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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Gillibrand To Military Brass: ‘You Have Lost The Trust Of The Men And Women Who Rely On You’ [Video]

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Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assaults in the military took a drastic turn Tuesday when Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) asked military leaders about her proposed legislation that would take sexual assault reporting out of the chain of command.

Military leaders completely rejected any measures that would insert non-uniformed personnel into assault investigations.

“It is imperative that the chain of command is fully engaged and part of the solution. … Removing commanders, making commanders less responsible, less accountable, will not work,” General Ray Ordierno, the Army’s Chief of Staff, responded.

“Not all commanders are objective,” Gillibrand said.  “Not every single commander necessarily wants women on the force, not every commander believes what a sexual assault is, not every single commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape because they merge all of these crimes together.”

“You have lost the trust of the men and women who rely on you,” she added.

Following numerous high-profile sexual assault scandals, a DOD report revealing 3,000 reported cases of sexual assault in the past year alone, and a Pentagon survey’s estimate of a total of 26,000 troops who experienced “unwanted sexual assault” in 2012, Armed Services Committee chairman Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) moved the hearing up from its initial June 11 date. It was the first full committee hearing on military sexual assault in a decade.

Levin said that the number of sexual assaults is “of such scope and magnitude that it has become a stain on our military.”

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) used the hearing to push a very different agenda. He attributed rape in the military to a “hormone level created by nature” and suggested the Pentagon not allow women in combat roles.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

  • Sand_Cat

    The “chain of command” is just another “daisy chain.”
    And, it seems, a lot of them belong in real chains.

  • RobertCHastings

    The military “chain of command” is nothing but a “good old boy” network, in which commanding officers can give a wink to those soldiers who behave as predators toward their fellow soldiers. Ever since first seeing “G. I. Jane” with Demi Moore, I have felt that US women deserve the opportunities their male counterparts in the military have earned through nothing other than being born male. It seems that every step of the way women have to prove themselves, not just equal to men, but their superiors. Our entire society, based upon values of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, has failed miserably in its mission to fully implement that vision so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence.
    Commanders who will not, for whatever reason, pursue reported cases of rape (or other abuses)should be removed from command and, if so warranted, removed from the military, including losing ALL benefits. ALL soldiers under their command deserve their respect, consideration, and protection – is that not a part of their personal mission as commanders?

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Senator Saxby Chamblis, someone who coasted through the Vietnam War on a series of deferments and who accused triple amputee and war hero Max Cleland of being soft on Terror for not supporting Bush and Cheney’s chicken hawks, has a lot of cojones saying the reason for rape in the military was allowing for women in combat roles. The reason rape and lesser sexual harassment is so prevalent was because of guys like him allowing the military to maintain the good-old-boy system of letting convening officers nullify convictions, allowing the rapists and harassers to get away with their crimes.

  • latebloomingrandma

    The military chain of command is a hierarchy not unlike the Catholic Church hierarchy. All men and no checks and balances. Since the Church’s secrets blew up, I hope youngsters will know they can now speak up to authorities. It took outsiders butting in to turn around this problem, we hope. The chain of command is important in battle and in training. Sexual assault is a crime, outside of the chain of command. These brave and tough women Senators need to stick to their guns and guts and get the reporting of a sexual assault out of the chain of command. A check on their previously unchecked good ole boys club.

  • silas1898

    Saxby Chambliss. Dumber than Georgia asphalt.