no civilian court around, or perhaps sometimes national-security secrets are involved that a civilian judge wouldn’t even understand. In all other situations, it’s downright perverse to keep crimes in the family.

    What have I overlooked?

  24. says

    @ OP

    Fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?

    Unequivocally: No!

    @ CR

    It’s bad enough that it would stay in the military

    Very good point. If the military really wants to act responsibly, they should kick all issues pertaining to sexual assault back to the civilian system and try them in an open court. That should be the measure and the stick that keeps them in line, instead of the one-hand-clapping under-wraps fuckup that allows current iniquities to flourish.

    Listen Military: If you don’t keep your minions away from that cliff-edge, they will go over – out of your control – and face a civilian court. Your options do not include cover-ups, but only preventing that behaviour which will undoubtedly lead to full civil or criminal prosecution. No “special dispensations”. Ever.

  25. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @1.cervantes :

    Most sexual violence in the military is committed against women, but I suspect that victimization of males is more common than it is in society generally as well.)

    In all cases, sexual violence goes unreported at an unknown but definitley higher rate tahn is “officially” the case.

    @10. barfy :

    And you wonder why the MRA’s talk about you bashing men?

    You wanna answer your own rhetorical question there and care to note the fact there are no women on a group assigned to discuss what is mostly violence against women?

    I bet you couldn’t name one of these men, nor speak to their integrity.

    Can you? Seriously I’m curious – also suspicious but curious too. FWIW how many can you name
    barfy and how well do you know ’em?

    Your dumbass stereotyping proves the point of man-bashing that you have been accused of engaging in.

    Bzzt. No it doesn’t. Hint this isn’t stereotyping. Or man-bashing.

    You are a fucking idiot when it comes to this subject. Blinded by a cantankerous and toxic nature that freely engages in sexism, as long as it’s against the proper sex.

    The? Proper? Sex?

    Noted.

    Well, you are entitled to your erronous opinion of PZ’s views and “nature” I ‘spose. (Shrug.)

    Now, if you want to talk about a patriarchal SYSTEM whose history and current practices need serious revision – fine. And yes, these men represent the highest levels of that system.

    So you concede that then .. good.

    But, although I don’t know this to be true, I would GUESS that every one of them is disappointed and possibly infuriated at the sexual harassment that plagues the military.

    You’d fucken well hope so wouldn’t you! Any that doesn’t there’s something wrong with ’em.

    Also so what? Yeah the generals aren’t likely happy about it. Does that make this ideal or mean they have experience or particular expertise here? I don’t think so.

    Anyway, when you throw pictures up of people and slime them due solely to their sex…shame on you.

    Reading comprehension failure on your part there barfy. Major case thereof.

    Also shame on you right back for that and your obvious trolling in this area.

    (Checks to see if nym really is “barfy” – confirmed. Yeesh.)

    PS. Haven’t read whole or even much of thread so apologies if this covers old ground or repeats others points already made but wanted to express my takedown of that anyhow. If someone has already made the points here – consider this me seconding them, please.

  26. says

    Unfortunately, the classic military mindset of “embrace the suck” is not conducive of sensitivity, and is a big problem in a lot of areas other than sexual assault. I have seen some progress, though. They’ve stopped throwing powerpoint presentations and PSAs at us and actually put together a more interactive workshop they call Afterburner which addresses slut-shaming, Schrodinger’s Rapist, and victim blaming, instead encouraging diligence on the part of bystanders and educating potential perpetrators of what rape actually IS. The butthurt is strong with a lot of Soldiers who are forced to attend (one guy in my unit was shaking with rage that they said having sex with a drunk person was rape because he said it implied he’d been raped because he liked getting falling down drunk before having sex for some reason), but that might be a good sign.

  27. Zeppelin says

    They’re military commanders. Their chosen profession is to efficiently organise the large-scale killing of human beings. I wouldn’t expect them to care much what happens to their cannon fodder unless you can convince them that rape is significantly harming their forces’ performance in killing people.

    Which realistically it probably isn’t, which in itself says a lot about war and the military.

  28. says

    And you wonder why the MRA’s talk about you bashing men?
    I bet you couldn’t name one of these men, nor speak to their integrity.

    Putting aside the fact that you are siding with the MRAs without a trace of irony. Please consider this: It is a group formed entirely on military, white men.

    This has nothing to do with their integrity or credentials. Regardless of how well-intentioned they might be. They have a huge lack of perspective on the topic . If the people with this lack of perspective were only 50% or even 75% it wouldn’t matter (as long as they have integrity and good intentions, of course), because they could at least listen to the other 25% and have a remote idea of what they are doing.

    I know that maybe you really hate the possibility that white men may not have all the knowledge and experience needed for one topic. But at least in the case of sexual assault in the military, they most likely don’t.

  29. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @24. Gregory Greenwood :

    All men, all middle aged or older, all white – oh yeah; there is obviously nothing unbalanced or prejudicial about having a panal like this deal with the issue of sexual assault in the military… How can anyone not see the glaring problem here?

    Beats me, mate.

  30. says

    @Barfy

    If you saw a picture of a panel convened to look at the issue of the clerical sexual abuse of children, and the panel consisted entirely of ageing bishops who – it would be reasonable to suppose – were beneficiaries of the system they were supposed to be scrutinising, this wouldn’t fill you with confidence in the outcome of their deliberations, would it?

    This is a lot like that, only this time, because you don’t get to beat up on religion, it seems somehow… different.

  31. jacklewis says

    “Fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?”

    PZ, you could have put up your own picture there and the caption would still be OK right?
    Unless you actually have some relevant information on the people in that picture you wish to share beyond guilt by virtue of having male genitalia.

  32. rowanvt says

    Jacklewis. You get +1 obliviousness point! Please spend it wisely.

    To clue you in a little, these are the same men who have been in charge while numerous sexual assaults against women AND MEN have occurred. Assaults that are frequently dismissed as unimportant.

    If the higher ups in the catholic church have been shown willing over and over to cover up sexual abuse in their ranks, why do you think the military would not?

  33. left0ver1under says

    When the vatican started “investigating” child molestation, who did they put in charge of it? They chose priests, bishops and cardinals who were complicit in the rape of children (both participants and silent observers).

    Among the “brass” in the US military chosen to “investigate” sexual assault, how many of them were guilty of sexually harassing and/or raping women? Most of them, I’d wager.

  34. says

    I was listening to NPR this week and they were citing statistics that the number of assaults were increasing as they increased by-stander education.

    I’m curious to see if this is actually a sign that the education is working and things are simply being reported now instead of ignored. Of course this would also signify the problem is much worse than initially anticipated.

  35. crocodoc says

    @24 Gregory Greenwood
    What a well-written, factual reponse. Big applause.

  36. Ogvorbis: ArkRanger of Doom! says

    Among the “brass” in the US military chosen to “investigate” sexual assault, how many of them were guilty of sexually harassing and/or raping women? Most of them, I’d wager.

    I doubt that more than one or two actually raped or directly harassed women. What was most likely done by all was aiding and abetting those who did to protect officers and senior enlistetd who were reliable, or were part of the right power block, or were supporters of that senior officer. The good old boys network was, and is, very good at protecting the officers and men who accurately parrot the proper good old boys.

  37. twincats says

    Katherine Lorraine, that was awesome. One could probably throw in a few grumpy cats as well.

    After hearing what they had to say, however, the picture I get in my mind is a roomful of Eric Cartmans screaming “You must respect mah authoriTAH!!”

  38. says

    They, the Brass, don’t want to relinquish power. But they have no option, there is to much conflict of interests for the commanders to take those decisions.

  39. Menyambal --- son of a son of a bachelor says

    Well, if you are one of the confused people who think that knowing the individual white men on the panel is important, they are the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as stated in the first line of the article PZ linked to.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Chiefs_of_Staff

    http://www.jcs.mil/

    The big guy in the middle is Raymond T. Odierno, the 38th and current Chief of Staff of the Army. His Wiki page is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_T._Odierno His official JCS page is http://www.jcs.mil/biography.aspx?ID=132

    See? Google. Just a mouse-move away.

  40. auraboy says

    Sorry long time lurker (though I am on the first FTB posts). I’m English, though was, very briefly, in the Airforce and worked with the US forces. My girlfriend at the time complained of sexual discrimination within the UK forces – it was clear and pathetic – but after meeting US service personnel, the women in the Airforce and Navy discussed an almost institutional rape and cover-up atmosphere – which I am sorry to say, I almost refused to believe at the time. But after speaking with a lot of men on joint forces exercises – the mass gang rape of women recruits was not something that was denied. The one vague light was the number of men who had complained and refused to accept this sort of behaviour – but from a UK perspective – we always looked up to the US, as it accepted female combat personnel long before we did (or at least seemed to be trying compared to our class and education based hierarchy) but the utterly ‘casual’ way it looked at rape was enough for us to avoid them.

    I don’t know if this is a US thing. We certainly had rape and sexual assault issues with UK forces, but a friend in the SAS special forces in Iraq mentioned they would have nothing to do with the US forces as they were far too into torture and sexual assault and described them as ‘dumb fucking yanks with too much penis and not enough balls’. A friend in the SBS even held a gun to a US Marine who wanted to engage in rape.

    I am nothing to do with UK military culture any longer and have left the service in my 20s a few years back but retain a lot of ties. I can say we all looked up to the US in many ways – perhaps it’s total disregard for class boundaries seemed somehow idyllic – but the tales of institutional sexual assault left us sickened.

  41. brianpansky says

    apparently catholics in charge of repeatedly mishandled abuse is obviously wrong…but swapped to a military situation, it’s all “thoz feminists are sexist”.

    basically sums up the “only religion is sexist” vibe i get from the mra atheists.

  42. imthegenieicandoanything says

    They are men of honor. They will do whatever is best for the men under their command. It is their sacred oath to think of the safety and comfort of all their men.

    Man!

  43. says

    If the good old boys had let any women have 3 or 4 stars on their shoulders, I’m sure the members of the GOP would make sure they weren’t invited to speak. I need to add the military brass to my default “get back to me when this is 50% female” MRA whiner response list of power positions that are crowded with too many penises.

  44. says

    The downside of all the nice bling bling those guys are wearing, and the staffers that carry their oxygen tanks, and their nice big offices, and the salutes and parades is: you’re responsible for what happens under your command. Period. All those rapes? Happened on these guys’ watch. Under their command. Relentless military logic has its downsides and, for these guys, it’s all down: there are systemic problems in their commands – not isolated incidents – systemic problems. That’s what they get all the fancy ribbons and salutes for, and they failed.

  45. says

    If I was Obama I’d install a female Secretary of Defense as soon as the hearings are done.

    The problem with the military is that it’s deeply dysfunctional. Procurement is criminal, a lot of good people left because they couldn’t stand Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld promoted cronyism and rah-rah artists over competent people, and it’s been festering for a while. Add a smidgeon of inglorious defeat and exhaust the reserves by rotating them through Iraq and Afghanistan more than they signed up for, and you’ve got a big paper tiger that is competent to knock over third world dictatorships at 50x what it’d cost to just buy the dictator out of office.

  46. calgor says

    @Auraboy

    I second much of your opinion of US Forces, having left the UK Military just recently.

    I am dumbfounded that any commanding officer could be so wilfully ignorant to the point of appearing to indirectly support such activities. (If I had to go in front of my boss for a grilling on a subject, I would at least make sure I had crammed the subject). I am also surprised of the autonomy that US COs appear to have regarding criminal investigations under their authority.

    I find it incomprehensible that a military organisation which has done so much to open up equal opportunities for women, could fail so utterly in instilling basic decency…

    While the UK military still have a lot of issues to resolve regarding equality issues (gender, race & LGBT), the lessons learnt from incidents like Deepcut have definitely been taken to heart and I could not imagine any competent UK CO tolerating such activity under their watch. In fact, any activity that was an explicit criminal activity (rape, assault etc) would not be allowed to remain under that CO’s remit to investigate…

    For ”less serious” (ie non-criminal) sexual issues such as workplace gender discrimination, every UK military unit should now have personnel with specialist training to be first points of contact regarding these situations. While they would come under the CO’s command, it would be a foolish UK CO who tried to interfere, especially since such activity has to be recorded with agencies external to the CO’s unit.

    From personal experience of those I have worked for, the CO would be very interested in any and all such incidents but would take great pains to insure everything was done ‘by the book’, partly because it was their ass on the line (see above paragraph), but primarily because the best way to retain unit trust was to show that justice was fair and undertaken when exposed.

    While there are many things for the UK military to be ashamed of (treatment of prisoners etc.), The work towards equality is not one of them.

  47. Menyambal --- son of a son of a bachelor says

    For what it’s worth, I think that the photo at the head of this article shows only three of the Joint Chiefs, and three of their assistants. And one guy is the chairman, so the other two are his subordinates, so to speak.

    From the camera, first is an assistant, then his boss, General Dempsey, the Chairman of Joint Chiefs (an Army man, but not there as *the* Army guy), then *the* Army guy, Odierno, the Chief of Staff of the Army, then his assistant, then General Amos, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and then his assistant.

    So only three of the old white men are technically in charge of the investigation, but their assistants are also white men, and they do have to have assistants, now, don’t they? And everybody else in charge is also a white man.

    A girlfriend from a few decades back said she got harassed a lot while in the Army, but her complaints were dismissed with “boys will be boys”. The boys are supposed to be soldiers, dammit, and the generals are supposed to be in charge, aware and responsible.

    In the U S of A, the civilian government is in charge of the military, and has every right to clear this mess up. The military has the duty to obey, and the duty to have not let this problem develop in the first place.

    Every US military person is a citizen of the United States and is entitled to all the protection and service of the US and its laws. Any obstruction of that person’s rights by the military is wrong.

  48. Anri says

    Not that I think Barfy will actually be back to do something as revolutionary as backing up anything they have to say, but here’s hoping:

    And you wonder why the MRA’s talk about you bashing men?
    I bet you couldn’t name one of these men, nor speak to their integrity.
    Your dumbass stereotyping proves the point of man-bashing that you have been accused of engaging in. You are a fucking idiot when it comes to this subject. Blinded by a cantankerous and toxic nature that freely engages in sexism, as long as it’s against the proper sex.

    Now, if you want to talk about a patriarchal SYSTEM whose history and current practices need serious revision – fine. And yes, these men represent the highest levels of that system. But, although I don’t know this to be true, I would GUESS that every one of them is disappointed and possibly infuriated at the sexual harassment that plagues the military.

    Anyway, when you throw pictures up of people and slime them due solely to their sex…shame on you.

    Hmm, the OP stinger line:

    Fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?

    …so, does it fill you with confidence, Barfy?
    I have to assume it does, and you honestly believe that this time, really and for really-true trueness, unlike any/all previous times, this time the same basic group of people will actually get it right. This time, they’ll actually make some meaningful changes. This time, this time for sure they’ll do something about the problem.

    Because if you don’t, and you think it’s probable (not even definite, just likely to be same-old, same-old) then you agree with the OP.

    So, which is it?

  49. ck says

    I’m going to go out on a limb, and guess that these men were actually infuriated, but not at the sexual harassment/rape, but rather the fact that a mere civilian has the nerve to tell them what they should do about a problem they figured was being handled perfectly fine. Supposedly the military is answerable to civilian authorities, but it rarely seems to be the case.

  50. says

    Supposedly the military is answerable to civilian authorities, but it rarely seems to be the case.

    I find it disturbing how many civilians seem to bow down and worship the ground that the military walks on rather than being willing to criticize their actions. To question the military is insulting to the soldiers. Even here in Canada there seems to be a significant fraction of people who are unable to even fathom the idea that not everything they do is automatically honourable and perfect. It is all “Support our troops!!!!!” and treat them like coddled children, because if they hear us being critical their morale will drop. The funny thing is, the people I know that are part of the Canadian Forces are often critical, extremely critical honestly. I recently had a very interesting discussion with a CF guy who had served in Afghanistan. He had a lot to say about his feelings about the US forces there and it was not very positive.

  51. rogerfirth says

    What kind of psychopathic Hellraiser-style horror scenario would the army have to be for them to be less accountable than they are right now?

    They could join a frat…

  52. carlie says

    If I understand it correctly, the entire reason there’s a parallel military justice structure is that civilians can’t understand all of the factors involved in certain matters related directly to military service. For example, one person shoots another. That is a fairly clear-cut situation of guilt in the “real world”, but can be complex in a war situation because it is often necessary for the military to carry out its function. If that’s the case, then it stands to reason that anything involving sexual harassment and violence should be outside of the military jurisdiction, because there isn’t anything in military structure or operations that requires sexual harassment and violence for it to be functional. There is no “other way” to explain or interpret it. Right?

  53. Anri says

    carlie:

    If that’s the case, then it stands to reason that anything involving sexual harassment and violence should be outside of the military jurisdiction, because there isn’t anything in military structure or operations that requires sexual harassment and violence for it to be functional. There is no “other way” to explain or interpret it. Right?

    (bolded for emphasis)

    You might just be surprised how many people would disagree with you on that point.

  54. David Marjanović says

    Every US military person is a citizen of the United States

    Bizarrely enough, that’s not even true. People can join the US military and be rewarded with US citizenship afterwards, when they’re honorably discharged.

  55. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Interesting cropping of the photo by Salon, though. The linked NYT article shows slightly more diversity.